Thinking about taking a contract position? Questions to ask

Over the years, I have accumulated a set of questions that I usually ask the placement firm about a contract or consulting position (W2 or 1099) that I am looking at taking.  Many of these questions will also apply if you are thinking about working as a salaried employee for a consulting firm:

- What is the job description?
- What is the length of the contract?
- What is the pay rate?
- What is the company name of your client that I would be working at?
- Where is the work location?
- Is this position W2 or 1099?
- When would you want me to start?
- Any other of your contractors at this company?  Can I talk to them?
- Are expenses paid (flight/car/hotel/meals)?
- What are the chances of the contract being extended?
- Are benefits available (medical/dental/LTD/STD/life/AD&D/vision), and how long before they take effect?  What are the deductibles and premiums?
- Are there any paid vacation, sick, holidays?
- Is there any monthly/yearly bonus?
- Any paid training?
- How long are contractors usually on the bench between projects?  Is bench time paid?  How long will you let someone stay on the bench before you “let them go”?
- Is any overtime expected?  Is it paid?
- What are the typical work hours?
- Is the job location close to a park-and-ride?  Will I be reimbursed if I have to pay for parking?
- What are the pay periods?
- Do you have contractors just in this city or nationwide?
- Are there other contractors in your company I can exchange technical questions?
- Is there a chance the next project will be in a different city?
- Are there promotions?  Annual reviews?
- What is my job title?
- Is there a sign-on bonus?
- Will I be in a cubical or office?
- Is a laptop/computer provided or do I need my own?
- What languages/tools will I be using?
- Is this more of a maintenance role or new development?
- Will I need to be on-call at all?
- Can you describe my day-to-day duties?
- Is there a 401k?  Any employer match?
- Any stock options?
- What is the driving distance to the work location from my house?
- What is the bill rate you will be charging the client that I will be working at?
- Who would be my “boss”?

Hopefully this list will spur you on to ask many questions so there are no “surprises” that happen after you take a contract position.

More info:

Technology Consulting as an Employment Option

About James Serra

James currently works for Microsoft specializing in big data and data warehousing using the Analytics Platform System (APS), a Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) architecture. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence/MDM architect and developer, specializing in the Microsoft BI stack. He is a SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
This entry was posted in Career, Consulting, SQLServerPedia Syndication. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Thinking about taking a contract position? Questions to ask

  1. Pingback: Blueprint for consulting riches | James Serra's Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>