contractor http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5536/all en-US Architect, Designer, or Contractor: Who Should You Hire for Your Project? http://www.wisebread.com/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538862504.jpg" alt="Couple deciding if they need an architect, contractor, or designer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'd like to add a bathroom to my home, but my budget will be limited. One thing I've been wondering: What professionals will I need to hire to do the job? Should I spend money on a designer or architect to plan the space out? Or should I just hire a contractor and tell them where I want the toilet, sink, and shower?</p> <p>Researching this question, I learned that it's important to understand the difference between these professionals and what they do.</p> <h2>The architect</h2> <p>An architect comes to your home and listens to your hopes and dreams for the remodeling project, talks about your budget, then draws up a plan to make it happen. An architect's involvement could stop there, or you could hire them to manage the project, selecting and checking up on the contractor.</p> <h3>An architect's qualifications</h3> <p>Architects are state-licensed, a process that requires a degree in architecture, an apprenticeship, and an exam to prove their mastery of building technologies, structural safety, and regulations.</p> <h3>What an architect costs</h3> <p>The standard cost is $50 to $200 per hour, or a 5 percent to 20 percent project fee if overseeing the whole thing.</p> <h2>The designer</h2> <p>A designer will use their expertise to come up with appealing ideas for carrying out your desires, give budget estimates, and draw plans. A basic design would include the floor plan and built-in features such as cupboards, while a full-service designer might include color and material ideas, and even shopping for fixtures. Designers are less likely to manage the whole project than architects are, but some do.</p> <h3>A designer's qualifications</h3> <p>Some states license designers, while others don't. They don't generally need to have a degree, but you can find out if they've done good work by asking for customer references.</p> <h3>What a designer costs</h3> <p>Their rates are typically $50 to $200 per hour &mdash; yes, a similar range as an architect &mdash; although architects tend to charge more than designers. Some designers have a minimum project fee of, say, $5,000. One design firm recommends that you <a href="http://carlaaston.com/designed/" target="_blank">budget 8 percent to 12 percent of your project</a> for design.</p> <h2>The contractor</h2> <p>Generally, the contractor will oversee the entire project and make sure everything is done according to your expectations. They will determine the cost and give you a contract, design it, provide the carpenter, plumber, and other workers, and supervise the work. The contractor may have a designer or architect in-house that they partner with, or they may be open to working with a professional of your choice. Many contractors are quite willing to do the design themselves, if given the opportunity.</p> <h3>A contractor's qualifications</h3> <p>Contractors must pass exams to become licensed, and without that license, they won't be able to pull permits with local authorities to get your job done on the up and up.</p> <h3>What a contractor costs</h3> <p>Instead of charging you an hourly rate, contractors generally pay themselves on a &quot;cost plus&quot; basis &mdash; that is, they take the amount they expect the project to cost to complete, then add a markup, often 50 percent. So, if they estimate that the labor and materials for your job will cost $20,000, they'll charge $30,000. That extra $10,000 isn't pure profit, though, since they'll have to pay overhead out of it.</p> <h2>So, which one should you hire?</h2> <p>Experts say it depends on the scope of the job.</p> <p>&quot;Many experienced contractors are as well equipped to deal with a simple remodel as an architect,&quot; writes Bob Vila. Because of minimum per-project fees, designer Carla Aston recommends doing the design yourself, with your contractor, if the project is under $10,000. If you want some design advice for small projects, you could hire a designer for a consultation, or work with someone who does online-only plans without physically visiting your space.</p> <p>Another way to look at the size of the project is to compare it to the value of your home. A project costing more than 5 percent of a home's value calls for an architect, Stamford, Connecticut, construction manager William Harke told Houselogic. So, if your home is worth $500,000, and you have a $25,000 budget for a kitchen update, get an architect.</p> <p>Personally, I let the contractor do the design for a $15,000 bathroom remodel, and while it worked out fine, I wished I'd had a little more input on ideas for, say, improving storage.</p> <p>With projects that cost more, who you hire depends on how much structural change you're looking at. While both a designer and an architect may have plans checked by an engineer to avoid safety problems, you're better off with an architect if your project involves expanding the footprint of your home, moving walls, or adding a level. Designers should be able to create a room's floor plans and suggest finishes. An architect's strength tends to lean toward the structural, a designer's skews toward the aesthetic &mdash; although both will certainly consider both aspects of a plan.</p> <p>Where I live, adding a bathroom will probably cost at least $25,000. Because that's more than $10,000, but less than 5 percent of my home value, because I won't need to change the structure of my home, and because I need ideas about how to fold as much storage as possible into a tight space, I plan to hire a designer &mdash; not an architect &mdash; for a consultation, and possibly to draw up the plan. I'll budget $2,500 of my $25,000 budget to pay this professional.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Is DIY Home Renovating for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-spruce-up-your-unfinished-basement-for-under-100">10 Ways to Spruce Up Your Unfinished Basement for Under $100</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-problems-you-can-solve-with-duct-tape">13 Problems You Can Solve With Duct Tape</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home architect contractor designer home design home renovation Home repair projects renovation tips Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:30:37 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1913751 at http://www.wisebread.com How You Can Earn $18 to $25 an Hour With Amazon Flex http://www.wisebread.com/how-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_89271679_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="make money delivering for amazon flex" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever wondered how your Amazon orders magically appear so fast, you have the workers behind Amazon Flex to thank. And if you're looking for extra income, or are thinking about making a jump into the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy">gig economy</a>, Amazon Flex can be a great side hustle. Paying $18-25 an hour, it's an excellent way to make money on your own schedule.</p> <h2>What Is Amazon Flex?</h2> <p>For Amazon Prime Now deliveries, the giant online retailer hires independent contractors to make deliveries. It's more cost-efficient for them than using major delivery companies like UPS, and allows them to guarantee delivery within just an hour or two.</p> <p>Amazon Flex is only available in certain markets right now, including Arlington (VA), Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Richmond, Rockville (MD), San Antonio, Seattle, Springfield (VA), Tampa Bay, and Virginia Beach. However, Prime Now is growing in demand, so it's likely that Amazon will expand its services to new regions soon.</p> <p>Amazon Flex drivers earn between $18 and $25 an hour, based on their per-delivery payment and on tips from customers. Drivers can pick up delivery blocks on the days they want to work, and they can schedule their availability for the future.</p> <p>As a driver, you pick up items at the Amazon distribution center and deliver them directly to people's homes. Items can range from a blow dryer at 10:00 p.m. to a bag of dog food in the morning.</p> <h2>How Do I Become a Driver?</h2> <p>To become an Amazon Flex driver, you need an Amazon account. Then <a href="https://flex.amazon.com/">visit the Flex website</a> and submit your information. If you're located in a participating city, you will get an email with a webinar link. The webinar will teach you how the program works and how to use the Flex app. After the webinar, you will be asked to submit your driver's license number and car details; a clean driving record and background check is required. Once you've completed this process, you're ready to start working. You can set up your availability and start picking up orders right away.</p> <h2>What Does a Regular Day Look Like?</h2> <p>When you show up to the distribution center, you will wait in a designated area for Amazon Flex drivers. An employee will call your name and give you the orders. Sometimes you will have just one package, and other days you will be handed several. Like Uber or Lyft, you use your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">smartphone</a> to track orders and customer locations.</p> <p>Each package will have special instructions, such as &quot;deliver only if someone is home&quot; or &quot;check customer ID&quot; &mdash; especially for liquor deliveries &mdash; and more. If you have any issues, Amazon does offer support to their drivers to help you navigate the process and any situations that arise. Once you are finished, you can head back and get back in line for more deliveries.</p> <h2>Benefits of Amazon Flex</h2> <p>With Amazon Flex, $18 an hour is the minimum pay rate; you are guaranteed that amount as long as you work. Additionally, customers can give tips online up to 48 hours after delivery and you receive 100% of the tipped amount.</p> <h2>Downsides of Amazon Flex</h2> <p>While the pay is excellent and the job is low-pressure, Amazon does not guarantee a minimum of hours. While one week you may be able to do 20 hours of deliveries, the next you may not get any. It can be a convenient way to make a decent side income, but it is not reliable enough to be a steady source of money.</p> <p>Amazon Flex is another entry into the gig economy that allows you to use an app and pick up jobs when you have the time. An excellent supplement to your day job, you can take on orders and earn a good hourly wage when you have free time.</p> <p><em>Would you consider working for Amazon Flex? Why or why not? Share with us!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20You%20Can%20Earn%20%2418%20to%20%2425%20an%20Hour%20With%20Amazon%20Flex.jpg&amp;description=How%20You%20Can%20Earn%20%2418%20to%20%2425%20an%20Hour%20With%20Amazon%20Flex" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20You%20Can%20Earn%20%2418%20to%20%2425%20an%20Hour%20With%20Amazon%20Flex.jpg" alt="How You Can Earn $18 to $25 an Hour With Amazon Flex" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy">Can You Really Make a Living in the Gig Economy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-more-money-as-an-uber-driver">How to Get a High Rating and Make More Money as an Uber Driver</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-side-benefits-of-your-side-hustle">5 Unexpected Side Benefits of Your Side Hustle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-must-know-about-money-before-you-take-a-side-job">10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before You Take a Side Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Amazon Amazon Flex contractor gig economy part-time job side gig side hustle side job Wed, 17 Aug 2016 09:31:16 +0000 Kat Tretina 1773890 at http://www.wisebread.com Google pays you $10 per business referral http://www.wisebread.com/google-pays-you-10-per-business-referral <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/google-pays-you-10-per-business-referral" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Google.jpg" alt="google chinese search results" title="google chinese search results" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="214" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Google is launching a <a href="http://www.google.com/services/local-business-referrals/repfaq.html">business referral program</a>, which means that you can earn $10 for every verified business listing that you send Google. You basically go to local businesses, tell them a bit about Google, take down some info, take some digital photos, and submit the information to Google.</p> <p>Kind of like <a href="http://www.yelp.com">Yelp</a>, only you don&#39;t get to give much of an opinion, and you actually get cash in return.</p> <p><em>As a Google Business Referral Representative, you&#39;ll visit local businesses to collect information (such as hours of operation, types of payment accepted, etc.) for Google Maps, and tell them about Google Maps and Google AdWords. You&#39;ll also take a few digital photos of the business that will appear on the Google Maps listing along with the business information. After the visit, you submit the business&#39; info and photo(s) to Google through your Local Business Referrals Center, and we&#39;ll pay you up to $10 for each listing that is approved by Google and verified by the business.</em></p> <p>Want to make some extra cash? You have to be a U.S. citizen, over 18 years of age, and able to fill out a W-9 form. As long as you make more than $25 per month, Google will send you a monthly check. Keep in mind that you will eventually have to declare the income on your taxes.</p> <p>I&#39;ve always been slightly wary of stuff that Google does, but seeing as how they pay me to blog, I guess I can&#39;t turn my nose up at TOO many of their offers. But don&#39;t take this as an endorsement per se. Just an FYI.</p> <p>*Update* <a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2007/08/take-picture-get-10-from-google.html">Dumb Little Man</a> beat me to this post. Drat! I thought I was the first one to find out about it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/google-pays-you-10-per-business-referral">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-paris-hilton-in-the-wwe-be-the-biggest-draw-ever-for-search-engines">Would Paris Hilton in the WWE be the biggest draw ever for search engines?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-you-can-earn-18-to-25-an-hour-with-amazon-flex">How You Can Earn $18 to $25 an Hour With Amazon Flex</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor">8 Good Reasons to Become a Contractor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-would-you-like-a-free-car">How would you like a free car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-in-your-yard-how-to-sell-palm-trees-for-cash">Money in Your Yard: How to Sell Palm Trees For Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Big Brother business referrals contractor digital photographs Google Making Extra Cash Thu, 09 Aug 2007 22:04:17 +0000 Andrea Karim 975 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Freelance: The Top 10 Tips http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bizwoman.jpg" alt="business woman" title="business woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you made your move: you&rsquo;re finally out on your own, earning a living on your terms.</p> <p>No more commuting, no more answering to middle-management and say goodbye to bad office coffee. <em>You&rsquo;re</em> the boss&hellip; and the salesperson, bookkeeper, janitor and receptionist; you&rsquo;ll have to do your work and, in most cases, handle the other aspects of your budding business that &ndash; up until now &ndash; were handled by a co-worker at your last salaried position.</p> <p>Congratulations, you&rsquo;re now a freelancer, contractor, consultant, etc.</p> <p>As a small business owner there will be various tasks for which you&rsquo;ll be responsible and can seem overwhelming, at times. But, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow to make your time worth more. And that value can be measured by a combination of money and self-satisfaction:</p> <h3>Stay Organized</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll need tools for communication, tracking your money, writing invoices and managing your projects. One of the most comprehensive lists I&rsquo;ve found that&rsquo;s chock full of useful software is <a title="Freelancer's Toolkit" target="_blank" href="http://www.cogniview.com/convert-pdf-to-excel/post/the-freelancers-toolset-100-web-apps-for-everything-you-will-possibly-need/">The Freelancer&rsquo;s Toolset</a>. Peruse the list but don&rsquo;t feel you need every item; simplicity is best, so choose only what you need or you&rsquo;ll just make more work for yourself playing with all the cool stuff;</p> <h3>Kill The Distractions</h3> <p>There will <em>always</em> be something you&rsquo;ll think of to avoid starting a project, calling a client or doing paperwork. Even if you have a home-office, temptation lurks in every open newspaper, unkempt garden or messy garage.</p> <p>And besides seemingly productive tasks like rearranging your sock drawer or alphabetizing your canned goods, the Internet will &ndash;if you let it &ndash; pull you in and drag you down. Your friends over at iMyTubeBlogFace will have to wait&hellip; you&rsquo;re on the clock;</p> <h3>Set Aside Time For Specific Tasks</h3> <p>In a way, this is part of staying organized <em>and</em> killing distractions: you restrict your time for certain tasks.</p> <p>Throughout the course of the day it&rsquo;ll be tempting to send or reply to every email every few minutes, or chat with either friends or clients on the phone. But you are at a real job, even if you&rsquo;re still wearing pj&rsquo;s (yes, I&rsquo;m talkin&rsquo; to you).</p> <p>Unless it&rsquo;s really important, most phone calls and email exchanges can wait until you have time to devote to them when you&rsquo;ve completed your task. Constant interruption, spread out over small intervals over a workday, can add up to a lot of lost productivity and late evenings working to catch up;</p> <h3>Networking</h3> <p>I think everyone understands the indisputable value of this: no one knows you&rsquo;re there unless you tell them you are. Join your business&rsquo;s professional organization and attend some functions; also, sites like <a title="Ning" target="_blank" href="http://www.ning.com/">Ning</a> and <a title="LinkedIn" target="_blank" href="http://www.linkedin.com/">LinkedIn</a> are just a couple of many online resources for making contacts.</p> <p>Hopefully, you haven&rsquo;t burned any bridges so keep in touch with ex- coworkers and, if appropriate, vendors. Contacting clients of your last employer, though, probably isn&rsquo;t a great idea; your relationship with your ex-employer may prove to be more valuable in the long run;</p> <h3>Define Your Terms</h3> <p>You are a business, and, among other parameters that you&rsquo;ve established, you have fees, you keep reasonable business hours and you have payment terms that keep you self-employed. Prices are (and should be) negotiable, time is flexible; but getting paid is neither of these.</p> <p>Be fair with your clients, both with your prices for your service and with the time you spend working with them; but you need to get paid, and on terms you decide. Your clients should respect this or you won&rsquo;t be in business for very long;</p> <h3>Outsource</h3> <p>There may be times that, to successfully complete a project, you might need to enlist the help of someone with an expertise that you don&rsquo;t possess. In fact, sometimes the growth of a successful business is not measured by the hours you put in doing the labor, but by how you delegate work and manage various aspects of your project that can be handled by someone else;</p> <h3>Work <em>With</em> Your Client, Not <em>For</em> Your Client</h3> <p>Think of your relationship with your client as a partnership: you are an extension of their business, applying your particular skill to help them achieve their goal. You might be designing their web site, writing the copy for their annual report or handling their public relations; your goals should be their goals, because your success depends on their success;</p> <h3>Fire Your Client</h3> <p>A controversial statement? Maybe. But consider this: if you devote a lot of your time and effort to a client that has high demands but is never satisfied, what have you accomplished? I had a client that called me almost daily and, it seemed, gave me a lot of work. But at the end of the year, after having devoted myself to try and meet their expectations, I did a breakout of how much I earned per job from this client: it was far less than what I thought, and the reality was that it was only a few small- to medium-sized jobs I worked on, although it felt like much more when I considered the time I put in.</p> <p>If you are spending a lot of unproductive (and unprofitable) time trying to please a client, it&rsquo;s probably best for you both if you part company;</p> <h3>Do Your Work, Then Step Back&hellip;</h3> <p>&hellip; the only path to serenity. Wise words from <a title="Tao Te Ching" target="_blank" href="http://www.mindfully.org/Tao-Te-Ching-Lao-tzu.htm">Lao-tzu</a> . If you&rsquo;re passionate about your work, sometimes it can eclipse the reason you work and why you went out on your own: to have a different <em>lifestyle</em>. I&rsquo;ve worked weekends, nights and even some holidays because sometimes there are unexpected circumstances that require you to make a sacrifice now and then to get the job done, and get it done right.</p> <p>But no one says you have to work 14-hour days, 6-7 days a week; it defeats the purpose of quitting a salaried job to become an entrepreneur. Don&rsquo;t feel guilty if you take some time off;</p> <h3>And The Last Guideline Is&hellip;</h3> <p>&hellip;up to you.</p> <p><em>You</em> decide what&rsquo;s important, how you want to work and how you plan on meeting expectations &ndash; both your own and your client&rsquo;s.</p> <p>You started on your own for a reason; keep that reason in mind when you fill in this last guideline you plan to follow &ndash; it might be the most valuable one of all.</p> <h3><em>Other Resources:</em></h3> <p><a title="SBA" target="_blank" href="http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html">SBA Small Business Planner</a> <br /> <a title="Determine your rate" target="_blank" href="http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/">Determine Your Rate</a> <br /> <a title="Startup Journal" target="_blank" href="http://www.startupjournal.com/">Startup Journal</a> <em> (from the Wall Street Journal)</em><br /> <a title="CentralDesktop" target="_blank" href="http://centraldesktop.com/">CentralDesktop</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ed-oreilly">Ed O&#039;Reilly</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor">8 Good Reasons to Become a Contractor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate">To Start or Not: The Entrepreneurial Debate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship consultant contractor entrepreneur freelance Fri, 27 Jul 2007 07:57:00 +0000 Ed O'Reilly 910 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Simple Rules that Your Work-at-Home Employer Should Follow http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-rules-that-your-work-at-home-employer-should-follow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-simple-rules-that-your-work-at-home-employer-should-follow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/work_at_home.jpg" alt="desk with computer and papers" title="desk with computer and papers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working from home, as a contractor or full-time employee for a legitimate business, seems to be a great way of making money while keeping a flexible schedule with plenty of time for family, friends, fun, and sleep. Or is it? </p> <p>Last year, I investigated contract writing as a way to give myself what I thought might be a more me-friendly schedule. So I sent some samples in response to an ad in a professional-association newsletter, completed a do-it-our-way training session, and started accepting project assignments. </p> <p>The good news is that the company paid on time, precisely what it promised. But hardly anything else matched what a reasonable person (me) would have presumed based on communications with the company owner and its designated trainer / tyrant. </p> <p>The pay, though advertised as excellent, was below even my fairly priced rates. But, according to the owner, each of a nearly full stable of happy, qualified, and loyal writers could complete 2 assignments per day (sometimes 3) so that, according to my math, an assignment should take 4 hours for completion. Given the speed and volume with which I could complete the projects, I could supplement my income very nicely. </p> <p>I was assigned to a trainer who would teach me the company’s way. Perhaps I should have been concerned that she shared the name of a former Caribbean-Basin dictator but I pressed on. </p> <p>According to the agreement, I would confirm my availability to complete each project upon its receipt. In practice, however, I was asked to give a number of weekly assignments that I could handle, which I did, calculated on the 4-hour average. Straying below that number, I later learned, had to be approved by the owner. </p> <p>The assignments involved reviewing client-supplied documents (2 – 20+ pages, occasionally with conflicting information); preparing a 2-5 page, well-written, and completely proofed draft within 48 hours; and responding promptly to any client concerns that included dissatisfaction with the prescribed and unchangeable format.</p> <p>Let me admit that I am a steady but sometimes slow processor of information. I like to review, reflect, analyze, synthesize, and then recast words into a what I hope will be a compelling, though corporate-like, story. Sometimes, I can assemble, knead, bake, and deliver a project within 24 or 48 hours but oftentimes I cannot. Bottom line, it took me a minimum of 4 hours and an average of 8 hours to complete the assignments. </p> <p>Trying to fit it all in (the assignments and the ever-increasing workload from my own business) took nearly every waking hour. I did ask my trainer-turned-manager for tips on speeding up the process. I received silence in response. Questions on how to handle certain scenarios according to the company way were met with what I now deem the Management-by-Magic-8-Ball method: “do what you think is right,” “all signs point to yes,” etc. If I asked the wrong question, misunderstood a requirement, or made a mistake, I would receive the digital equivalent of being yelled at: an email with words written in a very large font. </p> <p>I never dreamed that a virtual work environment could be run like a sweat shop. </p> <p>Less than 7 weeks into my tenure as a contract writer, I quit. </p> <p>My choice was simple, but for others who are breadwinners with little time to search for another position, quitting is not so easy. For example, the husband of a friend has been telecommuting for a large, publicly-held, seemingly well-run company. His job is to provide technical services 24/7 to a designated customer. As the customer grew over the years, so did his workload. His pay and his support from the company (none, ever, it seems) did not change. To maintain service levels, he became chained to his computer, sleeping erratically to view system performance throughout the day and night, and unable to take a few days off in a wireless location. Sure, he could have quit (before a mild illness turned bad and put him in the hospital, etc.) but there should be accountability on the part of the employer, who seemed to have to dangled the promise of a change in schedule or staffing without ever making one. </p> <p>Here are 7 simple rules for companies who engage work-at-home employees or contractors: </p> <p>1. Deliver what you promise when recruiting new employees or contractors. </p> <p>2. Set policies for time off / days off that are easy to understand and easy to follow.</p> <p>3. Require your employees to visit a physician at least once a year.</p> <p>4. Make sure that compensation is competitive for hourly workers as well as salaried employees or pay-per-project contractors.</p> <p>5. Limit hours on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis.</p> <p>6. Encourage employees to take a vacation and provide back-up support for the vacation.</p> <p>7. Evaluate virtual workplace arrangements on an annual basis, identify changes needed, set a deadline for making them, and stick to it.</p> <p>If you are a work-at-home employee or contractor, it&#39;s your job to make sure your work-at-home employer plays by the rules. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-rules-that-your-work-at-home-employer-should-follow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-an-employee-to-do-part-2">What&#039;s an employee to do? Part 2</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-society-of-fear">A Society of Fear</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-warning-signs-your-new-boss-may-be-a-bad-boss">10 Warning Signs Your New Boss May Be a Bad Boss</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-work-at-home-without-driving-your-spouse-nuts">How to Work at Home Without Driving Your Spouse Nuts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-your-boss-wishes-you-knew">10 Things Your Boss Wishes You Knew</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income contractor employee employer telecommuting work at home Thu, 21 Jun 2007 01:23:47 +0000 Julie Rains 763 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Good Reasons to Become a Contractor http://www.wisebread.com/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pencil.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Contracting: it ain't your grandpa's job. No, really.</p> <p>There was a time, not that long ago, in which Americans would graduate from college, get a job, and stick with that job until retirement. As we all know, those days are long gone. But I still know a fair number of people who stick it out in boring, dead-end jobs because they don't want the change (or, of course, some people simply can't afford to leave their job for whatever reason).</p> <p>For those of us who can risk a little more, though, well, why shouldn't we leave crappy jobs behind? Now, I'm not one to turn down an excellent, well-paying permanent position with a good company. In my profession (and geographic area), it much easier to find contract work than a full-time position. And while I used to be wary of being a paid-by-the-hour worker, I'm coming to appreciate the charms of time cards.</p> <p>I'll admit that sometimes, I get weirded out by how many jobs I've had. My resume grows by leaps and bounds, and of course, my parents would rather I find a nice job and settle down. But I find it hard to do so, and here's why.<br /> Big companies, like Microsoft, get around all kinds of pesky &quot;workers' rights&quot; laws by not actually hiring nearly as many people as they need. They'd rather pay another company to hire you, and then pay them a ridiculous hourly rate for your services and skills. Supposedly, this still saves them money in the long run.</p> <p>I've worked a lot of contracts around in the Seattle area, and at least for now, I think it might be the best way to work. Below are some of my reasons for choosing contract work.</p> <p><strong>It's all about the hours, so schedules are more flexible. </strong>Now, this isn't always the case. A couple of contracts ago, I had a boss that threw a fit if any of her contractors took more than an hour for lunch. Never mind that you can only bill for the hours that you were working - she just wanted to be sure she had her eye on you at all times. But when you land an easy-going boss (and this depends largely on your industry) you get the pleasure of more or less deciding when you want to work.</p> <p>For instance, yesterday, I woke up with a splitting headache. I was lying around with an ice pack on my forehead and the ibuprofen nearby, but I was comfortable in knowing that I didn't have to say anything to my boss, because all he expects from me is 8 hours a day - he doesn't care WHICH eight hours I work. People who need to take their kids to the doctors don't have to call in to explain. We could work from 3PM to 12AM every day, and our boss would be satisfied. It's about getting the work done.</p> <p><strong>You are spared the politics.</strong> Not always. But I find it remarkably easy to remain completely and utterly apathetic when it comes to office drama when I am working as a contractor. Person A not getting along with Person B? Not my problem. Back-stabbing in the editorial department? Like I care. People under insane pressure to be finished with this project? Sure, I'll put in my overtime, but I'm not going to get emotionally involved or freak out.<br /> This isn't to say that I don't want my project to succeed, because of course I do, but I'll be gone in six months, so I refuse to get bogged down in personality conflicts and social drama. I'd like to make a good impression, and leave with everyone knowing that I had nothing bad to say about anyone. The lack of stress can be amazing; I actually think I have fewer wrinkles now than I did when I first started working here.</p> <p><strong>You don't get called to as many meetings.</strong> I don't, anyway. Project managers do. No one cares what writers think. This all depends on your level of importance: I'm currently a well-compensated peon. But there are people who contract as project managers or business development managers, and I'm sure they spend all day in meetings. But a lot of contractors simply aren't considered important enough to include on decision and policy meetings - fine with me. I don't intend to make my career at this place, so they can decide whatever they want without me around.</p> <p><strong>You can still get benefits if you want.</strong> I need really good&nbsp;health insurance coverage, other people don't. The company that I actually work for, who hires me out to Microsoft and other large corporations, offers decent benefits packages. I get paid vacation, life insurance, and vision, dental, and health. Now, I could work as a true contractor, hiring myself out as part of my own business, and then I could charge an INSANE amount of money per hour to make up for the lack of benefits. I'll write more about this later.</p> <p><strong>Overtime, baby.</strong> Man, oh, man, do I love earning time and a half for twenty hours a week. If you are lucky enough to land on a team that desperately needs you to work overtime, take advantage of it. If Microsoft were to hire me to a permanent position (unlikely), I'd still have to work 70 hours a week, for less money. In fact, my current team has at least four former full-time employees who chose to become contractors because their family lives were falling apart as they struggled to balance 80-hour work weeks with home life. Another contractor, who is in her seventies, retired from Microsoft, but got bored sitting at home. She's perfectly happy to work as a bug cruncher for a smart hourly wage.</p> <p><strong>Permanent isn't.</strong>&nbsp;As&nbsp;we&nbsp;all&nbsp;know, there is no predictability in today's market.&nbsp;Downsizing, whatever. I'd rather have a set end date and know when my work is going to end.</p> <p><strong>Experience! </strong>I like having a new job every few months. I get to learn new tools, meet new people, and just as I start to get bored, I get to start all over again. It builds up my resume and makes me a more desirable contractor for the next job. Also, it's kind of nice to know all the different big companies in the area. Plus, you don't always have to do the same job. I can work as a writer, or do page layout, or do XML work - whatever suits my fancy.<br /> People! While I try not to socialize too much at work, I have made some good friends at contract locations, and the friendships have remained even after I left. I'm not actually a very social person, so this is good for me - I'm forced to meet new people and develop the ability to work with different personality types. If you are a total recluse, though, this might not be good for you.</p> <p>There are plenty of good reasons to get a full-time job, too. And contracting isn't always the best way to live. Sometimes, not being invited to meetings can bite, because decisions are made that can affect you and you have no say in them. At Microsoft, contractors are prohibited from playing on Microsoft sports teams (it's contractor apartheid!). And people can be occasionally snooty - your badge color indicates what kind of a contractor you are, and sometimes the full-timers feel holier-than-thou because you're just an &quot;orange badge&quot;.</p> <p>But for me, the perks far outweigh the pitfalls. If you enjoy moving around and gaining new experience, and hate office politics, contracting might be the way to go.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwisebread.com%2F8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Good%2520Reasons%2520to%2520Become%2520a%2520Contractor.jpg&amp;description=8%20Good%20Reasons%20to%20Become%20a%20Contractor"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Good%20Reasons%20to%20Become%20a%20Contractor.jpg" alt="8 Good Reasons to Become a Contractor" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/crime-scene-cleaner-and-4-other-trades-that-pay-surprisingly-well">Crime Scene Cleaner and 4 Other Trades That Pay Surprisingly Well</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips">Going Freelance: The Top 10 Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-you-arent-making-enough-money">6 Signs You Aren&#039;t Making Enough Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-more-money-by-demanding-it">Earn More Money by Demanding It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-job-worth-it">Is This Job Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building benefits contract employee contractor employment freelance hourly rate salary time cards wages Tue, 22 May 2007 18:11:50 +0000 Andrea Karim 661 at http://www.wisebread.com