The inaugural Florida Messenger Association (FMA) “Lunch and Learn” meeting was held in Jacksonville, Florida on February 17, 2012. The regional meeting was attended by 14 individuals representing 7 courier companies serving Jacksonville. This meeting was the first of its kind and will be replicated in each of the major markets in Florida over the next several months.
The objectives of the meeting included:
- Discuss past and potential future legislation that could impact the independent contractor business model
- Share best practices regarding the IC business model
- Encourage involvement in FMA and MCAA
- Discuss vendor sponsorship for future meetings
- Educate and inform each other
FMA President Harold Boyett shared the history of the FMA, including the efforts to work with the legislature to help clarify the definition of an independent contractor as it relates to the courier segment of the transportation industry. The group discussed the three statutes that the association has helped to clarify:
Workers’ Compensation (Statute 440.02 (15) (c) 4.1 (d))
Unemployment Compensation (Statute 443.1216 (13) (w))
Local Business Tax Certificates (Statute 440.02 (15))
The dialogue then turned to industry best practices regarding the independent contractor business model. The group discussed the importance of supporting the independence of contract drivers, making sure they are free of direction and control, as well as many other aspects of the work they accept from courier companies. Concepts such as maintaining “Job Rejection Logs” and “Negotiation Logs” are methods that support the independent nature of independent contractors. The attendees shared their thoughts with each other and the dialogue was intriguing and insightful.
Near the end of the meeting, Harold Boyett presented the concept of mentoring other business owners in the same day delivery industry, and sharing ideas and best practices with each other as a way of improving the industry. This proposal was embraced by attendees, who seemed eager to share their experiences with other owners. Harold also extended an invitation to join the FMA and MCAA and to be involved in annual meetings and participate in federal and state lobby days in Washington, DC and Tallahassee, to demonstrate the strength and commitment for our state association and our industry.
In summary, this meeting was a great example of how business owners who compete against each other on a daily basis, can come together for the sake of their industry, become informed on current issues, and share ideas on how to best protect the independent contractor model.