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What? Me, consult? I don't know where to begin.
Old 12-06-2021, 11:15 AM   #1
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What? Me, consult? I don't know where to begin.

Seasons Greetings!

I am on the cusp of calling time. I have had some trouble firming that up, partly because of lingering probably unnecessary, money concerns and partly because I wouldn't be able to participate in my chosen retirement activity, travel, right now anyway. That has lead me to flesh out a hybrid option......

My primary target would be to see if I can scale back with my present employer. I would propose they hire a replacement and that I continue either part-time or as a consultant but on something of a defined schedule. I want blocks of time off, not a reduced but regular weekly/monthly workload. No 2 or 3 day a week solution will work. What I am looking for would be to work specific months and not work others, arranged in advance. I will be available January - April, but not May - July, and Aug - Sept,, but not Oct - Dec, for example. The working periods could be full time or part time and I would do whatever was needed; support the replacement, special projects, training, etc.. This would be preferable to me over marketing myself in the industry to other potential clients and trying to shoehorn their needs into my schedule.

I am not naïve, I know that this approach limits my marketability; companies want to hire people to solve problems and have their own temporal needs around that, but I am a subject matter expert in a high knowledge, but low participant field (not scientific or IT) and have some leverage/appeal resulting from that.

I am wondering if any of you have taken this, or a similar, approach to your transition and how you managed it. If not, what were your individual experiences in moving to consulting with your employer at retirement?

More specifically, how does one price oneself in this environment? I have no idea what similar consultant roles command. Taking the existing employer arrangement as an example, would I price my services as some factor of my current salary, either converted to hourly, or monthly? What factor are employers prepared to assign to this arrangement? Would this existing employer rate be expected to be at as discount (home town discount) or premium to the market rate I might command with other clients? It would be easier for me to continue than try and source new clients on my preferred scheduling terms, for sure.

I know everyone's situation is different but hearing other people's experiences would be great, as would any reference to external material on how to develop a "consulting" business.
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:25 AM   #2
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Do your numbers support retirement without the income from consulting?
If so, I see nothing wrong with simply putting your proposal out there to your employer and see what happens.

I have been asked to return on call frequently from my previous employer, but it was alway on a 1-2 day/week basis for as long as I wanted. I was easily able to say no for certain weeks/days if I did not want to work for a longer time. So I have no info on your other questions.
Best of luck to you.
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
My primary target would be to see if I can scale back with my present employer. I would propose they hire a replacement and that I continue either part-time or as a consultant but on something of a defined schedule. I want blocks of time off, not a reduced but regular weekly/monthly workload. No 2 or 3 day a week solution will work. What I am looking for would be to work specific months and not work others, arranged in advance. I will be available January - April, but not May - July, and Aug - Sept,, but not Oct - Dec, for example.
How different is that from your current schedule, and how flexible is your job? I don't know of many roles that can be accomplished with 2-3 months away, then back, then away. You'd have to be super unique and valuable in most companies to get away with that.

If I'm your boss, I'd just ask you when you'd be giving notice, as that sounds like a lot of juggling I'd have to deal with. I'd set you free, replace you, and move on. I don't say that to be harsh, but in my working life I replaced many wonderful people, when they moved on for promotions or other roles and I had a month or less to do it. I also organized my teams with a lot of overlap, everyone had a back up, theory being anyone could get hit by a bus.

So, my only advice would be, don't ask for this arrangement unless you are willing to be told "nah, how about you give me 2 weeks?" - no matter how much you think your boss loves you.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
Seasons Greetings!

I am on the cusp of calling time. I have had some trouble firming that up, partly because of lingering probably unnecessary, money concerns and partly because I wouldn't be able to participate in my chosen retirement activity, travel, right now anyway. That has lead me to flesh out a hybrid option......

My primary target would be to see if I can scale back with my present employer. I would propose they hire a replacement and that I continue either part-time or as a consultant but on something of a defined schedule. I want blocks of time off, not a reduced but regular weekly/monthly workload. No 2 or 3 day a week solution will work. What I am looking for would be to work specific months and not work others, arranged in advance. I will be available January - April, but not May - July, and Aug - Sept,, but not Oct - Dec, for example. The working periods could be full time or part time and I would do whatever was needed; support the replacement, special projects, training, etc.. This would be preferable to me over marketing myself in the industry to other potential clients and trying to shoehorn their needs into my schedule.

I am not naïve, I know that this approach limits my marketability; companies want to hire people to solve problems and have their own temporal needs around that, but I am a subject matter expert in a high knowledge, but low participant field (not scientific or IT) and have some leverage/appeal resulting from that.

I am wondering if any of you have taken this, or a similar, approach to your transition and how you managed it. If not, what were your individual experiences in moving to consulting with your employer at retirement?

More specifically, how does one price oneself in this environment? I have no idea what similar consultant roles command. Taking the existing employer arrangement as an example, would I price my services as some factor of my current salary, either converted to hourly, or monthly? What factor are employers prepared to assign to this arrangement? Would this existing employer rate be expected to be at as discount (home town discount) or premium to the market rate I might command with other clients? It would be easier for me to continue than try and source new clients on my preferred scheduling terms, for sure.

I know everyone's situation is different but hearing other people's experiences would be great, as would any reference to external material on how to develop a "consulting" business.
I have consulted with industrial companies on and off for 10 years.

What industry generally are you targeting? Give us a rough idea.

Your prearranged schedule is hopeful. Low probability but I won’t say it’s impossible. The best projects are “special situations” where the client needs someone “right now”.

For pricing, take your desired annual pretax salary as a full time employee, and double it. Then divide by 2,000. That’s your hourly rate.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
How different is that from your current schedule, and how flexible is your job? I don't know of many roles that can be accomplished with 2-3 months away, then back, then away. You'd have to be super unique and valuable in most companies to get away with that.

If I'm your boss, I'd just ask you when you'd be giving notice, as that sounds like a lot of juggling I'd have to deal with. I'd set you free, replace you, and move on. I don't say that to be harsh, but in my working life I replaced many wonderful people, when they moved on for promotions or other roles and I had a month or less to do it. I also organized my teams with a lot of overlap, everyone had a back up, theory being anyone could get hit by a bus.

So, my only advice would be, don't ask for this arrangement unless you are willing to be told "nah, how about you give me 2 weeks?" - no matter how much you think your boss loves you.
I'm not under any illusions about being loved that much and don't worry about sounding harsh. I am looking to have my reality challenged on this. And I do expect that the outcome is likely to be binary. That is why I am "on the cusp" and seeking guidance.

For more background, the Dept. is understaffed (management agrees) but they state that a full time position is not warranted. That was the opening for the strategy. There are a couple of non-time sensitive projects that have been shelved over the years, operating manual, training program, etc., that would fit the kind of schedule I am contemplating.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chassis View Post
I have consulted with industrial companies on and off for 10 years.

What industry generally are you targeting? Give us a rough idea.

Your prearranged schedule is hopeful. Low probability but I won’t say it’s impossible. The best projects are “special situations” where the client needs someone “right now”.

For pricing, take your desired annual pretax salary as a full time employee, and double it. Then divide by 2,000. That’s your hourly rate.
Thanks for the pricing feedback - exactly the kind of input I was looking to assemble.

The field is operational Risk Management, not financial, in commercial real estate.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pacergal View Post
Do your numbers support retirement without the income from consulting?
If so, I see nothing wrong with simply putting your proposal out there to your employer and see what happens.

I have been asked to return on call frequently from my previous employer, but it was alway on a 1-2 day/week basis for as long as I wanted. I was easily able to say no for certain weeks/days if I did not want to work for a longer time. So I have no info on your other questions.
Best of luck to you.
The current numbers do support retiring now, but who doesn't like a little cushion if the circumstances (COVID restrictions on travel and activity) make a 12-18 month withdrawal on favorable terms almost as good as retiring right now. I could do it now, but if I got most of my wishes on a transitional consulting agreement, it would nudge out the immediate drive to retire.

I may have to fall back to a "Call me if you need any help on a limited term basis" like the one you describe and just respond based on what plans I have in place.

Thanks,
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chassis View Post
I have consulted with industrial companies on and off for 10 years.

What industry generally are you targeting? Give us a rough idea.

Your prearranged schedule is hopeful. Low probability but I won’t say it’s impossible. The best projects are “special situations” where the client needs someone “right now”.

For pricing, take your desired annual pretax salary as a full time employee, and double it. Then divide by 2,000. That’s your hourly rate.
Don't forget that as a 1099 employee, you will pay self employment tax, you won't get 401k participation or employer match, you won't earn vacation time, no bonus or stock plans, no insurance, etc. All those cost the company money when you were a direct employee, don't give them a bargain as a consulting expert. The worst they can say is "no thanks".

On the time off, I wouldn't bring that up preemptively, if you want a semi-regular gig, you have to get started and get the client hooked. I would discuss opportunities on a case by case basis and if they will interfere in an intolerable way with your schedule, then tell them which parts you can participate in. It may well be that there is still value to have you involved when you are available.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:54 PM   #9
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Will you be able to work from home or would they want you in an office situation? Remote working was never an option for me, but it certainly is more the norm in industry than it used to be!

I did part-time "consulting" after retirement, and the management were very flexible; but if I'd gone away for a few months, they'd be forced to give away "my" desk.

OTOH, I turned down an offered position that would have fit your needs (popping in for a month and then leaving for an extended period). It involved course development and teaching, which I didn't want to do. I don't know how they handled desking (although I can imagine some scenarios, having been management myself ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
I'm not under any illusions about being loved that much and don't worry about sounding harsh. I am looking to have my reality challenged on this. And I do expect that the outcome is likely to be binary. That is why I am "on the cusp" and seeking guidance.

For more background, the Dept. is understaffed (management agrees) but they state that a full time position is not warranted. That was the opening for the strategy. There are a couple of non-time sensitive projects that have been shelved over the years, operating manual, training program, etc., that would fit the kind of schedule I am contemplating.
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Old 12-06-2021, 01:02 PM   #10
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Working on your schedule will be difficult, at least if you care to earn a decent income. Most consultants are hired because a company can't do something by itself at the moment. Unless you have very uncommon expertise, such opportunities rarely stick around for months because before long another consultant will take on the task. If you are not able to complete a deliverable to the client's satisfaction because your break time has started, you probably won't get paid for some/all the work you did. Some clients won't look at your deliverable for months, but when they do, they will expect you to be available right then to answer questions and make adjustments. If you are not available, your reputation will suffer.
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Old 12-06-2021, 06:36 PM   #11
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I should have added that this is not MegaCorp - it is a smallish non-public company
I would be fine with 50-60% of my ending salary, for 12-18 months.
The department is 2 people, and my position cannot be filled by the other individual so an external hire would be required.

I am thinking I should go in and say something like;

-I would like to transition out of my role
-I know that you will have to hire externally and I can offer some help in bringing that individual up to speed.
-We also know the department is under-resourced and I would like to propose a transition plan that might assist both issues.
-I propose transitioning out on a generally fixed schedule with my retirement date being April 30, after which I will take a break for a few months and then and then work with you on a consulting basis over the next 12 - 18 months to deliver some of the projects we have had to defer and/or provide whatever other assistance desired.

I won't say that I want months of block time on and off until I get their reaction to consulting at all.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-06-2021, 07:23 PM   #12
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I have worked with this company which matches Companies looking for information with people willing to be consultants in certain areas. A lot of the work is focus group related.
https://cleverx.com/
I didn't find CleverX, they liked my profile on LinkedIn and contacted me. You get paid via PayPal or similar app.
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:33 PM   #13
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I should have added that this is not MegaCorp - it is a smallish non-public company
I would be fine with 50-60% of my ending salary, for 12-18 months.
The department is 2 people, and my position cannot be filled by the other individual so an external hire would be required.

I am thinking I should go in and say something like;

-I would like to transition out of my role
-I know that you will have to hire externally and I can offer some help in bringing that individual up to speed.
-We also know the department is under-resourced and I would like to propose a transition plan that might assist both issues.
-I propose transitioning out on a generally fixed schedule with my retirement date being April 30, after which I will take a break for a few months and then and then work with you on a consulting basis over the next 12 - 18 months to deliver some of the projects we have had to defer and/or provide whatever other assistance desired.

I won't say that I want months of block time on and off until I get their reaction to consulting at all.

Thoughts?
Is this company your former, or soon to be, full time employer?
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:47 PM   #14
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I was about to chime-in on my experience, but mine was with a megacorp. I also wanted blocks of time off. Before I said anything, I was ready to quit anyway, so nothing to loose. So I went in and said I wanted blocks of time, and that I expected to give-up salary. They had no proposal. It was their way or the highway. I chose the highway.

Your idea to dangle the easy transition carrot before mentioning the blocks of time off might work in a smaller firm. I'd think, though, they'd have to believe you'd leave them in the lurch or the carrot would have no value. The place I left was in expected disarray because I was working for a fortune 500 and it got bought by a fortune 50...they expect a lot of breakage. So although there were a bunch of plans that the C-suite had that I was set to do, when the buyout happened, the C-suite was replaced and nobody seemed to care anymore, thus my leverage was gone.
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Old 12-07-2021, 05:31 AM   #15
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The company is my current employer - 6 years
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Old 12-07-2021, 05:59 AM   #16
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Talk with your boss or management about what they need. Unless they are desperate or in a pickle, the terms will be similar, on a pro rata basis, to your arrangement as a full time employee.

I don’t see this as a classical going concern consulting business. It’s a transition to retirement/phase out project. You don’t seem interested in setting yourself up as a company who will seek multiple clients over a period of years. Do you agree or have I missed something?

I don’t see them paying you more than your existing salary unless they are in a bind. In fact you will be paid less than your equivalent salary on an hourly basis if they don’t provide health insurance assistance, 401k contribution, etc etc. The pricing model I gave in the earlier post is for a stand alone going concern business.
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Old 12-07-2021, 01:02 PM   #17
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I see OP just getting shown the door.

Better be able to live/retire on current savings.

Might be better to keep current position, and just ask a month in advance of one of these long breaks to take vacation and unpaid time off.

Could even manage work projects to some degree to not be needed during the planned time off.
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Old 12-07-2021, 06:00 PM   #18
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You are correct - it is a phase out unless they wanted to continue it on favorable scheduling terms. I am ready to just leave as an alternative.

I don't want the responsibility (very stressful) of maintaining the role and asking for long vacation or leave. I would like to do the project type stuff that we could not accomplish because of being under-resourced. I want to be a half-time resource without daily obligations.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 12-12-2021, 08:22 PM   #19
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Just a small additional aside. If you do manage to establish this 1099 arrangement, you want to set up your eftps account through which you will pay estimated federal taxes throughout the year (and also the equivalent, for your state income tax.) Since your employer will no longer be withholding for taxes. It's easy to set up and easier to do.
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Old 12-12-2021, 09:02 PM   #20
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You could do this if you get a new job every Q4. I find the market has picked up recently as the next years budgets get released....but only on years where it was a solid year. There will always be companies that had a solid year and with the rise in remote work, it could be easiest to pick a remote job. How many years would you expect to do this? I mean in all honestly if you are only a year or two away from ER it wouldn't be hard to find a couple new jobs over 2 years provided they don't discriminate on age. But once the trend on the resume shows that you drop out of the workforce every summer, I would suspect employers might pass on hiring that scenario. It probably all depends on the market. I would also suggest you don't try this if you have like 5 to 10 more years before you are truly FI. Make sure the FU money is all set before trying to FU the company cuz they will operate with the mentality everyone is replaceable. Hell, even Elon Musk got kicked off the board of his company for doing some FU twitter stunts. Everyone is replaceable. IF you know the owner of the company personally that plan might be easier to execute. *MIGHT.
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