Working with HCi
This page covers a number of things we’d like to tell you about the way we work, and that you will find useful while you’re on contract with us. Most of them are a matter of common sense: we hope you won’t be insulted if we point them out anyway!
Step 1: Get a contract from us
Please note that until you sign a contract with us covering a particular period, we cannot pay you at all. So please never start work with any client until we have sent you a contract.
Step 2: Send us your bank and other details
Download a Personnel Details form from the link at the right of this page, fill it out and mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org – this will give us your bank, super and other details.
We’ll send you a small test payment to make sure we’ve got your bank details correct. You email us back and tell us you’ve seen the amount in your bank account. (Until you do this, we’ll pay you by cheque in the mail, rather than electronically).
If we’re paying you through a P/L company, you’ll also need to send us documentary evidence that you have current Worker’s Comp insurance to email@example.com. We can’t pay you till you do. (If you need help setting up Worker’s Comp, just let us know).
Step 3: Fill out a timesheet, get it signed, and send it in
Download a timesheet from the link at the right of this page.
- To use the Excel timesheet you can either:
- for the hourly rate timesheet: fill in the date of the Monday in the week you worked – the rest of the dates will populate automatically; then just fill in your start and finish times, break times, etc, or
- for the hourly or daily rate timesheets: just print the blank timesheet and fill it in by hand
- Print it, sign it, and get it signed by the client.
- Fax, scan or even photograph it with your phone and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We need weekly timesheets from you – each timesheet should cover exactly one week.
If you work through a company:
- with each correctly completed timesheet, you must send us a GST compliant ‘Tax Invoice’ before we can make a payment to you
- the invoice should show clearly how much GST is included
- the invoice must include an ABN
- note that as much of the work we do is related to the development or implementation of computer systems, all of our contractor payments are reportable to the ATO
Step 4: Payment!
We do a payment run every Tuesday, so any approved timesheet that we get by midday Monday will be paid that Tuesday. After that, you’ll be paid the following Tuesday. If we can send an electronic payment direct to your account it should be there by the end of Thursday, at the latest. You’ll get an emailed advice as well.
If you have a company, we will pay four Tuesdays after receipt of your invoice. (The terms in your contract state that we pay you later than this … 45 days from receipt of your invoice, but the contract terms are strictly a maximum; in practice we will pay you earlier.) Send your invoice to email@example.com.
Common reasons for not getting paid:
- You send your timesheet to the client to pass on to us, and they forget (so … get it signed by the client and then send it to us yourself!)
- Timesheet sent in too late for the weekly pay run (noon Monday)
- If you have a shelf company, no matching invoice with your timesheet
- Tax file number declaration form not returned (you get paid, but we have to deduct a lot of tax)
- Test payment not confirmed (you get paid, but by a cheque in the mail)
We know that getting paid is important to you (it’s important to us too), but the rest of this page also has information that you will need … please take the time to read it at least once.
Travel and other expenses
Our contract with the client says that you won’t spend anything on travel, accommodation, etc, without written permission from them, so ask for it in writing from the client before you spend any money. You claim expenses directly from the client, not from us. If you have a company, please make the claim as an individual, not as your company.
In most environments these days, you are required to dress smartly if you are being paid more than the people you work with. That means that if you are a contractor, you are expected to wear business clothes even if everyone else in the organisation is in shorts and singlets.
This is especially true on your first day.
Remember that the client can move you to a different desk at any time, so make sure – particularly on long contracts – that any personal items you bring in with you (shoes, pictures, etc) can be packed up and picked up at a moment’s notice. After your contract is finished you may find it difficult to get back into the building to pick up your stuff.
Can’t make it to work
If for any reason you can’t make it to work (you’re sick, you’re at the dentist, your car broke down, your dog got rabies, etc), please call us and the client to say so.
You won’t be taking leave during a contract, but if you need to take a break after the end of your contract please let us know so that we can help the client schedule extensions.
When you are on site, bear in mind that you are not an employee, you are a contractor. That means that higher standards of business etiquette apply to you. This is one of the reasons why organisations employ contractors or consultants, as well as their own employees.
So for example, as a contractor you are expected to be:
- More task focussed than an employee (and never involved in client internal politics)
- More considerate of others (turn your phone ringer off during meetings, don’t do personal errands or take unnecessary personal calls during work hours, don’t discuss your pay rate – which is likely to be higher than an employee’s)
- More flexible in your working arrangements (keep all of your personal materials in one spot in case you have to move suddenly)
- More reliable (you must finish the term of your contract unless the client terminates it, or you get too ill to work)
- More careful with confidential information (don’t discuss your past/future clients, don’t take any copies of client IP as samples)
Adhering to these higher standards will mean that your reputation as a contractor will grow, and HCi and our clients are more likely to find work for you in the future. Contractors who don’t understand these standards get less contract work and are more likely to be terminated early.
Being a contractor is harder than being an employee, but in many ways more rewarding. Throughout your career as a contractor you will get more variety, more money and more respect from the people you work with – if you adhere to the standards required.
It goes without saying that we expect you to obey both the law and relevant client policies.
Under some circumstances, we may decide never to deal with a particular contractor again. This happens very infrequently, and is usually due to the contractor doing one of the following:
- breaking short a contract with us
- breaking one of the provisions of our contract (such as approaching a client or a client’s client for work within 12 months of the end of your contract)
- lying in a resume
- trying to renegotiate pay rates during a contract (rather than before it starts, or before an extension)
- discussing your rate with the client or with other contractors (which is against the contract provisions)
- unprofessional conduct (including sending rude emails to people you don’t like in the client organisation)
Role of HCi
Although HCi is operating as an agency, we don’t see ourselves primarily as an agency. In fact, HCi started as a consulting firm in 1981, and we’ve tackled over 1100 documentation, bid, change, QA and training projects in that time.
Early in 2004, HCi split into two different companies: HCi Professional Services and Realisation Consulting, with HCi specialising in recruitment.
So we can provide a premier contracting service because we’ve been a consulting company in the past and we:
- know what a good contractor is
- can support our contractors in the field because we have a great deal of expertise in what they’re doing
The bottom line is: if you need help with the project you’re working on, call us. You might need specific help with some software, or just someone to toss ideas around with. We have expertise in many areas, and we’re happy to help.
If you’re having trouble with the client, call us too. If there’s someone you don’t get on with, or the subject matter experts are being elusive, or you feel under undue pressure, call us and we’ll talk about it. In extreme cases (sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions), we’ll tell you to get off the site immediately, and go in and deal with the repercussions ourselves.
If there are any problems, or any issue that you’d like to discuss, call us first. In most cases, this will mean calling us before your raise the issue with the client.
Our business is built on people, and contacts between people: writers, BAs and the other specialists we work with, and clients.
We’ve built our referral rewards program to give back something to people who pass us information that helps us connect the right people with the right jobs. Even if you’re doing it as a favour to someone you know who’s looking for work, or a client you’d like to help but can’t, we think you still deserve a reward.
You can be paid up to $1600 for referring a candidate or a client, if it works out and results in someone getting a contract or a permanent job they wouldn’t otherwise have got.
Here’s a link to our rewards program page.
If you think there’s anything we should be doing better, or just differently, please give us a call and tell us. The more feedback we get (positive, negative or neutral), the more we can improve.
If you have any other questions about how we work, please just give us a call, or come in for a coffee sometime.
Documents to download:
- Blank timesheet in Excel format – if your contract has a rate per hour
- Blank timesheet in Excel format – if your contract has a rate per day
- To set up or change your bank account and other details use this Personnel Details form
- A document describing how to avoid injury or illness in the workplace: download from Victorian Government site here
- HCi’s Working from home checklist
You may also be interested in this page, which you can use to choose whether you need a shelf company.