Frequently Asked Questions
Or "Just the FAQs, ma'am..."
How do you work? Would you consider contract employment, contract-to-hire, direct?
We work on a corp-to-corp basis. If you wish to consider us 1099, feel free to send us that form. (It's not necessary but some AP systems are functionally limited. We understand and make allowances for that.) We prefer the independence of being outside contractors. We feel it provides us with greater objectivity than we would have as employees of the client firm. Although we are flattered by job offers from our clients, we do not accept permanent positions with consulting firms or clients.
We contract directly with clients as well as work with brokers and contracting firms. We work fixed-bid, fixed-rate, and staged implementation contracts. Tell us what you need and let us see what we can work out.
Are you US nationals? H1-B's? Do you need sponsoring?
We and our corporation are US nationals. On our non-US contracts, we will gratefully accept assistance with visa and permit issues.
Are you willing to relocate? Remote-consult?
We are willing to consider relocating and remote-consulting anywhere! Naturally, the location and situation will influence our decision and our rates.
Would you be willing to meet for an in-person interview? Do you do phone interviews?
We prefer phone interviews. Or skype-ing. Or web/teleconferencing. It saves us and you a significant amount of time and effort. Unless the site is close to our current project site, we rarely do in-person interviews. After the phone interview(s), all parties can determine if there is any interest in furthering the relationship. If you want to cover expenses for an in-person interview, we can probably work something out.
What is the minimum length contract your team will consider?
If the project requires relocation, our minimum length is 6 months. If the contract is a remote-consulting one, then our minimum length is 6 weeks. Fixed-bid contracts vary too much for a generic minimum length rule.
What if the project requires more than three people?
We are scalable! We have other professionals who are willing to work under our corporation. We add them to our team as their specialties are needed. We are also willing to supervise project team members provided by you and/or the consulting firms.
What about after the contract? After hours? Emergencies?
After the contract we may be available as part of a support agreement. After-hours and emergency support is also available as add-on support agreements.
We are here to serve! Tell us what you need and we will tell you what it costs.
What about kudos? Awards? Recognition?
We love those! Tell us which awards you are looking for and we'll see what we can do. Want to win an award in your field? Tell us which one and the ground rules for the competition. Want a write-up in your industry's journal? Whatever it is, we are happy to help.
Now if you are offering to reward us - that is even better! We are happy to receive referrals, recommendations, testimonials, bonuses, back pats, warm fuzzies...
Isn't there a lot of overlap in your specialties? Why don't all of you have the same title?
There is significant overlap in our skills and abilities. The built-in redundancies are a safety measure for our clients. We all respect Murphy's Law well enough to expect the unexpected. The titles are fairly flexible. We emphasize our interests and specialties but we are all parts of a team. At the client site, we will accept new designations as needed to better help them. Whether you call us IC's, vendor service suppliers, or MTS-III's, we are still here to serve our clients.
What about poaching? Recruiting? Are you hiring? Firing?
It is our policy to never recruit from our current client or consulting firm. As for poaching us, it is flattering but highly improbable. We tend to recruit on a project basis from the pool of qualified consultants we have worked with in the (distant) past.
How do I hire you as off-site consultants? How can I be sure I’m not cheated?
Trust is always an issue, isn’t it? Even with your own employees, how sure can you be that their pay isn’t wasted? We understand your concerns. We have to trust you not to cheat us too. We have our share of dead-beat clients just as you have your share of dead-beat suppliers.
The best way we have found to handle off-site projects is to have the CLIENT (meaning you) realistically estimate the time it would require for your staff to handle the project and then send us a detailed statement of what the project is and what resources you’re willing to dedicate to it.
We in turn will tell you whether we can do the project under your constraints. Once we reach an agreement (your responsibilities, our responsibilities, payment terms, dispute resolution, etc.) and you have provided us the earnest money, the job is ON!
You get to decide how much client/consultant interaction we have. If you want daily/weekly reports - you got it! If you want us to take full responsibility and just provide you with a finished product - that works even better!
I pay the broker a ludicrous hourly rate! How come there are no takers? Why do some contractors quit when I’m paying them more then I pay my employees?
When you use a broker, the agency deducts its costs of doing business and then pays the contractor a portion of the remaining funds. The contractor’s actual rate is based upon the agreement they (not you) have with the broker. In some cases, it may be as low as 50% of the bill rate! In one of the more notorious cases, the contractor received 12% of the bill rate - not surprisingly he felt underpaid and the client felt gouged!
Currently, most brokers seem to settle for 10-30% of the bill rate. As the IT market heats up, we’ll see the percentage shrink. That’s good news for all of us! Our preference is for direct contracts (naturally). But some clients like the security of dealing with a broker and knowing the broker will find the candidates for them. With a 1099 consultant, it is nice to have a go-between to ensure an arm’s-length relationship. Thankfully, a relationship between our corporation and yours already ensures the arm’s-length relationship.
Whatever happened to loyalty? The ‘social contract’ between employers and employees? Why aren’t you begging for the security of being an employee?
Loyalty is alive and well! Instead of one-way loyalty, it has webbed - we are loyal to our families, our clients, our peers, our associations, our teams, our projects, our professions, etc. And they are loyal to us. We’re all in this life together. Our loyalty is to each other.
The social contract didn’t hold up. In turn for loyalty and dedication to employers; employers were supposed to reward employees with income, security, and a life-long home. Due to the economic times, employers can’t afford to hold up their end of the bargain. Many of them would if they could.
The security of employment isn’t what it used to be. You’re only as good as your last project. The only security we have is: to make ourselves more valuable (in terms of skills and experience) tomorrow than we are today. We are all (consultants, employees, and employers) independently responsible for our livelihoods.
If there are any questions you have that were not answered above, please send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add them to this list as needed.