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

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

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