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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

Re: Subcontracting time to the tennis pro

From: Bill Thompson <>
Date: Wed 30 Aug 2000 11:31:12 EDT

Dear Vincent Spagnuolo,
Re: Subcontracting out Court time for lessons
Your question addresses a greater issue. With a seven(7) court facility and
an existing fulltime teaching and administrative staff and existing full and
successful programs, leagues, tournaments, etc how come you have "spare"
courts for outside "independent" contractors? Generally speaking, the vast
majority of club owners use existing fulltime teaching staff and/or part time
teaching staff(i.e. employees) to fill all club teaching needs. Due to IRS
limitations/guidelines (i.e. 20 rules for determining differences between
Employees and Independent Contractors), fewer and fewer club owners are using
other than club employees for teaching duties. If audited by IRS, many club
owners using "independent" teaching professionals would find themselves in
potential serious financial jeopardy via fines and penalties.
Also, most owners tie teaching professionals to their facilities with duties
and responsibilities off court, duties other than teaching. Organizing
tournaments, running leagues, hosting Men's night and Ladies Day events, etc
These other duties are compensable via hourly wages or a percentage of total
income brought in.
The more the teaching professional is tied to the club, has responsibilities
off court as well as on court, generally the better the potential for a good
long term arrangement for all parties.
Questions for you to consider:
       1. Do you have good, experienced , certified(USPTA, USPTR) staff on
board on board now capable of retaining, developing and obtaining new members?
       2. Do you have your staff on written contracts with guidelines for job
performance reviewed at least annually? If your teaching staff is not on a
written contract(i.e. could be as small as one page), who evaluates your
teaching staff and how often are they evaluated?
       3. What would your members say about your staff if they could speak
freely via a survey returned only to you? Would your members be happy,
satisfied, eager to come to the club? When was the last time you did a survey
of member satisfaction(i.e. preferably with some type of incentive to
increase survey return)?
Vincent, I have addressed only some of the issues. Your basic question goes
right to the heart of the issue for owners - fulltime employees versus
independent contractors. By far most club owners I know and work with prefer
to have employees versus independent contractors. Better potential for long
term relationship, less potential for IRS involvement, more and better
contact with club members because teaching staff is "around" between
lessons(i.e. they don't just come, teach and leave) and far fewer employee
"situations" because duties, responsibilities, compensation are all much more
clearly defined.
For better tennis and more new tennis players,
Bill Thompson
USPTA # 459
Worldwide Intelligent Tennis Services (WITS)
20220 13th ave NW
Shoreline, Wa 98177-2124
" In tennis as in life you must keep your wits about you!"

Received on Wed Aug 30 2000 - 10:31:12 CDT

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