TN 8 (02-11)

RS 02101.098 Employment Status of Bulk Oil Plant Operators

A. Introduction to bulk oil plant operators

Bulk oil businesses vary in size. Small businesses may consist of one storage tank, one delivery truck, and one driver. Large businesses may include drivers, an office, office workers, warehouses, switch tracks, driveways, a fleet of cars and trucks, and a number of large storage tanks.

Bulk oil plant operators may be employees or independent contractors for bulk oil businesses.

B. Bulk oil plant operator defined

Bulk plant agents or operators are distributors engaged by firms in the oil business to dispose of a large part of their products. These operators are usually commission agents. They receive the oil products from the contracted firm and deliver them to retailers in their territory. The operators collect the money for the products from their retail customers and forward the money to the firm. Operators receive a fixed commission based on the number of gallons or pounds sold.

C. Employee status of bulk oil plant operators

Bulk oil plant operators may be employees if they:

  • are managers who receive a salary;

  • do not have to pay wages to assistants or truck or plant maintenance expenses;

  • do not have an investment in capital assets;

  • do not own the plant, trucks, and other equipment;

  • must comply with the firm’s instructions;

  • must work fixed hours or full time;

  • participate in the firm's employee benefit plans; and

  • receive a salary.

D. Independent contractor status of bulk oil plant operators

The majority of bulk oil plant operators are independent contractors. They are in complete charge of, and frequently own, entire plants. Some operators own or manage several plants at one time.

Operators are independent contractors when they:

  • schedule the hours and days the plants remain open;

  • hire, pay, and control their employees, e.g., assistants;

  • invest in capital assets (e.g., trucks, tanks, and real property);

  • maintain their own bookkeeping systems, which are open to audits by the firms; and

  • pay the rent, light, telephone, or other expenses associated with the operation of a truck or bulk oil plant.

Frequently, as independent contractors, the operators advertise the firms’ products at their own expense.

Operators usually contract with oil firms to:

  • furnish their own trucks and other equipment;

  • hire, pay, and assume full responsibility for all necessary assistants;

  • manage a plant;

  • sell their products within a general territory at prices set by the firm; and

  • sell their petroleum products on a consignment basis and account for all monies collected; are responsible for all expenses, except freight, on the products consigned.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0302101098
RS 02101.098 - Employment Status of Bulk Oil Plant Operators - 02/02/2011
Batch run: 02/02/2011
Rev:02/02/2011