Learned a lot from your newsletter. I'm a new business owner and I am having trouble understanding how hiring installers works, and I was hoping you could help me figure it out.  If I understand correctly, I have to list someone as an employee for their work to be covered by my license; is that so?
    Do I have to hire them as a full or part time employees, or can I have a contract that allows them to work when jobs arise, but keep them on my roster?  I don't have enough installations to need a full time installer, but I don't want to do everything by myself. How do you recommend I proceed.

   Every business owner and employer enters into many different kinds of agreements all the time.  Some we have no negotiating power, such as your copy machine, vehicle lease, financing agreement and merchant account agreement if you take credit cards, and other contracts you author, and therefore you have the ability to start the negotiating process and decide how flexible you are going to be.  For purposes of this article I'd like to focus on 3 types of agreements.
    All of your employees should be signing an Employment Agreement.  This agreement will have restrictive covenants that prohibit certain activities that compete with your business, and the agreement will specify the terms and conditions for that particular employee, such as job title, term of employment, perks and restrictions both during and after employment.  The Employment Agreement is essential for any employee who has access to confidential information, and you can interpret that by asking yourself "could this employee hurt my business if he or she left?"
    Some alarm companies engage sales people as 1099 subcontractors, paying them on a commission basis.  These sales people need to be under contract and the appropriate form is the Independent Sales Affiliate Agreement.  Keep in mind that not only should you get the form signed but you should conduct your relations with this independent sales person in accordance with the terms of the Agreement.
    Alarm companies also subcontract out some of their installation and repair services.  The proper agreement for this relationship is the Subcontract Agreement.  Again, you need to do more than just get it signed, you need to conduct yourself according to its terms.  We provide the form in two formats, one if you're the contractor hiring the subcontractor and the other if you are the subcontractor being hired by the contractor.
    I asked Jesse Kirschenbaum, Esq. to comment on the topic and his response is below.  The distinction between the Employment Agreement and the Employee Handbook is that the handbook addresses the day to day issues that arise in the employment setting, such as hours of work, how complaints are handled, office policies and practices.  If you have an Employee Handbook it will supplement your Employment Agreement so that both will be read when determining the terms of the employment relationship. 
 By Jesse Kirschenbaum, Esq.:

    If you have a contract with your employees then the terms of the contract will determine what you can and cannot do as an employer.  If you don’t have a contract laying out the terms of employment and each party’s rights and obligations then you really can’t make the employee do anything.  Entering into an employment agreement with your employees is not only important in terms of what duties the employees are obligated to perform, but also for limiting your liability as against your employees and for providing clear guidelines regarding the scope of employment.  Whether it’s our Employment Agreement or an agreement drafted by another attorney, I highly recommend you have all of your employees sign one before starting work.
    You should also have an Employee Handbook which provides a much more extensive set of guidelines for your employees to follow.  While the Employment Agreement just focuses on the relationship between you and the employee, the Employee Handbook covers a wide range of employment related issues such as prohibited conduct in the workplace (i.e. discrimination, harassment, etc.), the process for terminating an employee, sick/vacation days, salary, and health insurance, just to name a few.  The Handbook also defines what constitutes a “full-time employee,”  “part-time employee,” or “per diem.”  This is important because different rights and benefits are associated with each type of employment.  
    So how do I recommend you proceed?  First, get Employment Agreements that will dictate the legal relationship between you and your employees.  If you already have employment agreements, make sure they are properly drafted as to protect you against a disgruntled employee.  Second, get an Employee Handbook that provides a clear and extensive set of guidelines and procedures that applies to the company as a whole.  In the handbook you can address when employees will be asked to work and any work that is conditioned on whether the company has jobs for them to work on.  Third, make sure all of your employees sign Homeland Security I-9 forms and that you keep these signed forms in each employee’s folders for a minimum of 3 years. 
    If you are interested in purchasing an Employee Handbook contact Jesse Kirschenbaum, Esq. at (516) 747-6700 ext. 307 or at

Jesse Kirschenbaum, Esq.

                                              Webinar Notice

We will be presenting a series of 4 webinars [3 are left].  These interactive webinars will be presented live and there will be time alloted to questions and answers.  Noted alarm/security/fire expert Jeffrey Zwirn will present these webinars.  There is no charge for the webinars and I suggest you register as soon as we post the dates.  Might be good time to pick up Jeff's comprehensive Alarm Science Manual: click here to get the book All webinars will be from 12 noon to 1 PM EST

REGISTER TODAY FOR ALL THE WEBINARS [register for each one separately]: 

July 28: Connect to Existing System Installed by Others: What Are Your Duties?

Ambush, Panic and Holdup Systems-The Customers Lifeline to Safety and Security or Not?

To register click here:

July 30: Residential Fire Alarm Systems-Life Safety or Fatal Flaws
To register click here:


August 4: Central and Remote Station Monitoring Instructions- Are your instructions safe or foreseeably dangerous?
To register click here: