In short – no you should not be suspicious as this is a common way for startups to structure their employment relationships. If your employer has an independent contractor agreement for you to sign then it’s super important for you to thoroughly analyze it. You don’t have any experience reviewing legal documents? Didn’t think so. Well we atoffer low flat-rates for individuals like you to have their employment agreements vetted by accomplished attorneys.
That being said, it may just be logistically easier for your employer to set up an independent contractor relationship at this point. It sounds likes you’re completing work remotely and sporadically for your employer, which is atypical for an employer-employee relationship. Setting you up as an employee involves superfluous paperwork and necessary signatures so your employer may simply be waiting to do all that when you show up to work full-time. However, being classified as a contractor can have a negative effect on your well-being. The big reasons are the fact that you are on the hook for paying your own taxes and that, in some industries, independent contractors are required to maintain liability insurance.
In conclusion though, it’s hard to assess what your employer is thinking; but a thoughtful review of the independent contractor agreement may lend some insight to its motives.