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View Full Version : What do you pay for farm labor?



LMH
Dec. 19, 2010, 07:14 PM
Not just stalls but an 'everything worker'-from stalls to mowing to weedeating...overall grounds caretaker and stall cleaner.

I am looking for general hourly rate-not full time live in type help.

bird4416
Dec. 19, 2010, 08:26 PM
$12.50 an hour

inca
Dec. 19, 2010, 08:32 PM
We have a guy that helps us with various things (mowing, fence painting, building fene, stalls, de-cobwebbing barn, etc.) for $12/hour.

katarine
Dec. 19, 2010, 09:01 PM
12/hr

Tom King
Dec. 19, 2010, 11:00 PM
By the time we pay all the stuff we are supposed to pay on them, and I wouldn't do it any other way, it adds up to about 16 bucks an hour.

LMH
Dec. 20, 2010, 07:23 AM
Great! Thank you!

It has been awhile since I have paid hourly and wanted to be sure I was 'in the market' and not short-changing my very very good help.:)

LMH
Dec. 20, 2010, 07:24 AM
By the time we pay all the stuff we are supposed to pay on them, and I wouldn't do it any other way, it adds up to about 16 bucks an hour.

This was my other question-is the $12/hour 'clean' and above board or quiet.:lol:

Daydream Believer
Dec. 20, 2010, 08:42 AM
I think Tom is talking about payroll taxes and workers comp insurance. That does raise the rate quite a bit from the base wage. Employers match FICA and Social Security withheld from the employees pay. In most cases, as an agricultural employer under certain limits you can avoid workers comp insurance.

FWIW, I paid 8/hr early this year (before payroll taxes) and most folks around here felt that was a fair wage. I do not live in an expensive area though so you have to take that into consideration. This person also got some fringe benefits as live in help. My effective pay rate was probably closer to $10/11 per hour when you figured it all in.

Now, rather than have an "employee," I'd pay by the "job" for someone coming in for tasks as contract labor. For example to do a bunch of water troughs, clean and scrub and refill, I might pay $40 to 50 for 4-5 hours work. As contract labor, I am not required to withhold payroll taxes but I will have to cut a 1099 Misc for them at the end of the year. There used to be a certain level required for a 1099 ($800 if memory serves) but I believe that has changed and I have not researched it yet.

LMH
Dec. 20, 2010, 08:47 AM
I hate to bring you had news DB, but that is still an employee and not contract labor.;)

wsmoak
Dec. 20, 2010, 09:04 AM
Now, rather than have an "employee," I'd pay by the "job" for someone coming in for tasks as contract labor. For example to do a bunch of water troughs, clean and scrub and refill, I might pay $40 to 50 for 4-5 hours work. As contract labor, I am not required to withhold payroll taxes but I will have to cut a 1099 Misc for them at the end of the year. There used to be a certain level required for a 1099 ($800 if memory serves) but I believe that has changed and I have not researched it yet.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1099gi.pdf pg 16 says $600 a year.

Just because you pay by the job doesn't make someone a contractor... but my experience is in office work so it may not apply to farm/agricultural jobs at all. (Do you have to pay time and a half after 40 hours for farm labor? That's where people get in trouble declaring someone a contractor or exempt employee to skirt the overtime laws.)

And to answer the original question, I pay $12.50 an hour to a friend's son who comes over to help build new fence, get the bermuda grass out of the garden, dig up tree stumps, etc.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 20, 2010, 12:23 PM
I hate to break it to you Leah, but yes it can be contract labor. It's all in how you set it up and work it out. ;)

These are the conditions to be evaluated as to whether someone is a contractor or an employee.

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99921,00.html

I see no reason why a person coming onto my farm to do odd jobs with little supervision and working when they want to come (set their own hours) can't be considered a contractor. Sure...if I say, "you have to be here for chores from x time to x time these days of the week," than that is an employee, but that is not what I'm saying. I'm saying, "do this agreed upon job (clean water troughs) for $$ amount at your pace and more or less set your own hours." I pay for that task only. That is no different than hiring a handyman contractor to make repairs on your property or lawn service to come in and mow and do grounds maintenance...something LMH may want to consider versus the trouble of hiring an employee unless you want someone around at times it's convenient for you and doing set tasks regularly.

When you control hours worked, who this person works for, equipment used, benefits, etc...than Yes, you have an employee...but if you hire someone to do a job and that are "independent" and they perform similar services for other folks, than they can be considered a contractor.

It can be a muddled area and when I was working in the building industry years ago for a General Contractor we had this issue come up with a carpenter who worked only for my boss and on his jobs. He wanted to be a contractor since it benefited his taxes but since he was not truly independent of my boss who he worked for exclusively. He was ruled an employee and we had to take out taxes and put him on our payroll.

LMH
Dec. 20, 2010, 12:29 PM
Well I am not going to argue but I have looked into this pretty extensively-and in recent years (as in the last year) there has been more negative thoughts on classifying someone as an IC...having the IRS reclassify someone can bring some pretty stiff penalties.

Now if the person is set up as his own business and brings his own tools and and works many farms and several other standards, indeed he could be an IC.

BUT I would bet money that the IRS would classify day labor on your farm as an employee.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 20, 2010, 07:06 PM
Now if the person is set up as his own business and brings his own tools and and works many farms and several other standards, indeed he could be an IC.

BUT I would bet money that the IRS would classify day labor on your farm as an employee.

We actually agree and what I'm talking about is the former paragraph you typed. I know several young people who do odd jobs for several farms that I'd only bring in once and a while for stuff I can't get to myself. As long as it's set up the right way, I don't see why it can't work as an IC. A good example would be a farmsitter..not an employee but someone who does this sort of thing for others also on a "job" basis.

Don't get me wrong, I had an employee for quite a while and I have an employer ID # for my farm. I know how to do all the payroll taxes and when they are due and have done so...but I'm only discussing this as "what if" sort of situation. You can indeed have someone come in and do odd jobs without having to do the full payroll tax drill if you hire someone who does that sort of thing independently. That is the only point I'm trying to make.

One tip...if you do hire an employee, use For 943 for Agricultural employees to submit your Fed Tax, FICA and SS. It will save you having to file quarterly returns (941's) and you'll only have to file in January for the year at one time.

Mary in Area 1
Dec. 20, 2010, 08:19 PM
Good Lord, DB, I think you need to stop giving tax advice on the COTHBB. You really don't know what you're talking about.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 20, 2010, 08:46 PM
Gee Mary, can you point out what I said that was wrong since you are such a freaking expert?

Sorry I tried to help LMH. I'm officially done trying to give a crap anymore. I really am beginning to hate this forum and the BS.

LMH
Dec. 20, 2010, 08:51 PM
As long as it's set up the right way, I don't see why it can't work as an IC.

THIS is what gets people in trouble...you can't 'set it up right' to avoid having an employer/employee classification.

There is actually a pretty good discussion on the IRS website-it goes WAY beyond just whether someone is doing a few jobs in several places.

When someone comes to do your barn work, do you provide the shavings, muck bucket? Direct where the shavings go? Things like that? Then you are leaning to employer. Even IF they are also employees on other farms.

It could go either way, maybe...but getting close to employee as opposed to IC.

A kid coming to mow your lawn using your lawn mower-employee

Johnny's Yard Care-Johnny brings his own tools and equipment-likely IC

Hire kid to paint your barn and leave? maybe IC-but a continuing ongoing relationship where you direct what should be done and when (as opposed to the house painter that just shows up when he finished the former job)...leaning to employee.

All I can say is if you set up farm help (in most cases) as an IC, they leave or get fired and file for unemployment, dollars to donuts you will have a misclassification issue on your hands.

You don't want that. The last I looked fines can be up to $20,000 for misclassification.

Regarding the Form 943-are you sure that eliminates quarterly returns?

I am not sure if this would be the correct form for a private (non-profit generating) farm or if the eomplyee would fall under the household employee category (still not requiring quarterly reports)

I do know you would still need an EIN for a household employee.

LMH
Dec. 20, 2010, 08:55 PM
Ah---found the answer...

http://www.irs.gov/instructions/i943/ch01.html

LMH
Dec. 20, 2010, 09:02 PM
ok still not sure if someone working on a 'non-working farm' would be a farmworker or a household employee...it seems to me that person could still be a 'caretaker' and subject to the 'nanny tax'

Maybe a CPA can pipe in!:lol:

Cruiser12
Dec. 20, 2010, 09:03 PM
Taxes/contract work all aside.
I would like to know who you got to back their backs for $8/hour?? Were they legal?

Daydream Believer
Dec. 20, 2010, 09:59 PM
I am a $%&^%$# CPA but since I'm no longer offering any advice on this miserable forum, I guess you'll have to figure it out on your own. Sorry, I'm done.

LMH
Dec. 20, 2010, 10:31 PM
I didn't realize that DB and it surprises me that you would argue the IC that way.:confused:

Not to mention it is never just black and white and all depends on someone's opinion should you be challenged.

I have been over this 100 times with my accountants constantly looking for ways to avoid the whole employee tax situation and just can't get over the hump...

especially since 'government' tends to prefer employee classification to protect worker's rights.

Either way, I don't plan to take tax advice from a forum anyway:lol:

I just was interested in hourly wages-the tax talk was just a side discussion.

No need for the GD language on in any case.:eek:

Mary in Area 1
Dec. 21, 2010, 12:09 AM
DB, maybe you ARE a CPA, but you should have noted this in the discussion. At any rate, we file 943 and have to do quarterly returns. That fact, alone, was incorrect and thus led me to believe you were giving inaccurate advice to people.

As far as the IC rule, this is a HUGE issue for the IRS right now, and our accountant (who specializes in large horse farms and the racing industry) has looked into this IN DEPTH for us, as we have a hay/handyman worker here who only works 3 days a week for us, schedules his own time, works for 2 or 3 other farms, invoices us for his time, uses his own truck to plow, etc. We were advised SPECIFICALLY by the IRS and Workman's Comp. that unless he has his own business cards and advertises his services, that he is definitely our employee.

Now, he doesn't need business cards or to advertise since he is completely booked for his time. Nevertheless, we lost our argument and have to pay him as an employee and pay WC for him.

This is why I said you didn't appear to know what you were talking about, since I have personal, legal, defensible and documented proof that the advice you were giving was not true.

So rant away at me. I stand by my information. I only post about something when I am SURE I know what I'm writing about.

LMH
Dec. 21, 2010, 07:36 AM
Wow Mary-your example means IRS is really really tightening the test for defining the two.

I would have guessed IC on that one.

here is an article on the 'crackdown'

http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/29/pf/taxes/employee_audit_crackdown.smb/index.htm

LMH
Dec. 21, 2010, 07:50 AM
I looked up the requirements for filling quarterly reports and found this:


Finally, employers of farm employees do not report on IRS 941. Instead, they are responsible to file Form 943, "Employers' Annual Return for Agricultural Employees."

So I fear, Mary, someone is incorrect in the advice you have been given...:confused:

You may want to look into this.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 21, 2010, 07:51 AM
Mary, did you even LOOK at that link LMH put up? The one off the IRS site? 943 only has to be filed once a year for those qualified to file it. Perhaps your accountant chooses to file quarterly...no one is stopping you from doing that and maybe he/she finds that less confusing but it ONLY has to be filed annually at year end...you are NOT right on that one. Go look at the regs for yourself. I actually spoke to an IRS representative last week on 941 versus 943 for my own tax situation so my information is very current.

Leah, suit yourself. If you are a hobby farm and worried about all the nuances of the law, then fine...do all the tax stuff and be happy. Better yet, pick up the phone and call the IRS. They are happy to answer questions.

LMH
Dec. 21, 2010, 07:58 AM
Leah, suit yourself. If you are a hobby farm and worried about all the nuances of the law, then fine...do all the tax stuff and be happy.

:confused:

huh? Why wouldn't I be worried about tax stuff? It is kind of a big deal if you classify things wrong, don't withhold if you should, file the wrong reports, etc.

I am not a hobby farm. I do not use my farm for any write-offs. It is just a 'home' not anything tied into to any wishing for profit entity.

Anyway, I was not really worried about that issue because my accountant will make that decision.

I just wanted to make sure I was paying my hard working farm help enough money since it has been a long time since I paid by the hour!

Daydream Believer
Dec. 21, 2010, 08:11 AM
I'm sorry I ever posted on your thread. I did not mean that earlier comment in a nasty way but I'm frustrated and tired of the nonsense and how people treat each other on this forum. I'm tired of trying to help someone and getting my teeth kicked in for it.

LMH
Dec. 21, 2010, 08:14 AM
I didn't mean to kick your teeth in-I just know that classification is tricky-even attorneys and accountants can argue over it.;)

Your first post just sounded very easy peasy, black and white and that could be misleading.

And as I said, I never intended a tax discussion...but do find it interesting.

Just really cringe with the gd language:no:

Daydream Believer
Dec. 21, 2010, 08:46 AM
Sorry to offend your sensibilities. I'm not a religious person so I doubt I'll be smote down anytime soon for blasphemy.

I am usually posting on here in between chores, appts. and running like mad, so it was a short post. I did not mean, and generally never do mean, for people to read between the lines and make assumptions...but that is the COTH way to do just that and accuse folks of saying things they did not and twist things out of context.

A good example is the person some posts ago who made the comment about $8 an hour. If they had really READ my post, they would have seen that was the base rate before fringe benefits were added in and the effective rate was much higher...but that would have required them to actually read and interpret what I wrote. It's so much easier to just jump to a wrong conclusion and post something nasty about hiring illegals.

Sorry, I'm just really frustrated and tired of the nonsense. I should have never posted and just lurked. So much less stress that way.

LMH
Dec. 21, 2010, 09:20 AM
Sorry to offend your sensibilities. I'm not a religious person so I doubt I'll be smote down anytime soon for blasphemy.



wow DB. that is all I have to say.

deckchick
Dec. 21, 2010, 09:53 AM
Sorry to offend your sensibilities. I'm not a religious person so I doubt I'll be smote down anytime soon for blasphemy. snip ...

Ok that made me laugh, I am just usually a lurker here, but I agree with you DB, way too much ASSumptions and jumping to BS conclusions.

Keep your chin up, and have a great holiday!

Daydream Believer
Dec. 21, 2010, 10:23 AM
I edited out my profanity for you Leah. I'd hate to think I upset you that much especially considering the daily acceptable BS on this forum...character attacks, and slander (think Pintopiaffe) and just the usual snark, sarcasm and nonsense....but since I'm not into intentionally being obnoxious, it's gone. As I said, I'm sorry to offend your sensibilities but I'm truly not worried about my soul. Now, please forget I ever tried to help and call the IRS if you have questions. They are generally very helpful.

Thanks deckchick...have a nice holiday also.

LMH
Dec. 21, 2010, 11:11 AM
Good grief DB what bee is up your bonnet with me?

You did not offend me 'that much'-but yes that 'kind' of language always makes my spine prickle-more so than when it is not 'gd'. I talk like a sailor better than the rest but that just crosses a line-so what.

it is not worth 7 more pages...i just made a comment because your 'tone' is so attacking and I really don't understand why?

It was only a few months ago you were going to come to my farm, my home for a clinic and now you are talking with a tone like I am viper enemy.:confused:

SO I make a comment about the language being unnecessary-yes there is language like that and worse-but it just surprised me coming from you to me as we have had contact off the forum-personal interaction through emails.

SO when I do say-hey, that language made me uneasy and you lash back again-like you want to make fun of me for the uneasiness, again I don't understand.

I did not know you were a CPA-your advice seemed to contradict my understanding...was it worth all this? You said you were in a hurry and made a quick response-I disagreed with how it read and WOWZA let the crap start flying.

Wow am I glad I never hosted that clinic-would hate to be surrounded by this for 3 days. :uhoh:

Zu Zu
Dec. 21, 2010, 11:35 AM
We no longer pay "by the hour" for farm / barn help ~

Pay by the half day or days work = learned this lesson the hard way ~~~

Jingles that all of you are able to find reliable and responsible and competent farm help as it continues to be a struggle in my area. :eek::yes:

Wayside
Dec. 21, 2010, 11:49 AM
This was my other question-is the $12/hour 'clean' and above board or quiet.:lol:

I get paid $12/hour, and I'm pretty sure it's quiet, since I just do it in exchange for a reduced board rate.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 21, 2010, 11:55 AM
Leah, I've already apologized several times... I don't quite understand why you are taking any of what I said so personally but it as never intended that way.

I'm done on this thread and if you can't accept my apology, there's nothing left to say.

LauraKY
Dec. 21, 2010, 04:06 PM
So, did anyone notice there was a full moon yesterday and a lunar eclipse? Wonder if it had anything to do with the tone of this thread? I do know that people were crazy in town in the stores yesterday...swearing like I've never heard in Kentucky. Whew.

Budrow
Dec. 22, 2010, 02:28 AM
LauraKY: You hit the nail on the head...sheesh- this went from "how much do you pay your barn staff" to....what...the...hell...
FWIW, I was paid $12/hr 10 years ago, located near LMH, for mucking, feeding, T/O, T/I and night watch (I lived on-site). I would hope the pay rate has increased since then, but I doubt it. Regardless of the economy, I think the horsey pay stays relatively stable. (pun intended)

Auventera Two
Dec. 22, 2010, 10:40 AM
I pay $20/hour. It's a lot, but I want things done a certain way and I want to pay a person well so they do a good job.

LMH
Dec. 22, 2010, 11:09 AM
I pay $20/hour. It's a lot, but I want things done a certain way and I want to pay a person well so they do a good job.

OMG that would be $800 a week....or over $40,000 a year!

:eek:

I don't have that kind of money!:lol:

Auventera Two
Dec. 22, 2010, 11:15 AM
But I only need her an hour or two here and there. She's not a regular, full time employee. She does chores on the days when I'm trimming a lot of horses and won't be home until late, or if we need to be away overnight. Oops, sorry I didn't realize you were needing someone regular. I should have read slower. LOL.

LMH
Dec. 22, 2010, 11:24 AM
that makes more sense.

My wallet just passed out.

Tamara in TN
Dec. 22, 2010, 11:29 AM
my farm help (of which there are 10 of them) makes from minimum to about $16hr...

their raises in pay are effective when they are :>

Tamara in TN

suniday
Dec. 22, 2010, 12:23 PM
their raises in pay are effective when they are :>

Tamara in TN

Tamara - I need a new keyboard for this one! Love it!



To the OP - I have someone who lives a few miles from my home. She comes on an as needed basis (usually 2x per week). I pay her $15 to do three stalls. If I ask her to pick paddocks, etc. I pay $10/hr extra and usually round up to make it easy. We do not supervise her (rarely there when she is).

mg
Dec. 22, 2010, 12:35 PM
Holy moly, you guys pay well for barn workers! Every barn I've ever worked at paid minimum wage, or slightly above it. So anywhere from $7.50-$8.00. No benefits either. I had one barn I boarded at try to convince me to work as an IC for less than $8/hour, 9+ hour days. I told them I didn't feel comfortable being classified as an IC. NO THANKS!

Tamara in TN
Dec. 22, 2010, 01:40 PM
Well my "farm help" never set foot in my horse barn...
they think it is beneath them :>
so my "farm help" is not "stall cleaner" help <ha>
Tamara in TN

Tamara in TN
Dec. 22, 2010, 01:41 PM
=suniday;5296522]Tamara - I need a new keyboard for this one! Love it!
it's a Dave Ramsey quote...I stole it from him :)

Tamara in TN

akor
Dec. 22, 2010, 01:48 PM
DDB, you seem to know a lot more about this than I do, but one touchy area that I didn't see you addressed was whether or not they use YOUR equipment or their own equipment. Maybe you did on a later post and I missed it.

I am not an atty or anything close, just IME, everything else can be all Ok and then it is found out that the equipment used is owned by the one contracting for the work and it falls apart.

There is likely a loophole for incidentals, etc.

murieics
Jan. 13, 2011, 03:57 PM
Gosh, it's crazy what most of you pay! I guess living in a college town, it's different, but from my experience a few years ago (and a friend's experience up until a few weeks ago when she graduated and got a "real" job), barn owners around here pay from $6/hr-$9/hr. All under the table. No added benefits. This is for mostly "light weight" kind of jobs- feeding, mucking, taking trash out, blankets, cleaning buckets, etc. It doesn't include putting up fences or using a tractor, etc.- but I would bet that the pay is similar for those sort of jobs, too!

I will say that it does seem to cause problems for most of the barn owners, though- there is an extremely high turnover rate, and in general, help tends to be unreliable. I imagine that if the pay were better, that might not be the case. :yes:

In any case, I guess when there is an over-abundance of workers available for cheap, people don't really mind that they have a high turnover rate- they can always find someone new.

PhoenixFarm
Jan. 13, 2011, 04:20 PM
Wow. You people have it good. Around here getting an individual of questionable background and legality for a day's work is at LEAST $15 an hour.

For temporary/occaisional projects (mainly weed eating, mowing, landscaping, and manure spreading) I use a wonderful gentleman who is fast as lightening, knowledgeable, skilled, and incredibly hard working, legal, and costs me $30 an hour.

He's worth every penny, but I can't afford to use him other than once a month or so, less in the winter. He is horse saavy and could do stalls, etc., but I don't need him for that (and couldn't afford him, LOL).

Kate66
Jan. 13, 2011, 04:36 PM
We pay $10 an hour. We don't use the guy on a regular basis and he's a college kid. He does a good job. We had someone else before that we bartered him being able to park his trailer on our property and use our electricity and barn bathroom in return for x hours/week. (I genuinely don't recall the X).

For $30/hour my husband would become the barn worker :-)

murieics
Jan. 13, 2011, 04:54 PM
For $30/hour my husband would become the barn worker :-)

:lol: Mine too!

speculation07
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:51 PM
OK, after reading through this thread a little I wanted to hop in and ask a question I am in the process of purchasing a 10 acre farm in South Florida, I have a "tenant" that will be paying rent and I will not be running the farm until his lease is up in 5 years. I am a bit unclear on what the responsibilities of myself as the "landlord" will be as in what is considered regular maintenance and what is considered improvements that should be made by the tenant if he wants them done. There is a groom that lives on-site and I have another employee that can cross over from another business a few days a week to do minor painting pressure washing fence repair. Will be paid as an IC through the other business as he is a full time employee there. If this is too off topic for this thread let me know and I will start another one.

Also, for $30 an hour I would also take that job :)