What is the group's feeling about state of the EE consulting
environment these days? I'm thinking about taking the plunge
into self-employment in about 6 months from now and would
welcome any general comments from anyone with recent experiences.
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I have been doing automation consulting for about 3 years now. If you can handle the stress of being self employed and never knowing if you have an new customer in hand before the current job is finished. Then your good to go. I have recently applied to an large company to get out of the rat race. I have had it with customers that want the sun, moon, and the next galaxy for a pittance. I am very specific about the scope of work before we enter into an agreement. That really does not matter. They know I am an one man shop and just slow pay to get extras. I build some extras in, but lately not nearly enough.
I highly suggest that you have enough money in the bank to carry you for at least 3 months. 6 months if your going on the road with your skills. If you have an SO better check seriously with them. It can ruin an good relationship
Best of luck in your decision.
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Don't 'take the plunge' ... line up the clients FIRST do the work on your off hours.. then cut back on your current job a little... meantime talk to a bunch of other potential clients, ask them if they will use you at the deal you offer when you start consulting on your own... when you get a nice list... THEN 'take the plunge'
Starting cold turkey with no clients or just an occasional one can be nasty.
Ive also found that marketing strategies that work in one environment will not work in another.
In some areas GAFT is the big deal and no one talks about it...everyone has their hand out. and you can't ask 'do you want a kick back'... you have to guess if you intend to play that game ( I dont..but it costs me a lot of business in this area, one gentleman showed me a job i estimated at 17k... he wanted me to bid to his company at 37k and give him a 20k kick back... thats high..common is 10 to 30%..and its a felony of course.).
Some sort of inside line is what you need... but the insiders already have those lines of course, and good old boy networks...that go to dinner and spread the loot around... as an outsider these will be very very polite with you..steer you a dinky job or two...but there the real money is... the GOB's have it...for the reasons stated above. They are not going to expose thier kickback or even just ordinary back scratching network to a newbie.. so thats much of the market. but not all of the market
Which leaves you with bid spec. working through architects.. thats workable...but you still need to get some architects lined up before you quit yer day job... its not a 'plunge' that way.
Phil Scott
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Phil Scott
This is very good advice. Most contractors get into trouble (get sued or must file suit) over contractual issues. Your engineering skills may be very good, but its the fine print which will get you.
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Paul Hovnanian P.E.
One really has to wonder if this is a desirable market to be in. If there is enough fat in a contract to hide this large a discrepancy between value and cost, it can't be very competitive. I think its better to work in an environment where the ineffiecent operators are driven out of business.
Reply to
Paul Hovnanian P.E.
in. If
think its better
are driven out
Thats the SF bay area, Chicago, and NYC type areas typically. And it is messy. Incompetence is common. I am considering a move to population of 50,000 people for the reasons you state. In these areas the best quote get the work and a good man can keep busy. But in the city its not often that way. Corruption rules. too bad. I always liked working on the larger systems... the money can be very good. Smaller cities are short on that large systems..but the mid range work is there...and thats fine.. but the profit potential is lower... at least you can do math in the smaller areas,... 2 and 2 always equals the city it can add up to 438 divided by 19... that precludes straight talk.
Code speak prevails.
I think some of the larger frauds go into the hundreds of millions.. or maybe 30% on some large corporate jobs... Ive seen the CEO's turning a blind eye to those overruns..and no one down stream clearly getting the money. I think sometimes the bulk of the graft goes clear to the top or to the people the CIA has installed at the top. Thats why you dont see many prosecutions imho. These outfits do not want 'non players' on the job site. A non player asks questions. thats a problem for those sorts of arrangements. A player asks no questions...he understands the need for complete confusion and duplicity and will gladly rip out half a million dollars worth of perfect piping if ask.. he knows there are other games going on...they need the smoke and confusion and red herrings flopping around, and real bad delays... and an extra 400 feet of paper work...all that to cover for the eventual 100's of millions in graft... very hard to trace if the job is deliberately run into chaos.
a very common situation. Its for both graft and tax evasion on the graft... justified by giving the corporation a tax loss. "So it doesnt cost the corporation anything".
Phil Scott
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Phil Scott

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