In this episode, Alex Marlantes, CEO of Everlance, a company facilitating the day to day headaches of working independently, from taxes to mileage tracking. Chad and Alex discuss how technologies like Everlance have contributed to the explosion of independent workers, what the future of work looks like, and how companies can fill in existing gaps to make sure independent contractors are supported and protected.
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Excerpt from the podcast:
Chad: And I’m curious, so you guys have a lot of experience then, with over 400,000 users on the platform, and what are some of the common questions that you get from independent contractors, and it would be interesting I think to have a little lens inside of the voice of effectively your customer.
Alex: Yeah, that’s a great question. So, a lot of times we’re introduced to a user when they’re doing independent work for the first time. So you might imagine that you were a W2 employee, and you had a job, maybe you worked at Starbucks or something like that, and all of your taxes were withheld, everything’s really straightforward, you get a paycheck, and you probably get a small refund at the end of the year, and that’s it. Maybe that person, their passion is to be a musician, and they start to get more gigs, so they might start to have independent income like that, and they think like hey, I might as well make a go of this, I want to become a professional musician. Maybe I can fill in, sort of, the low seasons, you know if they’re not getting gigs in the summer, by driving for Uber and Lyft, and delivering for Doordash. And so now, all of a sudden, they have four income sources, right? Music, doordash, Uber and Lyft. And at some point they might realize, or they might hear from their partner, hey you have independent income, you also have an independent tax obligation, we’re not withholding any taxes for you, and because it’s sort of this independent labor platform, they don’t really want to do too much education to those users because they’re worried about the employer employee status. They really want to make sure that relationship remains independent, so that’s when we’ll come in. They’ll either hear about us from the labor platform, who will provide us as a resource, or they’ll hear about us from a friend, or through like a search through the app store, google or something like that, and then really the questions they have is like, hey, what does it mean to have independent income? How am I supposed to pay taxes, how many taxes am I supposed to pay, we get a lot of questions like that. So, I’ll pause there but another interesting area that we’re starting to get questions on with regard to taxes is, as people’s business becomes bigger, they’re supposed to pay quarterly taxes, and so there’s a lot of confusion in terms of how to pay quarterly taxes, how much taxes to pay, whether they need to do it, those kind of things.
Chad: Yup. And is it fair to say, I mean I kind of see that as one of the barriers for independent contractors to work that way right, to have that flexibility, is, like, taxes, you know one example, and is that effectively kind of how you look at your business partially, at least, in terms of removing that barrier for them?
Alex: Yeah, I think that’s a great way of looking at it. You know, one of our hopes is, we think the trend towards independent work is, sort of, inevitable, and can we help remove some of that friction. And so one of those friction points today is just the way that the tax system is set up, you’re your own sort of one man tax authority, and that’s just a pain. And so can we, sort of, remove that pain and have that experience be just as seamless, whether you want to work for yourself or work for a large employer.