[ale] consulting climate?

neal at mnopltd.com neal at mnopltd.com
Mon May 6 10:44:36 EDT 2019

My reply may be a bit late; been out of the country with nothing but a 

We are retired after running a 2 person consulting company as a S-corp 
for decades.   I don't understand the legal arrangement you describe as 
a "co-op".

We had a specialty within Unix/Linux - Progress Database development and 
admin of turnkey systems.   Still, we found that there is a size issue - 
large corporations do NOT contract with 2 person firms - they contract 
with large body shops.   Most of our business was with firms under 100 
people.  Larger body shops have marketing people.

Also, large corporations expect you to have your own Worker's Comp, 
Liability Insurance, have ISO-something audited financials, and various 
hoops which are costly/time-consuming.

We did several long gigs with large clients that initially engaged us 
through a body shop, then we went direct after 6 months and cut the body 
shop out.  (with no ill feelings)

Our specialty was scarce and in demand - I am skeptical on whether local 
firms would be willing to get past their gag reflex on a small 
contractor if it was for generic linux work.

OTOH, if you get a local client, and are omnivorous, it can work.  In 
our early days, we'd do whatever the client needed.  Yes, I put in the 
server and the manufacturing software and database.   But if they needed 
a terminal on the loading dock, yes I'd get on a scissors-lift and pull 
Cat-5 through the factory ceiling 40 feet up and terminate it and check 
the terminal worked.   As long as it made economic sense for the client, 
and we made our hourly billing rate,  we'd be their one-stop shop.  They 
saw our "no finger pointing - we don't leave until it works" as a 
positive value.

I would do it over again to avoid commuting, be able to raise children, 
have the S-corp pay legitimate rent for the basement office,  etc.  But 
running an S-corp is a non-trivial amount of work.



On 2019-05-02 09:56, maddog via Ale wrote:
> Ever considered forming a co-op consulting service?
> It allows for greater coverage of skills and people rather than "lone
> wolf".  Share fixed expenses.
> You can start off small (just you), and pull people in as you see fit.
> md
> Sent from Xfinity Connect Application
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ale at ale.org
> To: ale at ale.org
> Sent: 2019-05-02 8:50:18 AM
> Subject: [ale] consulting climate?
> Guys,
> I might find myself out of work soon, so I'm thinking of what to do 
> next. I
> used to run a consulting business years ago in New Orleans and enjoyed 
> it
> quite a bit.What's the perceived climate these days for a Linux 
> freelancer on
> the northeast side of town (though I wouldn't completely rule out a 
> good did
> in Cobb)?
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