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Possible position as a Fed contractor?
Old 11-15-2008, 05:04 PM   #1
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Possible position as a Fed contractor?

Hi all,

One of my former coworkers called me today. Seems as though my former employer (a federal regulator) wants to bring on more help to handle the increased workload. All of a sudden regulators want to increase their level of oversight. The director mentioned me by name and asked her if she thought I might consider coming back.

As I have mentioned before, I have been toying around with going back to w*rk but the thought of 9-5 in a cubicle has kept me from pursuing this seriously. My reasons for considering w*rk include the downturn in the economy and the fact DH and I have decided to hold off selling our two homes as the real estate market is so dismal. Therefore, working as a contractor might be tempting for some extra money to pump up the nest egg while providing something interesting and useful to do until we can move to our eventual retirement location.

There is a good chance this could be part-time and home based with most of the work done on-site examining financial institutions. I may also be able to request work only in my area resulting in very little travel. What do you all think? I would appreciate everyone's ideas and comments and would be especially interested in hearing from those who have worked as federal contractors.
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:16 PM   #2
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Do it. You can always leave.
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:24 PM   #3
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Sounds good to me. I'm doing a short term project from the house. Not bad. Work on your own schedule. After this runs out, I will probably let them know I'm available for future short term projects.

As Best mentioned, you can always leave if you don't like it. Might as well try it.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:55 PM   #4
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I retired in March of this year and have done a few short stints with my old fed agency as a contractor -- what I like is that I can work some from home and projects have been very short term so no major commitment. Before retiring, I had told my old supervisor that I would help out if they got in a bind (and until my replacement was on board). In addition, the pay has been better as a contractor.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:27 PM   #5
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You say there is a good chance it could be part-time and home-based. Why don't you make that a mandatory condition. They already want you so you are in the driver's seat. I tried this and it worked.

As Bestwifeever said, you can always quit if it doesn't work for you.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:47 PM   #6
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As a contractor--would you be an employee of the contractor, or an independent consultant to the contractor? There's a little more flexibility to the later arrangement ("No, I don't think I want to do that job, I'll be out of town for a few weeks. Call me after Christmas") In the later arrangement you are your own boss (though you don't necessarily need to incorporate or form an LLC--most people decide based on liability issues). As an employee the work and pay are steadier, though the hourly rate is generally lower.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:03 PM   #7
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As a contractor--would you be an employee of the contractor, or an independent consultant to the contractor? There's a little more flexibility to the later arrangement ("No, I don't think I want to do that job, I'll be out of town for a few weeks. Call me after Christmas") In the later arrangement you are your own boss (though you don't necessarily need to incorporate or form an LLC--most people decide based on liability issues). As an employee the work and pay are steadier, though the hourly rate is generally lower.
Samclem, this is what I'm wondering. I don't know how it would work but do plan to talk to my agency and get more details sometime soon. I couldn't find much about how contractor arrangements operate on the OPM website and assume it really depends on how each agency works it out.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:14 PM   #8
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though you don't necessarily need to incorporate or form an LLC--most people decide based on liability issues
Hey Samclem, me again! Just looked at your message again and would like to know more about the LLC and liability issues. Don't know if it would apply, but sure would be interested in knowing more about this. Actually, my DH brought up the issue of liability this evening when we talked this over.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:38 PM   #9
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Samclem, this is what I'm wondering. I don't know how it would work but do plan to talk to my agency and get more details sometime soon. I couldn't find much about how contractor arrangements operate on the OPM website and assume it really depends on how each agency works it out.
Step 1: Ask your former co-workers which companies already have contracts to do the type of work you'd be doing. Normally there will be one or more companies already doing this work for your agency or at your site, and maybe your agency will just throw money into an existing contract in order to get the additional surge workload accomplished (starting a new contract from scratch is hard and takes awhile, so they are probably going to use an existing contract to get this work done). While you are talking to your former co-workers. subtly let them know that you'll probably be seeking to work with one of these companies. Definitely don't solicit any business while talking with your friends from work.

Step 2: Contact the companies that have the contracts. Find out if they are hiring employees, and if they utilize "Independent Consultants" (ICs) to do work for them. Then, just follow up.

If you go the IC route, you'd sign a consulting agreement with one or more companies. The agreement would set your hourly rate of pay. Then, the company wil send you task orders for each chunk of work they want you to do (number of days, number of hours, caps on any travel reimbursement, etc).

Remember that you can sign consultant agreements with more than one company, but do pay attention to the existence of any "noncompete" clauses in the agreements. Everything inthe contract is negotiable.

Finally, stay on the right side of any ethics rules and laws (including any prohibitions on working for your previous agency, etc). The contractor will help keep you out of trouble, but let them know you want to stay on the right side of the regs. Also, never discuss your pay with your govt employee pals.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:49 PM   #10
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Hey Samclem, me again! Just looked at your message again and would like to know more about the LLC and liability issues. Don't know if it would apply, but sure would be interested in knowing more about this. Actually, my DH brought up the issue of liability this evening when we talked this over.
Here are a couple of threads on this issue:

Salary, W-2, or contractor?

Doesthis make financial sense? "LLC" info needed

Shifting from W2 to 1099 consulting

Full Time Employee with Side LLC Business - QUESTIONS

I think many people overestimate te protection that either incorporating or forming an LLC offers. If the type of work you'll be doing exposes you to significant liability, you should get a lawyer. Maybe this is something that could be addressed in any consulting agreements you sign--who is responsibe for which types of liability (negligence, failure t perform, etc).

Again--I'm not a lawyer.

I am an independent consultant, and am a sole proprietor (no LLC or corporation). This works well for my particular situation.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:49 PM   #11
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As I have mentioned before, I have been toying around with going back to w*rk but the thought of 9-5 in a cubicle has kept me from pursuing this seriously. My reasons for considering w*rk include the downturn in the economy and the fact DH and I have decided to hold off selling our two homes as the real estate market is so dismal. Therefore, working as a contractor might be tempting for some extra money to pump up the nest egg while providing something interesting and useful to do until we can move to our eventual retirement location.
It sounds as if you've moved from "if" to "when":
Some early retirees have second thoughts

Any other changing factors in your decision?
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:13 PM   #12
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It sounds as if you've moved from "if" to "when"
Any other changing factors in your decision?
Not quite at "when" yet Nords. Yes, I did go through a bad case of "work withdrawal" including the loss of identity and purpose. It was much harder than I ever imagined it would be. I almost rushed back to work just to restore my former sense of balance as flawed as it was. I think I've worked through the worst of that now.

There are a number of factors at play here primarily a desire to provide some extra security for DH and I.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:41 PM   #13
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When I did this for a stint after I retired I formed an LLC. Had to do that in order to be a consultant through a contracting company. It made things easier, since if I was just an employee they would have been in charge. But as a consultant my company was responsible for various things like taxes, drug testing, etc. Made it much easier to be able to say "sure, he'll pay his taxes, he's clean, no worries".

I'm thinking about giving it another go, just to mitigate some extreme spending we've done over the last two years, as well as keeping my tech skills up to date. But I probably won't.
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Old 11-16-2008, 06:01 AM   #14
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Not quite at "when" yet Nords. Yes, I did go through a bad case of "work withdrawal" including the loss of identity and purpose. It was much harder than I ever imagined it would be. I almost rushed back to work just to restore my former sense of balance as flawed as it was. I think I've worked through the worst of that now.
I went through that too - I didn't realize how intense law enforcement is until it wasn't there anymore.

YMMV of course, but I found that I liked going back to work. So far, anyway. When I don't like it I'll quit. More money is always better and we don't need the extra income so it's almost all "play money". We still can't help but stash some of it away though.
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:01 AM   #15
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Samclem, this is what I'm wondering. I don't know how it would work but do plan to talk to my agency and get more details sometime soon. I couldn't find much about how contractor arrangements operate on the OPM website and assume it really depends on how each agency works it out.
Sounds like you might contract with the agency directly. This is how my arrangement is setup with my old agency. The only requirement was that I register through CCR (Central Contractor Registration, www.ccr.gov) which all fed agencies are required to use for contracts above $2500. I did not go the LLC route, just setup as sole proprietor.

Another option that my old agency uses is going through a local temp service --this way you are an employee of the temp agency, and they will take care of withholding taxes, ss, etc. Under this arrangement, the temp agency normally receives a percentage that is tacked on to your agreed upon hourly rate.
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