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Top Rate for Java Consulting today ?

J Singh
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 16
Hi,

I want to get an idea as to what does the top rate in Java Consulting career look like in this market. $60, $70, ..., $150 /hour?

This is for the US based consultants working in the US, not for consultants who are sent here by offshore companies in India.

I know its dependent on experience, but we can pick a slab like 5 to 10 years.

Thanks!
[ September 26, 2005: Message edited by: Healthy Me ]
David O'Meara
Rancher

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

"Healthy Me",
We're light on rules here at the JavaRanch, but one we take quite seriously is display names.

We require display names to be two words: your first name, a space, then your last name. Fictitious names are not allowed.

Please edit your profile and correct this, since accounts with invalid display names get deleted.

thanks,
David O'Meara.
Peter Chun
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 13, 2005
Posts: 11

what does the top rate in Java Consulting career look like in this market. $60, $70, ..., $150 /hour?



That all depends on many things:
- Are you an independent contractor?
- Or a full-time employee in a consulting firm?
- Tax term? W-2 or 1099?

For example, I am a full-time consultant in PA and my rate is $150.00 per hour. I usually work 50 hours per week.
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Originally posted by Peter Chun:



That all depends on many things:
- Are you an independent contractor?
- Or a full-time employee in a consulting firm?
- Tax term? W-2 or 1099?

For example, I am a full-time consultant in PA and my rate is $150.00 per hour. I usually work 50 hours per week.


that means your company gets paid $150/hour fro your work correct?
J Singh
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 16
Originally posted by David O'Meara:
"Healthy Me",
We're light on rules here at the JavaRanch, but one we take quite seriously
...

thanks,
David O'Meara.


Display name changed, thanks.
J Singh
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 16
Originally posted by Peter Chun:



That all depends on many things:
- Are you an independent contractor?
- Or a full-time employee in a consulting firm?
- Tax term? W-2 or 1099?

For example, I am a full-time consultant in PA and my rate is $150.00 per hour. I usually work 50 hours per week.


Hi Peter,

Thanks for the response. So if thats the dependency, who makes more - the full time consultant or the contractor? How is a full time consultant different from a contractor anyway, when both get paid on hourly basis?

Can you talk a little bit about what would be the way to get into each line, or what was your hiring process?

Thanks!
Peter Chun
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 13, 2005
Posts: 11

How is a full time consultant different from a contractor anyway, when both get paid on hourly basis?



Hourly Contractor:

You get paid only when you're on-site working on a project.

Usually, you don't get any benefits so you have to pay for your own health/dental insurance and no such things as 401K, tuition reimbursement, etc.


Full-time Salaried Consultant:

Do not confuse this with body-shop. I am working as a salaried consultant for a full-service project-based management consulting firm.

My hourly rate is $150.00 and this is what the clients pay to my employer. I get all the benefits from the company, and I am salaried (i.e., I still get paid while I am on bench or on vacation).

My employer has a good policy on overtime. Beside the fixed salary, I get fully paid on hourly rate on overtime (anything over 40 hours per week). I usually work 10 extra hours per week - which is equivalent to $1500.00 extra per week).
J Singh
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 16
Originally posted by Peter Chun:

My hourly rate is $150.00 and this is what the clients pay to my employer. I get all the benefits from the company, and I am salaried (i.e., I still get paid while I am on bench or on vacation).


Got you.

Lastly, your client pays $150 hour to your company, so thats your billing rate. But because you are on a fixed salary, do you get that $150/hour in your pocket? If yes, thats a huge 'salary' - $24000 a month. If not, then it does not matter if the client is paying $150 or $400/ hour, you'll continue to get yuor salary at a reduced fixed rate that you currently get. Is that right?

This is the rate or salary that I was talking about when I originally posted the question. To rephrase, how much do the top 'salaries' look like for top-notch Java Consultants like you?
Peter Chun
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 13, 2005
Posts: 11
Originally posted by J Singh:

your client pays $150 hour to your company, so thats your billing rate. But because you are on a fixed salary, do you get that $150/hour in your pocket?



Yes. My base salary is fixed regardless of the hourly rate. My current hourly rate is $150.00 but this can vary from project to project.

Sorry I can't give you the exact number on my base salary, but it's definitely six-figures.

Because I'm a full-time employee consultant, I get full benefits (health/dental insurance, paid vacations, paid sick days, annual bonus, 401K, tuition reimbursement, expense account, etc.)

In addition to the base salary, I get extra cash only when I work overtime (currently $150.00 per hour for any overtime worked).
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18825
    
  40

Personally, I have never seen an independent contractor get $150 / hour -- not even for short term contracts. This is for development -- management consulting is different.

However, I have seen it for consultant companies. In fact, some of the big name consulting firms during the dot-com boom, got as high as $333 per hour.

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Are we talking about how much company charges or how much employee gets paid?

What company charges don't define employee's salary.

I would give following estimates:

salaried consultant(developer): $35-$60, depending on the experience level.
salaried consultant (lead developer): $50-%70/hour

Independent consultant(developer): $50-$160/hour, more common skill set will be paid less.
J Singh
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 16
Originally posted by Sania Marsh:
What company charges don't define employee's salary.


Thats what my point is. If Peter's company is charging $150, I doubt if he gets paid the same, which I think he confirmed -

Originally posted by Peter Chan:
Yes. My base salary is fixed regardless of the hourly rate. My current hourly rate is $150.00 but this can vary from project to project.
[/QB]


But he is still saying that HIS rate is $150, adding to the confusion.

Anyway, Sania, whats the downside of working as an Independent Consultant? It sounds like great money.
Peter Chun
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 13, 2005
Posts: 11

But he is still saying that HIS rate is $150, adding to the confusion.



I was saying that I get paid at hourly rate of $150.00 for any overtime only.

This is just my employer's policy. I have a base salary and am required to work at least 40 hours per week.

And if I work more than 40 hours then I get paid at full hourly rate of $150.00.
J Singh
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 16
Originally posted by Peter Chun:

I was saying that I get paid at hourly rate of $150.00 for any overtime only.


Ah! Alrite, I think we all got you now.

Peter, perhaps you can answer these as well:

- Is your company a software provider for clients? In any particular sector?
- You are an employee consultant (I still wonder why dont they call you an employee if you are salried and get benefits). What happens when the company's got no project for you to work on for lets say a month or two. Do you keep getting our pay stubs?
- Are you on W-2? If I understand it all right, that should be the answer.
- Whats your title? If I plan to head in the same direction as you in my carrer, whats the process?

Hope its not too much of a hassle!
Thanks!

Thanks!
[ September 27, 2005: Message edited by: J Singh ]
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
Originally posted by J Singh:

Anyway, Sania, whats the downside of working as an Independent Consultant? It sounds like great money.


Downside is that not always they have work and have to constantly relocate and travel.. and since they are so expensive, hirers try to suck out of them as much as possible in short time and get rid of them sooner. If you want to be independent consultant you better be really good in some very rare skill, or your skill should not require full time employee(documenter, for example).. otherwise it's not worth it.
Also, don't forget, they have to pay their own benefits.

Here are sample prices for you:
My company (huge, over 15000 employees) used to hire developers(java, oracle) for $50-$80/hour.
For setting up some complex application - $200/hour, but everything had to be done in a matter of days.
Rare skills, say, FoxPro or Filemaker - $90 - $150/hour, for no longer than few(usually 2-4) months. last few weeks of contract the person had to transfer knowlege.


Also, about those companies that pay huge money for overtime. Peter, correct me if I'm wrong. They will make sure you work overtime only in extreme cases. Because calculate yourself - If I have 2 employees constantly working extra 20 hours a week and I have to pay them triple salary for that, I better hire someone part-time to work for $50/hour.
At least that is what I have seen out there.
[ September 27, 2005: Message edited by: Sania Marsh ]
J Singh
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 16
I've edited my last post, please see.
J Singh
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 16
Thanks for all the answers guys.

I need some advice specific to my case now. Please critque and advise.

I graduated with a Masters in Dec. 2003, and got a campus placement in Jan. 2004 in a great financial firm. I am leaving this firm now to go to another huge financial firm with $25K raise on base, and around $15 to $20K projected bonus.

I believe its a good deal, unless you tell me its average.

I am looking to make some good money in my skill line, Java and J2EE. Is consulting an option for me? Is it advisable to leave the full time for consulting? In my own opinion, I think if I get a good rate like $80 or so for a long term project like a year or so, I should consult.

Please advise.
Sania Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 12, 2004
Posts: 469
J,
difference between full-time employee and salaried consultant is not big. It is almost same, salary might be a bit higher for salaried consultant, but benefits are usually bit worse than those of full-time employee.
Also any type of consultant usually has to travel, but many consulting companies execute projects on-site therefore salaried consultant may have to travel less than independent consultant. Salaried consultant will be paid no matter what, same rate. Even if he/she sitting idle with no work (If there is no work for too long time, they will start laying off, just like any other place).


Being independent consultant or full-time employee is your personal choice.
It is suggested by many sanior developers to do consulting for few first years as you learn more by switching between projects.
If you have time - go for it, new experience is always good
Peter Chun
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 13, 2005
Posts: 11

- Is your company a software provider for clients? In any particular sector?


My employer is a small-sized full-service management consulting firm, and most of our clients are financial/insurance corporations.



- What happens when the company's got no project for you to work on for lets say a month or two. Do you keep getting our pay stubs?


Because I'm salaried, I keep getting the same pay stub every month. But as Sania mentioned, in theory, if I happen to be on bench for more than 2 - 3 months, I might be laid off.



- Are you on W-2?


Yes, I'm on W-2.



- Whats your title?


Officially "Senior Associate Consultant", but functionally the same as regular Senior Java Developer.



They will make sure you work overtime only in extreme cases. Because calculate yourself - If I have 2 employees constantly working extra 20 hours a week and I have to pay them triple salary for that, I better hire someone part-time to work for $50/hour.
At least that is what I have seen out there.


This is why I joined this small-sized local consulting firm instead of Accenture or Deloitte. Our clients pay my employer whatever the hours that I worked times $150.00. Contrary to some greedy large-sized consulting firms, my employer just redirect 100% of any overtime payment to me.

In theory, as Sania mentioned, I don't know how this will work if someone is willing to work 80-90 hours per week (and I've never seen one doing this in my company).

Since I only work 40-55 hours per week, this has never been a problem.
 
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