I’ve been in the field of architecture for many many years. I have owned my own firm, and I have worked as an employee. There are vast differences in each respect. As an employee, the employer pays you a wage, and then compensates you with benefits and takes care of paying taxes. Naturally, your hourly rate is adjusted downward because of those extras that the employer does. If you work contract, the worker is responsible for all of those, and then some. Suppose the contract person has to buy his own PC and drafting software – where do the funds come from? What about general overhead? Electricity and phone/data isn’t free.
So, today, I came across an ad on craigslist, advertising for an architectural draftsman. I’ll post the ad here:[box] Drafts person needed for small Denver Firm / Collaborative, specialized in residential urban infill, addition, remodel (Pop Tops), we also do some commercial work (%20). Candidate must be proficient in AutoCAD, with good communication skills, organized, with an eye for attention to detail, honest, grounded, and ideally able to work for periods of time unsupervised or from home part of the time and in my office part time. Familiarity with Denver Zoning and Building Codes will distinguish you, though not required. Contract position, at least for immediate future. Compensation commensurate with experience. Please send a brief introduction with attached resume and 1 example of Construction Documents of (residential) work, PFD’s please: showing your understanding construction details (sections), clean and readable Plans and Elevations. Please include your professional goals, short term and long term, and your availability: approximate start date, desired number of hours per week, i.e. what are you hoping or needing to earn, other commitments, are you currently freelancing?[/box]
Ok, first off, what is a PFD? good thing I have “attention to detail” because that is the first thing I noticed. I am most certain that he/she meant PDF, but one should never assume… Then the rate aspect – $18 to $25/hour? The last time I worded for such a low wage was back near my exit from college, AND my taxes and benefits were paid. Plus, I didn’t have to buy my own PC/software/power/data. AND that was 20 plus years ago. I know the economy has changed some. but to expect all that and pay low blows my mind. So, I did what any smart ass guy would have done – I replied from a fictitious email account. Why not my own? Well, you never know who is running an ad on craigslist these days. Anyway, here’s my reply. I sent it unsigned.[box] I thought about sending my resume and portfolio for your open “contract” position, but a few things told me not to.
First off, you are offering way too low a rate for a contract person. That is due to the assumption that the contract person will use his/her own AutoCAD and computer, as well as pay for their own taxes/insurance/overhead. I’ve been in the field for many years (contract for a large part), and the last time I charged that low of a rate was near exiting college before I realized that I was being taken advantage of. Fast forward 18 plus years, and that rate is verging on insulting.
Secondly, if you want someone to apply that has attention to detail, you might want to practice what you preach, and proofread your ad. PFD’s do not exist, but PDF’s do!
I’d go on to my third reason for not applying, but I think the first two cover it well enough.[/box]