Monday, April 14, 2008

Is long term independent consulting the best way to go?

Chip Camden has a useful discussion on the pros and cons of very long term IT contracts today, on Tech Republic’s blogs (may require subscription or registration), “Why long-term consulting engagements may be preferable,” here .
He points out that tracking down new clients takes a lot of “non billable” time, comparable to the time and expense of a new conventional job search. A long term contract is more like a “job” and indeed that is what W-2 contracts are like (although with those, the contractor usually works on the client’s premises and is usually set up with a staffing company). One risk of having only one or two clients is being sued by one if there is a dispute over the work delivered.

He recommends not stalling out the work to get more hours or to keep a job; consultants who deliver workable systems on time typically get more work from the same client. He also mentions that “reputation” – that new buzzword amplified by the world of search engines – is the be-all and end-all of consulting work.

Self-promoted consulting is becoming increasingly popular; companies think it saves them money and gets the work done without the commitment to long-term employees. It’s interesting to see how some of the healthcare proposals could affect this world.

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