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#21 TJR

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 08:43 AM

Pres;

As you know, I worked in a co-operative studio[ shared studio space] for 26 years.

There was another production potter there who wanted to hire a "wedgie boy" to wedge her clay. I think the idea was that he would wedge the clay, and she would watch his glutes/deltoids flex.She didn't end up finding any one to fit the bill.

T.



#22 Pres

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 06:46 PM

Good one. . . this old guy could never fit that bill. I would be interested in a job that was mutually beneficial.

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#23 Idaho Potter

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 07:37 PM

I'm coming at this from a different point of view--as a former bookkeeper.  What ever you pay your employee--whether full or part-time--add 30% (your costs) to cover just the taxes that will be due: FICA (social security & medicare); unemployment; state/district worker's compensation.  If it's required, figure in the medical insurance they will need before they reach Medicare age. 

 

BTW, employees are people who don't decide when or where they work, nor do they get to decide what they work on.  Independent contractors on the other hand call the shots, and for that independence don't get any benefits--they are on their own.  If you decide to consider independent contractors, the best you can do is set an amount of output each day (or week, or whatever) to your specifications, and write up a contract that you both approve and sign (and maybe a non-disclosure agreement?).  I have seen too many small businesses get themselves in trouble when they first hire employees.  The Feds put out good literature on what is expected of you.  Check it out before you hire someone.

 

Shirley

 

edit:  get ready to file forms 941, 940, for employees, and 1099's for independent contractors. And any state forms required. 



#24 Mark C.

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 11:38 PM

For me an independent takes your clay and does all the work elsewhere on whatever time they chose and brings you the work when its done-The contract is a good idea-it can work great for clay work if you fine tune all details 1st.

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#25 GEP

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 09:21 AM

I'm coming at this from a different point of view--as a former bookkeeper.  What ever you pay your employee--whether full or part-time--add 30% (your costs) to cover just the taxes that will be due: FICA (social security & medicare); unemployment; state/district worker's compensation.  If it's required, figure in the medical insurance they will need before they reach Medicare age. 
 
BTW, employees are people who don't decide when or where they work, nor do they get to decide what they work on.  Independent contractors on the other hand call the shots, and for that independence don't get any benefits--they are on their own.  If you decide to consider independent contractors, the best you can do is set an amount of output each day (or week, or whatever) to your specifications, and write up a contract that you both approve and sign (and maybe a non-disclosure agreement?).  I have seen too many small businesses get themselves in trouble when they first hire employees.  The Feds put out good literature on what is expected of you.  Check it out before you hire someone.
 
Shirley
 
edit:  get ready to file forms 941, 940, for employees, and 1099's for independent contractors. And any state forms required.



...... and this is why I changed my mind about hiring an assistant after talking to my accountant. I decided instead to figure out how to reduce my wholesale workload, and focus my energy on more profitable channels.
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#26 Stephen

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:56 AM

Not picking on accountants but they can be prone to be overly cautious. Matching is 7 1/2 percent. There may be another point or two in your state to account for unemployment and such. While the 30% is mostly spot on, most of the rest is subjective. I say this because often folks add the 30% in their budget but they never actually compensate their employees at that level. You have to consciously put together a package that pays at that level.  

 

Here's a nice link that sums up what the averages are for everyone.

 

http://www.bls.gov/ro2/ececne.htm

 

Simplyhired.com has this to say about potters in general: 

 

The average salary for potter jobs is $48,000. Average potter salaries can vary greatly due to company, location, industry, experience and benefits. This salary was calculated using the average salary for all jobs with the term "potter" anywhere in the job listing.

 

Where you fall in there is obviously based on your shops circumstances. You mentioned that you have a lot of experience hiring and that your looking for what is customary with artist and I think mostly they don't fare well in the compensation arena.

 

I guess I would make the plug that although an aspiring potter may not generally be able to command high salaries and often work long hours for low pay simply out of love of the job, there is a lot to be said for being generous with employees. It really builds a strong team that is going nowhere unless they reach a point they want to strike out on their own. Some do, but the vast majority of people would prefer a secure job with a company they are both proud of and feel very connected and appreciated. Pay good livable wages with regular bumps and an array of benefits such as flexible time, two or even three weeks of vacation, ample sick leave and at least a major medical insurance policy and you will build a very strong team that will dig deep when they need to and put your company first. Artist are no different than the rest of us and they have to pay all the same bills each month.



#27 MikeFaul

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 02:30 PM

Mike,

There is a group in the Northern Va. area called The Clay Connection -- they have a website and a Facebook page. That group is having their biennial conference this fall -- first weekend in October, I believe -- in Front Royal, VA (4-H Center). You might want to reach out to that group and see if they can point you in the right direction or go to the conference (usually around a couple hundred in attendance) and put the word out as to what you are looking for in terms of a production-type potter. Also, Bill Schran at NOVA Alexandria has taught ceramics for years and has a good program . . . he might be a good contact http://www.creativecreekartisans.com/ Also try Steve Munoz at Lee Arts Center in Arlington -- they have a good program with a good number of experienced members http://www.arlington...rts-center.aspx

 

Thanks... We joined The Clay Connection, but sadly the conference is the weekend before our grand opening / ribbon cutting and I have the mayor and town counsel coming along with all of the business owners from the downtown Herndon area, so I have to miss the conference... But if anyone from the Connection or the local pottery / ceramics scene wants to come, they're welcome to do so. Just drop me a note and I'll send you the address and directions. Grand Opening will start on 10/7 and conclude the following weekend with an open house.



#28 MikeFaul

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 02:34 PM

Pres;

As you know, I worked in a co-operative studio[ shared studio space] for 26 years.

There was another production potter there who wanted to hire a "wedgie boy" to wedge her clay. I think the idea was that he would wedge the clay, and she would watch his glutes/deltoids flex.She didn't end up finding any one to fit the bill.

T.

I know this is a family show, but I don't suppose a "wedgie girl" would work out very well either... :-) No, don't need a pug mill, I need a potter, but your post did make me smile...



#29 stephsteph

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 03:06 PM

i like that you want to respect the person enough to hire them. folks should  be aware of the pitfalls on abusing the 'independent contractor' option. be honest about the fact that if you want them to work for you, you should hire them. someone up the list also said they didn't think you should be expected  to provide an income which someone could support themselves on. that's an incredibly depressing thought isn't it?

as potters and clayworkers we need to start seeing ourselves as the skilled people we are, and skilled people deserve  to make  a decent wage. a small pottery i shared space with was paying $15-$25 /hour, depending on the level of skill and the job. one of the full time production potters preferred to get paid by the piece, because he was an incredibly  productive  and accurate potter .he  would work out an agreed price for each different type of form and he would throw hundreds and hundreds of them.

the floor/production manager was salaried becasue it really wason that person to oversee the daily running of the shop, the quality control, the final responsibility for orders getting filled  and fired properly.  everyone else was hourly.

best wished to you on your endeavor!


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#30 Stephen

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:47 AM

i like that you want to respect the person enough to hire them. folks should  be aware of the pitfalls on abusing the 'independent contractor' option. be honest about the fact that if you want them to work for you, you should hire them. someone up the list also said they didn't think you should be expected  to provide an income which someone could support themselves on. that's an incredibly depressing thought isn't it?

as potters and clayworkers we need to start seeing ourselves as the skilled people we are, and skilled people deserve  to make  a decent wage. a small pottery i shared space with was paying $15-$25 /hour, depending on the level of skill and the job. one of the full time production potters preferred to get paid by the piece, because he was an incredibly  productive  and accurate potter .he  would work out an agreed price for each different type of form and he would throw hundreds and hundreds of them.

the floor/production manager was salaried becasue it really wason that person to oversee the daily running of the shop, the quality control, the final responsibility for orders getting filled  and fired properly.  everyone else was hourly.

best wished to you on your endeavor!

 

In regards to independent contractors, I saved this snip from somewhere a while back that I thought summed up the downside :

 

Moral of the story: Calling an employee an independent contractor gives that
employee the power to destroy you. They hold the switch to a nuclear bomb – and you
gave it to them. So, like the doctor says when you say it hurts to raise your arm: “Don’t do that.”


#31 MikeFaul

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 02:55 PM

 

i like that you want to respect the person enough to hire them. folks should  be aware of the pitfalls on abusing the 'independent contractor' option. be honest about the fact that if you want them to work for you, you should hire them. someone up the list also said they didn't think you should be expected  to provide an income which someone could support themselves on. that's an incredibly depressing thought isn't it?

as potters and clayworkers we need to start seeing ourselves as the skilled people we are, and skilled people deserve  to make  a decent wage. a small pottery i shared space with was paying $15-$25 /hour, depending on the level of skill and the job. one of the full time production potters preferred to get paid by the piece, because he was an incredibly  productive  and accurate potter .he  would work out an agreed price for each different type of form and he would throw hundreds and hundreds of them.

the floor/production manager was salaried becasue it really wason that person to oversee the daily running of the shop, the quality control, the final responsibility for orders getting filled  and fired properly.  everyone else was hourly.

best wished to you on your endeavor!

 

In regards to independent contractors, I saved this snip from somewhere a while back that I thought summed up the downside :

 

Moral of the story: Calling an employee an independent contractor gives that
employee the power to destroy you. They hold the switch to a nuclear bomb – and you
gave it to them. So, like the doctor says when you say it hurts to raise your arm: “Don’t do that.”

 

 I don't really see any benefit other than avoiding a few administrative headaches to hiring a contractor. I tried to avoid it when I had my sales and marketing practice. I always found they had mixed loyalties and would just as soon throw you under a bus as give you a lift, in short... They do what's in their best interest even when it conflicts with your own. I guess that's what you're saying, just more eloquently than I did... 



#32 MikeFaul

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 02:58 PM

Not picking on accountants but they can be prone to be overly cautious. Matching is 7 1/2 percent. There may be another point or two in your state to account for unemployment and such. While the 30% is mostly spot on, most of the rest is subjective. I say this because often folks add the 30% in their budget but they never actually compensate their employees at that level. You have to consciously put together a package that pays at that level.  

 

Here's a nice link that sums up what the averages are for everyone.

 

http://www.bls.gov/ro2/ececne.htm

 

Simplyhired.com has this to say about potters in general: 

 

The average salary for potter jobs is $48,000. Average potter salaries can vary greatly due to company, location, industry, experience and benefits. This salary was calculated using the average salary for all jobs with the term "potter" anywhere in the job listing.

 

Where you fall in there is obviously based on your shops circumstances. You mentioned that you have a lot of experience hiring and that your looking for what is customary with artist and I think mostly they don't fare well in the compensation arena.

 

I guess I would make the plug that although an aspiring potter may not generally be able to command high salaries and often work long hours for low pay simply out of love of the job, there is a lot to be said for being generous with employees. It really builds a strong team that is going nowhere unless they reach a point they want to strike out on their own. Some do, but the vast majority of people would prefer a secure job with a company they are both proud of and feel very connected and appreciated. Pay good livable wages with regular bumps and an array of benefits such as flexible time, two or even three weeks of vacation, ample sick leave and at least a major medical insurance policy and you will build a very strong team that will dig deep when they need to and put your company first. Artist are no different than the rest of us and they have to pay all the same bills each month.

 

 

Not picking on accountants but they can be prone to be overly cautious. Matching is 7 1/2 percent. There may be another point or two in your state to account for unemployment and such. While the 30% is mostly spot on, most of the rest is subjective. I say this because often folks add the 30% in their budget but they never actually compensate their employees at that level. You have to consciously put together a package that pays at that level.  

 

Here's a nice link that sums up what the averages are for everyone.

 

http://www.bls.gov/ro2/ececne.htm

 

Simplyhired.com has this to say about potters in general: 

 

The average salary for potter jobs is $48,000. Average potter salaries can vary greatly due to company, location, industry, experience and benefits. This salary was calculated using the average salary for all jobs with the term "potter" anywhere in the job listing.

 

 

Awesome data, this was very helpful! Thanks! It looks like low $20's / hour part time and mid $20/hour full time, or just make the full time person on an annual salary and consider them a professional, which they are... Maybe make the change after a probationary period of 60 days or so? Lot's to think about.  Seems like the teens, would be reserved for a student / part time type person.



#33 GEP

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 10:50 AM

someone up the list also said they didn't think you should be expected to provide an income which someone could support themselves on. that's an incredibly depressing thought isn't it?

stephsteph, I don't think this is a depressing idea at all. It's just realistic. I have a part-time job teaching pottery classes, one or two nights a week. I think my hourly wage is very good, very respectful of my expertise. However, because I only get paid for either 2.5 or 5 hours per week, the total income is negligible to my financial health. This doesn't matter to me, because I generate a livable income with my pottery studio, and there are many other rewards from the teaching job that have nothing to do with money. And the market simply doesn't support paying me more. My employer is a completely not-for-profit situation. They are not making any money, just trying to stay within budget. If I got a raise, then the tuition would become unaffordable for many, and I wouldn't want that. So my advice to MikeFaul was that there are plenty of qualified people who would love an interesting art-related part-time job, and do not need him to provide a livable income. (and Mike, I think low to mid $20s per hour is spot on.)

There are still two viable options to those who want to make a living with pottery/ceramics: full-time college professor, and self-employed studio potter. Not saying either of these options are easy, but they do exist. Anyone who needs to earn a full-time living should be working towards one of these directions, rather than looking for full-time private sector employment.
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#34 MikeFaul

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 12:19 PM

someone up the list also said they didn't think you should be expected to provide an income which someone could support themselves on. that's an incredibly depressing thought isn't it?

stephsteph, I don't think this is a depressing idea at all. It's just realistic. I have a part-time job teaching pottery classes, one or two nights a week. I think my hourly wage is very good, very respectful of my expertise. However, because I only get paid for either 2.5 or 5 hours per week, the total income is negligible to my financial health. This doesn't matter to me, because I generate a livable income with my pottery studio, and there are many other rewards from the teaching job that have nothing to do with money. And the market simply doesn't support paying me more. My employer is a completely not-for-profit situation. They are not making any money, just trying to stay within budget. If I got a raise, then the tuition would become unaffordable for many, and I wouldn't want that. So my advice to MikeFaul was that there are plenty of qualified people who would love an interesting art-related part-time job, and do not need him to provide a livable income. (and Mike, I think low to mid $20s per hour is spot on.)
There are still two viable options to those who want to make a living with pottery/ceramics: full-time college professor, and self-employed studio potter. Not saying either of these options are easy, but they do exist. Anyone who needs to earn a full-time living should be working towards one of these directions, rather than looking for full-time private sector employment.


So much of this falls into life style choice, Some like the mix of being a studio potter and a teacher, some like to dabble while they enjoy retirement, some want full time work, some simply want a release from the daily grind. And, there are probably another 20 options I didn't mention. Some folks don't want the burden of employees, and in fact see employees as a significant burden. As for me, the tools of business are just like a ball of clay, and I get my kicks seeing what I can turn them into. Plus I love being around talented creative people.

So, I sit in judgement of no one, and respect the path each has taken... It's all just the pursuit of happiness, which is our right to do freely.

Anyway, your advice was spot on, and most appreciated. Not everyone wants or needs a living wage, and all jobs and employers are not positioned to offer such. In the DC area, a real living wage might me north of $60k, the median income is over $100k. Prices and the overall cost of living are exceptionally high. Can I afford to pay someone 20% above the going wage for a job? Probably... But, it's a very dangerous business practice. It will cut into profits, and delay our break even point. Without profits there are no wages... None... Once we become profitable anything is possible. Until then, it's market rates and wages as the owner will draw a giant salary of $0 until there is a profit.

#35 Stephen

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 10:53 AM

But doesn't the job define which one?

 

Two part time employees in my book is not remotely the same as one full time employee and to the company it really matters. They both have their place, pros and cons and considerations but if you have not determined which you need then I guess I would suggest a lot of thought into that before hiring and making a false start.

 

One of the most glaring things that always jumps out quickly between the two is where you as a company stand in the food chain of commitment when life makes it necessary for an employee to make some hard choices. 

 

Also, part time is generally, obviously not always, not a meant to be a perm situation and that means likely losing someone down the road that you have invested a lot of studio time into and having to start over with their replacement. This could be in 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years. If often hurts the most if its 6 years.

 

Just some thoughts, not disagreeing with anyone.



#36 Idaho Potter

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 01:33 AM

Over the years, I have worked at many jobs--both as an employee and as an independent contractor.  I lived in a small town and full time jobs were hard to come by, so I put the word about that I could do small business payrolls, was well acquainted with the forms that were needed, and could track the businesses income & expenses.  At one time I probably had six or seven people I worked for. They'd bring their box of papers, checkbook registers, new hires, and once a month I'd do the P & L and twice a month the payroll.

 

If you hire part-time independents, they will charge enough to make sure your portion of FICA taxes are included in what you pay them.  Anything in the low to mid $20's is probably good for both of you.  Judging whether your hire is independent or not shouldn't be a problem, because if they are also working for other businesses--even if it isn't as a potter--which means they are independent.  They expect to work at various jobs for a variety of businesses.  The "bomb" doesn't exist.  It is a figment of someone's imagination who probably tried to skirt the tax issues and got caught.  Honesty really is the best policy



#37 Stephen

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 10:25 AM

The "bomb" doesn't exist.  It is a figment of someone's imagination who probably tried to skirt the tax issues and got caught.  Honesty really is the best policy

Hi Idaho,

 

That quote I posted was gleaned from a larger PDF written by an accountant that I got from somewhere over the years. In it's entirety he was pointing out that beyond moral obligations to run an honest business, if an employee is incorrectly classified as an independent contractor and that employee ever files any kind of claim against your business it will trigger a much larger investigation. I think in this last sentence I posted he used the 'bomb' analogy simply to drive that point home. 

 

I was just tossing it out there for the benefit of anyone hiring folks to make sure they do their homework when they classify their employees. Certainly not meaning that the original poster would do so intentionally but often new business owners may have incorrect information and inadvertently do this. I had a friend that had a new business say that he thought if he allowed flex time that his employees were independent contractors since they could come and go as they pleased even though nothing else was at their discretion.



#38 stephsteph

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 01:40 AM

As someone who DOES support myself 100% with my work, i would like to increase respect for the profession and the craft enough where people who are serious about making it their vocation are able to make a living at it. the arts are a tough go, because  there are many part timers, volunteers, people who have other sources of income,but when it comes to really running a business,really making a go of it, you need to be dedicated. It is honorable, skilled work, which deserves decent compensation.

when we work for a pittance we make it tough for everyone because we inadvertently play into the devaluation of our work, our  field.

I know we all do what we can do and there isn't always a lot of choice, but i ask people to consider such things when they agree to work for next to nothing or sell their wares on the cheap.

That is why i respect entrepreneurs who do want to hire someone, or contract with a professional full time potter, and i hope they they are able to find someone who will in turn, do well for them, to the benefit of both.


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#39 OffCenter

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 07:35 AM

Nice profile gallery, stephsteph! It's always nice to see what people who post here make. Your gallery was a delight.

 

Jim


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#40 Chris Campbell

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:59 AM

Hi Stephanie!
Good to have you on the forum ... Been a long time since we've had ceramic chats.
Hope you post often to share your amazing talent and technical know how.

Chris Campbell
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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT






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