Subcontractors are hired by businesses for work outside their expertise. As of March 2023, there were about 9.84 million self-employed workers, many of whom are subcontractors. Industries such as construction, marketing, and information technology use them for specialized skills or resources. Businesses need to navigate the legal landscape when working with subcontractors, with different classifications and regulations to consider.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the difference between employees and 1099 contractors, the benefits of subcontractors, and the legal considerations businesses must keep in mind.

Subcontractor Classification

Subcontractors are classified in the US as either employees or 1099 contractors. Employees are individuals who work for a business regularly and receive a regular paycheck. They are entitled to certain benefits and protections, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and workers’ compensation.

In contrast, 1099 contractors are self-employed individuals who work on a project-by-project basis and are paid a flat fee for their services. They are responsible for their own taxes and aren’t entitled to the same benefits and protections as employees.

Employee vs 1099 Contractor

Businesses must consider factors like schedule control, resources provided, and worker independence when deciding between the Employee or 1099 contractor classification. While both have pros and cons, many prefer working with subcontractors for cost savings and flexibility. By avoiding payroll taxes and benefit expenses like healthcare and retirement, businesses can cut expenses.

Benefits of Hiring Subcontractors

Working with subcontractors offers many benefits for businesses, including access to specialized skills and expertise, increased flexibility, and cost savings. For example, a company that needs to design a new website could hire a subcontractor specializing in web design rather than hiring a full-time employee. This can save the business money and allow them to access specialized skills that they may not have in-house.

To get the most out of working with subcontractors, businesses should follow some best practices, such as:

  • Clearly defining the scope of work and project deliverables
  • Establishing clear communication channels with the subcontractor
  • Providing the subcontractor with the tools and resources they need to do their job
  • Establishing a clear timeline and schedule for the project

Legal Considerations

When working with subcontractors, businesses must comply with a range of legal regulations and requirements. For example, businesses must ensure that subcontractors are classified correctly, provide a written agreement, and issue them a 1099 form if they earn more than $600 annually. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and legal penalties.

To ensure compliance, businesses should work with a qualified legal or tax professional who can help them navigate the complexities of working with subcontractors.


In conclusion, subcontractors are an important part of the US economy, providing businesses with the specialized skills and resources they need to grow and expand. By working with subcontractors, businesses can access specialized.

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