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  #41  
Old 15.05.2011, 11:09
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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It all comes down to greed, doesn't it? There are a few of us here whom manage to enjoy ourselves on less than CHF 4,000 per month!
Some people are willing to endure a bit of risk to receive some financial
gains...
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  #42  
Old 15.05.2011, 12:11
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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My advice for anyone wishing to contract here from the UK is.

.......................4. Contract rates, in my experience, have fallen about 10% since the financial crisis, exchange rate 33%. .......................................
I have seen the "comparative rate" sheets used by some big companies for IT contract rates & they show circa 30% fall in rates. If you are only seeing 10% fall you are very lucky.
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  #43  
Old 15.05.2011, 13:38
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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I also discoveredduring this meeting that if one is unfortunate enough to be ill a sick note isrequire (at a cost of CHF200) as well as c.CHF300 permonth to be registered with a doctor. All this in addition to the HealthInsurance deduction from salary.
I'm a bit confused by this bit.

Health insurance is compulsory across the board in Switzerland, whether you are "enough" of a UK resident (due to contract status in Switzerland) to maintain your NHS cover or you have to get local insurance, you HAVE to be covered. You have to prove you are covered... you don't necessarily HAVE to get Swiss insurance if you can prove you are covered some other way. (I believe I've read some folks on here who have kept insurance coverage from home countries, seems to me they were students though.)

This is the only way I can see you having to pay a registration fee with a doctor. If you are expecting them to (somehow) accept some complicated payment scheme through NHS, I can see them requiring some additional fee, on the other hand, even my insurance is only 400chf/mo so it's pretty pointless to go that complicated route.

That keeping of NHS (or some other non-local / non-Swiss insurance) is also the only way I can imagine having to pay for a doctor's note if / when you have to call out sick from work.


I've never worked as a contractor so can only imagine some of the complicated rigamarole that goes into making sure you can get enough work to make enough money to pay the entire year but from my view, it seems like you're looking at the "wrong" things and accepting things as fact which simply aren't.

It is good that you didn't take the contract with that company, it sounds to me like you were about to get royally screwed, and that's only looking at the healthcare aspect of it.
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  #44  
Old 15.05.2011, 14:15
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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I have seen the "comparative rate" sheets used by some big companies for IT contract rates & they show circa 30% fall in rates. If you are only seeing 10% fall you are very lucky.
Depends on combination of sector, location and skill set. I charge the same as I did 6 years ago. Experienced contractors I know, who've been here a while, have suffered pressure on rates - but nothing like 30%.

btw - we, as EF, have failed this newbie. We've been far too nice to him.
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  #45  
Old 15.05.2011, 14:26
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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It all comes down to greed, doesn't it?
I think that's an incredibly one-sided and, to be blunt, rather patronising and insulting view.

It is noticeable that people keep using the word "greedy" here whenever anybody points out that the cost of living in Switzerland is very high or that you're going to be earning less money, despite outside appearances, if you accept what agencies are promising you.

For me it was down to being prepared to work away from home, to pay the bills back home, albeit without the home comforts I'd prefer to keep. The figures just didn't add up. I fail to see how this is being "greedy", especially since I was prepared to consider some fall off in income, a rather dramatic increase in working hours and some pretty significant financial risk if for whatever reason the client decided to "let go" my services at short notice.

Where do you draw the line on "greedy"? Would it be just as valid for me to call you "greedy" for having a "good time" on 4000CHF when you could probably get by with 3500CHF (albeit perhaps with a less "greedy" good time allocation)
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  #46  
Old 15.05.2011, 15:57
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

But don't you think you should have done the figures before entering into dialogue with the agent? We all know agents are the spawn of the devil and cannot be trusted, but as IT contractors we need them, so best to not take everything they say at face value and back it up with research.

I've been looking to relocate to CH for ages (I'm an IT contractor too) but I've hung around here for a while, I know how I need I need to earn to make it viable. But I'm not going to jump in.

Don't forget that practically all UK contracts are zero-notice, if the client says there's no work, there's no way and no pay, despite the notice periods in the contract.

Like others say though, you need at least a third more than your UK rate pound for pound in CH, not least because you have UK expenses too. A straight relocation might be different.
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  #47  
Old 15.05.2011, 16:20
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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TBH the only points I wouldn't have mentioned:

1) the exchange rates. That's neither here nor there, i.e. nothing to do with the contract. You don't get offered pay rates based on "future-possible-maybe" exchange rates.

I attempted to use recent historical exchange rates to negotiate my salary... but it didn't go very far, as it was met with a "NO"... as in "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, that was funny; now tell us another joke".
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Old 15.05.2011, 16:50
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

The cost of living argument carries more weight than exchange rates. When I first came here, I was always converting to pound to understand the value. When the pound tanked, it seemed like everything got more expensive here - of course, it hadn't. I'm paid in CHF. It costs exactly as much as it used to.

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It all comes down to greed, doesn't it? There are a few of us here whom manage to enjoy ourselves on less than CHF 4,000 per month!
I don't think so. I couldn't provide for my family on that level of income. But even if I could command an income of 40'000 a month, it wouldn't be greed that prevented me taking a contract at 20'000 a month - just simple economics.
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  #49  
Old 15.05.2011, 18:20
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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I think that's an incredibly one-sided and, to be blunt, rather patronising and insulting view.

It is noticeable that people keep using the word "greedy" here whenever anybody points out that the cost of living in Switzerland is very high or that you're going to be earning less money, despite outside appearances, if you accept what agencies are promising you.

For me it was down to being prepared to work away from home, to pay the bills back home, albeit without the home comforts I'd prefer to keep. The figures just didn't add up. I fail to see how this is being "greedy", especially since I was prepared to consider some fall off in income, a rather dramatic increase in working hours and some pretty significant financial risk if for whatever reason the client decided to "let go" my services at short notice.
Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say "greedy". But your expectations are just plain too high. You are expecting to live a lifestyle keeping 2 full households in the most expensive cities in the world. Most IT contractors I know make a good living, but not enough to keep two homes in super expensive cities. Wouldn't I love to have an apartment in London & one in Switzerland, oh, and maybe one in Barcelona. I think I'll tell my boss I need to be paid more so I can have that.
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  #50  
Old 16.05.2011, 10:58
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say "greedy". But your expectations are just plain too high. You are expecting to live a lifestyle keeping 2 full households in the most expensive cities in the world. Most IT contractors I know make a good living, but not enough to keep two homes in super expensive cities. Wouldn't I love to have an apartment in London & one in Switzerland, oh, and maybe one in Barcelona. I think I'll tell my boss I need to be paid more so I can have that.
The above expectation was once the norm. This just illustrates how much rates have come down, and rental prices and cost of living have sky rocketed in Europe.
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  #51  
Old 16.05.2011, 11:23
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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Wouldn't I love to have an apartment in London & one in Switzerland, oh, and maybe one in Barcelona. I think I'll tell my boss I need to be paid more so I can have that.
Well, re-train as an IT Specialist then, what is stopping you ? You can study the work in your own time, either distance learning or classroom and make your way into this seeminlgy lucrative field. Surely having identified that IT Contractors are doing well, bemoaning your own salary and the supposed greed of the high earner, if you wish to join them then start learning. if you don't then you have no right to complain at their salary.

Many IT staff work extremely hard in fields that are complex. You cannot berate someone for their salary until you know what they do and how much effort it takes.

IanSmithUK: As you have learned, the money does not go as far. It does seem to me you have had a couple of unfortunate experiences, which is a shame as it is a nice country to experience. The UK market is picking up so good luck finding work back in blighty.
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  #52  
Old 16.05.2011, 11:31
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

Those people shouting "greedy" and asking why they can't also have an apartment in, say, Barcelona ... it's easy. Get into IT contracting and find a contract in Barcelona.

That's how it works. IT freelancers don't emigrate for their job, they temporarily work abroad. Many contracts are for 3 or 6 month durations. Yes, they may get renewed/extended but this is far from guaranteed and can't be factored in to any planning.

So if I lived in London and was offered a contract here in Switzerland, would I sell my London flat (or rent it out), pack up, ship everything including my family out to Switzerland, work here for 3 or 6 months, then reverse everything and go back to London? Of course not, that would be stupid. The correct way is to simply rent another apartment in Switzerland, fly back/forth every few weeks, and do the job.

So yes, when contracting abroad it's common to need enough money to afford two places and some flights.
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  #53  
Old 16.05.2011, 12:01
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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There's a very easy, and quick, solution to all this.

Next time you look at contracting abroad, don't waste all your time looking at tax, expenses, accommodation, conversion rates to Sterling etc.

Just do ONE piece of research - look at what the going rates are in the country you're going to. On the assumption that everyone else contracting in that country is reasonably happy then you will be too.

For example, let's say you're a programmer on £500 per day. Currently, that converts to 720 CHF/day. However, ignore that totally. Research programmer contract rates in Switzerland. If they're 900 CHF/day then that's what you want. Easy.
That is the crux of the matter. I have spent a good chunk of my life contracting overseas. There are a few simple things to do.

1. Forget the UK:coutry currency conversion
2. Work out the net income you will get depending on tax regime
3. deduct reasonable liveing costs. there are plenty of places to guide you on this. Dont forget that you will want some kind of social life
4. do the paperwork. If you are likely to be gone a while, inform UKgov so they are not expectant of an increasingly large chunk of your money
5. work out how much you will need to send back to the UK if you have property/ loans etc. Bear in mind that this "remitance" is likely to attract rent from the UK government mob on the way in.

It is a good idea to check with your accountant (I would be surprised if you are a contractor and do not have one). and remember AD's point. the rates in UK bear no relation to US/ Swiss/ African rates. They are local economy specific.
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Old 16.05.2011, 12:11
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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On my visit the only Brit I did meet on the team I'd be working with lived in France. For him this was a relatively easy commute at weekends and so he was happy to cope with "serviced accommodation" during the week. There was a French guy there as well and when I asked him it was the same story. He lived on the border in France.
This tells you everything you wanted to know. I have never met anyone (non-french) who would choose to live in France over Switzerland if given the choice.

I am talking about people working in Switzerland, of course. If you have a good salary, there is no need to look for accommodations on the other side of the border.

If in doubt, don't commit yourself to anything.
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Old 16.05.2011, 12:28
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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btw - we, as EF, have failed this newbie. We've been far too nice to him.
Off topic but I think we should steal the user titles/descriptions from that forum
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  #56  
Old 16.05.2011, 14:22
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say "greedy". But your expectations are just plain too high. You are expecting to live a lifestyle keeping 2 full households in the most expensive cities in the world. Most IT contractors I know make a good living, but not enough to keep two homes in super expensive cities. Wouldn't I love to have an apartment in London & one in Switzerland, oh, and maybe one in Barcelona. I think I'll tell my boss I need to be paid more so I can have that.
It's a fair cop. I guess my counter-argument to that would be my mortgage is quite low and that I've been able to keep that lifestyle (and make a profit) working in Ireland and Germany. The key point to get across is that Switzerland is different (well duh!). I used the word "naive" in the title to this post quite deliberately. In my naivety I assumed it would be possible to work remotely through my UK company (commuting at weekends even) because the initial approach indicated that was what would happen.
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Old 16.05.2011, 14:35
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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btw - we, as EF, have failed this newbie. We've been far too nice to him.
Just because one idiot on another forum is determined to behave like a troll doesn't mean everybody here should follow their example.

OTOH if everybody does start acting not "nice" then newbies will just think "An internet forum full of trolls - time to move on", which at least means one can avoid wasting time in meaningless trading of insults, which has certainly been the case with that other forum (although perhaps a little late in the day for me).

Personally, I always tend to "mark down" comments when they say things like "we" - presuming to speak for everybody else - when clearly it's just their single opinion that's being expressed.
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Old 16.05.2011, 14:41
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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Off topic but I think we should steal the user titles/descriptions from that forum
Why not take the whole concept just a little bit further and have the description for anybody who's made less than 10 posts "newbie wanker"?

I'm not convinced it will help "grow" the forums (some old-fashioned types will just take offence and move elsewhere), but on the other hand the "kids" might find it funny and stick around to see what they become when they get past 10 posts (Needless to say I don't fall into that category of user)
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Old 16.05.2011, 14:52
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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OTOH if everybody does start acting not "nice" then newbies will just think "An internet forum full of trolls - time to move on" ...

Personally, I always tend to "mark down" comments when they say things like "we" - presuming to speak for everybody else - when clearly it's just their single opinion that's being expressed.
Presuming to speak for all other newbies is OK though. Sorry, don't follow you.

If you're an active member of more than one or two forums you'll have noticed that they each have their own culture. Your thread title was brilliant for this forum, content pretty run-of-the-mill, response to (mostly) good-humored pokes not great. You're welcome to conclude this forum isn't for you but declaring it "full of trolls" is probably stretching the point.

As for the thread titles on that other forum, if you find them uncongenial why not kick up a stink over there, where they've actually got them? I just thought they were funny (not only the "trying to make sense" one, several of the others as well.)
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Old 16.05.2011, 15:19
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Re: Contracting in Switzerland - Let the Naive Beware!

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Why not take the whole concept just a little bit further and have the description for anybody who's made less than 10 posts "newbie wanker"?
Because that would have the undesired effect of making all the newbie wankers make 11 posts as soon as possible.
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