Re: Question about Consulting

Subject: Re: Question about Consulting
From: Katav <katav -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 04:52:10 -0800

> Heather Miller wrote:
> > I am considering leaving my current position for various reasons.
I have
> > I am considering moving into a consulting company that is needing


With apologies to digest subscribers.

There is a difference between /consulting/ and /contracting./

There is a difference between companies that /throw bodies at a
client/ and those that go after /project/ business.

CONTRACTING means either (a) going it alone (get out there and hustle
to find a job) or (b)working via one or more agencies (and this
scrivener sees NO conflict with allowing several agencies to represent
him TO DIFFERENT clients ... got'ta be 'up front'). You can be working
the '1099' or 'W2' route; there are tax (dis)advantages to both;
you'll need a GOOD tax person (albeit not necessarily a CPA) to advise

CONSULTING /can/ mean contracting (sanitary engineer=janitor) but
typically means either
(a) providing high-priced advice and doing minimal hands-on (sort'a
like being a Y2K project manager with zero software expertise :-]) or
(b) working as a W2 in a company that provides all (most?) of the
benefits you would find in ANY full-time job PLUS it acts as your
'agent' to find work for you.

The DISadvantage of going it alone (as a contractor OR consultant) is
that many Fortune 200 companies (e.g. those that can afford a
>$60/hour bill rate) only deal with ''approved'' vendors -
translation: unless you have some unique -- no, no, no, not 'really'
unique -- skills, you are shut out as an independent.

A GOOD consulting company will hire you for a specific contract and
keep you for the long term, realizing it invested substantially in you
to bring you on board (recruiting costs are stiff); the firm realizes
it is your 'agent' (taking an appropriate fee ... a BILL RATE of 185
percent of salary is appropriate; bear with me to understand why) so
it behooves it to find you work ... sitting on the 'bench' or 'beach'
costs the company ROI /even/ if it can find 'make work' office
projects. (Course that GOOD company realizes there WILL be some
'be*ch' time -- that's part of the reason for the 185 percent of
salary bill rate.) Bottom line: Job A ends, company places you in Job
B and your income and benefits continue without interruption.

The future for 'consulting houses' is the PROJECT. Rather than 'throw
bodies' at a client, the company sells its services to 'do' a project
(Y2K is popular). This can be lucrative for the consulting company AND
keep peripheral personnel (pubs types :-]) off the be*ch by 'hiding'
them in a project contract that only identifies the key players. (A
pubs person could be a 'key player.') The 'peripherals' still need to
earn their keep, but it is easier to sell.

I have worked as a captive employee, as a contractor (independent and
via an agency), and as a 'consultant' with a 'consulting company.' In
the former, I have been laid off when work was scarce or the company
needed to 'hide' personnel (one place laid me off then immediately
hired my startup company to document its product .. with its
'publishing' hdw and s/w!). As a contractor, I have scurried from
pillar to post, sometimes not finding anything to begin immediately
after the current job ends (especially when I am 'here" and the job is
'there') -- having a spouse and 3 kids means intermittent and meant
sometimes severe belt-tightening, not a happy event. As a 'consultant'
I have had my share of be*ch time, but the company honors its
commitment to keep me on even during the lean times. (In return, I
show up in the office almost everyday and, besides checking my
TECHWR-L mail, try to make myself useful as the 'publishing guru.')

The ONLY thing I would change about 'my' company is the fact that it
really doesn't know much about what I do -- I'm listed as a
'documentation specialist' (that's got to change 'yesterday'). Some
consulting companies DO deal more in publications and I suspect pubs
people would be kept busier with one of those. (I still get nervous
when I'm be*ched.)

There are MANY opportunities of all types out there now. A starting
point is ; it certainly is NOT the end point.

If you go the 'contractor' route, have at least 3, preferably 6,
months coverage in your bank account and divide your annual income
requirements by 9 (months).

Katav ( katav -at- yahoo -dot- com )
''Despise not any person and do not deem anything unworthy
of consideration, for there is no person without his hour,
and no thing without its place'' {Ben Azzai [Avot 4:2]}

Get your free address at

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