Archive for consulting
As I talk about in my e-book, it’s good to be prepared when you start to negotiate your rate at the beginning of a new contract. You should have a low, medium and high rate prepared. Low is what the lowest absolute rate you will accept, medium is what you’d be happy with, and high is what you’d be really happy with.
But before you negotiate there are many other things to consider which affect your ability to get the rate you want. Some of these you might not even be aware of but they come across in your discussions.
Hopefully you have researched the rates for your skill and have a general idea of what you will get. A rough ballpark could be $75-95 per hour considering that the larger consulting firms might charge upwards of $150 per hour.
Other issues to consider are:
- Are you comfortable asking for these types of rates?
- Can you walk away from the negotations without getting the contract?
- How much debt do you have?
- Have you practiced this out loud with a friend?
- Do you believe you can handle the technical requirements of the project?
- Do you really want to get this contract?
If you’re not comfortable and confident with these rates it will definitely come across in the negotation. If you are in desperate need of a contract because of debt or you haven’t worked for a while, it will come across. If you don’t think you can do the job, it will come across.
The last issue is interesting. You have to show that you would like to help the client, but you can’t come across as desperate. You can take or leave the contract, but you show genuine interest in helping them out. Either way is fine.
Here’s an interview with me and Stuart Crawford of IT Matters on being a wealthy IT Professional in these uncertain times, and some specific steps you can take to be successful. Notice I don’t say ‘surviving in uncertain times’, but being wealthy. It’s all about attitude baby!
It’s amazing how many consultants, contractors and even employees complain about the chaotic nature of integration (and other) projects. These complaints run the gamut: the client hasn’t prepared the requirements ahead of time, the client has changed the scope (scope creep) during the project, I can’t get the information I need to do my job, so and so’s an idiot, you name it. Do you find yourself complaining a lot?
First for consultants I might suggest you take a different approach and appreciate the chaos for what it is – your meal ticket. The reason you are there is that the client doesn’t have the skill set it requires for a variety of reasons. For example, they’ve just bought Tibco and doesn’t have the skills in-house yet, or they have a temporary need and so it’s not worth hiring full-time staff, or in some cases lack of planning. So embrace the chaos – it’s most likely why you’re there and why your contract keeps getting extended! Of course we all want clients to be successful.
Second, to get a little philosophical (but still practical) the complaints about projects (and work in general) and other people at work are usually due to the ego or ‘sense of self’ and the fear that goes along with it. I am right and the other person is wrong, I am smart and the other person is not, I don’t have the information I need and so I will fail and they will let me go, what if I can’t learn the new way of performing the job that the boss wants me to, they want to shut down the Quality Assurance server just before we go to production and I haven’t finished testing yet, etc.
I am by no means perfect in this regard but I am striving to accept change as it occurs (go with the flow, or say ‘yes’ to life as it occurs) instead of fighting it every step of the way as many people do. Accept the chaos and watch it dissipate in intensity!
*Reposted and modified from my blog post in 2004 at ITToolbox