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      My clients and students often wonder about the "hot setup" for their manufacturing floor, office, or home. These articles match some of the handouts or fliers I give out.
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>Does using contract computer programmers and consultants
>really save money?  It seems to me that with the exception 
>of sick pay, holidays and training all of the costs associated 
>with permanent staff also occur using contract staff.

     In many SOHO cases, the client can not afford to keep
experts on permanent staff.  Those experts are under utilized
and over bored.  That means they find better jobs quickly. 
     The question also leaves out three major direct
employment costs: recruiting, training, and severence.
     Consider the costs of only 20% utilization or the cost of
recruiting technical employees about twice a year and then
firing them when the job is done, especially in a period of full
employment or a market with few technically trained job
hunters.  Companies incur higher H.R. costs and seriously hurt
morale for the long term troops.
     The hourly cost of a consultant could be a bargain if you
plan wisely, but there is a well-known counter argument:
     Bringing in a "fresh mind" to look at a problem 
     would seem to be outweighed by the time and 
     effort that the contractor must put in to 
     learning about the problem in hand.
     Most often, a consultant joins a SOHO project when it
has ground to a complete halt.  No amount of time the owners
devote to the project will get them unstuck. Bringing in that
fresh meat (and a new perspective) gets the project moving. 
     Before you hire an outside firm, though, remember that
you already have help right at hand. Companies with other
internal resources can often use those employees as
consultants. That's a good way to keep the troops interested
and to save costs.


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