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Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/29/2015 8:17 AM

I am currently a contract engineer who has been working at my current company for almost a year now. I have been contributing well to the company and I am thinking about asking them to hire me on full time. However, I think that they would want me to have a salary in mind and I am not sure how much to ask or what would be a fair salary for going full time. How can I get an idea of about how much I should be asking?

I have a 4 year MET degree and have been in the workforce as a contract engineer for 2.25 years now. I worked in Test Engineering and now have been working as a project engineer at my current position in an NVH department. I work in the Motor City Michigan area. I am currently working at $31 an hour with Per Diem + OT , in my contract position but I'm not sure if that even has any bearing on full time salary or if my company even knows what I make, since they only pay my contract whom in turn pays me.

Thanks for any help. I want to make sure I am prepared with a salary in mind before pushing to be hired full-time. The type of company is not an OEM but one that provides engineering services for OEMs and others of the like.
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#1

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 8:30 AM

Where are you?

You should expect them to pay less depending on the social costs associated to where you are.

You might want to ask for a similar salary but if they hire you full time they have more responsibility for you. They pay insurance maybe medical. Find out what other engineers have. How much can you afford to drop?

Let them make the offer first. Good luck!

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 9:46 AM

I am in Auburn Hills Mi, I agree that location would have some effect on it.

I will let them make the offer first, but I have a feeling they will ask me to name a number, and for that I should be prepared. When they hired my friend, they told him to give them a number.

I am not sure what you mean by how much can I afford to drop? I was thinking that my overall pay should go up as compared to contract that is after you account for the benefits associated with being salary. Usually as you get more experience I would think pay would go up.

Regards,

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#2

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 8:36 AM

Do NOT suggest a salary figure to them. Let them tell you. It's likely they already have a salary range for full-time employees doing similar work to what you do for them on contract. You should expect them to offer you a salary within the middle of that range.

You'll then need to look at your own finances and decide if that pay is at least equitable, i.e., will your net take home pay be at least as good as your net pay is now? Look at real spendable income - the amount you'll actually have to cover your bills, put $ into savings, $ into an IRA or 401(k), and so forth.

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#3

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 9:02 AM

Start by adding your per diem pay total for one year, the total overtime earned in that year, and your base annual salary to find your total annual income for 12 months.

Divide by 12 to find your average monthly salary, divide by 52 to find your average weekly salary, and divide weekly salary by the number of hours you work per week (40? 50?) to find your actual hourly wage.

Deduct your out of pocket expenses for health insurance and/or life insurance.

Find out what the average annual salary for the same type of engineer at whatever company you are wanting to be employed is.

Find out what benefits (health insurance, life insurance, 401K) the company provides to their employees and convert that number to dollars and add the total for 12 months to their annual salary figure.

Compare the two totals to determine which way to go.

Remember if you start high you can always negotiate down to a lower figure but if you start out low then you for certain will not get paid top salary.

Keep in mind that most companies consider engineers as salaried-exempt employees and do not pay them overtime. (Ask the question.)

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#4

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 9:33 AM

Less than you are making as contract employee. However if health is included and some sort of 401 then in some instances you might be better off.

Lets face it, they need to make a profit off of you.

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#5

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 9:43 AM

This is an engineering forum, not an employment agency.

They will ask you to "go direct" if they want to keep you.

Go to on-line employment agencies and see what equivalent positions are being offered.

Your employer knows how much you are costing them and they probably will not pay you more than that in any case.

I'd make sure I was prepared to do a good job for them and let the salary fall where ever it does.

There's much, much more to a career than what you get paid.

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 10:47 AM

Hmm, so you don't think I should even ask about going full-time?

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#12
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Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 3:31 PM

No. I wouldn't.

That immediately weakens your bargaining position.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 3:42 PM

Hmm, that is a good point, however as contract I also have less job stability and the more time I am not salary, is more time that I am not accruing benefits like PTO, 401K etc. Interesting point though.

That being said, in the 2.5 years I have been in industry, I've never heard of anyone going full time without asking first. I am not sure why this is, but everywhere I've been, they had to push for full time in order to get it. I do not understand why companies do this, as they are paying two people instead of one, by keeping employees contract.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 4:53 PM

There is no such thing as corporate loyalty any more.

Companies are under no obligation to keep you just because they are not paying a fee for your services.

PTO, 401k, health insurance all cost your employer. You should have been saving part of your salary for all these "benefits" all along anyway.

Do as you wish.

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 6:13 PM

Lyn,

Your posts come across somewhat disrespectful and vague, I don't appreciate that and there is no need for it. Thank you anyway for the advice you did give.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 6:58 PM

Respect is earned. You have done nothing in ANY of your posts to do that.

All your past visits have been to ask the forum how to maximize your perceived talents to make more money, for you.

You seem incapable of independent thought. Not a good quality for an engineer.

Now, you come back in your quest for MORE MONEY.

The forum has no way to judge your worth, except your own chest beating, which I doubt.

If you want to be treated with kid gloves, and feigned respect, ask your parents to stroke you.

I deal in facts, not self aggrandizement.

Quit whining and go to work.

Good luck.

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#21
In reply to #18

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 11:57 PM

Thanks for the laugh, Lyn

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#10
In reply to #5

Re: Thinking about going from contract to full time, what salary should I expect

07/29/2015 11:31 AM

My apologies if it is not considered acceptable to ask these types of questions here Lyn, I was not aware of any rules against asking about salaries, however if there are, again, my apologies.

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#7

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/29/2015 10:00 AM

Check out Salary.com,

there pretty good at giving a estimate of value on location, experience, education

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#9
In reply to #7

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/29/2015 11:20 AM

Thank you! That is a good tool. Can you please tell me how many years of experience is generally considered 'entry level' and how many years of experience is generally considered intermediate?

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#11
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Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/29/2015 12:08 PM

"Can you please tell me how many years of experience is generally considered 'entry level' and how many years of experience is generally considered intermediate?"

That is going to vary according to the company, the job, and even the experience level of the interviewer with respect to the engineering discipline.

IMO: 0-5 for entry, 5-10 for intermediate, and a minimum of 10 for experienced. But that's just my take on it, in my profession.

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#24
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Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/30/2015 8:50 AM

What level indeed. After how many years??

It's all relative, now,,,, do you have 10 years of experience,,, or do you have 1 year of experience 10 times!┬┐

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#15

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/29/2015 5:19 PM

Personally I for one do not know a single person who say that going from hourly to salary ever worked out in their favor time or financially wise.

If you are serious about it figure out what you are or would be making now plus about 30 - 50% more over time hours and then add another 20% on top of that and tell them thats what you want for base salary pay.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/29/2015 6:04 PM

I will keep that in mind, thanks. I suppose I could see that happening when you factor in OT.

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#19

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/29/2015 7:39 PM

You're always better off being independent, unless you aren't too bright, or are lazy, no talent, or have no experience....If you feel you would be better off working in a salaried position, then take what they offer and work your way up from there....if you can....

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/29/2015 10:12 PM

Be careful, you may hurt his feelings.

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#22
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Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/30/2015 12:56 AM

Yes reality can be rather harsh, but the sooner you face it the better....

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#23

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/30/2015 3:03 AM

Just throw the doubling cube; go for US$60/h. You might get lucky!

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#25

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/30/2015 9:59 AM

Well it would seem that the company is currently willing to pay $31/hr + OT + Per Diem + some % the contract company takes...so I'd figure out what that is, and IF that's enough to cover your expenses, including benefits, then that would seem to be the answer.

Personally, when I was contracting I set my price at what the market would bear...it was about 4 times what I was making on salary!

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#26

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/30/2015 1:38 PM

WOW. I read the full string.

1st your an engineer with a 4 yr degree, and you can not decide how to calculate if the deal offered would be good or bad for you. That would be the deciding factor.

2nd, we're engineers and we actualy put forth the effort to solve a math problem like this for a 4 yr degreed Engineer......

3rd I can't believe I even answered this. I have real Engineering stuff to do..

Good luck using the calculator.

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#27
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Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/30/2015 1:50 PM

Me thinks, perchance, that OP may not equate $ to a math problem. It's been a long time since I graduated, but there was little to no emphasis put on "accounting" stuff way back then. I kind of thought that the curriculum(s) had been updated somewhat to try to include some financial stuff. There is all kinds of emphasis on entrepreneurism which should include basic "accounting".

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#28

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

07/30/2015 3:35 PM

If salary were your first concern in seeking full-time employment with that company, you should wait until you have a more mature motivation to join them. Usually, that is a good way also to botch the interview, unless it is the last question, and they make an offer of X, but you were hoping for X x 1.5, then you need to decide if the X offer is really enough for your location, or if you should counter offer at 1.5X, or if you think they are on a tighter budget you might counter offer at 1.25X, then it is a true compromise offer.

Never ask for more than what you are worth to them.

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#29

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

08/03/2015 11:21 PM

After reading this entire thread, your responses, and your previous postings, it seems apparent that you're focusing on the dollar sign, and your best course is to continue in contracting. When you're not working OT, you should put some thoughts to where and what, you want to be when you grow up.

Whether you realize it or not, you're already working for someone else, namely the contracting firm that places you within the company where you currently work. Their interest is in keeping you employed by them; if you're receiving $32/hr then they're probably billing you out at $40/hr and pocketing the $8/hr to pay the salesman and keep the lights on.

From the perspective of the company where you actually work, the $40/hr is truly a bargain, here's why. You have no overhead, aka burden; i.e., no taxes of any kind, no benefits of any kind, no pension/IRA/401K contributions, no sick/vacation days, etc., etc., nada, zip, zilch. Your employment is "at will", and you're the first to go when Dilbert's evil HR cat needs to save his job by saving the company money by firing someone else instead. Although you may feel that "you're doing well", your feedback comes not as a formal performance review, but as a paycheck or a pink slip at the end of the pay period, period.

It's time to get an education in how the system works. Contact your agency and tell them that you're thinking of going direct and watch their reaction, what, and how they say it. Discuss with them your career goals, and how you're trying to balance them with your monetary/lifestyle goals. If you don't have a current copy, ask them for the contract between you and them.

Some agencies offer an ala carte benefit program that you may become eligible for after a certain period of employment. Ask them for a raise in your rate, after all, unbeknownst to you they may have an escalation clause with their client so you're being billed out a higher rate, which they conveniently forgot to share with you.

You need an education in how this business works, and you need it now. Good luck to you...

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#30

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

09/28/2015 4:11 PM

Based on the above you are making $64K/year (before taxes) as a contractor in the Detroit area. I know that area and a minimum of $70K/year is not unrealistic. But let's look at your situation.

Today your contracting company is making money off you and they do not want to lose you as a source of income. So if you discuss going full time with them, they probably will first discourage you, then depending on who they are as people might do things to interfere with you working full time. They might even pull you from contracting with that company (I've seen it happen). So I suggest that discussing this with them is a very bad idea, as it is not in their best interests.

With the situation you have now with the company you do engineering work for, why would it be to their best interests to hire you full time? You need to answer this question to yourself. Exclusivity? They already seem to have that with you. Lower cost? I don't know about that. But you first need to answer that question to yourself. Often the answer is personality-based - which means they like having you around and you contribute positively to the workplace culture.

If there is a manager you trust at the company you are doing engineering work for, you should first CASUALLY mention to them that you might enjoy working for them full-time. A manager is important because they actually know whether or not that can happen, and they have the ability to make it happen. Be prepared for a preliminary positive response from the manager even if the real answer is "not ever gonna happen", because they don't want to discourage you from contracting. Give that manager three weeks to follow up with his management, as these things can move as slow as a herd of turtles stampeding through molasses. Do Not Discuss Money until they tell you it's possible for you to work full-time.

Also look at how they handle layoffs. I've worked for companies where in downtimes the contractors go first. I've also seen companies layoff full-time employees and keep the contractors. And understand that the corporate pot of gold for paying for consultants and the pot of gold for paying for full-time employees is two separate pots of gold.

Good luck and I hope you get what you want.

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Thinking About Going From Contract to Full Time, What Salary Should I Expect?

10/01/2015 3:47 PM

Thanks, BillGEE

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