TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Some questions for contractors From:Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 30 Oct 1995 09:46:17 PST
>1. When negotiating compensation for a contract, are there any quick formulas
>for figuring out what I'll need in order to cover my own benefits?
The most common rule of thumb is to double your hourly rate. In your
case, though, you can ask HR to add up the actual cash value of all
benefits you are receiving: the employer's half of Social Security
payments, sick leave and vacation time, insurance premiums, etc.
If you're using the company's equipment on company premises, this total
is more or less what you'd charge as a consultant to break even. (Never,
ever, plan on going independent just to break even.)
If you plan to open a consulting practice in which you use your own
equipment and have your own office, having Finance cough up the
expenses and depreciation on the equipment you use, plus the value
of the floor space you occupy, will round out most of what the
company's investing in you (occupancy allocation typically includes
your share of the rent and utilities, for instance).
This will indicate what the company's shelling out to have someone
occupy your chair.
>2. How do you prepare for the end of your contract? (When do you start
>looking for a new position? If you do a lot of contract work, do you
>regularly end up with idle periods? If I fail to find new work, can I collect
I don't know how one deals with serial clients. I have multiple clients.
I'm always looking for more clients, even though I'm very busy right now,
because there's generally a long lage time between looking and finding.
Personally, all the contractors I know have been swamped for years,
but I don't know a cross-section of contractors at all: just the ones
who've passed through a certain narrow corner of the industry.
I believe that only employees can collect unemployment, but I
haven't really been paying attention.
Robert Plamondon * High-Tech Technical Writing
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (503) 453-5841
"I regret that I have but one * for my country." -- Nathan Hale