Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?



  • That wasn't the best thread title, but here is the story anyway.

    I work full time, but am transitioning to run my own local business. I have another thread related to this here: https://mangolassi.it/topic/10510/home-business-ideas-for-transition-out-of-9-5/637

    Anyway, I've talked to my boss and we are agreed that I can pull back my hours. This was a big stress relief for me. If they refused to cut my hours, they would probably just let me go, which I'm not ready for yet.

    I currently am W-2 and there are no benefits except for vacation time, sick time, major holidays, and a cell phone stipend. Nothing like investments or insurance, etc.

    If I pull back my hours by 15 or 20, I will likely go 1099 and work as a contractor but lose any benefits. I make a little over $20/hr now but I'd be able to raise my rate as a self-employed contractor. So that is my first big decision:

    1. How can I calculate a contract rate, taking in to account lost benefits and other things? How much am I worth to make my part time hours a better option than hiring another full time tech? I don't want to charge so much that I cost just as much as a part time contractor as I did as a full time employee, so there is a fine balance here to make it worth it for both myself and the company. It needs to save them money, but also be worth for me to take half my time as self-employed.

    My second question, which is the thread title, is how to set things up so I can do as much work from home, and manage and monitor things, and be available and track work etc etc.

    I want to move myself into almost more of a service provider for them. I want to automate things so they don't need a full time tech. It's crazy that any small business should need full time IT staff with so much of operations being able to be automated and easy to use! I just don't know where to start.

    One thing is system management. It would be nice to have monitoring tools to warn me of simple things like drive space filling up, or backups that didn't run, or new software that is installed.
    Remote control for when I need to get in.
    Software tools to do things like keep the computers clean and updated and running smooth.
    Cloud software that works (Box is a disappointment for us)
    Managing appropriate services in the cloud versus in house. In other words, if our databases and how-tos and WIKI and project management and ticketing and everything else is a cloud tool, I can work with those from anywhere.

    Anyway, what I'm asking (for you services providers especially), what are the top services and tools you implement with a client first thing to help things run smooth? Cause the main benefit of me being here is just that I'm immediately available for stupid little things. "My icon moved, the file isn't updated in Box, my printer printed really small, I swear I sent this email, how do I make a copy on the copier again?..." etc.
    I don't know if there is any way fix that stuff, lol

    In a sense, they've grown too accustomed to having a tech in the next office, yelling my name at the first sign of trouble, not even attempting a quick program restart or a full system restart first. They are too lazy and not learning how to use their own equipment, just calling me for every little thing. I don't like that! But at the same time, i want tools that freaking WORK and aren't giving us the fits every day.
    One example of this is that they hired a person who isn't that computer literate, but their job requires using a couple software tools. The boss literally suggested I learn their job and software more so when the person has questions, I can help them! Really? I need to learn other people's jobs and software so that when they don't know what they are doing, I can do it for them? That's too much dependence on me!

    I've rambled on long enough.

    So what advice do you have for moving full time W-2 to part time 1099? How should I think about that and calculate my fee? And further, what are the most important sorts of tools or things to think about if I put myself into more of a service provider role?



  • @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    If I pull back my hours by 15 or 20, I will likely go 1099 and work as a contractor but lose any benefits. I make a little over $20/hr now but I'd be able to raise my rate as a self-employed contractor. So that is my first big decision:

    1. How can I calculate a contract rate, taking in to account lost benefits and other things? How much am I worth to make my part time hours a better option than hiring another full time tech? I don't want to charge so much that I cost just as much as a part time contractor as I did as a full time employee, so there is a fine balance here to make it worth it for both myself and the company. It needs to save them money, but also be worth for me to take half my time as self-employed.

    I would say even $30/hr is on the low side as a contractor, but $20 would be insanely low.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    One thing is system management. It would be nice to have monitoring tools to warn me of simple things like drive space filling up, or backups that didn't run, or new software that is installed.

    I'm guessing that this question is premature. Let's start with what your OTHER business is going to be. Then figure out how to fit the old one into the picture. What are you going to be, an MSP?



  • Once again, this place sounds like a terrible place to work lol


  • Service Provider

    @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    If I pull back my hours by 15 or 20, I will likely go 1099 and work as a contractor but lose any benefits. I make a little over $20/hr now but I'd be able to raise my rate as a self-employed contractor. So that is my first big decision:

    1. How can I calculate a contract rate, taking in to account lost benefits and other things? How much am I worth to make my part time hours a better option than hiring another full time tech? I don't want to charge so much that I cost just as much as a part time contractor as I did as a full time employee, so there is a fine balance here to make it worth it for both myself and the company. It needs to save them money, but also be worth for me to take half my time as self-employed.

    I would say even $30/hr is on the low side as a contractor, but $20 would be insanely low.

    Contracting normally pays MUCH more than full time. Remember that you have to pay all of your own taxes, have to bill them, have to wait on them to pay you, risk them not paying you (no employee protections), risk them paying you whatever they want and refusing to pay the agreed upon amount, etc. Instead of getting benefits, you have to pay a CPA, pay double taxes and so forth.

    Now because you are the one initiating this, you can't get normal rates here. But $35/hr seems like a good number. They save quite a bit, you lose a little, but it's somewhere in the middle.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    So what advice do you have for moving full time W-2 to part time 1099?

    Never do it!

    In your case, it's not that you are moving from W-2 to 1099, it's that the 1099 will go to the new company that you work for and THEY pay you as a W-2.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    One thing is system management. It would be nice to have monitoring tools to warn me of simple things like drive space filling up, or backups that didn't run, or new software that is installed.

    I'm guessing that this question is premature. Let's start with what your OTHER business is going to be. Then figure out how to fit the old one into the picture. What are you going to be, an MSP?

    Not an MSP, I'm doing freelance web dev work and will probably start some additional businesses like an online store or sell on Amazon and stuff like that. I'll continue offering local IT services like break/fix but will mainly focus on freelance. Essentially I'll be trying to find all the work I can get wherever I can get it.

    The MSP thing is just for this company, they still want me "taking care" of things. So I'm guessing the most important tool would be remote assistance, messaging/ticketing/tasks perhaps?



  • @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Once again, this place sounds like a terrible place to work lol

    They may be hiring soon, you should give it a shot ;)



  • Back to the original question about automation. Here are some ideas:

    Learn powershell

    Implement open source monitoring solution to email you on server statuses

    Create Maintenance Schedules for patching each server if you don't already have them

    Automated Nightly database checks with email notifications

    Schedule monthly AD cleanups using tool by cjwdev

    Leverage low cost tools like PDQ Deploy and Inventory. Advance package and scripting deploymnet. Along with managing 3rd party updates, software inventory and more.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    So what advice do you have for moving full time W-2 to part time 1099?

    Never do it!

    In your case, it's not that you are moving from W-2 to 1099, it's that the 1099 will go to the new company that you work for and THEY pay you as a W-2.

    Are you talking about incorporating or creating an LLC?

    I already work my freelance stuff, all my "extra" money goes into a business checking account, but there is no separation from personal funds yet. I don't have all that worked out.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    One thing is system management. It would be nice to have monitoring tools to warn me of simple things like drive space filling up, or backups that didn't run, or new software that is installed.

    I'm guessing that this question is premature. Let's start with what your OTHER business is going to be. Then figure out how to fit the old one into the picture. What are you going to be, an MSP?

    Not an MSP, I'm doing freelance web dev work and will probably start some additional businesses like an online store or sell on Amazon and stuff like that. I'll continue offering local IT services like break/fix but will mainly focus on freelance. Essentially I'll be trying to find all the work I can get wherever I can get it.

    The MSP thing is just for this company, they still want me "taking care" of things. So I'm guessing the most important tool would be remote assistance, messaging/ticketing/tasks perhaps?

    Oh okay, so kind of a one off situation.



  • @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    The MSP thing is just for this company, they still want me "taking care" of things. So I'm guessing the most important tool would be remote assistance, messaging/ticketing/tasks perhaps?

    Ticketing system is a must have for sure. I would ask if they can give you VPN access. As much work as you will be doing on their network each week, It will make things alot easier.

    Remote assistance probably isn't necessary if you are only working with one client.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Are you talking about incorporating or creating an LLC?

    Creating an LLC is incorporating. It's one of several forms of that. Yes, some form of forming a proper business, otherwise, how will YOU get paid?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Are you talking about incorporating or creating an LLC?

    Creating an LLC is incorporating. It's one of several forms of that. Yes, some form of forming a proper business, otherwise, how will YOU get paid?

    Not to mention that you could be sued for everything you have if you don't incorporate.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    I already work my freelance stuff, all my "extra" money goes into a business checking account, but there is no separation from personal funds yet. I don't have all that worked out.

    That's the first step before you do anything else, including telling your current business about going part time or starting to do any work. Absolutely step one.


  • Service Provider

    @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Are you talking about incorporating or creating an LLC?

    Creating an LLC is incorporating. It's one of several forms of that. Yes, some form of forming a proper business, otherwise, how will YOU get paid?

    Not to mention that you could be sued for everything you have if you don't incorporate.

    Yes, can't be overstated how important this step is.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Are you talking about incorporating or creating an LLC?

    Creating an LLC is incorporating. It's one of several forms of that. Yes, some form of forming a proper business, otherwise, how will YOU get paid?

    Not to mention that you could be sued for everything you have if you don't incorporate.

    Yes, can't be overstated how important this step is.

    That's not the advice I generally read online. Even if I'm a sole proprietor, which I would be, I can still get "sued for everything". So generally it's not to worry about until I really need the liability protection or start hiring people or whatever the case may be.

    Which LLC are you suggesting for a freelancer? Surely I don't need to be a C corp for this?


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Are you talking about incorporating or creating an LLC?

    Creating an LLC is incorporating. It's one of several forms of that. Yes, some form of forming a proper business, otherwise, how will YOU get paid?

    Not to mention that you could be sued for everything you have if you don't incorporate.

    Yes, can't be overstated how important this step is.

    That's not the advice I generally read online.

    Um, then you are reading some seriously crazy stuff. I've never read anything that didn't say that this was the absolute number one most important thing ever. Anything you read that suggests anything otherwise, stop reading immediately, that's not a business publication.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Even if I'm a sole proprietor, which I would be, I can still get "sued for everything".

    Of course, because "sole proprietorship" is unincorporated - the opposite of what we are telling you is the base requirement. It's what is crazy and no one should ever, ever do. In fact, SPs are generally not considered businesses at all, no serious business could possibly consider such a thing. SP literally means "I did nothing that I was supposed to do and am operating as a person instead of a business" and is termed "unlimited liability".


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Which LLC are you suggesting for a freelancer? Surely I don't need to be a C corp for this?

    You really haven't seen any material on this yet. You need to get a book on this and dig in. LLC and C Corp are two different things. LLC doesn't mean "company", it's a very specific kind of company that is as far from a C Corp as you can get. When we suggest an LLC, the "type" is... LLC. There aren't types OF LLCs, LLC is a type OF corporation. A non-shareholder type.

    LLC is the normal thing that you want. But there are B, C and S in most states. There are also LLPs and other things. Lots of options and normally this is where you talk to an attorney long before you talk to the first potential client.



  • Why even create an LLC? Just see if you can stay on as a part time employee at the same rate of $20/hr. Even at $35/hr after taxes you'll be lucky to clear $20/hr


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    So generally it's not to worry about until I really need the liability protection or start hiring people or whatever the case may be.

    This is as wrong as this info gets. Your sources on business are very, very dangerous. In some ways this is correct, you don't need to incorporate until you need liability protection. That time is... the first moment you talk about doing business. So while it is true, that statement means what we said - that you need to be incorporated before opening a bank account, before talking to literally anyone but your attorney. Your liability starts the moment you do anything other than incorporating.



  • I just don't see any value for you getting paid at a such a low rate as a contractor. The $20/hr as an employee is really about the same without all the hassle.



  • @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Why even create an LLC? Just see if you can stay on as a part time employee at the same rate of $20/hr. Even at $35/hr after taxes you'll be lucky to clear $20/hr

    They decided that if I work less than 32hrs it would not be considered full time but part time, and they would want me to go independent at that point.

    This is only taking one day off a week, or working a couple half days. It's not much but I can do this for a couple weeks just to help continue finding more business. Ultimately I'd like to work 20hrs if my freelance takes up the rest. But they can't keep on me on W-2 that way.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Why even create an LLC? Just see if you can stay on as a part time employee at the same rate of $20/hr. Even at $35/hr after taxes you'll be lucky to clear $20/hr

    They decided that if I work less than 32hrs it would not be considered full time but part time, and they would want me to go independent at that point.

    This is only taking one day off a week, or working a couple half days. It's not much but I can do this for a couple weeks just to help continue finding more business. Ultimately I'd like to work 20hrs if my freelance takes up the rest. But they can't keep on me on W-2 that way.

    They can always keep you on W2, hours are not a factor. If they force you off of W2, that is 100% by choice.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Why even create an LLC? Just see if you can stay on as a part time employee at the same rate of $20/hr. Even at $35/hr after taxes you'll be lucky to clear $20/hr

    They decided that if I work less than 32hrs it would not be considered full time but part time, and they would want me to go independent at that point.

    This is only taking one day off a week, or working a couple half days. It's not much but I can do this for a couple weeks just to help continue finding more business. Ultimately I'd like to work 20hrs if my freelance takes up the rest. But they can't keep on me on W-2 that way.

    They can always keep you on W2, hours are not a factor. If they force you off of W2, that is 100% by choice.

    Half of the hours is half the cost for them even on a W2. Actually it's less than half because they dont need to pay benefits.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Why even create an LLC? Just see if you can stay on as a part time employee at the same rate of $20/hr. Even at $35/hr after taxes you'll be lucky to clear $20/hr

    They decided that if I work less than 32hrs it would not be considered full time but part time, and they would want me to go independent at that point.

    This is only taking one day off a week, or working a couple half days. It's not much but I can do this for a couple weeks just to help continue finding more business. Ultimately I'd like to work 20hrs if my freelance takes up the rest. But they can't keep on me on W-2 that way.

    The problem that they are going to face at that rate is that it is going to take you almost no work coming in as a freelancer before you will just drop them. You should find them to be a problem, almost overnight, to keep servicing at that price. Make sure that any contract that you have allows you to drop them in a heartbeat. Because that's SO little money.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    @IRJ said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    Why even create an LLC? Just see if you can stay on as a part time employee at the same rate of $20/hr. Even at $35/hr after taxes you'll be lucky to clear $20/hr

    They decided that if I work less than 32hrs it would not be considered full time but part time, and they would want me to go independent at that point.

    This is only taking one day off a week, or working a couple half days. It's not much but I can do this for a couple weeks just to help continue finding more business. Ultimately I'd like to work 20hrs if my freelance takes up the rest. But they can't keep on me on W-2 that way.

    The problem that they are going to face at that rate is that it is going to take you almost no work coming in as a freelancer before you will just drop them. You should find them to be a problem, almost overnight, to keep servicing at that price. Make sure that any contract that you have allows you to drop them in a heartbeat. Because that's SO little money.

    I'm sure I'll drop them eventually, or just keep them as a customer in my new business, sticking to the complicated stuff as needed, at my higher rates.

    What I'm afraid of is if I go independent but they continue to demand me and my time and basically treat me like I'm still their staff. Obviously, they would not even be allowed to tell me what my hours should be, or when I am to show up or when I can leave. I absolutely refuse to be treated like staff if I'm working for myself!

    As for rates and other stuff. I only have a DBA for a year and a half now. My business checking account is opened under that. This will be the first year I've made enough money to significantly change anything about my taxes just by working at night.

    I normally do break/fix and random stuff for $40/hr but my freelance rates are $60-$100 or flat project-based.

    There are a lot of questions. I have a home office with a designated room. I don't know what business deductions would look like at this point, or how much I'd make and how much overhead there is, none of it.

    All I know is I've been here 6 years and there are no jobs in this town. I've got to run my own gig and do something with more opportunity.

    If I go 1099 with my company, I would only be offering them "nice" rates as a friend. probably not $40 or $60 but the $30-$35 area sounds nice, unless my hours are cut back lower than 20, at which case I'll just bill them my full rate. I'm not sure how that will work out. They kind of need a full time nerd because nobody there can do computers.

    I made 60% of my full time job take home pay just working nights and clocking 9 or 10 hours a week. I'm passing up opportunities to apply for remote work at $80/hr just because I'm still working full time. I'm avoiding looking for new clients because I just don't have the time for more projects. I already have a few clients in limbo due to time constraints.

    The ultimate goal is to be able to double my income, or triple it! I need to work backwards how to get to that point. Liability isn't a huge concern, I doubt I'm getting sued any time soon because someone doesn't like the shade of blue I picked! I know it's important.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    As for rates and other stuff. I only have a DBA for a year and a half now. My business checking account is opened under that. This will be the first year I've made enough money to significantly change anything about my taxes just by working at night.

    A DBA should be assigned to a business. Like "Bob's Hamburgers, LLC" is DBA is "Freddie's French Fry Hut".

    A DBA should never be assigned a person, only to a business.


  • Service Provider

    @guyinpv said in Moving from full time to part time, what can I automate?:

    There are a lot of questions. I have a home office with a designated room. I don't know what business deductions would look like at this point, or how much I'd make and how much overhead there is, none of it.

    After incorporating with your attorney, the next people you bring on are your CPA and your IT guy. You are the IT guy, so that is covered. Your CPA will answer the tax stuff once there is a business to file under.


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