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Announcing OnForce’s Best of 2014 All-Stars

Tuesday, Apr. 28th 2015

OnForce’s Service Professionals are the backbone of our business. Without their ongoing commitment and high-quality standards, OnForce would not be able to provide buyers access to best-in-class talent. Each year, we honor a select number of Service Professionals who have showcased the highest level of dedication. These individuals are recognized as OnForce’s Best of 2014 All-Stars.

These Best of 2014 All-Stars have each completed a minimum of 220 OnForce work orders throughout the course of the year and have upheld a 100 percent buyer rating. They have not faced more than one service buyer block over the course of the year, as well as less than four service buyer blocks over the lifetime of their accounts. To these Service Professionals, we thank you for all of your support and hard work.

See the full list of this year’s Best of 2014 All-Star award winners.

“OnForce is proud to announce our Best of 2014 All-Star winners. These Service Professionals have consistently performed at the highest service levels, while exceeding customer expectations. They represent the entire OnForce Professional community and stand out for their natural ability to provide consistent and outstanding service.  We appreciate all of their great work and for choosing to work with OnForce,” says Don Anderson, OnForce VP of Operations.

We had the opportunity to speak with a few this year’s winners about the secret to their success.

Rick Carter puts the customer first. He says, “I look at each interaction with buyers, customers, and end users as a chance to better not only myself, but the relationships we have. Our mission as providers is to not only to provide a service, but to also assure the customer that we grasp the gravity of their situation and have the ability to create a positive outcome. My philosophy for continued success is very straight forward, ‘Keep it simple, and above all, take care of the customer.’”

John Daniell believes a “can do” attitude is key. John says, “Working with OnForce has been a job that I have enjoyed far more than any other job I have ever had. I get pleasure and satisfaction out of making both clients and end users happy with the work that I am able to provide. Communication, proper documentation of the work performed, and being on time, prepared, and courteous are crucial. Having a ‘CAN DO’ attitude will take you far in making projects successful. Thanks to all my fantastic customers and to OnForce for this recognition. I am truly grateful!”

Earl Knight touts the importance of effective communication. He says “I would attribute my OnForce success to effective communication, providing a high level of technical expertise, my ability to recognize the skills needed to complete the job, and matching jobs with my extensive experience in the IT industry. All of these things have facilitated a positive experience for the customer.”

Roman Khilobok believes thinking outside of the box helps accomplish tasks. Roman says “To deliver the best service for my clients, I always ensure I understand the customer’s needs and expectations. I find satisfaction in using my knowledge and experience to think outside of the box and get the tasks accomplished in the most efficient way while adhering to a standard of quality. I take special pride in always finishing the job on-time and leaving my customers completely happy.”

Congratulations again to all of our Best of 2014 All-Stars! We are so proud and happy to work with you each and every day. Learn more about these award winners now.

Posted by OnForce | in Pro Community | No Comments »

April Pro of the Month: Robert Moss

Wednesday, Apr. 15th 2015

R. Moss portrait

Each month, we recognize one Service Professional who has demonstrated a level of service that goes above and beyond job requirements. We are excited to announce Robert Moss (Pro ID: 100989) as April’s award winner.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Robert about the Pro of the Month award and his experience as an OnForce Service Professional.

OF: Robert, you are being recognized as a standout in your field. What primary qualities do you think have contributed to your success?
RM: I always bring a “can do” attitude to a job. If the resolution to an issue is not easy or obvious, I will try everything I can think of to resolve it with the resources at hand. I will go and buy a part or tool if needed to avoid a second visit.

OF: What are your initial thoughts on being selected as OnForce’s Pro of the Month?
RM: I’m both a bit surprised, and honored to be selected.

OF: We are certainly honored to have you as one of our awesome Professionals. What qualities do you feel contributed to your success in this current role?

RM: There is no substitute for the years of experience I have gained working for many different buyers and clients in a wide variety of environments. That made it easy to assess the actual situation at the site without being certain what to expect, and what was needed to resolve it.

OF: What is one of the best things about being an independent Service Professional?
RM: That’s easy! I like controlling my time and choosing exactly the type of work I want to do.

OF: Now, inversely, what do you think might be one of the hardest?
RM: What is one of the hardest?  Lack of control of the workflow; having a slow period with not enough, followed by more work offers than I can possibly handle at one time.

OF: Understandable. What do you think motivated you to enter the workforce as an independent service professional versus taking more of a traditional career path?
RM: My other career as a part-time actor required the flexibility that and independent contractor has.

Q: That is great, we hope you’re having as much success acting as you have had with OnForce! Do you happen to have any words of wisdom for Professionals who may be starting out in the independent workforce?
RM: Yes. Listen carefully and take good notes when working with systems or equipment you are not familiar with. And never be afraid to ask questions whenever you are unsure of something. It does not make you look ignorant, but rather that you care enough to make sure the job is done properly.

Robert, we thank you for all your hard work and congratulations on being our April Pro of the Month!

Read more about Robert and view a complete list of our previous Pro of the Month winner at OnForce.com. Be sure to check back next month to find out who snagged the Pro of the Month title in May!

About the Pro of the Month Awards

The OnForce Pro of the Month program recognizes select members of the independent workforce who consistently deliver high quality service. Recipients of this award have demonstrated a level of dedication that goes above and beyond job requirements. As a member of the OnForce talent community, these Service Professional have been identified as a standout performer in the field.

Posted by Rachel Rapoza | in Pro Community, Pro of the Month | No Comments »

March Pro of the Month: Adrienne Schell

Friday, Mar. 27th 2015

Each month, we recognize one Service Professional who has demonstrated a level of service that goes above and beyond job requirements. We are excited to announce Adrienne Schell (Pro ID: 165574) from Oklahoma City as March’s award winner.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Adrienne about the Pro of the Month award and her experience as an OnForce Service Professional.

OF: Adrienne, you are being recognized as a standout in your field. What primary qualities do you think have contributed to your success?
AS: I believe my strong work ethic and interpersonal skills have had a large impact on my success thus far.

OF: What are your initial thoughts on being selected as OnForce’s Pro of the Month?
AS: I am honored to have been chosen and greatly appreciate the recognition.

OF: We are certainly honored to have you as one of our awesome Professionals. What is one of the best things about being an independent Service Professional?
AS: The ability to create my own hours is one of the things I like most. It allows me to make a living while still being a part of my family members’ lives.

OF: Now, inversely, what do you think might be one of the hardest?
AS: When working with a buyer that I haven’t worked with before, making sure all deliverables are completed to the buyers satisfaction as well as scope of work can be the most challenging.

OF: Understandable. What do you think motivated you to enter the workforce as an independent service professional versus taking more of a traditional career path?
AS: I had friends and family members who had worked through OnForce and highly suggested it. I was also intrigued by the ability to create my own hours, while working in a field I am comfortable with and not having to search for clients myself.

Q: That is great! Do you happen to have any words of wisdom for Professionals who may be starting out in the independent workforce?
AS: Be patient, it takes a few times working with a buyer for both you and them to be comfortable that everything is getting done on time and to scope.

Adrienne, we thank you for all your hard work and congratulations on being our March Pro of the Month!

Read more about Adrienne and view a complete list of our previous Pro of the Month winner at OnForce.com. Be sure to check back next month to find out who snagged the Pro of the Month title in April!

About the Pro of the Month Awards

The OnForce Pro of the Month program recognizes select members of the independent workforce who consistently deliver high quality service. Recipients of this award have demonstrated a level of dedication that goes above and beyond job requirements. As a member of the OnForce talent community, these Service Professional have been identified as a standout performer in the field.

Posted by OnForce | in Pro of the Month | No Comments »

Introducing the Apply Feature: A New Method for Assigning Work

Wednesday, Feb. 4th 2015

OnForce is excited to introduce our latest feature, Apply. With Apply, you can better vet service professionals to ensure you are selecting the best candidate for the job.

I’m a buyer. How does Apply help me?

Rest assured knowing your complex or sensitive work orders are assigned to the best professional in the OnForce network. With this enhancement, receive notifications for all technicians interested in a particular work assignment, along with their contact information. The power of selection is now in your hands. Use the technician contact information for further vetting and then identify the best professional for your work needs.

Additional benefits include:

  1. Increased Flexibility when Assigning Work: For new or more complex work orders, leverage Apply to further vet interested and qualified professionals. When work assignments require a quick turnaround, continue using the standard auto-assignment feature.
  2. Improved Visibility into the Application Process: Know who is interested in specific work assignments with twice-daily summary emails and real-time updates to your Sent Work Orders
  3. Enhanced Applicant Vetting: Using our proprietary PowerMatch, view applicants’ overall OnForce score based on a combination of service history, skills, Buyer ratings and travel distance. For additional vetting, access candidate contact information.

apply feature

I’m a Service Professional. How does Apply impact me?

Apply Feature_Pro Mobile ViewNot only does Apply positively impact our buyers, but it benefits our professionals, too. By enabling you to build relationships with buyers  through more direct interaction, you now have the opportunity to earn additional work based on merit and performance. Become more directly involved with your buyers, provide them with quality work, and be their first choice for future projects or assignments.

In addition, we have optimized the Apply feature to alert you of new work orders and allow you to immediately take action. Receive Apply-related alerts via email or mobile app notifications (Apple and Andriod). Then, simply apply for these work orders through the web or mobile application – just like the current process for auto-assignment work orders.

For more information about our new Apply feature, contact us today!

Posted by OnForce | in New Product, Product | 15 Comments »

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Freelancing

Thursday, Jan. 22nd 2015

Before I Started FreelancingI quickly signed on for my first contract gig right out of college. What an exciting feeling it was to be one of the few who started work immediately after walking across that stage! I was paid in full bi-weekly, responsible for setting aside my own taxes each paycheck and keeping track of any expenses – everything from internet bills to gas mileage. This went on for about four months, then my job was done – the client and I moved on.

There are some things that came before, during and after my very first contracting job that I was not expecting. Unfortunately, this made for a slightly more frustrating experience. Don’t get me wrong, I still learned a lot and valued the experience, but there are things I just wished I known ahead of time – many of them tax-related. I’m here to share those life lessons with those of you still fairly green to the freelance game.

1. Know your tax forms and classification.

There is a big difference between a W-2 form that you would fill out for fulltime employment and a 1099-MISC, often a required form for freelancers being paid $600 or more for their work. Do your research, talk to a tax professional and absolutely make sure the client is providing you the right tax form for the work you will be performing.

The misclassification of workers is alarmingly common. In 2011, a federal study noted that 3.4 million workers are incorrectly classified as independent contractors instead of employees. It is often an honest mistake due to the lack of education surrounding the classification of freelancer, but some times employers will try and avoid certain fees directly tied to fulltime employees (FTE) including unemployment compensation taxes and workers compensation insurance. If you feel as though you are a misclassified worker, it’s important to take steps to correct the issue. Start by talking to your state’s Department of Labor.

2. Write-offs add up. Do not neglect keeping track.

I remember my client telling me that write-offs were going to be key come tax season. For the first month or so, I found myself blowing it off. Keeping track of all the expenses was overwhelming. However, once I saw how much money was coming out of my own pocket for work-related items, I quickly saw the value in keeping track.

I often found myself making office and client visits and traveling to special meetings or conferences. For any job-related travel, I implore you to track to your expenses. I kept a spreadsheet that included the travel dates, miles traveled, addresses of locations that I was going to/coming from and my reason for travel. I also kept all my receipts and bills for office supplies, computer hardware/software, electricity, cell phone and Internet.

Are you spending the majority of your time working out of your home office? Did you know that you can write-off a portion of your rent? That’s right. It just requires a small bit of math. First, I calculated the amount of rent I was paying per square foot (Total Rent/Total Square Feet). Then, I measured the square footage of my “office”. In my case, this included a large desk, chair & printing station. I was paying around $55 in rent each month for my office, but come tax season I was able to include this in my deductions.

3. Oh, you have a cold? Do not expect a paid sick day.

Freelance Sick Day

I am sorry to get your hopes up, but unless you have a really excellent deal with your client, you will be not getting paid for sick days like your FTE friends. Freelancing has a ton of perks, but paid sick days are not on the list. Consider putting a little bit of money into a savings account each month to act as your safety net so you can afford to take the sick days you need. Just don’t forget to keep your clients in the loop about your absence and get the rest and fluids you need so you can get back to work.

4. Do not forget to pay your future self with an SEP IRA or a Roth IRA.

Due to the nature of freelancing, saving for retirement is an independent venture and your personal responsibility. There is no match offering available like you would find in a traditional 401K plan offered with fulltime employment opportunities. Instead, I would recommend an IRA– either a traditional Roth IRA or something called a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP).

An SEP is designed for those at least 21 years old, having earned a freelance income for three of the last five years. It’s typically more appealing than a traditional IRA because the contribution limit is much higher. With SEPs, you have the ability to contribute up to 25% of your income or $53,000 (whichever is less), not to mention these contributions are tax-deductible. I do recommend you conduct your own research, but planning for retirement is one of those things you’ll be thankful for starting now.

So there you have it. Those are the top four lessons learned I wish I knew when I started freelancing back in 2012. For those who have been in the game even longer than me, I encourage you to leave your tips in the comments below. For those who are just starting out, belonging to a network of freelancers is a great resource to get the ball rolling. OnForce is always looking to expand its network of service professionals and pair them with clients who have new work needs. Sign yourself up today to kick start your freelance career.

Posted by Gia Ciccone | in Industry Insights, Pro Community | 2 Comments »
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