Monday, June 25, 2007

Back from Holidays

Sorry for the delay in posting. I was on holidays for a few weeks there.

So everything is pretty much a go now. I'm going to be starting my contract on July 3rd, and I just need to sign the paperwork and forward that in.

I learned something else about the placement company I'm going through: they have a policy to keep 40 hours of work from your first cheque as a security deposit. This is to cover any loses such as if a contractor was to keep equipment, or some other reason...its basically like a safety deposit on an apartment...just not for an apartment, but for a contract.

I'm also still fuzzy on the whole thing of individual insurance and liability. They do provide insurance, but that's more for if a server rack falls on you. I want to know whether they cover liability for error and ommission type stuff.

This is actually pretty important to have. Let's say that you work somewhere with an unscrupulous manager. Maybe a key feature gets missed from the product you're contracted to work on, but it was never communicated to you to fullfill. The manager blames you for the ommission, and for the product failing to meet its launch date. Now what do you do? Unless you've done a thourough job of CYA, you could be hooped and hit with large legal bills to defend yourself.

So I'm waiting to hear back on that, but I should also be looking for it personally regardless I case I wanted to do side contract work as well that was outside of the boundaries of the placement company.

Edit: Found this online article listing companies that provide E&O Insurance


Monday, June 11, 2007

Reviewing the Startup Checklist

I posted a while back about the "Startup Checklist" that I had, and wanted to revisit it now that hindsight is 20/20.

Register Business and Licensing/Permits
I was able to register my business with the city for licensing and permits without actually registering the business name officially, although its always a good idea to do it in that order. I was fuzzy on which departments did what, so when I went to the city and got my license and permit paid for, they told me it was a different branch of the provincial government (not the city) that dealt with that. So here's how it goes:

Provincial Government
- Check if your name is available
- Register your name once you have confirmation its available

City Government
- Check to see what type of license/permits you require
- Go to the department office to submit the info requested and pay for any license/permit

Lawyers and Accountants
As a sole proprietorship, you don't need a lawyer. I was able to set everything up without needing any information or advice from one. However, if you are going to be handling your own contracts (as in writing up your own contracts), you'll probably want to have one available. I'm going through a head-hunting firm, so they take care of all that stuff for me.

You also, surprisingly, don't need an accountant either...well, not in the same capacity as if you were incorporated maybe. I met with a great accountant who gave me a tonne of free advice, and basically told me that as a sole proprietorship I just need to keep track of receipts and come see them at tax time.

Error/Ommission/Liability Insurance
I don't have to worry about this because the head-hunting company provides the liability coverage, which is great! Apparantly its crazy expensive to get it for yourself.

You obviously need to have good hardware to develop off of. Even if you are going to be provided with a computer at your contract location, you need to be brushing up on your skills at home and playing with the latest and greatest. I'm still toying with what I really need...Lenovo, Mac Book Pro, or just an HP model...not sure...

For software, its REALLY important as an independent that you go to as many community-based events as possible, as the handouts are as good as gold. Over the last few years, I've built up free licenses for Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 Developer, Office 2007, and some control suites...which all come in handy when you're on your own and on a budget. Otherwise, you're paying quite a bit in startup costs for getting all that through an MSDN subscription or another means.

Health Insurance
I still haven't looked into this too much...I probably should though.


Offer Taken

I put my notice in on Friday, and accepted the offer for the as of July 3rd, I'll be officially on my own. I have two weeks vacation now, and then one week back at the office, and then I'm done.

It's not a bad break by any means...just an understanding that its time to move on since we're moving in different directions...which sounds alot like a "It's not you, its me" type of thing, but that's what it is.

I have some papers to sign tomorrow afternoon, but otherwise I've now got my own sole proprietorship setup, I have my first contract, and I'm on my way to testing the waters of independence.

More adventures to follow I'm sure.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Offer Made!

Ok, so that interview that I went to a week ago? They came back with an offer. Not as long of a contract as I wanted it to be, but if I were to take it I'd be making a little more than what I'd make at my current employer for a full year...and I'd have crazy holiday time at the end of the year!

So we'll see...I'm going to think about it tonight for a bit...the technology aspect of it is phenominal...and it'll finally push me out of the rut technically that my current gig has got me in.

More info to follow...


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Business Registered and To-Do List

I went this morning and officially registered my business with the province. The only painful part of the process was finding the right form online that I had to fill out. They also offered it in PDF form where you can actually type in the fields...but this is buggy: If you hit enter, then it doesn't start a new leaves the box. So I just printed it out and wrote in the details (it wasn't a huge form either). I took it down to the registration office and they said I'd get an official...well, I'm not sure what I'll be getting officially, but it'll be in the mail 6 - 7 business days. ;)

Yesterday I went and registered with the city I'm in. It turns out that I didn't need to pay the Fee-In-Lieu-Of-Business-Tax (although I will in January when they get sent out), so it was just the fee for a home-based business permit that I had to pay for. Home based businesses need to pay the Fee-In-Lieu-Of-Business-Tax because, being that its home based, there is no "commercial" property or office that can be taxed on like a typical it just keeps it fair.

So now that my name is reserved and will be attached to my registered business, and now that I'm setup with the guess I'm open for business? The process was way easier than what I thought it would be...I guess now I just collect receipts for items for the business and start making money, and the real work comes at tax time.

Some things that are still outstanding that I need to plan and address:

Sick Fund
When you're sick as a contractor, you don't get paid. It's a good idea to ensure that you have some money set aside to cover for the days that you're unavailable for work.

Personal Health and Disability Insurance
Although I'll be paying into EI and CPP, I'm pretty sure that EI will only kick in if I dissolve the business (although I should look into that). But either way, its a good idea to get personal health insurance to cover any disability or health issues that come up.

House Insurance Changes
I'm not sure if there are any, but since I now have a home-based business registered it "may" have some affect on my home insurance...

Still no word from the head-hunter about the contract or interview...I'm hoping to hear something back by today though.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Biz Name Registered and Interview Status

So my business name was reserved within a few hours...very fast! They actuall offered an "expedited" service where you pay double to guarantee that it'll be ready the same day...glad I didn't opt for that! ;)

No offer yet from the interview I had the other day. The deal breaker on that one will be rate and time...I really want it to be a 6 month engagement instead of a lesser one, but we'll see what shakes. Apparantly I really impressed them, and on first impressions the guys seemed really great. Hopefully I hear back on Monday or Tuesday.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Business Name Registered...Hopefully

I registered my business name this morning. I technicially didn't have to, as local laws state that if you have a business that uses your name (i.e. Canuck Consultant Consulting...if my parents were big acid trippers and actually named me that), you don't have to register it...but its a good idea just so that there's no confusion if someone else tries to run a business with the same name.

Process was easy and cheap: $40 and an online form. Of course, this just reserves the name. There's still another form and fee for actually registering the business.

Then there's the forms and fees for getting a business license.

So a few hurdles to jump through before I can start writing stuff off.