Let’s face it. You probably didn’t start a photography business just so you could manage payroll. But payroll administration is a necessary albeit tedious part of the job.
From paying assistants, makeup artists, stylists, editors, and models, to collecting and sending out tax forms when the new year rolls around, to making sure you remain compliant with state and local labor laws, it can get very complicated.
That’s why many photographers choose to work with a payroll company.
In this post, we’ll look at the five reasons why a payroll company can be a valuable resource for any photographer.
Toss out paper forms.
Everytime you take on a new contractor or employee, there’s a mountain of paperwork that needs to be filled out, filed, and organized before anyone gets paid — I-9s, contractor agreements, and model release forms, among them.
Keeping track of all of these documents can be tricky and traditional payroll services turn out piles of paper copies that need to be filed and organized.
However, a digital payroll service can provide you the ability to organize and store all your documents online — so you can keep your entire production neatly organized and quickly accessible on a single browser tab.
With digital payroll softwares, you can review expenses, create custom time cards, pay people with a click, and share important documents like call sheets with everyone on your shoot.
Securely save your contacts.
You probably have a trusted crew you rely on for most, if not every shoot.
With digital payroll platforms, your crew can create individual profiles that allow them to track their own expenses and onboard their tax information only once. Then, for subsequent shoots, their tax forms are already securely saved within the software, saving everyone from having to fill out more paperwork.
Many new payroll platforms also work as a digital rolodex, securely storing the contact information of all your workers and vendors so you can easily access emails and phone numbers from your browser with just a click.
Some new digital payroll platforms even have a direct deposit feature, along with the ability to submit invoices and time cards directly from phones, where they can track what stage their payment is in.
Protect your workers, as well as yourself.
Payroll companies don’t just handle paystubs and tax forms, they also serve as an employer of record, providing a number of services and protections for your business and your workers.
Chief among these is workers comp insurance.
Workers compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits as specified by state law to workers injured during the course of their employment. It’s a powerful way to protect your workers and in many states, employers are required to provide workers comp insurance for their employees.
So having a payroll service that offers workers comp insurance in addition to other insurance coverage can be a huge boon to your business.
The law changes constantly. A payroll software changes with it.
In states like California, employers are not only required to provide workers comp insurance to their employees, but also there are a number of other state and local employment regulations businesses must comply with. And these laws are changing all the time.
For example, in 2019 California changed the way in which it classified employees vs. independent contractors when Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 5 (commonly known as AB5). This new law effectively required many employers to reclassify and pay independent contractors as employees, a significant change that, for businesses found misclassifying workers, could result in fines and owed back wages.
Similarly, California passed Senate Bill No. 671 that same month, allowing businesses to pay models and crew members on the next regular payday, rather than on the last day that they work.
All these changes can be a lot to keep up with, especially as you’re devoting attention to the day-in and day-out of your business. Luckily, digital payroll services stay up to date with federal, state, and local labor regulations so it’s one less thing you have to worry about.
It’s less expensive than you might think.
Because new digital payroll companies use software to enable easy and efficient payroll administration, they’re much less expensive than more traditional payroll services.
Some new digital payroll platforms are made for short term projects too, so you may not have to worry about annual fees.
For example; Wrapbook has a one-time activation fee and charges only .75% of the payroll you run, one of the lowest costs for payroll administration around.
Payroll can be complicated and tedious. But an entertainment payroll service that specializes in it can make payroll administration easy and efficient.