My clients have a variety of onboarding questions for securing my services. I've captured the most common ones and provided a few simple answers. Good news! It's easy to get me on your team quickly.
What is your rate?
While I don't disclose these publicly, I offer two rate structures. For direct clients my rate is below-market for top-tier consulting firms for the same high performance work. For consultancies, agencies, and design studios my rate is lower with respect to your administrative overhead and gross profit margin on my time. I don't typically do project pricing, daily, or weekly rates. If your purchase order requires a project fee I will calculate one based on total scoped hours with contractual protections against scope creep.
Is your rate negotiable?
Not really. I've been exposed to many rate cards and performed a thoughtful analysis to arrive at a fair compensation structure for my services. I've never had problems booking my time but it could happen. If you ask me to drop my rate and I accept it, I may request an exit agreement so I may work with clients willing to pay my fair rate. Since I don't typically have trouble getting resourced throughout the year, my departure in the middle of a discounted scope is a possibility. If you pay me my rate I will be completely committed to your project. It is in your best interest to pay what I ask.
Will you accept equity in our startup?
For startups I will sometimes consider a modest fee reduction for equity. However, I will be asking for a percentage of shares (not a number of them), ask to see a capitalization table, classes of stock, conversion rights, valuation, financial statements, and articles of incorporation. We can structure an SOW with RSUs (at present-day value) that vest with completed deliverables. I'm open to a buyback clause to protect your interests.
Can you use our time entry system?
Sure, especially if it is tied to your accounting system and I don't have to invoice. I'm already familiar with the process and challenges of time entry UIs. My only request is that you have system authentication and my profile ready for me on my first day.
Are you a person or a company?
Confusing, isn't it? From a tax reporting perspective, I can work either as a 1099 or W-2. Most agencies and consultancies have an alternative workforce process and systems that make it easier if I am billing as a freelancer. If this classification does not trigger vendor or tax compliance reviews for your company, then let's do whatever is easiest and gets me working for you sooner. For companies where I am formally onboarding as a vendor, initiating a purchase order, or entering into an Master Services Agreement and a Scope of Work, I invoice monthly from Michael Beavers LLC, a California Limited Liability Company, against that month's accrued hours. I file a personal tax return with income to my LLC as a "disregarded entity".
So you can be onboarded as a vendor?
Yes. I'm well versed with vendor compliance processes and their service providers for global companies. I can provide documented evidence for:
- Articles of Incorporation, business license, proof of marketing, Fed EIN
- Client plurality
- Business liability $1M/occurrence, $1M damage, $10K medical avg/person, $2M Aggregate, $2M Products
- Umbrella liability insurance $1M/occurrence, $1M aggregate
- Client as certificate holder on business liability
- Auto insurance at $500K (on-premises)
Will you sign our agreements or will we have to sign yours?
I'm flexible. Signing your agreements (especially master agreements) can be faster but please remember they are written to favor your company in the event of confusion or highly unlikely dispute. This means that I read your master agreements very carefully and am likely to ask my attorney to do the same. Expect edits from me. If I get into an extended back and forth editing process with your attorney I will put him or her in touch with mine. I don't do this to be difficult; it speeds things up, assures that we're being fair to one another, and sets clear expectations for our work.