Contract rate with staffing company for Sr QA Lead
I am expecting an offer for a Sr QA Lead (W-2 contract for 6 mos) from the staffing agency who is contracting with a leading financial company in the Raleigh area. I have 15 yrs experience in QA and testing arenas. What is a reasonable contract rate I should expect to be offered? The staffing agency only offers decent medical benefits in addition to the pay?
What talents/experience do they require that you have?
Are you expected to move? Or is this local to you?
Do you have a bazillion competitors who say they can do they same thing or who are willing to take the job at a market distorting wage to remain in the country? Is the manager being compensated on success or are they being compensated on the price per hour paid for services? Will the contractor make more margin on a different candidate at the same payment point from the client? Are you unique in your ability to deliver value?
Uniqueness always gets good bucks. The more competition you have which is undifferentiated by skills to the contracting company or the end client the lower you can expect your compensation to be. I get calls all the time with people offering me skilled LoadRunner professionals at $12/hour.....that are neither skilled nor worth even a dollar an hour. But someone is hiring them.
Set your own price. if you don't get it take that as a measure of either the client's inability to recognize your value or your inability to communicate your value.
Lead a team of 4-5 QA engineers in test, design and implement automation frameworks using tools like Selenium, Scrum experience.
This is a local move
60 W2 hourly to play it safer. 75W2 if you can afford to loose the opportunity. There seems to be a lot of demand for this skill set if you know it well.
I don't like when I am asked the rate. They should be telling you the rate or range.
In a classical world, the person who mentions price first tends to lose a degree of freedom in negotiating leverage. If you have a lot of competition, why wouldn't they offer you 30 or even 45? If you have a firm on top of you then that firm is going to take a cut. They may get 60, you could still wind up with the 30-45 depending upon their margin requirements for insurance, carrying costs, etc... Set your price based upon your value and what you have earned previously
This is how I look at it...
You have to multiply the rates you would get by about 1.5, because you need to pay your own taxes and benefits. This is how I would think of it. Since you're combining test leadership and automation,
Say LA or SF..
Let's say, a QA lead with 5+ years of experience with 2 or more solid major releases under their belt. One that can implement process and metrics for an organization from scratch.. $70-90k salary, which is about $35-40/hr.
An automation engineer with 5+ years of automation experience, framework design, and test architecture experience, salaries ranging from $90-140k/year, which is about $45-70/hr.
Let's take the lower range of the 2 added together, and multiple by the 1.5 so you can pay your taxes and benefits.
(that's what I think you're worth, but you might offer them a discount in order to get them to bite.)
jpully3 and David's advice sound valuable.