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Tax Advantages Your Business Receives From Contracting With Freelancers

BUY USA LEADSUS Tax Advantages Your Business Receives From Contracting With Freelancers Instead of Hiring Full-time Employees.

As a small business owner, you likely are always looking for ways to save your company money — especially on taxes — while still providing a superior product or service to your customers. One of the best ways to do this is to contract with freelancers instead of, or in addition to, hiring full-time employees. If you have never considered this option, you may be surprised at just how much it can save you. Strategic List Services, for instance, can put together target lists on your behalf to elevate your direct marketing efforts.

Freelancer Definition

A freelancer, aka an independent contractor, is someone who works for you on a contract basis as opposed to being one of your employees. Once accounting for only a minor segment of the workforce, the number of independent contractors has grown dramatically in recent years, resulting in what many business analysts call the gig economy. In fact, many experts project that this new economy will grow to $455.2 billion by 2023.

Tax Advantages Freelancers Provide Your Business

The main tax advantages of freelancers are twofold. You don’t have to pay the employer’s half of FICA taxes, i.e., Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes, since you are not the freelancer’s employer. Nor do you have to pay unemployment taxes on these workers.

Additional tax-related benefits include the following:

  • Simplified payroll processing, since you don’t have to withhold federal or state taxes from their “paychecks”
  • Simplified tax form preparation, since the 1099-Misc you send them requires only listing the gross compensation you paid them in a given tax year
  • Simplified tax reporting, since you don’t need to send a 1099-Misc for any independent contractor to whom you paid less than $600 in a given tax year

Your company likewise saves money by not having to provide workers’ compensation insurance or employee benefits to freelancers. In addition, you save on labor costs, which some experts estimate account for up to 70% of your business costs.

Additional Ways to Save Taxes

Be sure to take every business deduction to which your company is entitled. Another good way to save taxes for your company is to set it up as a limited liability company. This allows you to avoid the double taxation a corporation subjects you to. However, be aware that each state has its own regulations regarding how to set up an LLC. Here’s a Washington State LLC guide to getting you started.

Misclassification Woes and Classification Criteria

Keep in mind that the IRS looks closely at how you classify the people who work for you. Should it determine that you misclassified an employee as an independent contractor, you likely will have to pay the back unemployment taxes you failed to pay for that worker.

Independent contractors are differentiated from employees based on how much control you exert over them. As the name implies, they have more independence than employees. When it comes to freelancers, you do not:

  • Set the number of hours freelancers work each week
  • Dictate which days of the week they work
  • Control when they take vacations
  • Provide them with a workplace
  • Provide them with the equipment, tools or supplies needed to do the job
  • Control how many companies they contract with
  • Control if and when they can quit

The freedom independent contractors enjoy also benefits you. All in all, if you do it correctly, contracting with freelancers to perform much of the work your company does can greatly increase your company’s profitability. It can also allow you to grow without incurring any additional tax liability.

5 Ways How to: Call to Action

5 Ways to Drive Home your Call to Action in your Direct Marketing

Effective direct marketing demands an effective Call to Action. People talk about a Call to Action all the time but do you really know what it is?  You must tell your prospects what you want them to do after they receive your direct marketing piece. Otherwise, you’re wasting money with printing, mailing, or emailing a direct marketing piece that your readers don’t know what to do with.

direct marketingHere’s an example: I took my kids to the fair this summer and while we were waiting in line for one of the rides, my daughter looked up to the sky and pointed, “Look, mommy!” There was an airplane pulling a banner through the sky. Neat idea, right? Well, actually it could have been better. Continue reading “5 Ways How to: Call to Action”

Increase Sales with Direct Mail

Five tips to increase sales with direct mail.

The number of businesses using direct mail marketing now compared to 10 to 15 years ago is staggeringly higher.

We are noticing that after the temporary dip, now there are more and more business owners and marketing managers who understand and appreciate the effectiveness of direct mail marketing.

Our clients who are doing direct mail marketing right now include mortgage brokers, real estate investors, telecom companies, insurance agents, investment advisors, non-profit organizations, and many others.

I’ll be the first to admit that while it used to be exciting for a consumer to receive a direct marketing piece in the mail, and they were not only looked at but actually read, nowadays you have to work a little harder to really catch your prospects’ attention.

By the way: I was surprised to learn that the term Junk Mail can be traced back to 1954. (Online Etymology Dictionary). I thought it was much more recently than that. But I always say, if you are doing your direct marketing properly, and using a list broker to help you narrow your target market down thoroughly, then you are NOT sending junk mail. There’s a difference between sending out your direct mailing piece to anyone with a pulse and sending it out to people who match your current customers who could truly benefit from your offer and willingly act on it.

So how can you make your direct mail marketing piece more effective and increase your sales revenue?

Continue reading “Increase Sales with Direct Mail”

More Secrets to Renting Mailing Lists

As a business person involved in renting mailing lists, selling and/or promoting something by direct mail you should already know that the most important aspects of your mailing have to do with the sales letter you send out and the mailing lists you use. With these thoughts in mind, and assuming you’ve got what should be an order-pulling sales letter, let’s focus our attention specifically on the problem of finding mailing lists that produce profitable orders.

Common sense should tell you that without a good mailing list, the time and money you spend on market research, advertising layout and knowledge relating to the rules of direct mail will just be wasted effort.  In other words, unless you get your offer to the right buyers, you might as well save your time and money.
Continue reading “More Secrets to Renting Mailing Lists”

3 Cold Calling Mistakes that Trigger Rejection

 

Cold CallingCold Calling Mistake #1: Centering the conversation around yourself and what you have to offer.  In the old approach, you pull out your telemarketing list, dial the first number and when they answer, you introduce yourself, explain what you do, and suggest a benefit or feature of your product using your sales script. And then you close your eyes and pray that the other person will be interested. Continue reading “3 Cold Calling Mistakes that Trigger Rejection”

How to Find the Best Mailing List

Find the Best Mailing List Using a List Broker.

At Strategic List Services we know how to do the research to find exactly what you need for your next Marketing Campaign.  Mailing lists are still the number one way to reach out to Businesses or Consumers.   Using a postcard or brochure to get your message across is still one of your best options.   When you contact us we do all the work for you and give you the best options we can find meeting all of your demographic selections.
Continue reading “How to Find the Best Mailing List”

5 Reasons Why you should be using a direct marketing list today

direct marketingBy now, you’ve probably heard the saying “the money is in the list”.  

No? Well, I guess I put a new twist on an old expression.

But it’s true!   I can’t think of a more efficient, profitable and cost-effective way to target hundreds or even thousands of people with highly targeted direct marketing material. In this article, I will give you 5 reasons why you should start using a direct marketing list today.
Continue reading “5 Reasons Why you should be using a direct marketing list today”

How Realtors Can Find New Clients Using a Targeted Mailing List

We recently had one of our past customers come back to us for another mailing list. He’s a real estate mailing listreal estate agent from Baltimore and he rented a small list some time ago which produced great results for him. In this blog post I am going to share with you exactly what kind of list he rented, so you can do the same.

His mailing list was customized just for him using the following selects:

  • Renters
  • LOR (Length of Residence) = 1-14 years
  • Household Income $40k+
  • Certain zips codes

He sent out only 500 letters asking these renters, “Have you ever thought about buying a house? Did you know that your mortgage payment could turn out to be the same as your rent? Give me a call to discuss!”

Pretty simple, right? You could do this too. Based on those 500 letters, he got 10 responses (a 2% conversion, which is good) which resulted in 2 sales. Do you know what the ROI (return on investment) that is? Neither do I… because I didn’t ask him how much commission he made on those two sales, but let’s take a guess. What if he made $6000 in commissions?

Do you think renting a mailing list and sending it out to a targeted group of people in your area would be worth your time?

Here’s Another Target Group

How about renting a list of elderly people (age 90+) who are homeowners, and whose homes are valued at over $300,000? Can you imagine what you could do with that list? Here’s a better question: Can you imagine how you could help these people?

Our assumption is that they are elderly and possibly getting ready to move into assisted living. They are going to need a caring realtor who will help them make this transition. Timing is everything and your letter might just arrive at exactly the right time! What if the elderly wife or husband just went into care? The remaining spouse could really use your help – and fast.

We have found that writing out the address by hand has a greater chance of getting people to open and read the letter. Now, you might find that you do not have the time to address hundreds or thousands of envelopes. Do you know who has time, wants money and has beautiful handwriting? Teenaged girls, that’s who! Contact your local high school and hire 3 or 4 teenagers to spend a few hours writing out the addresses on the envelopes. Make it competitive, so whoever finishes the most envelopes get an iTunes card as a bonus. If you had 3 girls working for 3  hours and you paid them $8/hr, your cost would be only $72 plus the iTunes card. I would estimate they could each do 60 envelopes an hour (or more), so in the end, you’d have  540 envelopes done and ready for mailing. Believe me, it’s worth it.

Here are Strategic List Services, we are all about helping our customers find their ideal clients so that you can grow your business and increase your revenue. We love what we do!

Give us a call today to see how we can help you too.

SocialMedia No Need to Fight about it

James’ opinion is that posting regularly on social marketing (Facebook, twitter, Linked In, Foursquare, etc) is a great vehicle to use to promote yourself and your business. I agree with that, but, as I said to him, if I had to make an analogy, I would say that direct marketing is to bread and social marketing is to jam. I see social marketing as an added component to what you are already doing, but it’s certainly not the be-all and end-all.

What about social media for marketing?

Last night, James and I were talking about the pros and cons of social media versus direct marketing. It ended up being a bit of a heated discussion! I am so passionate about direct marketing that when he was extolling the benefits of social media, I felt as if he was insulting one of our children. (OK, not exactly, but you get the idea).

James’ opinion is that posting regularly on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Foursquare, etc) is a great vehicle to use to promote yourself and your business. I agree with that, but, as I said to him, if I had to make an analogy, I would say that direct marketing is to bread and social media is to jam. I see social marketing as an added component to what you are already doing, but it’s certainly not the be-all and end-all. You need a firm base to hold that jam! James agrees. He conceded that if you want fast results, do direct mail. Social marketing takes longer and is much more work (if you ask me).

Companies that are not already doing direct mail are totally missing out and leaving money on the table. Period. At the very least, you should be sending a direct mail piece to each and every one of your customers once every six weeks. Direct mail is a tried and true method of marketing. It’s the old standby. At our firm, we are finding more and more companies are getting back to basics with direct marketing. You see, they all tried to save money on marketing when the economy started to turn in late 2008 to 2009 and they’re now realizing what a mistake that was.

I believe that sending a direct mail piece to a very targeted list of potential customers, and then following up with a phone call, is the best way to grow your business starting right now. Because you can choose from over 1,000 different selects (such as hobbies, pets, children, which magazines they read, where they donate and how, what school they went to, what kind of car they drive, and on and on), you know your mailing piece will be going to the exact right targets for your business.

By all means, continue to use social media, but don’t forget about the basics, like direct marketing. It really works!