A brokered programmer consultant works for a company offering programmer consulting servicestypically, a consulting firm, an accounting company, a hardware company, or a software vendor. These brokers (consulting-services firms) send programmers (who are either their employees or independent consultants ) to their client companies to do expert work. These programmers are usually very well trained and experienced . And, because the broker company finds the client, manages the client, invoices the client, and secures payment for the service, these programmers can spend all their energy focusing on the actual programming work.
The broker may charge $200 to more than $300 an hour for the services of the programmers it sends out to its client companies. What do the programmers get? The independent consultants sent out by the broker may be billing the broker $100 to $160 an hour for their servicesand therefore they pay the broker a premium of 25 to 30 percent of the billing rate for finding the work and doing the billing. But if the programmer sent out by the broker is on the brokers payroll as an employee, he may be getting a mere $40 per hour as a salary.
Naturally, the question Why should I get paid $40 an hour for my work when my employer bills the client at $200 an hour? crosses the minds of many employees of the brokering company. That nagging question becomes more insistent when, say, the manager of a client company at which the brokered programmer has performed admirably solicits him to work independently for $100 per houra big raise for the programmer, but only half of what the client is paying the broker for that programmers services.
The answer to this question is, once again, Everything is economic. In good economic times, employees shift into consultingeither as independent contractors or as consultants sent out by brokers. In bad economic times, expert programmers shift from consultancy to the shelter of an employer; the consultant opts for a weekly paycheck. The good news for consultants is that their superior skills and savvy make them coveted employee programmers during the bad times.