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Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before
4

Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before

Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before

(OP)
Hello everyone in the community -

Me: MS, structural (civil) engineering, 2.5 yrs in workforce

I worked in aerospace directly out of college doing carbon fiber and aluminum FEA and stress analysis. Funding issues caused me to leave.

My current job I've had for 1.5 yrs is working in a large scale test lab, which has entailed lots of diverse experience.

I have a non-written offer to join up again in aerospace on a 6 month contract. I know people at the company, and the choice is up to me whether I join as a stress engineer again, or work on test plan and fixture development.

I'm very interested in pursuing contracting at this stage and figure this is a great opportunity to start, but I am not sure what my billing rate should be given my experience. Additionally, I'm not certain which option I should pursue, FEM or testing. I know that comes down to personal preference too, but any advice regarding those options, and particularly the demand of contractors for each respective option would be very much appreciated. Whatever I choose, working remotely will be what I'm doing, so I'd be curious to hear if that's common practice as well when hiring on FEM or Testing contractors.

RE: Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before

Try to get them to throw out a number first. In cases like this, the person who gives out the first number usually loses.
An Example:
Company A is willing to pay up to $60 per hour, but candidate B gives the first number at $40 per hour. Company A wins
or
Person X will work for $40 per hour. Company Y gives the first number at $50 per hour. Person X wins

If they throw out a number that is too low for you, start negotiating.

RE: Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before

I was always told that you should be looking for a percentage above the regular salary expected for your level of experience.

There is a good discussion about this topic here: http://forums.redflagdeals.com/full-time-salary-vs...

RE: Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before

As someone with a junior to intermediate experience level, I would target a wage equal to an employee wage plus consideration of the benefits you will be missing. I don't think you are likely to earn 25%+ over an employee. Maybe you will get asked to join as an employee or maybe you'll get to like the contracting experience and start earning ++ on short term contracts. If you don't have personal movement limitations, it's a good time to try out the lifestyle and just keep a longer term view. This is just my opinion.

RE: Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before

You need to consider your contract rate the way the company considers their own contract rates:
> allowance for sick days
> medical
> taxes
> overhead
> etc.

TTFN
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Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!

RE: Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before

(OP)
Thanks for the advice. I already aware of all the added responsibilitiew such as health care, retirement, etc. I do have an option to contract through a friend's llc and have access to his payroll and accounting services, saving me about 10% vs a traditional contracting firm. I figure this is a good option to start with and I could build my own service for myself over the 6 months if I should choose to do so.

That aside, I know the main goal of contracting is to milk a current contract for all its worth when you get it. I'm hoping there will be a option to continue after 6 months, but there's no telling I guess. So, without using a typical firm, I'd be out of any services to hunt for another option for me which I'm still not totally sure about at this stage.

RE: Young Engineer w/ offer to contract doing FEA or Test Plan Development, never contracted before

4
"I know the main goal of contracting is to milk a current contract for all its worth when you get it. "

This is unethical at best. The main goal should be to provide the customer with the services you've contracted at the price you negotiated.

TTFN
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Need help writing a question or understanding a reply? forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!

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