How to hire remote workers for online tasks
August 2, 2018 12:35 PM   Subscribe

I need to hire a "virtual office manager" for my business in NYC. Since the work can be done remotely, how could I hire someone in another state?

My business is pretty small, so affording the services of someone in NYC can be challenging (prices here are high so people need to be paid more). The job is part time (about 8-15 hours per week), has a lot of flexibility, and can be done on the person's own time. It involves answering emails, doing some online advertising/social media, and basic admin tasks. In the past, this job has been held by someone who was simultaneously a personal assistant for other people, so I'd expect the person to be accustomed to contracting themselves out for other similar work at the same time.

Since the work can be done entirely online, I thought hiring someone in another state might be a better option. I've heard of online platforms that match you with temporary people, but this would be ideally more of a consistent gig.

How would I go about doing this?
Also, I'd need to know how that would work with taxes. Like, if I hired a contractor in California, would they have to pay taxes in NYC since that's where my business is?
posted by Autumn Willow to Work & Money (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Even once you learn about how NY views the income, there’s a lot of variation in how each other state sees this tax issue.

For example if you hire someone in a state with a (regressive) lack of income tax (e.g. TX, WA), then there’s no possibility of them paying tax to their state on this income.
posted by SaltySalticid at 12:43 PM on August 2, 2018

They pay taxes in their state. They are employed in their state, not at the location of the employer.

I've been a contractor for years; my official employers have all been not-in-California (where I am); my state taxes go to CA; I'm governed by CA laws regarding minimum wage and sick leave and so on. You'll have to research employment law in the area of your potential employees (f'rex, CA doesn't allow asking about previous salaries and requires 3 days a year of paid sick leave).

...I have no idea how employers handle the paperwork side of things.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:49 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thank you! Something I should add: I'm also looking for information on any online platforms where one could find a person like this. I've heard of Fiverr but I'm not sure if that's for more short-term projects. I wonder if there are similar platforms.
posted by Autumn Willow at 1:02 PM on August 2, 2018

Post on Jobs here. You can also post a job opening on LinkedIn. Online temp platforms like Upwork etc can allow you to find a good fit to hire on full time, though sometimes people won't want to go off platform. You can search questions here on remote job hunting, there are lots of platforms you can use to find people.

For paperwork, you have them fill out a W9 and then you give them a 1099 at the end of the year.
posted by ananci at 1:05 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm also looking for information on any online platforms where one could find a person like this.

Upwork is great for remote workers (here is their section for admins). Once you find a person you like you can get off their platform if you want, or you can continue using them if you like the convenience of paying through their platform. There are other services but I would recommend using just one because most remote workers register with all the services just in case so you end up with the same people anyway.
posted by rada at 1:48 PM on August 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

MeMailed you
posted by greta simone at 2:55 PM on August 2, 2018

I dunno, I'm a remote worker and I work for NY and SF clients because they pay more, typically 3X local rates.
posted by JamesBay at 3:45 PM on August 2, 2018

MeFi jobs!
posted by oceanjesse at 3:47 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here is an article evaluating the top virtual assistant companies that I recently sent to my niece. (She's also in NYC looking to hire a virtual assistant. At first, I thought you were my niece.)
posted by DrGail at 4:55 PM on August 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Flexjobs is another portal that specializes in remote jobs.
posted by a halcyon day at 4:55 PM on August 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Fiverr is terrible for finding actual employees; it's good for one-shot projects where precision isn't important, because it's packed with hype and scams, and its communication system is poor. What it's best for is "minor technical task that I know is simple but can't do myself," like converting photos to look like drawings, or making a short promo video that's just "read this short script in an accent I don't have."

Fiverr is intended for one-shots, not ongoing projects, and it's scam-friendly: the infrastructure is designed to minimize the ability to leave negative feedback, and people who make too much noise (as buyers or sellers) get banned. Buyers can get refunds fairly easily - but if they get refunds, they can't leave feedback.

...I would advertise for help on Tumblr before I'd look at Fiverr. But for long-term part-time work, you might as well list at Indeed (which is free) and look into other job-hunting sites, including college campus job listings; "reliable few-hours-a-week work-from-home" is a much-in-demand category of job.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:51 PM on August 2, 2018

As someone who’s been looking for remote work a lot like you are describing, I’d recommend Upwork as the most reasonable and non-scammy option, followed by Indeed(which is a more traditional job posting site). Fiverr is terrible, also seems pretty dodgy.
Upwork has an entire framework to handle payments, if you are interested in leaving the whole taxes issue up to them (You pay upwork, upwork takes a cut, and then does all the tax reporting-this is all kind of a grey area as far as I can tell, but you could always hire someone there for a short time and then move off site).
posted by velebita at 7:49 AM on August 3, 2018

If you want to get extremely niche, there is a course called "Digital Nomad Kit" that trains VAs - their Facebook group also connects virtual assistants with jobs. I can connect you if you like. Thirding "post it to MeFi Jobs."
posted by rednikki at 12:01 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

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