[TriLUG] How to get consulting work...
16 Mar 2002 21:14:59 -0500
On Sat, 2002-03-16 at 13:00, M. Mueller (bhu5nji) wrote:
> I hope it is clear that I expect to depend on consultants. I encourage those
> inclined or without other alternatives to try out the plan in Jon's email.
Jon was actually a great help to getting me back to work. Here I was,
with some tremendously valuable expertise, but I was very resistant to
consulting because of the accounting hassles. It's turning out to not
be as bad as I had feared, and the benefits far outweigh the hassles.
One of the greatest benefits is you basically punch a clock, and you set
your own hours. So if it looks like it will be a nice weekend and you
want to take the family out on the lake, GO FOR IT. I'm very much a
family man (for those trying to put names with faces, I'm the guy that
was coming with a pregnant wife for many meetings and then with a baby
to another meeting and a non-pregnant wife). I typically work three
days a week on site. The rest of my time is a few hours here, a few
hours there, working from the comfort of my own home. I more or less
have four days at home each week to work on the house, catch up on my
reading list, sleep in, go see the new exhibit at the art museum, etc.
> What's the downside? You get a proposal rejected? Anybody in the job market
> right now should be familiar with that. If you learn to handle the rejection
> and keep going than you are doing the job of the headhunter.
I had to deal with a lot of rejection when searching for a full time
job. Some of the rejection boiled down to:
1) No formal education. My experience didn't matter. They wanted the
piece of paper.
2) Too much time checking up on work history. This is very hard when
most of your references have also been laid off and you need to track
them down. I never had that problem before 2001.
3) Just too much competition willing to work too cheaply. I was
competing against guys with 10-12 years of experience while I "only"
have 8. Oh yeah and they'd be willing to work for $45,000. How do I
compete with that? I don't.
> Now you can
> fire the headhunter and A) keep his share of the contract, or B) be more
> competive and win more bids.
For me its a combination of the two. I don't work 40 hour weeks but
then again I choose not to. I have no headhunter, and I charge a LOT
less for my work than if you were to hire me through one of the local
employment agencies. I'm quite surprised that more companies don't
prefer to work with the consultant directly as the potential savings are
Put it this way, back in 1997 when I was getting ready to leave my life
in Philadelphia wearing my nice suit and working 60 hour weeks for 40
hours of pay for what was basically a well marketed VAR, I was being
billed out at a rate of almost $1,600 per day. I don't want to discuss
publicly my billing rates, but it is fair to say I don't bill anywhere
close to $200 per hour. I don't even bill half of that. Or close to
half. But I am still the same guy, with 5 more years of experience, and
without the project managers shoving the contract in your face and
declining work because of "scope creep". Nope. I'm paid by the hour,
and if you want to change your project requirements in mid-project it is
your money and you can spend it as wisely or unwisely as you wish. I
will offer my professional opinion if I think it is a "bad idea" but
ultimately the customer get his way. That is NOT how it worked when
clients were paying my firm $200 an hour for my time.
How do you like that? Get the same guy for a fraction of the price and
a fraction of the hassle.
> I think there might be a sudden shift to OS in
> the business community. OS consultants will be in demand and rates will go
I'm definitely seeing that. Three or four years ago I would mention
Linux in my job interviews and would either get a blank stare or a
statement like "We don't run freeware here. This is a business
environment." Sun & Microsoft love managers who think that way.
In the meantime I'm working on something right now for a client that
will eliminate Microsoft server licenses. They'll still have mostly
Windows desktops but the NT and 2000 servers are going away. Those
license costs add up VERY quickly (or rather MULTIPLY) when you add
additional Microsoft servers to your farm. No wonder MS is always
pushing the idea of dedicating one server to one function and building a
whole server farm for a measly 50 users.
I'm also working my way into some local government work. Linux is not
being pushed as a desktop platform but is making inroads as a server
platform. I can demonstrate that everything works the same way (or
better) and that's all they really care about. The sizzle with this
steak is that there are never any licensing fees. Not for the server,
and not for the daemons running on the server. I'm currently evaluating
Novell eDirectory which is probably the first server software in a good
long while that any of my clients will have to pay for. If OpenLDAP
were a bit more stable and easy to manage I probably could have used
that instead with Samba to provide Windows desktop authentication.
Microsoft has been forcing managers to become more open minded to
alternatives with their increasingly difficult terms. XP has been great
for me because smart managers are saying "No" to it, and making the next
logical conclusion that if they won't be upgrading their Windows
machines that they need to start planning their migration to something
| Rev. Chris Hedemark, DD
| Hillsborough, NC
| GPG Public Key - http://yonderway.com/chris/hedemark.gpg