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What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

(OP)
So there is a good chance I'll be offered a "contract" position through a staffing agency. This would be a W2 type employment, not 1099. As I've never held this form of employment before I thought I'd ask for any wisdom that could be passed along from more experienced individuals.

Things I'm aware of:

- I'll be paying my health insurance, won't get sick time or holiday pay so I need to adjust my request base pay accordingly.

- The staffing agency would, of course, like you to remain in the position for the during of the project.

- At the end of the project or the duration of the job, you need to check with the staffing agency to see if they have anything other positions for you, or you're considered to have quit the staffing agency and will be unable to collect unemployment.

Things I'd still like to know about:

- How do you transition back to full time employment without a gap? It seems unlikely you'd be able to find a new position that starts just as a "contract" ends.

- Are there any staffing agencies that anyone has had a particularly bad experience with, and should be avoided?

- How might the "contract" position differ from standard employment in the workplace?

- Anything else you feel it would be useful to know from your experience.

Thanks!

RE: What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

Get a quote for the healthcare. Mine ran around $750/month for Kaiser (HMO) Silver

Put a dollar amount on the PTO regular employees get and add that into your base.

There are other benefits you don't get like pretax commuter cards, HSAs, profit sharing, etc., so you have to pay tax that regular employees don't

Depending on the company, you may not be completely welcome into the social network until you are perm. Worst place for me where I was contract (1099 though) was Samsung. Definitely a second class citizen there.

If you are offended by the things I say, imagine the stuff I hold back.

RE: What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

I used to do work through a staffing agency, now bear in mind this was 40 years ago so things have changed,
I would go to work for a fixed length contract , the agency would have other jobs lined up for me towards the end of the contract so that I could go from one job to another without a break in service. I would get medical insurance through them ( Pre Obamacare ) but nothing else no paid vacations or national holidays. The upside I would make about 3 times the salary the permanant staff were making. Taxes were deducted as were medical premiums, everything else was on you. On my resume after I stopped working for them I would just put Butler Technical services and the dates. Nobody ever questioned it.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

Careful34,

I have just finished a fifteen month contract. At my age, contracts probably are the rest of my career. Back forty years ago when I worked on contracts, I got the impression that a lot of the employment agencies were scum. If an engineering firm is willing to deal with them, there is some level of trust present. I have had no problems with agencies. I think the client is way more important.

Read the contracts carefully. I was asked to sign an NDA, and an agreement stating that anything I designed belonged to the client. This was carefully written, and it excluded stuff I did at home on my own time with my own tools. If you have any projects on the side, be very, very careful to not work on these at work. If your SolidWorks license belongs to your client, anything you do with the SolidWorks license probably belongs to your client. There have been discussions on here about the ethics of moonlighting.

Forty years ago, I read one of these IP agreements and I called the agency and told them I did not like it. They told me to cross out the offending sections and initial them. I was working as an office clerk, so nobody gave a damn. If I had been a designer back then, I might not have gotten away with it.

--
JHG

RE: What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

I did a contracting stint for a year and it felt great. Got paid for every hour I worked, which is usually not the case with traditional employment. Got paid closer to a fair market value as well. More than twice what I had previously been making with the same title. I still think the staffing agencies take too big of a cut for their role as middleman, but that's why there will always be middlemen.

My insurance through Healthcare.gov was cheaper and better coverage than what I get through my full-time employer now. Something like $120/month. I'm not sure if that option even exists anymore??

I got to take much more vacation time (unpaid) as a contractor than I do now. The higher pay more than made up for it.

If you are good at your job, the client will usually want to extend your contract or try to hire you themselves. Otherwise, the job shop will recognize your value and make sure you can go make money for them elsewhere.

Someone might argue that there is less job security as a contractor, but I've found that nowadays there is no difference. At least with a contract you know when the end is coming. My current employer let half the engineers in the office go with a 2 week's notice this past CHRISTMAS because one big project fell through and the next big one wasn't starting up for another 2 months. They were all blindsided. Plus, it saved the company a ton of money from not having to pay that year's employee stock option. The contract engineers in the office were kept on and I suspect it had a lot to do with them not being eligible for the employee stock benefit.

RE: What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

(OP)

Quote (drawoh)

At my age, contracts probably are the rest of my career.

May I ask how old you are? Pardon me, and apologies if that's too personal for the internet.


Quote (bones206)

My insurance through Healthcare.gov was cheaper and better coverage than what I get through my full-time employer now. Something like $120/month. I'm not sure if that option even exists anymore??

How long ago was this?

RE: What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

About 4 years ago. High deductible plan.

RE: What to watch out for and be aware of when accepting a contract position through an agency?

Careful34,

63.

--
JHG

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