Are General Contractors Acting Agents for Job Site?

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“How can I find supporting documentation about the legal relationship between a general contractor and a commercial business, a country club, for whom the general contractor is performing landscape maintenance and remodeling work? I need to prove that the general contractor is not an “agent” for the commercial business. I believe the general contractor is an independent contractor, but with no actual contract – it was verbal – I have no specific language to fall back on. The general contractor invoices the country club and receives a 1099 at the end of each year. Can you point me in the right direction?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

I assume that you are the general contractor, and that for some reason you are trying to prove that you are not an agent of the country club. Proving or disproving the agency relationship can be tricky, and often turns on facts which will be interpreted by the court in a given situation. The primary elements of an agency relationship include 1. the consent of the principal and the agent, 2. control of the agent by the principal, and 3. the agent’s acting on behalf of the principal.

The fact that you invoice the country club, and that they give you a 1099 at the end of the year suggests that you (or whomever the general contractor is) are an independent contractor, and not an agent. However there are certainly acts which you, the country club, or both could do which could allow a third-party to reasonably construe that you are an agent of the country club. For that reason, if there is in fact a legal issue brewing, you should consult a business attorney in your state.

Recommended reading:

Working For Yourself: Law & Taxes for Independent Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"