What would it take to get you into consulting?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by trouphaz, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    If you are in IT and have a full time gig, what would it take to sway you to consulting? Is it just money? If so, what is your number? Is it a % of your current salary or $X per year.
     
  2. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    Depends on the gig. I have done consulting. It's a TOUGH gig, sometimes. You have to be good with money, and you have to save for a rainy day! Some months are excellent, and others are not.

    I did consulting primarily when in school. It was one of the few jobs that was enjoyable and would work around my school schedule while still offering reasonable pay.

    The hardest part is getting a good customer base. Some customers will dump $10k in your pockets one month, but once you fix their problem it could be months before they need you again. You need to have enough clients where you can stay reasonably busy to keep paying your bills. Also, you need to manage your client list so that you're not over-extended. If you have a hundred people that depend on you to be there when you need them, you may go a week without any work, but the next week they may all need you at once. There's a definite balance you have to work out. I was part of a group that had some friendly competition. There were about four of us and we each had our own clients... But if one of us was booked and needed help, the other people were generally available to help out. You got paid when you helped out, and you paid others when they helped you. It worked out very well.
     
  3. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    Interesting. I've never gotten in on that type of work. When I've done contracing/consulting, it was usually an hourly contract with a particular company where I worked on a project for a certain amount of time.
     
  4. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    that sounds more like a temp-to-hire position with no possibility of hire.


    When I did consulting it covered a very diverse gamut from simple software issues, to hardware builds, to complex networking and system administration. I found self-made, but educated professionals proved to be the best clients. These included a lot of doctors, successful entrepreneurs, architects, home/building inspectors, electricians and general contractors, etc. They appreciated quality, and generally had the money to pay for good product. They also valued service and knowledge.
     
  5. Mike99TA

    Mike99TA I don't have anything clever to put here right now

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    Theres a difference between contracting long time for a company and temp to hire with no possibility of hire. Typically temp-to-hire type contracts pay around the same as you'd get paid if you worked there full time. You also typically will get benefits.

    I've done contracting "long term" for companies before that paid significantly (50-60%) more than the full time position paid, with no benefits or vacation.

    Alot of people don't realize that even if you get paid a TON of extra money consulting, by the time you subtract out health insurance (can be up to $1500/mo for a family of 3), days off (think about the normal days off you have, 5-10 holidays, 10-15 PTO/sick days, now imagine not getting paid for any of them, if you took 20 days off a year you'd be losing a full month's pay), plus less job stability, it starts to look a lot less attractive.

    At my current job I was a long term contractor and applied for/took an internal position when it opened up. The pay actually ended up being slightly more because of some extra fringe benefits I get above and beyond normal, and the health insurance (for a family of 3) is basically free. But I do miss getting paid for overtime.

    Personally I say you can't buy down stress with money, and having a permanent job is a lot less stress than contracting - even if you have a long term contracting position if the company needs to let people go you'll almost always be the first to be picked.
     
  6. crontab

    crontab (uid = 0)

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    would never do consulting now at this point of my life, priorities have changed throughout my career and the money is not as important anymore, although I am getting more than enough.

    time is most important now.

    maybe when i was younger with less responsibilities...
     
  7. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    well, that's quite often how things work in the corporate world. the reasoning that i've heard from different contractors was:
    - they like the money.
    - they have health benefits through their wife/husband and don't need overlap.
    - they like the freedom of not being involved in office politics. quite often they are there to work on a particular project and not get involved with the day to day BS of a company.
    - getting to work in many different environments through short to medium term contracts instead of just being stuck in the same one for years.


    some of these things interest me. i've lookat at contracting because i can get around $100k more as a contractor. it isn't doubling my salary, but it is a pretty decent chunk of it. so, it seems enough to cover the rest of the issues including health insurance (figure aroune $20k/year for family) and vacation time. i'm just not sure if i'd be willing to commit.
     
  8. Doomsday

    Doomsday XXX

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    those are the main reasons i tried consulting.
    great $$$ plus being exposed to a lot of stuff.

    I got sick of it because of the travel though.

    The consulting firm I worked for was based in Bellevue, WA (Ernst & Young).
    My assigned clients with them were:
    Bank of America (NJ)
    SunMicro Systems (SF)
    E*Trade (SF)

    I live in MN. :eek4:
    Moving was not an option because my wife has a stable job here.
    this was also way back during the height of 9/11 so tightened airport security made the experience not good.
     
  9. DatacomGuy

    DatacomGuy is moving to Canada

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    I did consulting for a while. It was purely word-of-mouth, but I claim I was a victim of my own success. I took care of issues/requests so quickly, that my call-backs were few and far between - as P07 mentioned, there may be months between calls from clients and I didn't feel like spending the money to market myself. Besides, it was a moonlighting gig for me anyway.

    My suggestion: If you have a current job, keep it. Start moonlighting and building a base. Spread out some cards, get the word out, get recommendations, setup a website, and let it build. Once you get to a point where evenings and weekends aren't good enough, then reevaluate where you are at.

    Some people get going pretty quickly.. but it depends on your drive, and often forgotten variable: your market.

    Find a niche that has limited support, and you're golden. Me? I do infrastructure consulting. Not many of those around, and I do well. It's purely word of mouth.. and I stay busy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  10. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    $$$$

    You can make a lot more cash consulting, if you're in demand. I just do it for the money.
     
  11. DatacomGuy

    DatacomGuy is moving to Canada

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    I do miss the money from having the stead stream of clients. :hs:

    The "one here and there" deal doesn't pay as well; or at least isn't as dependable.
     
  12. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Actually, it's called "on-site support". When the client doesn't need your support anymore, you get moved to another client that does.
     
  13. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    The key thing is to keep your day job until you have multiple steady clients. Which means some fucked up hours for a while. For some reason lately it seems I could get enough work for 5 guys if I tried. Has me thinking about opening a shop, but I'm not sure how to transition from "I'll do the work" to "we'll do the work" and not fuck things up.
     
  14. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    it's weird. i've never even considered the model you guys are referring to other than with PC support.

    in the market my skills are in, i couldn't imagine having much place for having a bunch of small clients that i bounce around with. the stuff i work on is generally very expensive equipment, so the companies that can afford it usually have their own staff to maintain it. they may bring in contractors to help fill in the gaps when they just can't get headcount or for particular projects like migrations and the like, but that's about it.
     
  15. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I get hired to build things that other people maintain, or to clean up shite perl code and make it decent. It works best if you can show up, do your thing, then leave it to others.
     
  16. Mike99TA

    Mike99TA I don't have anything clever to put here right now

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    Yeah, theres not a huge market for short term contractors working on enterprise level stuff. Usually contractors would be brought in long term. Then again, a lot of full time positions doing what we're doing pay more than independent contractors get paid anyway. If you can find a contract position doing this, it pays even more, but its quite unreliable and by the time you factor out vacation/PTO/benefits/etc it starts to look less attractive. Also by the time people get to this point in their career they usually have a family and that makes job stability look much more attractive than money.
     
  17. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    There is an ENORMOUS market to work on enterprise stuff. But its to build, not maintain.
     
  18. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    i was just going to say that. in my area, whenever i look for jobs it is probably a 10 to 1 ratio of short term contracts to long term or full time positions. many companies are willing to bring the expertise in house to maintain, but to build needs a higher level of understanding and expertise that they may not need long term. say you have a team that is fine for supporting your servers, but maybe not the greatest for designing a fully redundant, clustered solution. so, you'll bring in the resource to do that and do a knowledge transfer to your team instead of paying the premium for expertise you may not need for many years to come.
    another circumstance is if the level of work is increasing significantly for a short term due to a project. i know at my last job we brought in a contractor for 6 months to assist with an XP1024 to DMX3 migration simply because my team was spread too thin at the timie. once the migration was completed, we didn't need the extra man (or so my upper management thought).
     
  19. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Most consulting work I get thrown my way from monster is like, "Hack our enterprisey internal app J2EE blah blah blah." They pay well, but thats the worst kind of work! Trapped in a bloated framework doing apps noone really likes in the first place probably written by Indians who didn't give a shit.
     
  20. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    yeah, same here. i get all kinds of emails with shit like that and i have to respond saying, "did you even look at my resume? i'm a UNIX/storage engineer, not a programmer. stop sending me email before i mark you spam."
     
  21. crontab

    crontab (uid = 0)

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    Funny thing happened to me today. My old employer contacted me to see if I would consult for them for a few weeks while things are going to get rough for them in the next few weeks. They are offering me a bit, 200/hr, but I don't think I will take it. I don't have the time, but they are hurting pretty badly and I kinda feel bad letting my old bosses down.
     
  22. DatacomGuy

    DatacomGuy is moving to Canada

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    Nice change..
     

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