March Pro of the Month: Adrienne Schell

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 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.

Introducing the Apply Feature: A New Method for Assigning Work

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!

Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Freelancing

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.

OnForce Users Rejoice! Application Enhancements are on the Horizon!

With a New Year comes new changes, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring you the new OnForce experience. Beginning January 17th, you will see changes to the application’s user interface (UI). This new look and feel will make OnForce easier to use.

What can I expect from the UI enhancements?

Expanded Information Displays

If you are accessing the application on a large, wide-screen monitor, the existing UI does not take advantage of the additional screen space. The new expanded display makes better use of all that screen space and more information will be visible to you at a quick glance. For example, below is a screenshot of our new and improved Buyer Home Page:

OnForce Buyer Home Page Enhancements

When we asked one user how he felt about these wide-screen enhancements, he said, “Love the setup. Really easy to navigate and get all of the info I need without scrolling too much.”

Keyboard Shortcuts

Do you ever need to search for information quickly within the application? With one keystroke, you now have access to faster and smarter search capabilities. Simply hit the “S” key from anywhere to initiate a quick, simple search.

If you’re trying to add new notes to your work order, all it takes is a push of the “N” key while viewing the work order to create a new note. These new tools help you to work smarter, not harder, when interacting with OnForce’s interface.

OnForce Work Order Screen Enhancements

At-a-Glance Work Order Details

Speaking of work orders, leverage the new at-a-glance functionality to more easily view your work order summary details.

One user, when asked about our work order updates, said “I love the new look, especially the info box on the right side of the [work order page]. It’s very helpful.”

Another user said she is “enjoying the new UI and the way that it makes the work orders appear. They are easier to see and understand”.

OnForce Create Bundle Enhancements

Better Performance & Navigation

You need a reliable tool that runs fast and efficiently. Enhancements to OnForce’s overall performance have resulted in fewer page reloads.

An updated navigation now includes feature descriptions, allowing you to move throughout the application more efficiently

One user in particular was extremely pleased with our navigation updates and said, “I like the [navigation] bar at the top because it makes it easy to navigate back to the list of work orders. Before, I had to go back to the left side and click on ‘Active Work Orders.’ Now, I can go back step-by-step with the [navigation] bar at the top.”

How and when can I get these updates?

All updates will be available on January 17th. We hope you enjoy these new features as much as we do, but we are always interested in hearing your feedback.

OnForce Showcases First Freelancer Management System at Staffing Industry Analyst’s CWS Summit 2014

Members of the OnForce team were on hand to present the OnForce Freelancer Management System (FMS) at Staffing Industry Analyst’s (SIA) Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit in Las Vegas, Oct 8-9, 2014.
Julie Semler, Shannon Dugan, and Dana Fallon of OnForce attend CWS Summit 2014

OnForce’s Freelancer Management System is a private software-as-a-service solution for managing an enterprise’s extended workforce. Our FMS is the first software platform to integrate into the current Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Vendor Management System (VMS) landscape and provide a way for enterprise Contingent Workforce programs to expand their reach (beyond agency temp workers).

The summit was a great venue for us to educate Human Resource, Procurement, IT and Category Managers and Executives on how to improve the efficiency of their contingent workforce programs with an FMS solution.

James Fabiano, OnForce Senior Vice President of Enterprise Accounts moderated a special roundtable discussion on “Online Staffing and the Contingent Workforce –Technology.”

Based on the roundtable and the summit overall, Peter Cannone, OnForce CEO offers his insights on this year’s CWS Summit:

• Large enterprise clients are extremely interested in FMS and want to be educated on how to manage freelancers in a more cost effective and efficient manner
• Present VMS models do not provide the ability to create an optimal experience for the freelancer which results in both worker and client satisfaction issues
• OnForce FMS continues to lead the next generation of technology for both staffing and clients to manage their non FTE workforce

If you were unable to attend this year’s show and/or would like to learn more about the benefits of a Freelancer Management System, GET THE WHITEPAPER here.