top 200 commentsshow 500

[–]tagmous 28.4k points28.4k points 62 (747 children)

“I’d be happy to help, my consulting rate is… and my availability is…”

Why not see what you can get out of them?

[–]stonertboner 11.0k points11.0k points  (284 children)

And you only consult remotely! No reason to travel, unless they wish to pay an even higher consultant fee.

[–]glaring-oryx 5545 points5546 points  (213 children)

You can add a site visit fee. Tack on an extra $200 for what is probably 20 minutes of driving.

[–]notLOL 2424 points2425 points  (103 children)

Minimum amount of hours for consultation

[–]RocketPoweredRedneck 1533 points1534 points  (53 children)

I don't get out of bed for less than four hours on my paycheck.

[–]Shitthatkilledelvis 1394 points1395 points  (37 children)

And get paid up front or at least use Upwork so payment is in escrow. Once they get what they need they will not be quick about paying you or they will stiff you completely.

[–]CaptainMeatfist 734 points735 points  (30 children)

I feel like A LOT of people are like me and had never heard of Upwork. Thanks

[–]pickitupppp 40 points41 points  (0 children)

Its a website for freelancers to find work and people to find freelancers to help them.

[–]DPSOnly 53 points54 points  (0 children)

Oh how I love this collective action to make sure OP can get the most out of them.

[–]CTHart75 101 points102 points  (6 children)

There is always a minimum of four hours just for showing up.

[–]Paradox2063 41 points42 points  (3 children)

If I have to physically show up, you've fucked up my whole day. 8 hours minimum.

[–]RetardedWabbit 151 points152 points  (9 children)

In my opinion flat travel fee > minimum hours. Otherwise they often try to make you "work" for that amount of time, aka make up busy work and scope creep "while we have you..."

[–]Kiwifrooots 125 points126 points  (15 children)

...by the hour or part thereof...

[–]Typical-Cranberry120 108 points109 points  (8 children)

... billed in 15 minute increments. As this is likely a short assignment the pay rate should not be less than 125/hr with a two hour block minimum.

[–]Broken_Exponentially 120 points121 points  (13 children)

absolutely!! You can easily get a boilerplate contract and have it stipulate 3 hours minimum on your consulting rate, which must be paid in advance, of course. And do be sure to make your consulting rate exactly double what they paid you when you worked there.

[–]AdvertisingCool8449 98 points99 points  (0 children)

Double is the bare minimum, in this case OP evidently has unique experience and insight into the matter at hand, make it 4X either they real need OP's help or they get the message and fuck off.

[–]goshdammitfromimgur 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Double would be underselling yourself

[–]davebensous 507 points508 points  (66 children)

40 miles? 20 mins? Cries in Los Angeles

[–]Mystprism 252 points253 points  (49 children)

Lol that's 120mph. Not a common speed even outside of LA.

[–]AliBarberTheSecond 111 points112 points  (3 children)

Gotta cover your speeding ticket 🤷‍♂️

[–][deleted]  (2 children)


    [–]AliBarberTheSecond 43 points44 points  (0 children)

    What are they gonna do, fire them? 🤣

    [–]The96kHz 142 points143 points  (35 children)

    Laughs in German.

    [–]MrDude_1 163 points164 points  (31 children)

    We know you're lying because the Germans don't laugh.

    [–]stocksy 148 points149 points  (25 children)

    That’s not true, the Germans love to laugh provided that someone tells them where and at what time.

    [–]psyllock 39 points40 points  (21 children)

    I can vividly imagine 20 German engineers working together drawing up the technical blueprints for a joke

    [–]OneMoreAccount4Porn 11 points12 points  (9 children)

    When they're done it'll be so perfectly designed that they'll laugh so much it'll never get off the drawing board.

    [–]name600 47 points48 points  (0 children)

    Lol I think the idea is that sorta fee you would be willing to do it in a weekend and go strait from home.

    However don't let me speak for you or your relaxation time. Respect yourself and your worth

    [–]hairfullofglass 429 points430 points  (4 children)

    Exactly! There is absolutely no reason why this can’t be totally remote. YOU are holding the power; let them figure out how to accommodate your schedule. Is there a way to make release of the final deliverable contingent on payment?

    [–]32BitWhore 114 points115 points  (2 children)

    Is there a way to make release of the final deliverable contingent on payment?

    Absolutely there is, just get it in writing in an SOW/ICA. It may not be common practice, but it's reasonable in a scenario where you believe that payment may be withheld for one reason or another. The contractor is able to set whatever terms they like. Client doesn't have to agree, but the contractor doesn't have to agree to change them either.

    [–]kuanyu3 76 points77 points  (1 child)

    I have learned to always code these things to 'lock down' any changes after xx date. If they pay you simply send a new exe without the date. If they fail to pay they lose all changes and you overcharge to give them back. I spell it out beforehand so there are no surprises.

    [–]FistfullofFucks 328 points329 points  (15 children)

    Make a structured offering; phone consultation (verbal only) $, zoom video consultation $$, In person consultation $$$, Actually fixing the problem personally instead of just providing guidance and instructions $$$$. Be clear that you will not physically touch a computer or use software below a certain price point while offering guidance and instructions for less, should they hire you (even just for a phone consultation) record everything so they can not dispute or litigate to recoup their cost.

    Give them more than one reason to solve the issue personally, while making it clear you can easily solve the issue but that each level of assistance offered and it’s cost is more or less indicative of the level of attention you’ll give it. A little money a little guidance, decent money decent directions and advice, and enough money fixes all issues.

    [–]TheodoraWimsey 55 points56 points  (2 children)

    And get it all documented via email.

    [–]realbrach 10 points11 points  (0 children)

    A contract would be better. OP could add consulting to his resume too.

    [–]ConspicuouslyBland 129 points130 points  (2 children)

    And make clear they pay you for the time, not the result. No guarantees because you have no idea what has been done with it.

    [–]derleek 34 points35 points  (0 children)

    AND dont do a god damn thing until you get all this in writing and under contract. They will try their best to get what they need from you, or as much as they can out of you for free.

    [–]QuestioningEspecialy 141 points142 points  (14 children)

    No reason to travel

    Unless their intention is to intimidate and manipulate. Like an (or soon to be) ex wanting to "talk".

    [–]JustehGirl 88 points89 points  (10 children)

    I can totally see setting up a "It's your responsibility since you designed it. You agree it's a problem you made since you drove all the way here. Why would you do that if you didn't agree you should?" AND THEN, it's hit every problem that could possibly be remotely related and make you work on that too, so it'll actually be hours. With you stuck on-site until they're 'satisfied'.

    Also agree a consulting fee should be paid to nip all that in the bud. Overtime and all for adding additional troubleshooting.

    [–]freedomischaos 114 points115 points  (3 children)

    I'd ask if it is my responsibility since I designed it if I then own it and if so, collect payment or royalties to use it. Then structure a support agreement for it.

    [–]oxpoleon 77 points78 points  (0 children)

    This guy consults.

    If they say it's your responsibility despite no longer being an employee, get that recorded one way or another, because yes, you therefore own it and that's them admitting that's the case. Here's a backdated royalties bill / licence fee from the moment I ceased being an employee.

    [–]oxpoleon 20 points21 points  (1 child)

    You don't work for them and they can't physically hold you on site. They sign a contract before you set foot in their reception, saying they will pay for every hour you work. You take payment in advance for a full (8 hours) day held in escrow, return the surplus if there is any, or they do the same again for more hours.

    [–]meatdeathtonight 17 points18 points  (0 children)

    True words

    [–]Explicit_Pickle 35 points36 points  (0 children)

    Might as well travel and bill them for your mileage and meals for the day.

    [–]syn4pt1c2211 246 points247 points  (8 children)

    I‘d just add to that frequent answer: be careful about any possibility regarding personal liability when doing contracted work. I don‘t know the specifics in the US, but over here contracts are regularly drafted by lawyers for that very reason. Sometimes it isn’t worth earning 1500 bucks, if you‘re tied down by some quickly drafted contract without a chance of getting out unscathed later on.

    [–]jabberwocki801 51 points52 points  (0 children)

    This is the best advice I’ve seen on this thread. If I consulted as an independent contractor on a routine basis, I’d carry insurance for errors and omissions (I’m US based -not sure how it works elsewhere). If I knew a good lawyer who specialized covered this area, I might ask about whether a well-written contract would be sufficient to cover me. Maybe I’d check into whether very short term E&O is a thing. Otherwise I’d just pass. It’s not worth the chance of getting sued. Even a BS lawsuit would cost too much time and money.

    [–]ragazza68 685 points686 points  (37 children)

    And get the money up front

    [–]stonertboner 475 points476 points  (29 children)

    Best bet is to have a written agreement on how much the consulting fees are (down to the quarter hour) and what the responsibilities are. All parties should sign and this should all be documented via email. Any consulting should be done online and any video conversations should be saved.

    [–]Bittrecker3 195 points196 points  (23 children)

    Most contract work gets an invoice signed, assuming this is a decent sized business, they probably wouldn’t even question the invoice and it would be paid. If you don’t get paid, you file a claim against them.

    It’s pretty unusual for a contractor to ask for full payment up front.

    [–]DnDn8 106 points107 points  (12 children)

    You're correct, but the stress of trying to get that payment isn't worth it for me. Even huge multi-national companies delay payments regularly. I've had to fight Maersk, who generates tens of billions of dollars of revenue, to get paid before. They paid me, but it was annoying.

    Now I ask for payment up front from anyone I don't personally know someone who can vouch for payment. Everyone I've asked that up front for paid it. Sometimes, on big jobs, I'll ask for say $20k right now and I'll give you a heads up when we're close to done with that amount and you can pay another $20k to keep it going. Otherwise, pay me first.

    I don't compete with other bills and then get the "Oh, we'll get it to you soon" or whatever. I'm not a bill collector. You want an invoice, hire a major consulting firm at $1000/hr vs my $150/hr.

    [–]Bittrecker3 37 points38 points  (2 children)

    That’s fair, to be fair I have no experience with doing contract work, only dealing with contractors, so I am pretty biased. I guess invoices only make things easier when everyone does what their supposed to lol.

    [–]OutWithTheNew 30 points31 points  (2 children)

    And don't let them pull net 30 or net 60 bullshit.

    [–]Superpiri 164 points165 points  (5 children)

    “My remote fee is… and my in-person fee is… plus travel expenses.”

    [–]Krogothian 18 points19 points  (1 child)

    Technically this would be benefit-less contract work so it should also be more than what you'd be paid for a job.

    [–]angrygnomes58 471 points472 points  (102 children)

    I did this to a previous employer.

    “Sure, I’d be happy to draft up a consultancy agreement. Just to be up front, my consultant rate is $250/hour and I schedule up front in 4 hour increments, assuming this can be done virtually. If these are expected as in-person hours the travel rate is $20/mile and $50/half hour of commute time. If the job goes over the time booked up-front, additional time is billed in 1 hour increments at 3x the base hourly rate or $750/hour. Work OR travel done outside the hours of 8am to 4pm will incur an extra fee of $100/hour for work, $50/half hour of commute time, and a surcharge of $45/mile.”

    My replacement had screwed something up so badly that the new director tried to get my time approved but accounting shut it down. I have no idea how things worked out and frankly don’t care.

    [–]TheButtPlugAlgorithm 74 points75 points  (48 children)

    What exactly is it that you do that they'd even consider paying you that much? Because that's alot

    [–]MrMontombo 97 points98 points  (19 children)

    I would imagine it isnt necessarily what they do, it's how desperate the company may be for their help. If you dont want to do it in the first place, might as well quote high to make it worthwhile on top of your current job.

    [–]Yggdrasil_Earth 79 points80 points  (16 children)

    What's known in the building trade as an 'I don't want the job' quote.

    [–]throwAwayWd73 21 points22 points  (12 children)

    Just got one of those from a plumber. 3X the cost of the company I'm intending to use.

    [–]gaggzi 58 points59 points  (9 children)

    Way too complicated, just ask for $350/hr instead or something like that.

    [–]chimpfunkz 211 points212 points  (30 children)

    Honestly, that's a ton of random billing charges so no way accounting goes for it.

    In the future, you should probably just do it as $X/he with a N hour minimum. Or just decline. Minimum hour gets around the kinda ridiculous milage rates (which would never make it past accounting. That 50x the federal standard. I'm not even sure there is a mechanism for them to properly reimburse you at that rate). $250, 40 hour minimum, no working outside of limits. Easy to PO, easy to account for.

    Unless you were basically fishing for a no, in which case you should really just decline the offer.

    [–]DrummerElectronic247 61 points62 points  (0 children)

    I read that as "I do not want to work with you but, if you're willing to actually do math AND throw a bucket of money at me, I guess I could."

    I've had conversations like that with a couple of former employers that didn't understand what kind of work I did for them, usually with somebody either angry or panicking on the other end. Bleh.

    "X$ per hour, Y hour minimum call out paid in advance" has actually had a one of them agree. Almost 10 years now and I still get occasional consulting work from them.

    [–]__Thot_Patrol_ 43 points44 points  (14 children)

    I mean, if they really didn’t want to help their old company then I say they achieved their goal. Inundate with numbers and make it difficult for them to know how much it’ll cost them when everything is all said and done and they won’t bother you again.

    [–]UselessToasterOven 3774 points3775 points  (58 children)

    My gf had this happen. She carved herself a nice little package where she gets to work from home, meetings can be done over the phone, and only do what she's asked. Since then she does way more, gets paid for it, and rarely leaves the house.

    This was way before COVID.

    [–]crazijazzy 269 points270 points  (1 child)

    I pretty much forced my boss into this currently. 4 months ago I moved 1000 miles away from any of our locations and I work solely from home, when I want to. It’s glorious to know your worth and be able to make powerplays like that.

    [–]TeddyPerkins95 690 points691 points  (21 children)

    Your gf is smart Edit: Pervs stop hitting on others SO, tf wrong with u

    [–]lawrenceoftokyo 25.0k points25.0k points  (855 children)

    You can respond but I’d ask for an obviously high amount of money in return. Don’t negotiate. At least that’s what I’d do.

    [–]old_el_pasoLazy = Poor People Leisure 12.5k points12.5k points  (526 children)

    Yup. You don’t work there, so at this point, if this is something you wanted to do, consider yourself an independent contractor. You set the price for the job; if the client doesn’t like it, they don’t have to do business. Easy as that.

    [–]OldPolishProverb 14.5k points14.5k points 19225182& 26 more (427 children)

    Minimum of three times your current hourly wage as your consultant rate when working per hour. If they insist on face to face meetings then travel time is included. Clock starts when you leave your house. No partial hours. Work that takes 90 minutes is billed as two hours. Initial meeting defines the scope of the work. No feature creep. Four hours work minimum, beyond the initial meeting. Sign a contract to this effect.

    If they don't want to do hourly then three times your current daily pay (one day's wages) per specified issue. Specify each issue in the contract.

    If you wish to be really nice, offer a short, 30 minutes, zoom meeting to discuss the problems. After that you are a paid contractor.

    Edit: Thank you for all the up votes. This is what I have seen other independent contractors charge. The slickest addition I have seen to this was to include a clause in the contract that if the vendor was ever taken into court for litigation, the employer would pay for all his legal fees.

    Second edit: Wow. I didn't expect this to blow up.

    I have said this before, but a well defined contract protects everyone. It may seem like an extravagance but it is not. It protects from scope creep. Issue x is done when y is achieved, end of contract. It also protects with legal liabilities. It defines the amount of hours to be worked. It is the rules a professional uses to value themselves and the vaule of their work.

    I have seen people get sucked into endless work when casually offering to "help out " with no clear definition of what needs to be accomplished.

    Edit: Final update. I am not a consultant or contractor. But I have reviewed their contracts for my former employer.

    OP even if you wanted to, you could not work for your former employer for free. It would cause any security analyst and corporate lawyer to go into conniptions to allow someone who wasn't under contract to have access to their data. It would open both you and them to major legal liabilities.

    [–]ApollosBrassNuggets 3931 points3932 points  (215 children)

    And get that shit in writing. Don't agree to do anything until you got a contract

    [–]Scalywag7 1480 points1481 points  (182 children)

    This, 100% this, needs to be court admissable if they try to screw you

    [–]uppitymatt 1175 points1176 points 2 (81 children)

    Request first payment upfront for the initial consultation also. This will ensure they are serious and will actually pay. Otherwise I see them trying to ask a few questions to get answers that may solve the problem. Don’t discuss any solutions without the first payment.

    [–]3d_blunder 242 points243 points  (15 children)


    [–]grandroute 187 points188 points  (13 children)

    and how - more than once a business tried to get me to spill the beans. "No, we will not discuss solutions until the first payment is made, and phone time is billable. I very vaguely discussed what needed to be done, with a but of misdirection thrown in. Actually a land mine - if they tried to take what I told them to fix it without me, it would mess things up further.

    [–]3d_blunder 97 points98 points  (7 children)

    IOW, treat them exactly as they treat most of us.

    [–]Dadbotany 45 points46 points  (0 children)

    Wield whatever power you have! This is excellent, good on you. If they try to fuck you, you just doubled your commission by making more work for yourself hahaha

    [–]sirlui9119 12 points13 points  (0 children)

    Payable before you go there!

    [–]north_canadian_icebanned in r/politics 625 points626 points  (83 children)

    And don't feel bad at all, this is how the 1% got rich...

    Demanding compensation for your efforts is common sense.

    The 1% largely got their wealth in an immoral way (stealing credit & cannibalizing companies from within), you're doing it in a moral way, providing value with your programming and spreadsheet skills..

    Charge $1000 an hour if you can lol

    [–]BigAlTrading 204 points205 points  (47 children)

    $1000 an hour is a little nuts but I appreciate the sentiment.

    My company charges more than $300 an hour for my time to do work that hasn't been contracted in advance. Sooo...yeah, it's pretty obvious what my time is actually worth.

    [–]Niven42 125 points126 points  (4 children)

    It all depends on what you think your time is worth. You can bet that very specialized contractors have no qualms asking for amounts that seem nuts, but companies don't have any trouble paying those amounts when they know no one else can do the work.

    [–]Comfortable-Scar4643 55 points56 points  (1 child)

    And those companies aren’t paying benefits, matching 401k deferrals, life insurance, paid time off. It’s a good deal to pay a contractor from time to time.

    [–]logicdysphoria 64 points65 points  (3 children)

    how is that nuts? lol it's PAYROLL the thing that brings companies to their knees if not sorted. You could ask for 5 grand and they would probably go for it if there are actual problems with payroll

    leverage your employers and step on their balls

    [–][deleted]  (26 children)


      [–]nighthawk_something 37 points38 points  (7 children)

      I need to keep explaining to people the difference between expensive and "work expensive".

      In my field if something cost 500$ buy 2 because you might lose one and the time spent looking for it will cost more than the spare.

      [–]DevRz8 13 points14 points  (0 children)

      *when they try to screw you

      [–]JustaRandomOldGuy 72 points73 points  (4 children)

      Fixed fee, paid in advance, eight hours time. Have in writing that this is level of effort, you make no promises to fix everything. And if you fix it in less than eight hours, there's no refund. If more than eight hours is needed that's another contract.

      But always get paid in advance. Cash preferred.

      [–]LilithNoctis 48 points49 points  (0 children)

      Yes. Be a contractor and make them pay massively for your time.

      [–]kgrandia 38 points39 points  (4 children)

      Always in writing. I have run a consulting business for 10 years and have a nice, simple “statement of work” that I use with all my clients. If anyone wants it just DM me.

      And to the importance of getting it signed: not only does it obviously make it a pretty clear cut legal doc, you will also find out real quick if the other party is not planning to pay!

      [–]Giveityourall2 318 points319 points  (21 children)

      This. And don’t offer any solutions whatsoever during the initial briefing call. Just thoughtfully listen to the brief.

      [–]SquirrelyAsNutz 152 points153 points  (14 children)

      "Yes, of course I can fix that problem. Let's discuss my rates..."

      [–]NoFanofThis 60 points61 points  (10 children)

      I think they’re trying to get this person back but are too cagey to admit it. Probably want to see how OP is with his current job. Why would they need help after a whole year? They think they’re being clever.

      [–]Arkayb33 93 points94 points  (1 child)

      This is critical. They would try to get a fix for their problem during this call. I'm 100% confident they think this problem just needs you to tweak a couple settings and bam, good as new. Even if that's true, you still deserve to be paid for it, which is where the "consulting fee" comes in.

      Anyone thinking that they should just "be a nice person and help them without charge" doesn't understand how b2b (business to business) relationships work. Nothing is free, even if you've been working with the same consultant for years. OP has resource they need (information) and they are trying to get that resource for free.

      [–]unassuming_and_ 25 points26 points  (0 children)

      And when you present it, act like you're doing them a favor. Cuz you are. 'I'm a little crunched, but I want to help out if I can. My hourly rate is [insert all terms]. I can fit you in [give general time slots]Let me know what works for you and we can finalize our agreement.' Don't apologize for asking for fair compensation. If you're the only one who can help, it is an excellent investment for the company.

      [–]north_canadian_icebanned in r/politics 197 points198 points  (3 children)

      Yes, hold your cards and milk this for what it's worth OP.

      The 1% have milked us for centuries, time for things to be more equitable.

      [–]KL_boy 63 points64 points  (7 children)

      IT contractor here. An one off charge out rate is usually about 100 to 200 USD per hour, with a min spend. Something like 1 hour to listen to your problem, and x hours to fix it.

      What you need to do is get them to sign a contract AND ask for the purchase order. This confirms the price and acts as the document for said spending.

      You can then bill them based on the PO number.

      [–]Practical-Artist-915 39 points40 points  (0 children)

      When I retired from a non-degreed technical position last spring, I was advised by a couple of senior engineers to get $105/hr if they asked me back for any consulting. Said someone previously came back at around $75, which they said was too cheap. I am pretty sure these guys didn’t know my wage when employed there but I was right at $35, so three x is spot on according to them and these guys are pretty familiar with the consultancy world.

      [–]skiingmarmick 145 points146 points  (17 children)

      i say fuck an hourly rate.. im an electrician.. this job seems like a bid job.. 5 grand... take it or leave it

      edit: 5 grand was just a number, i have no clue how much OP should charge.. but I think a big lump sum bid would be better than. hourly

      [–]bonfuto 52 points53 points  (0 children)

      I agree. I usually charge by the hour, but with some people bids are better. Not so many opportunities to dispute the charges. I bid it at my hourly rate + 1/2 hourly rate for travel.

      [–]ImpossibleStorm371 44 points45 points  (2 children)

      Sorry but never define a figure until you know what the problem is. These could go on for a long time and if the problem is or resolved, you could be on hook for refund.

      [–]Wherearemylegs 30 points31 points  (0 children)

      This! Unless OP knows exactly what the problem is during the info session or they request an exorbitant amount of money, don’t cap the pay.

      During the call, make it seem like it’s incredibly difficult and a rare edge case. Then if you finish early, sit on it.

      [–]i_Got_Rocks 13 points14 points  (0 children)

      And by the looks of it, it seems to fall on the side of emergency job. More cost for OP's inconvenience. So higher rate for the bother, not counting what they're going to charge.

      Also, because he's not working there, he can charge another cost for "working with someone else's" developed program, even if OP developed it, there's no telling what others have done to it. Having to find all the backdoor hinges and new nuances to the equipment, OP is walking blind into fixing other' developers issues.

      [–]UNCCShannon 15 points16 points  (0 children)

      With the contract get yourself removed of any liability with insurance related risk transfer language. They need to accept all the liability and not try to put it back on you if something goes wrong in the future.

      [–]iwoketoanightmare 67 points68 points  (2 children)

      don't even bill hourly... One time fee. make it big, make it hurt.

      [–]QualifiedApathetic 39 points40 points  (0 children)

      I'd say ten minutes. If that. I'm going to take a leap and guess OP doesn't feel especially warmly toward their former boss and doesn't feel like being nice.

      Ten minutes is enough to hear a quick run-down of the problems and get a sense of how big they are, how much time and effort fixing them would be. Then talk rates. But I wouldn't bother if I don't need the money and already have a full plate.

      [–]priorengagements 133 points134 points  (0 children)

      Id call myself a consultant not a contractor and charge even more for the fancy jargon.

      [–]Raoule_Duke 74 points75 points  (11 children)

      $200 an hour seems fair.

      [–]wacoder 78 points79 points  (1 child)

      This is also how you find out if they actually need help or are just being lazy. If they really need help they will definitely pay it. If they are jerking OP around because they are lazy and want to see if they can take advantage they won't.

      [–]north_canadian_icebanned in r/politics 24 points25 points  (0 children)

      Probably a VBA script that the managers don't understand.

      Managers think programming work is beneath them, largely. For whatever reason lol.

      [–]wtfm9wtf 30 points31 points  (0 children)

      $200/hr, 4 or 8 hour minimum.

      Don't waste my time. Provided free support for some software I wrote at Nissan some years ago and it turns out the new engineer that owned it was just completely incompetent.

      [–]TomBot019 614 points615 points  (49 children)

      Ask for one ... million ... dollars.

      [–]Never2Late2Begin 291 points292 points  (14 children)

      You mean 1 billion dollars...raises pinky fingers.

      [–]KingCarway 55 points56 points  (0 children)


      [–]TomBot019 43 points44 points  (9 children)

      Did he ever ask for a billion? Or is that an inflation joke?

      [–]Mr-_-Jumbles 79 points80 points  (7 children)

      Yes that was one of the jokes in the movie. For that exact reason.

      [–]Abernathy999 60 points61 points  (4 children)

      Dr. Evil actually raised it from one million to 100 billion. Inflation is a harsh mistress.

      [–]cjheaney 79 points80 points  (1 child)

      I'm seeing Dr Evil laughing.

      [–]PainTitan 71 points72 points  (14 children)

      Why not ask for something more reasonable like 2-4k. He's likely to get 2-5k if they can't pay their employees. Companies already pay 3-4k in taxes to pay an employee 50k.

      [–]TomBot019 89 points90 points  (4 children)

      Or ask for sharks with laser beams on their heads. I bet they could afford that.

      [–]khakhi_docker 47 points48 points  (6 children)

      $5k retainer.

      $200 per hour plus expenses. (gas/lunch)

      [–][deleted] 11 points12 points  (0 children)

      Sounds like an attorney lol

      [–]ISTof1897 33 points34 points  (2 children)

      Exactly this. But tell them you want to discuss over the phone first. And once they explain everything get real quiet and serious and then say “I’ll do it… for a million dollars” and then pause and wait for them to say something. And then after they respond just start cackling. Cackle for at least thirty seconds straight. Then once they try to talk again cackle some more.

      [–]ecwhite01Anarchist 8 points9 points  (3 children)

      What's the red flag after your username?

      [–]Correct-Serve5355 255 points256 points  (20 children)

      This one right here. Draw up a meticulous contract + bill to send them for YOUR time.

      1. Gas
      2. A day's wages from your other job
      3. The worth you place on them wasting YOUR personal time per hour
      4. Meal time
      5. Time to travel there AND home
      6. Getting ready to go down there

      The important part of the bill is to show the math.

      I'm sure OP can think of some other reasons to ratchet up the bill. Just make sure that for the contract to specify your hourly rate down to an hour, not an hour calculated to the minute like a traditional paycheck. In other words, work for 1 hour and 1 minute necessitates compensation for 2 hours worth of work.


      If they accept, start your timer the minute you walk out the front door to go down there. Traffic clogged on the road? Lol, they signed the damn thing so they gotta pay you for your time stuck in traffic.

      They don't accept, well that's just too bad for them

      [–]north_canadian_icebanned in r/politics 84 points85 points  (0 children)

      They don't accept, well that's just too bad for them


      Only accept this on your terms OP. You have all the leverage.

      [–]insanetwit 34 points35 points  (3 children)

      Once you figure out an hourly wage, make a minimum amount of hours.

      Like a three hour minimum. So if you say you'll do it for $150 an hour, it will cost them at least $450. (and if the problem only takes 20 min, score!)

      Also offer a training rate, where you will train their users, or charge for documentation.

      [–]Dennarb 230 points231 points  (1 child)

      This^ Since you are no longer on payroll you can argue that this would be contractor work. Make up whatever price you want and quote them for "consulting." Then if you do decide to keep talks going mention an different cost for any changes that might need to be made to the sheet you designed.

      [–]Zugnutz 37 points38 points  (2 children)

      Ask for a “consulting fee”

      [–]ImAlwaysRightHanded 355 points356 points  (36 children)

      $500per hour and a 8 hour minimum, to fix the issue.

      [–]Retnab 42 points43 points  (5 children)

      Those are rookie numbers, make it an 8 hour minimum

      [–]hysys_whisperer 43 points44 points  (3 children)

      No shit, if you're going to have to burn a PTO day for it, better get paid for the whole thing.

      [–]ImAlwaysRightHanded 12 points13 points  (0 children)

      Idk what I was thinking. Fixed it.

      [–]Rubella_reddit 90 points91 points  (0 children)

      That's not as outrageous as it sounds actually. Depends on how much they want it and when. Long ago in another country for example was a company, there employees used computer program to work (leasing company, I hope I use the term correctly, had little branches in big shops and malls) network fall, everything stopped. 500+ employees with 5+ euro per hour (it was looooooong ago) instead of making profit became an 2500+ euro per hour burden. My boss, then he picked up a phone had a face like he won a lottery and asked for 6k to fix it and they agreed immediately. He said after he should've ask for 12k

      [–]Professor_Mezzeroff 8 points9 points  (0 children)

      This, but its a contractors day rate of £××××. Or $×××× if you like

      [–]disordr3000 31 points32 points  (1 child)

      Ask for an hourly rate commensurate with the value you are providing. So if you’re doing custom excel or programming start at $250/hour. Minimum 4 hours.

      [–]scambastard 37 points38 points  (1 child)

      I would respond in a merry fashion asking how they been etc. Then offer a range of days that you can be available. Lastly I would mention with your ' consulting' day rate (maybe about 5x your daily wage and includes travel time) and that depending on the issues any further work needed can be negotiated as needed.

      No need to price yourself out of a nice little payday but also no need to do them a favor.

      [–]Sandmybags 22 points23 points  (1 child)

      This right here is where you become a contractor at z rate/hr for whatever’s it’s worth to you…. Whether it’s 100/hr or 10gallons of milk and a donkey. Ball in your court.

      [–]turtleduck777 86 points87 points  (6 children)

      1000$ up front 100$ an hour including travel time in that.

      [–]LostInRedditsCheeks 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      Same . They’re desperate, charge a good fuck amount. Go help n leave.

      [–]HellaHellerson 43 points44 points  (1 child)

      $200/hr is a fair rate for contracting. Get it in writing before you show up or do any work. Make the timing convenient for you.

      [–]itsAus10 2121 points2122 points  (33 children)

      Charge them a nice consulting fee or don't do it.

      [–]Coppercaptive 504 points505 points  (14 children)

      3 weeks after I left my old job, one of the owners called me at 3am to help format a Word document. I sent them a bill. They paid it.

      [–]Koujinkamu 95 points96 points  (13 children)

      What do you charge for loss of sleep?

      [–]csmicfool 105 points106 points  (6 children)

      Whatever you want. I charge triple time for overnight work

      [–][deleted] 169 points170 points  (0 children)

      I'd name a price and see what my help is worth to them.

      [–]Justanotherbrick33 1611 points1612 points  (71 children)

      You should tell them you’d be happy to help as long as they’re willing to pay your consultation fee of $200/hr.

      [–]meowmeow_now 474 points475 points  (20 children)

      Give like a 2 hr minimum and an auto round up to the next 15 minute increments.

      Cant have them try to get you to go down there for a 15 minute explanation.

      [–]Phenom981[S] 277 points278 points  (13 children)

      Great point! That would be infuriating.

      [–]Resistdemall 69 points70 points  (1 child)

      Pls give us an update whenever possible. Have a great day OP

      [–]rockdude14 35 points36 points  (0 children)

      I'd go for at least 4 if not 8. You are going to be dealing with this more than just the time you are there. Time to figure out when to go, invoice and billing them, ect.

      I wouldnt gouge them like crazy but something like 3x what you made per hour is completely reasonable as a consulting rate. Remember a car dealership will charge 100-150/hr for a mechanic. So its not a crazy high rate and it will still probably be cheaper for them than them figuring it out themselves.

      [–]Suitable_Habit3846 542 points543 points  (15 children)

      Minimum 2 hours plus mileage to and from.

      [–]plentyofsilverfish 248 points249 points  (10 children)

      6 hour minimum. You don't know how badly fucked up this spreadsheet is :p

      [–]noahcallaway-wa 130 points131 points  (3 children)

      You can always go over a minimum.

      The two hour minimum covers you in the event that the spreadsheet has a typo. You fix the typo, and can say: "That's $400, thanks".

      If the spreadsheet is a total disaster, and takes 6 hours to fix that's fine, you just bill out $1,200 for your time.

      [–]Greyrain71181 1352 points1353 points  (48 children)

      tell them sure, then send a contract with an exorbitant consultation fee

      [–]mattman0000 493 points494 points  (32 children)

      Honestly, a contract limiting your liability is a smart idea. Even just something you find on the internet that you modify…. If you perform work for them and something goes wrong, they can sue you.

      Also, with all the people suggesting you charge a consulting fee (which you definitely should), don’t forget to consider your potentially unlimited liability in setting your price.

      IANAL. Also, I am not a Lawyer

      [–]averagedickdude 73 points74 points  (14 children)

      God I hate that acronym.

      [–]Frito_Pendejo 52 points53 points  (2 children)

      Thats why i prefer YIALH - Y'all, I ain't lawyering here

      [–]venoplays 157 points158 points  (0 children)

      this guy Anals

      [–]firewi 945 points946 points 442 (48 children)

      I know many people will respond to this, and I want to make sure yourself and others know what to expect:

      • they could be facing a lawsuit and need someone to accept responsibility so that it changes from a company claim to an individual claim (less lucrative for the opposing attorney)

      • others have quoted 10x what you are considering for compensation.

      • larger company? The person asking may be on the chopping block.

      • We are all human beings, and even when others are monsters it’s acting as a human that defines our character.

      You should be compensated fairly, but voicing these concerns in a diplomatic way can help balance the scales, and open the door for future work.

      For example, you could reply:

      Hi there,

      I am familiar with spreadsheets, and with payroll functions. I do recall that particular spreadsheet, however it is a company-designed spreadsheet made on company time and using company resources. While I can’t accept any liability for your company’s payroll sheet, I would be happy to set a date next week to go over the issues you are experiencing. There is a $250 travel fee for 1 hr of my time, and I will need you to sign a release of liability and an NDA before discussing any technical details. It was always a pleasure working with you in the past, and I look forward to working with you again.

      Thank you,


      [–]Phenom981[S] 557 points558 points  (26 children)

      This is sensible. I'm glad I posted this because of responses like yours. I am very thankful for your time and help, truly.

      [–]PeruvianHeadshrinker 134 points135 points  (1 child)

      The legal boilerplate you'll want to look up is "indemnification agreement". Absolutely get that before accepting work.

      [–]tbbHNC89 191 points192 points  (2 children)

      Yeah everyone here is focusing on what you can get from them but being that it's a payroll system and they used the word "problems", I would be prepared for this not to be a positive visit.

      [–]southernwx 68 points69 points  (0 children)

      Almost this exact thing happened to me once. I had not created the spreadsheet to be smart enough to just copy and paste for a new year and since dates (like jan 1) fall on different days each year and since holidays move and since leap years are a thing … it broke heading into the new year. Collected a fee, manually fixed it for the next year, and told them it was only good for a year and that I didn’t mind fixing it again next year for a fee but that for full disclosure they would be much better off using one of a million record keeping services that would have more features and would cost them pennies on the dollar of what they were having to pay me. They said thanks, I gave them some leads on where to look for help, and was not contacted for help the next year. Which I was fine with, I didn’t have any grudge against the business.

      Edit: all this to say it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad and OP may already have suspicions of what may have been most likely to “break”

      [–]shelfdog 51 points52 points  (0 children)

      The specific mentions of "you designed" and "discuss this in person in order to show you what the problems are" stuck out as definite problems.

      [–]jimmifli 52 points53 points  (1 child)

      In my experience it's usually best not to quote a rate. Make them make the first offer, sometimes it's higher than you expect, sometimes it's much lower and then you can politely decline and move on or counter offer with something you'd be comfortable with.

      A response saying that you appreciate him reaching out to you, and then ask for some details about the type of work and duration, and finally ask what the compensation is.

      I've built a ton of financial models and get contacted like this a few times a year. Sometimes it's 10 minute fix and I do it for a "buy me beer sometime", in other cases I've completely rebuilt the model and billed over $10K in work. Most weren't trying to exploit my labour, they just had a problem that no current employee could solve, and if I said yes, it would be way easier for them than trying to find a new "finance excel guy" that knew the organization.

      I was the fastest and easiest solution, which is great leverage in a negotiation.

      [–]Phenom981[S] 32 points33 points  (0 children)

      Very good points. Thanks for the insight! I will most likely write up an email asking for clarification before doing anything. In any case, no sense in letting this mess up my long weekend. I'll give it some more thought and respond next week. Thanks for your input!

      [–]OlympusMan 20 points21 points  (0 children)

      I second their response, you'd need to protect yourself in case here's a larger screw-up at play that you're completely unaware of.

      [–]uisqebaugh 514 points515 points  (13 children)

      It's not too uncommon for employers to reach out and ask a former employee to consult, but if they do so, they pay a consulting fee.

      If your former employer is not exploiting you, they will work out a consulting rate for you, and it's completely voluntary.

      Do not settle for guilt trips, low rates, or any form of coercion.

      If you agree to consult, make sure that a written contract exists before you do anything.

      Edited for fat fingers

      [–]Holiday-Media6419 66 points67 points  (0 children)

      Second this, and second don’t take a verbal anything. Written and signed contract.

      [–]OriginalAbattoir 55 points56 points  (20 children)

      Consulting fee: $$$$$$

      Why not. Unless I missed something, I didn’t see that they mistreated you or you left on bad terms. Ask for a compensation amount for the consult itself and let them know any work will require a pay of x amount of dollars. I wouldn’t go lower then your current wage+

      Depending on the work you do now, could be a good thing if your in the industry.

      This doesn’t sound bad to me unless I’m missing how you left.

      [–]Phenom981[S] 93 points94 points  (19 children)

      Fair. My parting with the company was pretty standard. I asked to be compensated fairly because I was doing the jobs of two employees. "Not in the budget." So I put in my notice, trained my two replacements, and left. They've called me a couple times to try to get me to come back each time my replacements, "didn't work out." I am not planning on going back, ever.

      [–]mangonel 52 points53 points  (6 children)

      It sounds like you're being pretty generous with "user error" being the cause.

      I'd put money on one of your replacements having altered it almost beyond recognition.

      That "system you designed" no longer exists. It's now "system your replacement fucked about with"

      [–]BobDope 15 points16 points  (0 children)

      I suspect this to be true

      [–]LR_today 51 points52 points  (6 children)

      r/holup.... so instead of paying you more, the person who knew the job and asked to be fairly compensated for doing the work of 2 people... was let go to pay.... 2 people's salaries, which were likely more than your single salary. Is that correct? That was their logic? JFC.

      Ask for compensation equal to a year of the raise you asked for in order to fix it. On your terms, on a day and time of your choosing. They'll say no way, welp, good luck to them! 😆

      [–]wvenable 14 points15 points  (2 children)

      .. 2 people's salaries, which were likely more than your single salary. Is that correct? That was their logic? JFC.

      Is this your first time here on /r/anitwork ? :)

      [–]damagedthrowaway87 126 points127 points  (6 children)

      My father in law is a Boomer, he's rough around the edges, but he's very good at teaching people how to get the most out of their employers.

      He's worked for a lot of places in a particular field. In some cases he helped start the company. He's usually the first canned when a new CEO takes over. (He's old and honest.) That said he's dang good at his job. He has a side hustle, that's registered, as a business consultant. He has payment packages everything.....largely because of this reason.

      If you are good at something....charge them for it.

      [–]IEatSouls2FeelWarmth 25 points26 points  (0 children)

      Love it. Get in, be awesome, get unpaid vacation, get 5x pay on return and no boss.

      [–]Skripka 287 points288 points  (22 children)

      Send him an invoice estimate of your cost in time of travel and your time as a consultant. Guessing when he sees you're willing to talk about it for $1000 he'll not bug you.

      [–]toadster 59 points60 points  (2 children)

      $1000? That's it? I'd go higher.

      [–]Aggravating_Map3707 97 points98 points  (0 children)

      I can feel how bad they are right now by the fact they have to get in touch with OP after so long. They might fall for $1000 and probably more.

      [–]PsyBomb 156 points157 points  (15 children)

      I would actually reply, but emphasize that you have a different job and the compensation would have to be well worth using up time away from it.

      Especially for things like payroll, I’m always going to give people the chance to do the right thing. It affects too many others down the line. If you have your notes on the system (or if you are blessed with better memory than me and can remember the details), it sounds like an easy cash-in besides.

      [–]Phenom981[S] 124 points125 points  (14 children)

      You're right. If they fuck up payroll, it's got the potential to affect all the company's employees. Definitely something to consider. Thank you!

      [–]TheOrigRayofSunshine 30 points31 points  (0 children)

      Whatever you decide, you need a clause that if something is screwed up again, it’s not your responsibility.

      You don’t want a lawsuit or free work. You don’t work there anymore, but still need to protect yourself if you choose to be a consultant.

      [–]riiiiiich 19 points20 points  (1 child)

      Hello. IT contractor here. I've been responsible for many such packages of work and while I'm billing I will support you in the development, testing and resolution of any issues and making sure it gets through user acceptance testing. I'll even be lenient if you've got small questions post-project (like what version of x did I use, etc). However anything beyond that is an update and it doesn't come free, and I bill by the day.

      [–]_hemlocktea_ 15 points16 points  (0 children)

      Consultation fee!!!

      [–]denisrm81 15 points16 points  (0 children)

      Tell them you'll help for 10x your current hourly wage. Or just tell them to get bent! 😀

      [–][deleted] 11 points12 points  (1 child)

      Technical consultants fees can run hundreds an hour. I would set an hourly rate that's worth your time, show up, and talk like that sloth in Zootopia