Contracting/Temping - Viable Alternates in Tough Times

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Wes,
Thank you for keeping this thread alive. This is a very important dialog in this economy.

After being one of 150 souls rightsized last November it took until the end of March to get a 6 week assignment. I had to rethink my strategy and "lower" myself to take a contract job. I was glad I did. I have now worked 6 weeks in the past seven months and have a niche that I beleive needs to be filled.

I am an ASQ CQT with a BA in Business in the Milwaukee area and the thought came to me "Why don't I become a PPAP consultant (contractor)?" Oddly enough, I enjoy doing TS16949 related PPAP's!?!

In searching high and low however, I cannot seem to find a company or a temp service that has a clue how to help me. The site, cjhunter, came up empty along with the ASQ job board along with boards like Indeed et.al.

With so many small companies around that can't afford to hire a full time PPAP person one would think that helping small businesses complete PPAP's would be a needed thing. Might some co's not know that my type of service is available? What different, non-budget busting, way's can I use to get the word out?

If I do get a position on my own, self-employed, how do I set that business up? LLC or D/B/A filing schedule C?

Many of us have families to feed and time is of the essence. I can cold call all day for weeks on end, there's no shortage of companies. What do I charge? How should I structure contract, Pay wise?

This will not be a permanent deal but something has to work out for the next six months to one year before companies start to hire Professional CQT's again.

I have read all of the posts and looked at the chapter in the contractors book. Can you and the other moderators here offer further advice and direction?

Mark
I read your resume in the employment wanted forum. If you want to limit yourself to a very narrow niche of PPAP, you probably also need to limit the stuff you put in your resume to emphasize PPAP.

Take some time and read through these other threads again to get some more tips on focusing on specific targets - it may mean having multiple resumes to fit several niches if you decide to broaden your search.

In any event, you'll always want to make sure your cover letter and resume clarify how your skills and experience will actually help the prospective employer not merely list them and leave him to struggle drawing a conclusion.

I wouldn't hang my hat on regional demand for CQT returning at any specific time. Events have a way of not following our preconceived notions.


Candidates:
Thinking about a New Job for New Year?
https://elsmar.com/elsmarqualityforum/threads/19619

Resume and cover letter - How good are yours?
https://elsmar.com/elsmarqualityforum/threads/10169

The Job Hunt - Care and feeding of references
https://elsmar.com/elsmarqualityforum/threads/19094

Tips to get past the "gatekeeper" when job hunting
https://elsmar.com/elsmarqualityforum/threads/9325

Consulting – Is it in YOUR Career Future?
https://elsmar.com/elsmarqualityforum/threads/24543
 
Last edited:
M

Mark Paul

You may be correct that the need for a Professional CQT may not return anytime soon. I feel the need to be employed using what I know. (PPAP)

Until I retrain myself in another career there are those pesky bills to pay...

Do you or anyone else have a basic contract that I could adapt to contract myself to small comanies as a self-employed PPAP technician?
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
You may be correct that the need for a Professional CQT may not return anytime soon. I feel the need to be employed using what I know. (PPAP)

Until I retrain myself in another career there are those pesky bills to pay...

Do you or anyone else have a basic contract that I could adapt to contract myself to small comanies as a self-employed PPAP technician?
Even if you do receive a blank contract form from some source (checking the internet for "temporary employment contract" is one way), I urge you not to attempt to adapt or modify it yourself, but to consult with an attorney with some experience with such contracts in your state [or states] where you want to work. Often, free or very low cost legal advice is available for unemployed folks through legal clinics, bar associations, and law schools. At law schools, typically, senior students perform the grunt work which is then reviewed by an experienced professor before you are told to step outside and implement such advice.

I could provide some horror tales to reinforce my suggestion, but suffice to say I would have an attorney double check my own contracts to ensure they applied to me and my situation and were enforceable.
 
J

Jeff Frost

Wes

Looking at the state of the economy, federal projections for additional job losses and the fact that quality is viewed as a non value added function by most companies what method would you suggest for identifying which temporary employment agencies have specialized in placement of contract workers?
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Wes

Looking at the state of the economy, federal projections for additional job losses and the fact that quality is viewed as a non value added function by most companies what method would you suggest for identifying which temporary employment agencies have specialized in placement of contract workers?
First of all - there is no essential difference between "temporary employee" and "contract worker" regardless whether the jobs they perform are skilled or menial.

The method for identifying any agency which handles the skill sets you offer is exactly the same method as identifying ANY employer as a target - RESEARCH!

Read newspapers, especially business sections and commercial real estate sections to see who is leasing additional space or hiring additional executives - handling more temps usually also means adding more inside administrative help to service them and the clients.

Does your research for a permanent employer show a potential target is currently hiring only temps? Do they use an agency? Who?

I've used stealth marketing by calling up human resources at a company and holding myself out as an agency for temp workers - with a smooth enough pitch, I can find out if they use an agency or several, what fields they hire in, and approximately how many manhours a year they buy. (This is me, though, I know the jargon and can charm and flatter birds out of trees when I want to.)

The direct approach to agencies is always the first avenue to try - simply call and ask if they have experience placing folks with the kind of skills and experience you have already put in your personal grid. If they say yes, ask about how many different clients they have that have a need for such temps and how many manhours total the agency fills in that field each year. Ask how the agency gets its employer clients, whether they are exclusive with any employers, do the agency executives specialize by field of employee or simply by employer, regardless of what kind of employee [research scientist to janitor], do they have a lot of open positions in your field now?

Obviously, you have to get to someone in the agency who can answer those questions (getting past the gatekeeper is important here, too.)

If they don't want to answer your simple questions, why on earth would you want to work for them? The deal is you have a product you are offering to let them rent to their client base and collect a commission. Why should you let them shop your product if none of their clients rents that kind of product? Think of it like a consignment shop. If you have specialized model making tools, are you going to leave them at a consignment shop that specializes in vintage clothing? (What? - and wait for some funky Goth teen looking for a Dracula cape to walk in and say, "Wow! Just what I need - a $2,000 miniature machine shop!")

Only after you narrow down your list of temp agencies (don't ever, ever limit yourself to just one!), then, and only then, should you start to narrow down the specs of what they offer (some, to their credit have deals where you can get relatively low cost medical insurance for you and family members.)

I would not hesitate to ask what they expect to provide for their share of the dollar each employer pays. Then, I'd ask, "Roughly, how does that work out? Do you take a fixed percentage, regardless of how many dollars per hour it pays or do you stop at a maximum and let the worker get a larger benefit?" Some will scream that's private, but persistence will get you pretty close to an answer of what you can expect.

Remember, an employer often pays an agency as much as 200% of what the actual full-time employee gets as a gross paycheck (for reasons I will be happy to elaborate in a new thread if anyone is interested enough to start one.) The employee's task is to negotiate for as big a portion of that as he can. It all depends on how desperate the employer is for someone to fill that spot and whether the agent fears a competitor will get a candidate in the door before he does. (For example, a while back, I was aware a PhD pharmacologist working as a temp for one of the big firms in my area was collecting $4,000 a week through an agency while working on a rush project to reopen a plant shuttered by the FDA. His coworkers [similar degrees and experience] were full-timers pulled in from other company plants and were only earning $2,500 to $3,000 a week plus housing allowance. The difference - the job lasted only 5 weeks and the guy didn't connect with another one for two months - at a much lower salary.)

If they say they can't give you any information without seeing your resume, respond, "Isn't that a coincidence? I don't want to waste your time or storage space with my resume if you don't handle my skill set!"

:topic:but pertinent to the theme of talking about occupations
Lots of folks are out of work. Even more are grossly under-employed. The older you are, the more likely the next job you get if you have been laid off will be at a breath-taking drop from your previous income. Defense attorneys and job counselors have much the same mantra for their clients to repeat:
"Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!"

In practical terms, this means do not hide the fact you are unemployed. Do not be the fool who is embarrassed to tell his wife and goes off each morning dressed for work, but just sits in a park or coffee shop, or worse, a saloon, all day and maxes out his credit cards to maintain the facade of employment. Get to work! Learn how to do an efficient, effective job hunt. Do not commit suicide if you can't find one that pays as much as you made before - learn to adjust to changed circumstances. Forget about keeping up with the Jones family, concentrate on keeping a roof over your head and food on your table.

You are not alone! There is help available if you are truly desperate, but you have to know enough to ask for it, because the folks who do the helping are too busy helping to come and look for you!

Good luck!
 
E

e006823

Wes,

In searching high and low however, I cannot seem to find a company or a temp service that has a clue how to help me. The site, cjhunter, came up empty along with the ASQ job board along with boards like Indeed et.al.

With so many small companies around that can't afford to hire a full time PPAP person one would think that helping small businesses complete PPAP's would be a needed thing. Might some co's not know that my type of service is available? What different, non-budget busting, way's can I use to get the word out?

If I do get a position on my own, self-employed, how do I set that business up? LLC or D/B/A filing schedule C?

Many of us have families to feed and time is of the essence. I can cold call all day for weeks on end, there's no shortage of companies. What do I charge? How should I structure contract, Pay wise?

This will not be a permanent deal but something has to work out for the next six months to one year before companies start to hire Professional CQT's again.

I have read all of the posts and looked at the chapter in the contractors book. Can you and the other moderators here offer further advice and direction?

Mark

If you're serious abut contract employment look at CEWeekly. Most of the contract engineering firms advertise in this publication. I worked as a contractor from 1980 until 1994 and found it invaluable.

In order to stay employed in an economic down turn you may need to seriously consider working out of state.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Wes,
Thank you for keeping this thread alive. This is a very important dialog in this economy.

After being one of 150 souls rightsized last November it took until the end of March to get a 6 week assignment. I had to rethink my strategy and "lower" myself to take a contract job. I was glad I did. I have now worked 6 weeks in the past seven months and have a niche that I beleive needs to be filled.

I am an ASQ CQT with a BA in Business in the Milwaukee area and the thought came to me "Why don't I become a PPAP consultant (contractor)?" Oddly enough, I enjoy doing TS16949 related PPAP's!?!

In searching high and low however, I cannot seem to find a company or a temp service that has a clue how to help me. The site, cjhunter, came up empty along with the ASQ job board along with boards like Indeed et.al.

With so many small companies around that can't afford to hire a full time PPAP person one would think that helping small businesses complete PPAP's would be a needed thing. Might some co's not know that my type of service is available? What different, non-budget busting, way's can I use to get the word out?

If I do get a position on my own, self-employed, how do I set that business up? LLC or D/B/A filing schedule C?

Many of us have families to feed and time is of the essence. I can cold call all day for weeks on end, there's no shortage of companies. What do I charge? How should I structure contract, Pay wise?

This will not be a permanent deal but something has to work out for the next six months to one year before companies start to hire Professional CQT's again.

I have read all of the posts and looked at the chapter in the contractors book. Can you and the other moderators here offer further advice and direction?

Mark
Ever since you wrote this post, something has been nagging at me, but I just couldn't seem to rid myself of distractions to focus on WHY I was disturbed.

It turns out THIS sentence/paragraph was the culprit:
In searching high and low however, I cannot seem to find a company or a temp service that has a clue how to help me. The site, cjhunter, came up empty along with the ASQ job board along with boards like Indeed et.al.
It now occurs to me to ask: "Just how did you go about researching a list of agencies who employ workers on temporary contracts?"

When I ran a google query for "temporary employment agencies" +"Milwaukee, WI" I didn't see CJ Hunter in the first ten results . What about Manpower? Kelly? etc.? Who did you talk to? What, specifically, did you ask? What was the exact reply? If you weren't satisfied, did you ask for a referral to someone else?

In every Cove job thread we've referenced, we always stress the theme that:
The job hunt is a job in and of itself. You have to become proficient in it if you want to succeed. Remember - job hunting is straight commission work - you don't get paid until you close the deal!

Like a door-to-door-sales agent, you will get a lot of rejections. Don't be discouraged; it's part of the job!
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
When I ran a google query for "temporary employment agencies" +"Milwaukee, WI" I didn't see CJ Hunter in the first ten results . What about Manpower? Kelly? etc.? Who did you talk to? What, specifically, did you ask? What was the exact reply? If you weren't satisfied, did you ask for a referral to someone else?
You Googled backwards. The "CJ" in CJ Hunter stands for "Contract Job."
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
You Googled backwards. The "CJ" in CJ Hunter stands for "Contract Job."
I'm not sure WHO missed the point, here. The idea I proposed was to FIRST identify temporary employment agencies which handled the type of jobs a candidate felt qualified to fill (regardless of whether they were currently posting any jobs) by calling each agency directly and posing the question.

My continual theme in these job forum threads has been to get one's candidacy in front of decision makers BEFORE the rest of the herd. The mere fact zero jobs are listed on a web site does not mean there are zero openings.

Similarly, if one is seeking full-time employment, the candidate can increase the likelihood of triggering a decision maker to create a job opening if he can lay out his proposal to the decision maker at the point the decision maker is still strategizing on how to solve his current problem.

In the case of a PPAP specialist, the plain fact is many suppliers may need the temporary and occasional services of a PPAP specialist, but not know enough to ask for one at a temp agency or even to list the skill/experience as "nice to have" when seeking any employee. Interviewing the people at a temp agency who actually have the contact with employer clients may just leave that particular theme in their minds so they can offer/inquire about the client's current or future need for such skill. A temporary worker increases his chances of being on the "first to call" list when he networks and lobbies the agency personnel to keep the candidate's list of skill sets continually updated. The trick is to network and lobby effectively without becoming a pest agency employees see as a liability when in place at a clent employer.

We have a long-running thread, Is QA in your Job Title?, which addresses the issue that job titles and even job descriptions are often vague and do not necessarily list the specialized buzz words of quality which many of us have become familiar with, especially acronyms like PPAP, FMEA, SQA, etc. which are often just as meaningful as a spilled bowl of alphabet soup to the hapless soul who actually writes the copy for a job placement ad.

My thesis has been and remains:
"Be efficient and effective in the job hunt."

When a candidate neglects an element of a job hunt, he cripples his chances for success.
Reviewing:
Here are the minimum first steps:

  1. Understand and practice Deming's theory of the System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK.) If you don't have the big picture of your present organization firmly in your grasp, you won't recognize the clues that tell you it's time to ramp up your game to remain a survivor or to start looking for a new ship because your current one is about to sink and take you with it.
  2. Know and understand your own skill set and experience and what makes them valuable or worthless to your present employer or the next one. Some folks find it helpful to create a grid with columns with these minimum fields:
    Column 1: Skill or experience

    Column 2: level of the skill (fair, good, excellent)
    Column 3: valuable to present [or most recent] employer (Yes or No)
    Column 4: Why?
    Column 5: Type of employer or industry that might value this skill
    Column 6: Why?
    Column 7:
  3. Armed with this grid, you can begin to determine if your present skill sets are valuable to your current employer. (If they are not, based on your SoPK, you can either upgrade your skill set because you fall short of what he needs or start looking for an employer who can value your skill set because it is far beyond what your current employer needs or wants.)
  4. If column 3 is mostly “no” you can pretty much guess you are a round peg in a square hole. If this is the case, you have to determine (by looking at columns 5 and 6) whether you are looking at merely changing employers in the same industry or whether you need to explore other industries.
  5. If your personal grid tells you to look for a new employer in the same or different industry, it’s time to gear up your research tools to identify some specific targets for your hunt. Here are some factors that can affect your choice of targets:

  • Geographic location – can you just pick up and relocate or do you have family or citizenship factors to limit your choices? Climate? Educational and recreational opportunity?
  • Personal likes and dislikes for industries or specific companies (are these really valid?)
  • General economic outlook for industries or specific companies (are they growing or shrinking? Here’s where the concept of SoPK comes into play – your research should include an exploration of target companies or industries in terms of macroeconomics, customer base, competition, employee relations, government regulation. Check for recent news stories for expansion, contraction. If they are public companies, look up their 10Q and 10K filings (not just the annual report) and make sure you have a good overall picture of each target on your ilst. (One of the saddest tales we hear is for a candidate to land a job only to learn scant weeks later the site or entire company is shutting down.) The last concern at this point is whether they are actually advertising for help.)
Once you have the list of target companies, prepare a campaign to learn what specific help each may need. (e.g. Preparing to get ISO 13485 registration? What in your skill set will provide value?) Do this by reading, cold calls, checking with friends at the company or in the industry – if they are following SoPK, they’ll know.

Keep searching until you have the list of values the target needs, keep searching until you determine who the decision maker is for hiring someone to provide that value. Find out what you can about the decision maker. (Who knows him? Old employees? Current employees? Customers? Competitors? Association members?)

Prepare a narrowly-focused approach to that individual, showing how your past experience and current skills can provide value for what your research shows the organization needs. Depending on you, the target, and what you’ve learned, and whether you have any referrals to that person, the approach should be as personal as circumstances allow, beginning with a simple phone call to confirm your research.
(“Hello, John Doe. I’m Jack Smith. I’m an experienced expert in ____________. I’ve been researching companies similar to yours and I have some ideas on how to help you and your organization achieve ___________________ efficiently and effectively, avoiding the costly blind alleys some organizations have followed trying to achieve ______________. Do you have time to talk now or would you like to set an appointment where we can met face to face to explore how I can add value to your operation?”)

Note we haven’t asked whether there’s an opening or whether they were thinking about an opening – our goal is to create an opening and avoid the hassle of dealing with competing candidates and gatekeepers who can only say no.
 
Last edited:
M

Mark Paul

Ever since you wrote this post, something has been nagging at me, but I just couldn't seem to rid myself of distractions to focus on WHY I was disturbed.

It turns out THIS sentence/paragraph was the culprit:
In searching high and low however, I cannot seem to find a company or a temp service that has a clue how to help me. The site, cjhunter, came up empty along with the ASQ job board along with boards like Indeed et.al.
It now occurs to me to ask: "Just how did you go about researching a list of agencies who employ workers on temporary contracts?"

Wes,
In the red print above I was not clear. I had several months of outplacement assistance from Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH). This company is among the worlds largest outplacement firms. Companies such as Rockwell International, to name one, use their services. They gave us downsized folks a set of proprietatry tools and taught us how to use them. Let me clear my statement up please.

The statement above was refering to search engines used within MOST sites coming up empty. I found out how to remedy that - "QA 'Quality+Technician' -hospital -nursing". That was one. I found several like it that worked. "quality lean" will return many supervisory jobs as well. In the end I found that Linkedin had the right set of modifiers in MY case.

As to HOW I am still conducting my search.... tenaciously; with tools that have large downloadable databases such as Hoovers to give me names and titles, I call every pertinent person at each company (and always add a few digits to the main # and ask around until I find that person) that might remotely know what a PPAP is and ask them who they know that may be in need of such services. If or when they say something negative I ask them "who would you go to if you were looking for a PPAP technician?" Some have given referals and others...well...you know.

Between networking and three month call backs and cold calling, it's been more of finding the right person at many employment agencies vs. the generalist at the agency itself. BTW, it's the third quarter and I have had multiple interviews. Things are looking up and the direct hire companies are back out there. Thanks and keep teaching. I do enjoy the knowledge that you and others have offered.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top Bottom