Lesson Learned from Contracting, Revisited

  • Tom Fischer

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 409

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Lesson Learned from Contracting, Revisited

  • VincentRainardi

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2905

    Thank you Tom, it was insightful and useful.

    Kind regards,

    Vincent

  • Samuel Vella

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8055

    Nice article Tom, a little note about agents from a fellow contractor:

    Many companies seem genuinely shocked when the newly arrived contractor fails to meet expectations. How could an agency possibly send an unqualified person to their office? Personal experience suggests that infamous catchall culprit – communications

    Agencys operate on margins, they get in the cheapest contractor who they think can do the job whilst charging the client as much as possible for a "top notch" consultant. Its a cut throat sales job and agents live or die by how much they can inflate those margins.

    Clients really need to work direct with contractors, rely on word of mouth recommendations from contacts and then both the client and the contractor can be financially better off (thats assuming that the client is a reliable payer!)

  • john-559790

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 116

    Speaking as a former freelance contractor now turned back to the ways of regular paychecks, I thought the article was very fair and reflects my own experience.

    But you left one thing out. I recall a train ride to Reading a year or two back, when I was still freelancing. The chap in the seats across the carriage was half my age, dressed in a sharper suit, and was describing his first day on the job as a representative of what i will call a well known software house.

    He cheerfully spoke over his mobile phone of the rate his employer was charging the end client (five times mine) and how he had just spent the afternoon recovering the mess after taking the live database down shortly before lunch, dumping all the people using the web service in front of it in a heap.

    Yeah we all make mistakes from time to time, but some of us know they are not something to be proud of.

  • Samuel Vella

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8055

    john (4/15/2008)


    Speaking as a former freelance contractor now turned back to the ways of regular paychecks, I thought the article was very fair and reflects my own experience.

    What tempted you back to the dark side of permanent employment?

  • john-559790

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 116

    Hi

    Thanks to this government and partly to the sort of work I used to do, the costs of continuing to do business as a freelancer, and particularly the fees paid to people in sharp suits to keep the taxman off my back, rose to the point where I was paying others more than myself.

    I took a permanent post at my final client. It makes be simultaneously smile and weep that (a) I was, without doubt, one of the poorest paid freelancers in the building (b) I am probably being paid more than others in other companies doing the same job, (c) If you add togetther my GROSS salary AND the Employers National Insurance, my employer is now paying out, per month, *MORE* than they were paying to my limited company and (d) I now get to keep MORE of that as taxed income than I was able to take as remuneration from my company after I had chucked backhanders to the guys in sharp suits and all the other scum.

    Gordon Brown must be really pleased with himself.

  • Rob Goddard

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2572

    john (4/15/2008)


    Hi

    Thanks to this government and partly to the sort of work I used to do, the costs of continuing to do business as a freelancer, and particularly the fees paid to people in sharp suits to keep the taxman off my back, rose to the point where I was paying others more than myself.

    I took a permanent post at my final client. It makes be simultaneously smile and weep that (a) I was, without doubt, one of the poorest paid freelancers in the building (b) I am probably being paid more than others in other companies doing the same job, (c) If you add togetther my GROSS salary AND the Employers National Insurance, my employer is now paying out, per month, *MORE* than they were paying to my limited company and (d) I now get to keep MORE of that as taxed income than I was able to take as remuneration from my company after I had chucked backhanders to the guys in sharp suits and all the other scum.

    Gordon Brown must be really pleased with himself.

    As soon as I saw the word "Government", I immediately knew I'd found a fellow UK'er who shared my pain! :hehe:

    I know guys that are still making it work well, though.

    Nice read, thanks.

    --------
    [font="Tahoma"]I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. -Douglas Adams[/font]

  • CartoonHead

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 192

    It's good to explain how to make the most of consultants, from the client's perspective, since I think a lot of companies just don't get it. But "they just don't get it" about a lot of things.

    If companies were truly smart, they fire all the full-time staff and hire nothing but contractors, at fair hourly rates, making the contractors responsible for their own equipment, their own health insurance, their own facilities, their own utilities, etc., and simply measured by their performance and delivery of objectives. That would eliminate costs (including taxes) dramatically, reduce traffic everywhere, encourage the actual use of technology, and quickly weed out the people who are costing the company more money than they are bringing in.

    Sadly, it's going to be another 20-25 years before this common sense solution becomes a regular way of doing business. Today's management is all about ego, with "managers" feeling good only when they can look over their cubicle serfdome, take the "buzz" in as a sign of performance, and thereby feel self-important.

    Give me a staff of 10 independent experts working from their homes any day! 😉

    [font="Verdana"]If technology is supposed to give us more freedom and empower us to pursue the more important things in life, why do so many people allow themselves to become enslaved by it? Always remember, the truly important people cannot be reached... except when they want to reach you.[/font]

  • Someguy

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2207

    Good article. One that should be passed along.

    Let me add a point or two:

    Probably the best point that Tom made was 'Know thy Contractor'.

    Many contractors are hardworking and competent. Many though are something less. I've heard more than one story of an incompetent consultant coming in, doing little (or creating damage) and spending significant time on the phone arranging his next job. Find people you can trust and do what it takes to keep them around.

    Maybe we can add "Know thy Contracting Agency". This is particularly true with overseas consulting groups. I've worked at companies that were wowed with the line "we've got experienced, talented people who will work for a fraction of what it costs in your country". Once engaged, it was discovered that the agency was pulling people off the street and giving them a "learn (name the technology) in one weekend" book. My favorite (and real!) example was a field in a table created by an overseas consultant called "What is your date of birth". By the time anyone found out what was going on, hundreds of apps were pulling data from this field. Had I not been hired and asked to review the system, hundreds of horribly inefficient practices would eventually brought it to a standstill.

    I'm tempted to go on, but I guess most of what I'd say relates to these points...

    ___________________________________________________
    “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.”

  • Tom Fischer

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 409

    Good catch... "Know thy Contracting Agency" merited several words, too.

  • Karl Proctor

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 913

    Know Thy Contracting Agency.

    I've been contracting for 10 years and in my time I've come across all types. Some good, some bad, the worst (from a contractors point of view) are the often the ones with exclusive tie-ins with the larger corporate's. I've always thought that an agency should try and look after both sides....

  • Igor Zaychik

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 245

    I think that main problem on contracting market is absence of particular expert.

    As a result contracting companies or self offer not what customer need but what

    they can do and study at work. The last is good if you have a year or longer

    contract.

    To have good contractor you need organize them around big development company

    or collage. But this is not possible because a know how secrets contractor can

    sell to whoever.

    From other side contractors hired for different purpose :

    political (internal management is not responsible for result;

    getting audit to control internal stuff and do not pay to it in correspondence)

    as an additional hands to existing team;

    as a main project force;

    as a fixing existing project expert or replacement for a previously failed team.

    All this in combination with existing stuff and its qualification and whole company

    management culture gives us possible variants.

    I believe in most cases this combination is unsuccessful specifically for a short term.

  • TimothyAWiseman

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8819

    Awesome article.

    ---
    Timothy A Wiseman
    SQL Blog: http://timothyawiseman.wordpress.com/

  • Syed-201559

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 477

    Very fair article, I have seen similar situations many times. Recently a database developer, hired to design dataware house even after technical interview.

    80% its staffing agency fault, they sends the resume where the company margin is the highest.


    Kindest Regards,

    Syed
    Sr. SQL Server DBA

  • Anipaul

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24681

    Excellent one. I think lot of us faced the same kind of problem. :):D

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Login to reply