Y2K contract employment

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I am a system programmer in a smaller S.E. Kansas town. We love it here and that is why I stay on with my current employer. However I am receiving entry level wages for ten years with the company. I wrote the entire home office system over the last ten years.

We need more income to prepare for Y2K. Have given consideration to contract programming in the Kansas City area. Does anyone have experience with contract programming and how and what to expect? How would I go about searching for a contract programming job?

I am finishing up Y2K remediation right now and don't feel I owe my employer any more for 31K a year.

Regards Ed Stevens

-- Ed Stevens (ed@terraworld.net), November 06, 1998


First, you need to find out what you are worth. I suggest WWW.RealRates.com as a terrific resource for a new contractor. Second, buy her book. Third, there are lots of agencies that place contractors....you can find them in the Sunday paper, or you could post your resume on-line at one of the boards....but be prepared for lots of responses (mostly junk). Finally, KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WORTH IN THE MARKET!!!

-- Anon (anon@anon.com), November 06, 1998.

Dear Ed,

I'm a senior programmer/analyst in the St. Louis, MO area. I sugest checking out www.dice.com; enquire via phone with the contraction firms listing jobs in the KC, MO area. One thing to think about before you contact them is how you want your compensation. In essence they bill you out at an hourly rate; your total compensation (salary and benefits) is typically from 50 to 80 percent of your bill rate. Some like to work as a "W-2 hourly" employee. This way you get the most cash. However, you get few if any benefits. Keep in mind that one can continue group health insurance via COBRA for 18 months. Some like to be a "regular employee" of the contracting firm -- less cash due to the employer's benefit cost for pension, insurance, ect. Some incorporate themselves and find their own contract positions. Due to IRS regulations and viewpoints on the matter most companies won't hire someone as a contractor who sets themselves up as a sole-proprietor. The IRS may take the position you are really an employee of the contraction firm, then charge the contract firm withholding taxes, penalties, ect -- even if you have paid your taxes. No need to waste time on the fairness of this issue -- it's just the way it is; you have to be someones employee -- your corporation or the contract firm corporation. As for bill rates, it just depends on the supply and demand for your skill set in the KC, MO area. For instance, in st. Louis right now, a senior mainframe programmer analyst with COBOL IMS DB/DC is billed out by the contraction firm for somewhere in the $53-$58 per hour range. Some skill sets, like COBOL DB2 or project mgmt get more. One important point. When you get hired by a contracting firm, think about the no-compete clauses of your employment contract/agreement. I would agree to a one year no-compete with the department of the company I actually physically worked at as an employee of the contraction firm -- but I would not agree to either more than a one year period or to language stating the no-compete regards firms you have "contact" with, rather than just those you work at -- better yet is wording specifying the no-compete is not for the entire corporation one was placed at, but just the department, project group, ect one is placed at. Also, I highly sugest you get the magazine "Contract Professional" -- there are lots of ads for contract firms. You might be able to get a free sample copy via the www.dice.com web site. I hope this helps. Good luck!


Louis G.

-- LOUIS G (STLOUISLOUIS@YAHOO.COM), November 06, 1998.

Here in London (I'm talking about the City here), rates are between # 350 and # 600 a day.

Maybe you should move ?

-- Dave (deales@dircon.co.uk), November 13, 1998.

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