Noobs are left to wonder when they hear that most gate guards are paid as independent contractors, or 1099. Simply put 1099 means you're responsible for your tax payments and that you receive a 1099 instead of a W2. Being self employed, or working as a contractor is far more involved than that. By far, the biggest source of controversy has arisen from some folks feeling that they are under compensated and that they should be classified as employees. Suits have been filed in more than just the gate guard vocation; most of them centered on pay-especially overtime. I'll not comment on that, except to say that I took this job knowing I would be paid as a contractor and that I am satisfied with my situation. How all this controversy affects you as a gate guard (or contractor) is simple. It has led employers (in this case security companies) to further themselves from involvement in the day to day activity of their contractors (gate guards). A lot of guards came from a corporate or military environment where their day to day activities were spelled out for them. This makes the transition into contracting difficult for some folks. Personally, I prefer a "hands off" work environment; I don't need or want anyone hovering over me. Gate guarding also presents numerous challenges. You live in close quarters with someone, dirt and/or mud is your constant companion, proper rest can be difficult, you have to reconcile the fact that you're married to the job 24-7 and 365 days (or until an assignment is finished or you make arrangements for relief) and you need to be a self starter and disciplined. And that fails to take into account the whole "off the grid" thing. If you're like us it will be the first time you have had to ration water and deal with a generator for power. There have been seemingly endless arguments posed over the compensation versus the hours worked. However, there is very little in the workamping world that pays near as much as gate guarding. Contracting also allows you the freedom to come and go at your leisure between gate assignments. You can still make decent money and enjoy some leisure and travel time. So; if you think gate guarding is a simple deal, mostly accomplished from a chair in front of your RV you are in for a rude awakening. Finally, the flip side of little or no supervision is that you're under constant scrutiny by the workers around you and the traffic utilizing your gate. Sometimes they can be a harsher judge than your employer. If you are found wanting as a gate guard it will manifest itself in the difficulty you have securing a gate. As in any business, valued contractors are rewarded.