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:Per Diem / Contract Story From:Matt Danda <mdanda2 -at- YAHOO -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 11 Mar 1998 11:06:11 -0800
I have a per diem story...I recently took a contract in Florida (I was
interviewing from Europe at the time), and I made the mistake of not
negotiating the salary much. I said, look, I am living in Belgium, I
am from Kansas, and I have no idea what kind of money I should be
making in Florida. The recruiter said, what are you making now? I
said, such-and-such. He said, this contract in Florida pays that.
Okay, I said.
Well, a month after starting the contract I discover that all my
co-workers have per diems. They are from out-of-town just like me. I
ask for a per diem. The contract company says, okay, we'll take 10K
off your yearly salary and give you a per diem. I say, no, you aren't
lowering my official salary no matter what your final, after-tax
A month later, I make friends with the other contractors and learn,
after a few beers, that I am making 20-30% less than any other member
on the project. Plus, they have per diems.
Another month passes, I stumble upon a document listing the rate my
contract company is billing for my services. It more than double what
they pay me. All the business literature I read says that contract
companies should recieve at most a 40% commision on your labor. My
contract company recieves 65%.
Yes, I am an idiot for going soft on the negotiations, and even more
of an idiot for procrastinating renegotiating the contract. My only
excuse is the fact I was out of the "market" for a year while working
abroad, and just plain ignorant of the car-salesmen strategies of my
Finally, I am meeting tommorrow with the "big guns" at my contract
company about this situation. Ahh, the life of a contractor...
DO YOU YAHOO!?
Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com