Job Descriptions & Employee Classification Issues

There’s a lot to operating a successful kitchen and bath firm, and you will maximize your return on investment if you will make a concerted effort to become a truly well rounded business manager. By that I mean being strong in the areas of finances, marketing and human resources.

A key part of that equation is your employees. Detailed job descriptions will help you make better hires and prevent errors in classifying employees.

The Job Description

The job description has long been the tool of hiring for a well managed business. These are not only used for hiring, but for performance evaluations as well. Unfortunately, most kitchen and bath firms do not have detailed written descriptions for each position.

Executed properly, a well-thought-out job description delivers the following benefits:

  • It spells out, in detail, what the job entails.
  • It provides key hiring criteria.
  • It ensures the prospect has a clear understanding of what to expect if hired.
  • It becomes a reference tool during the evaluation process.
  • It acts as a benchmark for performance.
  • It helps management establish a minimum-maximum compensation range for positions.

Think of a job description as a “snapshot” of the job. It should communicate clearly and concisely what responsibilities and tasks the job entails, indicate the key qualifications for the job, the basic requirements and, if possible, the attributes that underline superior performance.

Categories that make up a well written job description include:

  • Title of position
  • Department
  • Direct Report
  • Responsibilities
  • Necessary Skills
  • Necessary Experience

Following is a sample job description for a designer/salesperson. Feel free to use it in your business, customizing as needed:

Position/Title: Designer/Salesperson

Department: Sales

Reports To: Owner

Overall Responsibilities: Design and sell kitchen and bath products, designs and services.

Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • Meet and greet clients coming into the showroom.
  • Articulate the features and benefits of yourself, your company and your products and services.
  • Qualify the clients: Who are they? Why are they there? What is their time frame? Have they been shopping elsewhere? What’s their budget? Do they need design services? What products are they interested in? Do they have a contractor? Are they looking for a turnkey job? Include all information that allows the salesperson to proceed in the selling process.
  • Help the client in the selection of products.
  • Complete designs that meet and exceed the client’s needs.
  • Develop a complete list of all products.
  • Quote prices on products and services.
  • Follow up on all project quotes until the client accepts or rejects the proposal.
  • Manage the project through completion.
  • Work with the install team to coordinate the project.
  • Communicate with clients, vendors, subcontractors and all others involved with the project in a regular and timely manner.
  • Collect deposits and money as the project progresses.
  • Maintain detailed, complete files on each client and project.
  • Use CAD system for designs.
  • Participate in an ongoing training program to maintain a high level of skills in design, sales, product knowledge, computer technology, company policies and procedures, and industry trends.
  • Achieve mutually agreed on sales and profit goals.
  • Be active in industry associations such as NKBA, ASID, etc.
  • Be professional in dress, language and behavior.
  • Be a good team member and help others when asked.
  • Help maintain the showroom – keeping it current, attractive and clean at all times.
  • Perform all other responsibilities deemed necessary by management.

Skills and Attributes:

  • Strong product knowledge
  • Strong design skills
  • Strong sales skills
  • Strong people skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Good organizational skills
  • Good time management skills
  • Good computer skills
  • Team player
  • Knowledge of installation
  • Highly motivated
  • Self starter

Experience/Ability Requirements:

  • Minimum of three years design and sales of kitchen and baths
  • High school graduate
  • NKBA certification a plus
  • Minimum 3 years of CAD experience

Compensation rage: $45,000 – $80,000

A good way to develop a job description is to sit with current employees and ask them what their job entails. List everything…then work together to come up with a detailed, formal, written description. Do this for every position in the company.


Kitchen and bath dealers frequently use independent contractors to provide help for their businesses. However, it’s important to be aware of proper payroll deductions because the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and Revenue of Canada keep a close watch on how small businesses classify independent contractors vs. employees.

Independent contractors are essentially self employed individuals who provide services using their expertise and their equipment to accomplish the job. An independent contractor is neither a consultant nor a vendor. A consultant usually advises management, while an independent contractor performs specific tasks. A vendor typically provides goods and services and operates at a separate established location, while an independent contractor works in your showroom.

Both the IRS and individual states often use the “20 Common Law Factor” test in determining whether or not to reclassify the tax treatment of a worker. If you’d like a copy of this, email me and I’ll forward it to you. Your legal and accounting advisors can also look at your job descriptions to see if they meet the IRS definition of an independent contractor.

Dealers use independent contractors to control hours and expenses, and to manage the ebb and flow of day-to-day business. Since many independent contractors have worked for a variety of businesses, they often bring a depth of experience and knowledge.

On the downside, it can be tougher to earn loyalty and confidentiality from independent contractors.

The best use of independent contractors is for filling in gaps, rather than handling everyday functions.

Remember, if you carefully craft your job descriptions and classify your employees in the right category, your business will be better run.