working on contract

Discussion in 'Green Room' started by BouncingSoul, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. BouncingSoul

    BouncingSoul Stranger Than Fiction Political User

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    Anyone have any experience with the staffing agencies you find all over dice.com and such? I had one get in touch with me, they offered a good salary but it's only a year contract so that is a bit of a concern, I've never worked on contract before. I asked if their are any benefits and if they can reassign you after the year is up but so far no response back. I'm just not sure about all of this.
     
  2. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    It was called job shopping when I did it 20 years ago. I worked that way for 10 years made some really good money for my age and experience. The pay should be twice what you would normally get to compensate for the lack of benefits. Maybe more than twice these days when a trip to the emergency room costs $2k and over night or minor surgery runs $5k to $10K. Think you don't care about that because you're always healthy? So did I until I had a burst intestine - total cost $125k if I hadn't had good insurance through my employer. One auto accident or a freak illness can bankrupt you.
    Then there's the retirement (for those few companies that still have them). I'll get about $800k in pension from my employer plus my 401k which the company also contribute to. Plus 3 weeks vacation and 2 weeks in holidays each year.

    The first ten years of your career job shopping may be worthwhile, assuming you are feeling lucky about medical costs.
    As for having something else for you once the job is over? In ten years I don't think I worked for the same job shop twice.
    They usually don't offer vacation days or even holidays.

    One of the big selling points when I job shopped was some palces actually booked you as a contractor under federal law which meant you could tax shelter a big chunk of your salary in a Keough (aka 401K). The IRS has radically cracked down on these over the past 20 years and it's very hard to pull off anymore working through an agency.

    If the place you are working really is impressed with you, you might get a permanent offer at a much lower salary when the contract is up.

    My personal opinion - If they don't offer at least major medical with no pre-enrollment medical and no pre-existing exclusions the risk is too high.

    BTW - they are probably billing $150-250 an hour for you so don't be surprised if you are treated like a slave by the place you are actually working at.

    I think that covers the high points. Let me know if you have anymore questions.
     
  3. BouncingSoul

    BouncingSoul Stranger Than Fiction Political User

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    Wow. I thought it was a good wage based solely on the fact that is paid more than my current job. I didn't know I should be looking for 2x my salary. I was thinking I could get on my wife's health care to make up for my lack of, but I never even thought about losing 401k, vacation and everything else. I think I'll probably be skipping this one. Thanks for the advice!
     
  4. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    Oh, if the wife has health insurance that is the one condition where job shopping can really work, and you are in your 20's or early 30's. Once you hit your 30's you really need to be funding your retirement. I went permanent at 35 and the guys who started permanent sooner have a 5-10 year advantage on their retirement. Regardless, the salary should still be ~1.5-2x. If it's just a little better than what you can make in a permanent position it's not worth it, except for fill-in work between jobs. If you job shop locally 1.5x is good, if you have to go on the road then definitely 2x.
     
  5. dreamliner77

    dreamliner77 The Analog Kid

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    BouncingSoul: feel free to ask any questions. I've worked as an IT recruiter for 8 years. I'm currently with a company out of VA: Disys.

    A lot of LeeJend says is correct if you're a 1099 contractor but most firms don't work with 1099's anymore unless you're incorporated as an S corp. With the last two firms I've worked for, they offer benefits for their contractors. My last one just did a group policy discount whereas the one I work for now also pays an employer contribution and lets you choose from multiple plans.
    Also, with how the market is now, many companies are hiring contractors that could convert to permanent employees. One of the ways that I've always put it to my contractors is like this: Would you rather be a contractor and know when you're going to be looking for work or would you want to be a perm employee that gets fired after six months or a year and is looking for work? As a w2 contractor, you're still able to collect unemployment if you're out of work.

    If you give me a few more details about what companies you're thinking about working for, I can probably give you more info.
     
  6. BouncingSoul

    BouncingSoul Stranger Than Fiction Political User

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    Thanks guys!

    My options are some what limited now. I live in South Dakota for f***s sake! We're working on fixing that but it'll be a few years. The wife went back to school and we have a baby coming in November. So we need to get both of those things done before much of anything else gets done. Once that is all set, we'll go where the jobs are and (hopefully) where the weather doesn't suck!

    As for what is available in this area. The economy didn't crash nearly as hard here as elsewhere. And there are a quite a few companies hiring. I got in with a very big company (Fortune 500) with excellent benefits and I should by all rights, be happy. But I'm not, it was advertised as a software support position, it involved travel (on the companies dime) to and from a large list of clients to install/upgrade new software. Turns out that while that does happen, its about once every 4 months. The rest of the time I'm a phone monkey. I don't want to do that again. I hate CSR work. So that's why I'm looking for a real IT job again.

    The contracting game is a little iffy to me. I'll say the name the of the company that has hired these vultures. Citi. Apparently they've hired at least 3 east coast companies to fill a few positions. The one I've been contacted about is really really basic windows admin stuff. Working in AD and doing some SQL. First company, called and offered me 18/hr and I said no. I make almost 20/hr now with full benefits. The second company called me, told me what it was and I just asked them straight out if this was the same position with Citi. They said yes, I told them they'll have to do way better than the 18 the last company offered. These guys offered me 21.25/hr. So yes, better. But no benefits. It's been a long long time since I've have no benefits. Even if I can get on the wife's health plan, I still loose the 401k and such.

    So that's the story. I want a real IT job, and I want to get paid what I'm worth. But I don't want to give up too much (if anything) to do that.

    Oh and one other thing ... Why are all of these companies staffed by people who sound just like Apu from the Simpsons? Not to sound racist or anything, I'm just saying that it's hard for me to take a job if I can't understand the details of the contract I might be signing.
     
  7. dreamliner77

    dreamliner77 The Analog Kid

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    I hear ya. Most people love when I call and actually speak English.

    I can give you some insight on Citi. I used to staff for them. They use 29 different companies for their IT staffing. All of their staffing is run out of NY. They have their own system that they use (S Pro) and this includes a rate card for positions. Citi limits the amount of mark up on rates that vendors can use.

    If working for Citi out there is something of interest to you, I might be able to help you out in that respect. I'll send you a PM.