PDA

View Full Version : Is it harder today to be a contractor than 10 years ago?



PurpleGorilla
6th July 2015, 10:22
Discuss...

SimonMac
6th July 2015, 10:24
10 years ago I was a permie, today I am a contractor.

So for me its a no

PurpleGorilla
6th July 2015, 10:29
Same here, just wonder if the glory days are over?

TykeMerc
6th July 2015, 10:37
I've been a contractor for a lot more than the last 10 years, maybe it's my memory suffering from age, but I'd say it's no harder for me contracting now than 10 years back.

Mind you my skillset has changed with time and I was never a code monkey so I've never seen my function off shored.

alphadog
6th July 2015, 10:40
10 years ago I was a contractor. Still a contractor.

For me, the admin side of things is little changed. But as for the actual work side of things, getting new contract roles now is much more difficult than it was 10 years ago... seems to be much less work out there in my field atm.

DimPrawn
6th July 2015, 10:47
The Bob effect has certainly changed the Development/DBA/Testing/Support arena of contracting.

My last client replaced 90% of contractors with onsite Bobs from large consultancies. Lower rates than contractors, easy hiring process (phone call to Bob consultancy, fresh Bob arrives next day).

Then they have a few hard core contractors to do the actual work and fix all the Bob **** ups.

So yes, much harder now that 10 years ago from my experience. Much less affected are architect roles, BA, scrum masters and more touchy-feely people centric roles.

Dallas
6th July 2015, 10:50
I am 8 years in, 3 months out of contarct in 8 years is not bad.

It feels like there are more numpties around and did I mention TCS ...

expat
6th July 2015, 11:05
I am 8 years in, 3 months out of contarct in 8 years is not bad.

It feels like there are more numpties around and did I mention TCS ...Please don't.

VectraMan
6th July 2015, 11:38
10 years ago I was a permie and I am again. But I'm being made redundant :frown, so may well be a contractor again.

Certainly a few years ago it seemed there was very little contract work for the likes of me, which is how I ended up doing two permie roles in a row. Maybe it's better now; don't know.

original PM
6th July 2015, 11:56
What I have found is that as more and more people have their home network and have followed an install wizard to install a printer and have maybe sync ITunes with their computer, iPod and IPhone they now think they are IT experts.

So you sit in an listen to some finance execs or ops directors trying to make out they do not need extra IT help 'because they can do it because they have at home'

Obviously we all know the reality is they are clueless and only able to do the above things because it held their hand through the whole process.

Give them a c prompt and a flashing cursor and they will look at you blank.

So in my view it is harder in some ways due to 'everyone being an expert'

You views may vary!

expat
6th July 2015, 11:57
Being a contractor in the 1970s was amazing! I was a COBOL "freelance" and there were an estimated 600 or so of us in London in those days. You tended to know quite a large proportion of the contracting population. There was no IR35, no RTI, and no offshoring.

ELBBUBKUNPS
6th July 2015, 12:01
The Bob effect has certainly changed the Development/DBA/Testing/Support arena of contracting.

My last client replaced 90% of contractors with onsite Bobs from large consultancies. Lower rates than contractors, easy hiring process (phone call to Bob consultancy, fresh Bob arrives next day).

Then they have a few hard core contractors to do the actual work and fix all the Bob **** ups.

So yes, much harder now that 10 years ago from my experience. Much less affected are architect roles, BA, scrum masters and more touchy-feely people centric roles.

Agreed I see this all the time now, contract rates are down and more so in London as a lot of Bobbers like London, I see better rates up north now, I feel like the minority now.

BrilloPad
6th July 2015, 12:06
I contracted 1988 to 2009. And just restarted last month.

The glory days were the 90s.

But then I say that about everything....

Dallas
6th July 2015, 12:14
as a lot of Bobbers like London.

Unless they are seconded here and are expected to look after themselves; about 10 years ago at the inception of Bob at a particular bank they moved 6 over for ~6months to live in a couple of poncy corporate flats.

Problem after problem settling in culturally superceded their workability here: broken toilet seats in office bathrooms, stuff on the walls in the bathrooms, personal hygiene, laundry and just genrally looking after themselves was not proactively adressed - they wanted maids :)

ChimpMaster
6th July 2015, 12:30
Contracting wasn't that different 10 years ago but it was much better 20 years ago (before my time). Been 10 years contracting for me and this will be my last. My skillset is dated and frankly I have had enough of working my nuts off, even though I am charging more than I have ever in the past and more than I ever thought I could have.

The good times for contracting were in the 90s, well before I started. I have heard legends of contractors earning £1000/day back when house prices around the west of London were below £100k. Can you imagine, working a year and being able to buy 2 or 3 houses without needing a mortgage?

Nowadays it's a very hard grind for much less buying power. My grand a day doesn't make me feel well off at all; maybe I've forgotten the scale and value of what we provide, or perhaps I just don't care any more.

MyUserName
6th July 2015, 12:41
Nowadays it's a very hard grind for much less buying power. My grand a day doesn't make me feel well off at all; maybe I've forgotten the scale and value of what we provide, or perhaps I just don't care any more.

A grand a day does not make you feel well off??!?!!?

DimPrawn
6th July 2015, 12:45
I remember when Windows NT arrived on the scene, and Windows admin contractors (adding users, resetting passwords, checking disk usage, complex stuff :wink) were getting £400/day and living it large. You could buy a nice house every year, and still have enough for a couple of 911's.

vetran
6th July 2015, 12:50
Contracting wasn't that different 10 years ago but it was much better 20 years ago (before my time). Been 10 years contracting for me and this will be my last. My skillset is dated and frankly I have had enough of working my nuts off, even though I am charging more than I have ever in the past and more than I ever thought I could have.

The good times for contracting were in the 90s, well before I started. I have heard legends of contractors earning £1000/day back when house prices around the west of London were below £100k. Can you imagine, working a year and being able to buy 2 or 3 houses without needing a mortgage?

Nowadays it's a very hard grind for much less buying power. My grand a day doesn't make me feel well off at all; maybe I've forgotten the scale and value of what we provide, or perhaps I just don't care any more.

most workers would be amazed by £1000/week. Even if you only work a third of the year then you are in the top 10% of earners.

Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2014 Provisional Results - ONS (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ashe/annual-survey-of-hours-and-earnings/2014-provisional-results/stb-ashe-statistical-bulletin-2014.html)

DimPrawn
6th July 2015, 12:56
A grand a day does not make you feel well off??!?!!?

Before or after tax?

woohoo
6th July 2015, 13:06
I started contracting about 8 years ago in the North West, pretty much the same now as then. I do remember speaking to a contractor the year before I became a contractor, I was amazed at his day rate and told him so, his eyes misted over and he told me the good days where a few years before him. So perhaps I missed the good days by a couple of years!

I've noticed more eastern Europeans in the pool of available developers.

PurpleGorilla
6th July 2015, 13:38
The good times for contracting were in the 90s, well before I started. I have heard legends of contractors earning £1000/day back when house prices around the west of London were below £100k. Can you imagine, working a year and being able to buy 2 or 3 houses without needing a mortgage?

Wow. That would have been so good!

GlenW
6th July 2015, 13:52
most workers would be amazed by £1000/week. Even if you only work a third of the year then you are in the top 10% of earners.

Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2014 Provisional Results - ONS (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ashe/annual-survey-of-hours-and-earnings/2014-provisional-results/stb-ashe-statistical-bulletin-2014.html)
If it's true that is.

lukemg
6th July 2015, 14:27
Just over 19 years under my belt, personally earning better than early years but prob cos was doing basic stuff back then.
Time to pack in ? Apparently it's time when 'you've got enough and you've had enough'. One out of two so far....

Flashman
6th July 2015, 15:32
Easier? Don't know.

The rates are much the same as 10 years ago though. :ohwell

Yampy
6th July 2015, 21:39
My own experience is that it's defo more difficult to become a contractor now, especially getting your first contract. 90's was boom time. in 1994 I was looking for a permanent job and an agency literally begged me to help them out as they could not get a contractor for a role. It was not even a niche skill set just straight forward desktop support so I thought why not and jumped in. The rate then was £15ph which was decent for 1st/2nd line support in those days. There were plenty roles and a lot less contractors then. The clientco offered me a permie role after 2 years that was me permie until this year. Looking for a contact now was a different experience. Took 4 months but eventually got one and am 3 weeks into a 6 monther

TestMangler
6th July 2015, 21:57
I started in the early 90's and guys who could sit and shovel floppy disks in and out to install software and OS could easily make a grand a week. My techie skills were a bit more specialised, and despite people laughing when you tell them you were an OS/2 server techie, it was high demand right up to the end of 1999 where you could pick and choose jobs and negotiate decent rates. Having come from the civil service (on about £19K) to £1.5K pw was bloody good fun :laugh Techie job rates died in early 2000 but by then I'd moved away from that kind of stuff. Peaked out in 2000/2001 for me on £4K pw and rates seem to have just slowly dropped since then with the odd blip.

I would think it must be a lot harder to get started now with just about all 'doings' type roles being offshored

SussexSeagull
6th July 2015, 22:20
I started in 2008 and after a slow start due to a combination of the economy and not knowing what I was doing rates have crept up since although seemed to have plateaued (not that I am complaining).

In testing I genuinely think outsourcing has peaked.

Lockhouse
7th July 2015, 10:21
Easier? Don't know.

The rates are much the same as 10 years ago though. :ohwell

This. Been contracting over 25 years. My rate pretty much unchanged for the last 15. I used be able to save loads. Now I can't.

Bobs and politicians equally to blame IMVHO.

quackhandle
7th July 2015, 10:23
No LinkedIn ten years ago and my last two gigs have been from LI (both direct with client).

qh

ChimpMaster
7th July 2015, 10:36
I started in the early 90's and guys who could sit and shovel floppy disks in and out to install software and OS could easily make a grand a week. My techie skills were a bit more specialised, and despite people laughing when you tell them you were an OS/2 server techie, it was high demand right up to the end of 1999 where you could pick and choose jobs and negotiate decent rates. Having come from the civil service (on about £19K) to £1.5K pw was bloody good fun :laugh Techie job rates died in early 2000 but by then I'd moved away from that kind of stuff. Peaked out in 2000/2001 for me on £4K pw

£4k a week in year 2000, so you were part of the hayday group :yay:

TestMangler
7th July 2015, 10:41
£4k a week in year 2000, so you were part of the hayday group :yay:

It was actually part way into 2000 when contractors were starting to struggle that I hit my peak (or lucky streak). I made virtually f*** all out of the lead up to Y2K. A friend who was an old time programmer made a bleedin' mint though. He built an extension which doubled the size of his house which he still calls "The Millennium 'find and replace' Wing" :laugh

eek
7th July 2015, 10:50
This. Been contracting over 25 years. My rate pretty much unchanged for the last 15. I used be able to save loads. Now I can't.

Bobs and politicians equally to blame IMVHO.

Knowing the lay of the land I started a concerted plan to move up the food chain 2 years ago. Picked a specialist tool in a technology stack with decent rates and made sure I know the ins and outs of it.

I think my next rate will confirm that I made the correct choice... The one thing I already know is that I can now pick the client rather than the client picking me.

In fact I just told crapita I won't jump through their hoops....

jamesbrown
7th July 2015, 10:57
Knowing the lay of the land I started a concerted plan to move up the food chain 2 years ago. Picked a specialist tool in a technology stack with decent rates and made sure I know the ins and outs of it.

I think my next rate will confirm that I made the correct choice... The one thing I already know is that I can now pick the client rather than the client picking me.

In fact I just told crapita I won't jump through their hoops....

Definitely the way to go (not just in IT). It introduces some risk, and there's obviously a balance, but a specialist skillset puts you in control.

NotAllThere
7th July 2015, 11:14
... My grand a day doesn't make me feel well off at all.£1000 a day? INKSPE.

I started 1996. By 2000, I was on around £80 per hour. Then it tanked to around £50 an hour. However, now I've found my niche, I've been pulling in more income year on year. Even with the expense of living in Switzerland, I find I feel pretty wealthy. There's no saving up for anything, and, except for mortgage, no debt.

darmstadt
7th July 2015, 12:12
My first contract was in 1986 on 5,50 an hour. I think that its got better since then :happy

ChimpMaster
7th July 2015, 12:33
Knowing the lay of the land I started a concerted plan to move up the food chain 2 years ago. Picked a specialist tool in a technology stack with decent rates and made sure I know the ins and outs of it.

I think my next rate will confirm that I made the correct choice... The one thing I already know is that I can now pick the client rather than the client picking me.

In fact I just told crapita I won't jump through their hoops....

I need to change tech and pretty soon - in around 6 months' time. I was thinking of going permie to be able to do this, but it wouldn't be an easy thing to stomach. Would you be willing to share your ideas on how you went about evolving? (PM if better)

unixman
7th July 2015, 12:57
I started contracting in 2006. Rates increased rapidly then tanked in 2008 of course. Now rates in my line of work are about the same (numerically) as they were in 2006, in other words (with inflation) down by about 10%.

Finding work seems about as difficult as it was in 2006. Being a systems administrator/designer, I have been a little less affected by off-shoring than some, but still affected.

BrilloPad
7th July 2015, 13:01
My first contract was in 1986 on 5,50 an hour. I think that its got better since then :happy

I was 1988. £17.5/hour. Which was a big step up from £21k a year!

1995 I was on £45 an hour.

1999 was £80/hour.

<sigh>

eek
7th July 2015, 13:04
Knowing the lay of the land I started a concerted plan to move up the food chain 2 years ago. Picked a specialist tool in a technology stack with decent rates and made sure I know the ins and outs of it.

I think my next rate will confirm that I made the correct choice... The one thing I already know is that I can now pick the client rather than the client picking me.

In fact I just told crapita I won't jump through their hoops....

Contract option 1 is in after a 40 minute chat yesterday during which a single question was asked...

option 2 will appear tomorrow...

Boom thread will appear once I decide which to take..

So either I'm getting far better at interviews or the market is better in certain sectors than others...

eek
7th July 2015, 14:04
Contract option 1 is in after a 40 minute chat yesterday during which a single question was asked...

option 2 will appear tomorrow...

Boom thread will appear once I decide which to take..

So either I'm getting far better at interviews or the market is better in certain sectors than others...

Back up plan for option 1 has sent his CV in. So they won't be left in the lurch if I go for option 2...

BolshieBastard
7th July 2015, 18:25
Discuss...

Yes.

Discussed.