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Federal Contractors


Are you one of the millions who work for Uncle Sam but is not employeed by him? If so, then you are part of the federal contrators' world. This forum is created to allow contrators to share experiences and give insight to others.

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steppinthrax  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, July 05, 2016 10:54:06 AM(UTC)

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So here's the deal,

I've been a contractor for a few years now. I've been with this new contract with a federal agency for over a year now. However, my contract is up for re-compete simply because it's reached the 5 year mark. The gov and this company I'm with have a good relationship as demonstrated by 20 years of work (4 successful re-competes!!!)

Anyway a federal employee retired within the agency. The program manager indicated to me (in private) that a position has opened up and that if I would be interested, I could certainly apply. He had indicated that if I were interested that I would apply like normal, then let him know that I applied????

I looked up the job and found the salary is around 20K less than what I'm making (Max salary). Anyway, the other thing is that we are up for re-compete, is he "in a way" telling me that my company is losing??? So he wants me to come over to the other side!
someoldguy  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, July 05, 2016 11:07:56 AM(UTC)
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I doubt he is trying to say your company is going to lose. Probably he is hoping that you are interested in coming on board as a fed.

Something to keep in mind: I've heard of contracts being re-competed and bidders having to severely reduce their bid rates. Your company may have to bid your current position (that spot on the contract) at a much lower salary structure. No idea if this applies to you but it has been happening a lot lately.
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steppinthrax  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, July 05, 2016 11:14:46 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: someoldguy Go to Quoted Post
I doubt he is trying to say your company is going to lose. Probably he is hoping that you are interested in coming on board as a fed.

Something to keep in mind: I've heard of contracts being re-competed and bidders having to severely reduce their bid rates. Your company may have to bid your current position (that spot on the contract) at a much lower salary structure. No idea if this applies to you but it has been happening a lot lately.


Well it's a small contract. Its' maybe 3 ppl. I'm the lead. I have a strong relationship with my PM (company side). I was involved in writing the proposal. I'm also going to be involved in the Orals as Key personal!!!! So I have a pretty good understanding what the bid amount would be. We are not going lower! We are also not reducing salaries!
10years2retire  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, July 05, 2016 6:12:10 PM(UTC)
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In this day and age they don't want to train people, so since you know all about what they do, the guy would rather hire you, someone he already knows, rather than someone from outside the team.

P.s. all you need is 5 years fed service and they will pay you some money starting at 62 for the rest of your life
FatHappyCat  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, July 05, 2016 7:00:49 PM(UTC)

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If the only thing that drives you is compensation, then federal service is not for you. I work regularly with contractors who makes anywhere from 1.5-2x what I'm making right now and most of them would give it up in a heartbeat for a perm position.

For starters job security is huge for contractors who can basically be let go at anytime for any reason. When times are good, it's awesome to be a contractor....until it's not. The late 2000s into the early 2010s contractors were basically at each other's throat for work due to the recession which affected government spending just as much as the private sector.

Then there's the opportunity to travel and transfer. Once you get your career status, preventing career-conditional actually, your opportunity to change job is limitless. The same can't be said for the private sector which is much tougher to move on/in from.

And finally, the government benefit isn't something to be taken lightly. My contractors have transit subsidies which mean their transportation cost is tax deductible. The government is kind enough to just outright pay for my travels. Then there's TSP, retirement, holidays, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Hope that helps.
steppinthrax  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, July 06, 2016 4:46:33 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: FatHappyCat Go to Quoted Post
If the only thing that drives you is compensation, then federal service is not for you. I work regularly with contractors who makes anywhere from 1.5-2x what I'm making right now and most of them would give it up in a heartbeat for a perm position.

For starters job security is huge for contractors who can basically be let go at anytime for any reason. When times are good, it's awesome to be a contractor....until it's not. The late 2000s into the early 2010s contractors were basically at each other's throat for work due to the recession which affected government spending just as much as the private sector.

Then there's the opportunity to travel and transfer. Once you get your career status, preventing career-conditional actually, your opportunity to change job is limitless. The same can't be said for the private sector which is much tougher to move on/in from.

And finally, the government benefit isn't something to be taken lightly. My contractors have transit subsidies which mean their transportation cost is tax deductible. The government is kind enough to just outright pay for my travels. Then there's TSP, retirement, holidays, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Hope that helps.


My employer sponsors my transportation. I take a commuter bus into DC every day, they pay for the monthly ticket. We also get the gov holidays. IDK, I have a very different mindset philosophy, I'm in my 30s. I don't want to work for the rest of my life, I'm in the process of starting a contracting company. I'm at salary in excess of 6-figures and I feel this is low. My father worked for the gov all is life and he was a lazy *****. My father has a PhD and I make more than he ever made!!! He just recently retired. My life goal is to have a federal contracting company with a mid six figure salary (500 - 600K) and have a few good contracts with a few good employees. I sit my house and run my ***** from there.

It's weird to many to hear, but I like the idea of having fire under my feet. The idea that I can move at any moment. It's exhilarating. My fear is if I move to fed I would become lazy complacent.
steppinthrax  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, July 06, 2016 5:20:08 AM(UTC)

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I went to USA jobs and did some more searching. I did a search with only salary of 175K to 200K and sorted by salary. The highest salary position being advertised within USA Jobs is a Physician, specifically a Thoracic Surgeon with a salary of 100K - 385K.

That is embarrassing, in a hospital setting the average pay for this type of surgeon is around 533 to 700K a year. Then you have to consider this is average, so there are those making around 1M (7 figures). The highest salary jobs within the fed gov are physicians (rightfully so), but even they are not making much!

** people!!!!
frankgonzalez  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, July 06, 2016 6:22:18 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: steppinthrax Go to Quoted Post
I went to USA jobs and did some more searching. I did a search with only salary of 175K to 200K and sorted by salary. The highest salary position being advertised within USA Jobs is a Physician, specifically a Thoracic Surgeon with a salary of 100K - 385K.

That is embarrassing, in a hospital setting the average pay for this type of surgeon is around 533 to 700K a year. Then you have to consider this is average, so there are those making around 1M (7 figures). The highest salary jobs within the fed gov are physicians (rightfully so), but even they are not making much!

** people!!!!
So, for you, money=success. For others, money is not the driving factor. For example, I would lay odds those surgeons in the VA are getting job satisfaction helping veterans. If you want to measure your success by how much you make, go for it. I would lay odds everyone in the military is a loser by your definition of success as very few make it to a 6 figure salary while in uniform.

I will say, for me, the retirement benefits and consistent job beat out being a contractor relying on the graces of the government budget for a job and could be cut any day (remember our contracts allow us to cancel them as needed). Personally, if we need to contract out something long term, then we (the government) should bring it in-house. Manufacturing is one thing, but anything else? Should be in-house. Cheaper for one thing!

And your attitude of us feds being lazy? Sorry...I see contractors as lazy as any fed I see. Some are hard workers, some are average and some are just collecting a paycheck.

Me? I enjoy what I do, I have an impact on the mission, and have job satisfaction while being compensated enough to live comfortably. I'm not greedy.

Don't vote for the lesser Evil
Vote Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
FatHappyCat  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, July 06, 2016 11:12:26 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: steppinthrax Go to Quoted Post
I went to USA jobs and did some more searching. I did a search with only salary of 175K to 200K and sorted by salary. The highest salary position being advertised within USA Jobs is a Physician, specifically a Thoracic Surgeon with a salary of 100K - 385K.

That is embarrassing, in a hospital setting the average pay for this type of surgeon is around 533 to 700K a year. Then you have to consider this is average, so there are those making around 1M (7 figures). The highest salary jobs within the fed gov are physicians (rightfully so), but even they are not making much!

** people!!!!


To sort of echo whAt frank wa*****ting at, I guess it really depends on what your goals are. If $$$ is your priority then the government is certainly not the way to go. Me personally, I spent 10 years in uniform and got out. I worked the private sector in a hotel making more than what I do now but hated myself every second of it. I found so much satisfaction in public service and just recently decided to continue that service in Japan. 😛
someoldguy  
#10 Posted : Thursday, July 07, 2016 4:11:05 PM(UTC)
someoldguy

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Originally Posted by: FatHappyCat Go to Quoted Post
I worked the private sector in a hotel making more than what I do now but hated myself every second of it.

That's kinda where I am coming from. My current salary working for a contractor is comparable to a GS-15, maybe higher if you count that I don't have to contribute to my pension. But I am so miserable, I was seriously considering taking a GS-7/9/11 job. I decided not to take it mainly because I got a tentative offer for a different position I am really interested in. I see a greater chance at job satisfaction with this other job if it comes through, even though it is still a huge pay cut. Meanwhile I am raking in pretty good bucks and socking away some cash to ease the transition to a lower salary.

But I am no longer in my 30's and I can appreciate the lure of $$$ to someone at a different point in their career. I myself did not aggressively pursue government employment when I was younger due to mortgage, kids, tuition, etc. Now I have the luxury to pursue something I think offers a chance of not hating myself every moment of the day.

To sum up, don't be too quick to judge somebody else's motives, either to pursue something for money, or to pursue something which means giving up a lot of money.

Edited by user Thursday, July 07, 2016 4:15:11 PM(UTC)  | Reason: trying to polish the verbal turd

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ZombieContractor  
#11 Posted : Friday, July 08, 2016 12:03:34 PM(UTC)
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Just because your company has won the last four recompetes doesn't mean they'll win the next one. I work for a government contractor. We just lost our recompete even though our customer looooooves us. We were underbid so much that my employer isn't even going to challenge it. We're hoping that maybe 10 of us 35 will have jobs on the new contract.

Unless you're in some weird location where the government outpays the contractors (they do exist because I see that here), most people "go over to the dark side" (GOV) because they're interested in job security or they're heavily wrapped up in the mission.
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