Flexible Work

1099 vs. W2: Which Is Better for Employers and Professionals

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Making hiring decisions is one of the most important yet challenging aspects of running a business. If you don’t have a dedicated HR specialist, the complexities of worker benefits, classifications, and tax requirements can leave you frustrated.

In particular, it can be challenging to balance your staffing needs with the cost of hiring; fortunately, 1099 independent contractors can help you do just that.

Independent contractors come with several benefits, from reduced tax expenses to seasonal flexibility, that can drastically reduce your hiring costs and fill any gaps in employment.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about the benefits of 1099 contractors vs W2 employees and when to hire them so you can save time and money on the hiring process and get back to what matters most—your business.

1099 vs. W2, Which Is Better For Employees?

Labor costs continue to be the largest expense many employers have, representing as much as 70% of a business’s expenses according to data from Paycor. No matter how strong the economy is, employers are always looking to save money on labor.

One of the best ways to do that without hurting business results is with 1099 independent contractors. There’s a reason the number of independent contractors, often called gig workers, in the U.S. grew by 15% over the past decade alone—they’re great for the bottom line.

W2 Employees

It’s not that W2 employees don’t have their advantages, they certainly do. When you hire a W2 employee, you are locking a person into a contract that improves their commitment to your organization, offers more continuity in employment, and allows for greater control over working hours and conditions. 

Of course, all that comes at a price. W2 employees get their name because of the W-2 form employers file with the IRS to employ them. This means they are full time employees paid, not for contract work, but for consistent employment. And that leads to more expenses for employers, including payroll taxes, insurance, and more. 

1099 Independent Contractors

1099 independent contractors get their name from a tax form; in this case, the form is called 1099-MISC. It’s an independent filer form that requires employees to pay their payroll, social security, state taxes, and local taxes without an employer’s assistance.  

1099 contractors typically have much more freedom than their W2 peers, and thanks to a 2017 corporate tax bill, they are allowed significant additional tax deductions from a 20% pass-through deduction. However, they often receive fewer benefits and have far more tenuous employment status with their organization.

If you’re an employer, it’s a good idea to remember 1099 independent contractors still require W-9 forms and valid taxpayer IDs (EIN or Social Security Number). And it can pay to make sure your 1099 contractor isn’t subject to backup withholding

It’s the responsibility of independent contractors to pay their taxes on their own at the end of each year, and if they don’t, they may be subject to backup withholding. If they are subject, an employer must send their paychecks directly to the federal or state government to which the money is owed. That can mean some additional work on the employer’s end that you may not be looking for.

The IRS Test to Determine Independent Contractor Status

The IRS has developed a short test to determine independent contractor status. The test includes three elements:

  1. Behavioral: W2 employees are generally given more instruction, when to work, where to work, what tools to use, etc.
  2. Financial: Independent contractors often have a significant investment in their work (i.e., an Uber driver’s car). Everything from the type of payment to payment frequency can also be used to determine status.
  3. Type of Relationship: Is there a written contract with lengths of employment or in perpetuity? Just because the contract says an employee is an independent contractor does not mean the IRS will agree.

Unfortunately, determining whether an employee can be an independent contractor is, at times, more of an art than a science given the IRS’ limited test.

If you’re still having trouble determining which type of IRS classification your workers fall under, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fill out Form SS-8 and send it to the IRS to determine the status of your workers to avoid the costly mistake of misclassifying employees.  

The Many Benefits of 1099 Independent Contractors

There are many benefits to hiring 1099 independent contractors. Below, we’ll explain how employers and workers benefit from this work status, and why independent contract work has become the new normal.

Reduced Business Costs

Reduced business costs are one of the main reasons many employers are switching to 1099 contractors.

Employers don’t typically provide health insurance or benefits for independent contractors, which creates significant savings. Employers also don’t have to pay contractors overtime, and contractors have no minimum wage requirements. Additionally, employers can save time by avoiding all the paperwork involved with W2 employees’ tax withholdings.


It’s not just employers that benefit from 1099 status. Having the flexibility to decide when you want to work and for how long is a luxury for independent contractors. Many gig workers love the flexibility and freedom that freelance work brings to their lives. 

Whether it’s a single mom looking to take short shifts during the day so she can take her children to school and pick them up, or a night owl who prefers working the late shift, 1099 employment provides a lot of flexibility that most W2 jobs can’t.

Only Pay for the Staff you Need

Another amazing benefit of 1099 contractors is the seasonal and event flexibility it provides employers. Ramping up and down in staff can hurt a business's bottom line, but with 1099 contractors, you only pay for the staff you need, plus the onboarding process is quick and inexpensive.

Specialized Workers

1099 independent contractors usually have specialized skills for the job. That means less money and time needs to be spent on employee training. Contractors’ quick time to start is an invaluable tool for businesses that operate on deadlines and need extra help. 

Tax Relief

As an employer, there are two main differences between W2 employees and independent contractors when it comes to taxes:

  1. Businesses are required to withhold taxes on W2 employee paychecks.
  2. Employers are responsible for some payroll taxes for W2 employees. 

Current payroll taxes include the social security tax of 12.4% and the Medicare tax of 2.9%, both of which are split 50-50 between W2 employers and employees. In contrast, independent contractors are responsible for 100% of their payroll taxes.

With the burden of payroll taxes affecting so many businesses across the country, some independent contractor tax relief can be a real blessing for businesses.

Your Independent Contractor Hiring Options

If you’ve decided the many benefits of independent contractors outweigh the negatives, and you’re looking to hire, you have a couple of options. You could try job boards, traditional temporary staffing agencies, social media campaigns, or referrals. However, the best way to hire 1099 independent contractors is with Qwick.

Qwick is a revolutionary professional platform for the hospitality industry that connects businesses in need of staff with skilled professionals. At the click of a button, employers can access hospitality industry professionals who are vetted by Qwick for experience, professionalism, and necessary certifications. You don’t need to worry about a ‘bad’ hire, Qwick allows employers to work with 1099 contractors before hiring them full time if they are a good fit. Plus, there are no hiring fees associated with offering a Qwick professional a full time role. 

Even more, Qwick manages the taxes of 1099 independent contractors. Qwick is the cost-effective, win-win solution to job boards and staffing agencies that savvy employers use to accomplish their short-term and long-term hiring goals with ease.

So, if you’re looking to hire an independent contractor and want the best—create an account with Qwick today.

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