RE: Indepenent contractor question

Subject: RE: Indepenent contractor question
From: "Tim Lewis" <Writer -dot- lewis -at- worldnet -dot- att -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 19:33:22 -0600

A few have responded to my questions about an independent contract
opportunity with a client that I am currently working for through a temp
agency. I want to clear up a couple of things that some have been mentioned.
I had worked for this client as a full time employee for 20 years and was
downsized. So they know my work ethic. Several months later I was asked if I
would work in another dept as a TW. I was hired through the temp agency and
the job was to be for the duration of a project which was to last 3 months.
It is now 8 months. They expect the project to go on for another month. I
just don't want it to go on forever because I need to cultivate other
clients. The client's company has an agreement with the temp agency that
they can hire someone after 6 months of service without any further fees. So
I do not believe there will be a problem with me coming in as an IC.

I appreciate the responses and welcome further ones.

Tim Lewis
Lewis Communications
Written and Visual Communications
mailto:writer -dot- lewis -at- worldnet -dot- att -dot- net

Andrew Plato Replied:
> I am currently working as a TW for a company through a temporary services
> agency. My boss and I have agreed to discontinue the relationship with the
> temp agency soon. Then the client will hire me as an independent
> through my business.

Make sure to clear this situation with the agency where you currently work.
Most agencies will not allow you to contract independently with a client
the client pays a "release fee." If you or your client are trying to flank
agency - you could be in big trouble.

The client undoubtly has a contract with the agency as well. You could get
your client and yourself into a lot of legal trouble if you strike a deal
"under the table." Agencies sue people and companies over these situations
the time.

And it does not matter that you are doing this through your own business.
if you are a legal entity S corp, as owner you are still liable for the
existing contract and you can still be sued.

> Based on discussions on this list and other research I
> have a good idea of how much to charge per hour. Most of the time I will
> working on-site. I may do some work in my home office. My questions are
> about a contract and setting my hours.

You should charge by the hour, don't charge overtime. And you absolutely
have a contract with the client that states what you are doing and the
of the relationship. You should see a lawyer or locate an agency that will
carry a contract for you. Never work with out a contract, even if the people
are your friends. It's just bad business.

Most contracts either state a deliverable or a end-date. 3 month contracts
industry standard if a specific end-date or deliverable is not determined.
ideal contract includes a "statement of work" that details exactly what you
will do for the client (docs you'll write, tools you'll use, etc.)

Again, you should see a lawyer before you continue.

What you charge is up to you.

> I know I
> should limit the duration of the contract such as one month, renewable by
> mutual agreement. Should I put a limit on the number of hours I will work
> per week?

Limiting the contract to one month is unneccesarily conservative, IMHO.
agency contracts are for three or six months, with extensions after that.
for limiting the number of hours/week you'll work, unless there's a really
reason, I wouldnt. By doing so you're in effect telling the client that
not available for high-demand situations; most contractors make their
feel good by being willing to do whatever it takes (within some limits) to
the job done, and putting in more than 40 hrs/week is part of that.

> Should I charge them a flat weekly fee rather than by the hour? What about
> overtime?

Unless you're quite experienced with working for this particular client, I
wouldn't do a flat-price contract. There are some on the list who have no
problems with flat-price deals, but they have a tendency to blow up in our
faces. As for overtime, we just charge the regular hourly rate.

> I know I will need to see other clients from time to time. Should I write
> into the contract that I am free to take time for other business and that
> am not working for them exclusively?

Why bring up the subject unless your client demands your time exclusively?
you're doing the job he wants, he'll be glad for the time he gets.

> When you work on-site, how do you usually report the number of hours you
> work for a client?

Real hours, from arrival time to leaving time. And if they keep you waiting
for information, that's their time too.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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