FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


FAQs on ipub
FAQs for Companies
FAQs for Contractors

ipub? Funny name!

ipub stands for Independent Professionals Unternehmens Beratung.

Independent professionals: well, that’s our beloved contractors. And Unternehmens-Beratung means Consulting Company in German. No worries, we don’t insist on flawless pronunciation. Simply remember that ipub has nothing to do with iApple, nor with Irish beer. Stick with the plain [ pi ju bi], and you’ll be fine.

How big is ipub?

We’re proud to be small and focused. We have super-lean operations with many services outsourced. However, we have recently been growing a lot, and expect to do so even more in the coming months. No numbers published, as they currently change on a monthly basis…

How do I know you guys are serious?

We have been in business for 12 years. We are licensed by the Swiss government to act as a contracting and payrolling agency. And we work with the largest banks in Switzerland, who have their own due diligence. If you still have doubts, we are happy to put you in contact with one of our contractors, who will be equally happy to share his experience of working with ipub.

Why is your website in English only?

We love our native Schwizerdütsch and proudly answer the phone with “grüezi”. Yeah, Swiss German is so cool that even Trump would love it: “Very primitive language. Only two tenses: present and past perfect. Best language in the world!”

Right.

Speaking of the devil: While Trump might not pass the rigorous ipub selection process, he has one thing in common with most of our contractors: he wasn’t born and raised in Switzerland.

And no, translating our blog into Swedish, Dutch, Italian, French, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese is not an option. So: English is clearly the lowest common denominator.

But do realize that most of the ipub team are not native English speakers. So please excuse our errors and clumsy formulations. Änd also ze Swiss German äkzent! Sänk you!

Who are ipub’s clients?

We work with the largest banks in Switzerland, as well as with private banks, hedge funds, and private equity companies. More recently, we have started to serve the very successful FinTech startup ecosystem in Zurich and, especially for Blockchain, in the crypto valley of Zug.

In what countries are you active?

Currently, our main focus is Switzerland.

However, we have an international network of top experts in quant finance, AI, Machine Learning, and Blockchain. For this reason, we are working on expanding our offering to other financial centers. We are planning to open at least one office in another country in the next few months. Additionally, we are actively negotiating partnerships with agencies in London, New York, and Singapore. This will benefit our community of contractors by giving them access to a larger selection of projects.

Why should I hire a contractor?

There are many reasons: greater flexibility, better cost control, reduction of administrative overheads, to name a few.

Also, thanks to ipub you can get access to top talent you couldn’t hire for a permanent position. Why? For example, because you are limited by your compensation policies. Or because some of the best experts shun being stuck in a corporate career.

Or you might not even know if you will need the expert know-how going forward. Many of our clients hire top experts as contractors for early-stage innovation projects, before even knowing if the project’s lifespan will extend beyond the proof-of-concept phase.

Finally, if things aren’t rosy anymore,  scaling down your contingent workforce will reduce your cost basis without formally having to lay off staff.

How long is a typical gig?

You name it!

However, in our experience the most common contract terms are 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.

I’m looking for a contractor. So I call you. What happens next?

The first contact with ipub is informal: you give us a call and explain what expertise you require. We ask questions about budget and timeline, milestones, and more. You explain the project, the people involved, your goals, objectives, and difficulties you are trying to overcome.

Once we have the required information, we put together a project brief within the next few hours. We’ll also let you know when you can expect to receive our first profiles.

Each profile we submit comes with a detailed CV, a required rate, availability, and more.

You decide which candidates you want to interview. It’s up to you if you interview by phone, in person, or both. We liaise with the candidates and arrange the interviews with them.

Up to this point, the service is completely free of charge to you. We only generate income from charging the experts a referral and payrolling fee.

If you want to hire a candidate for a gig, you let us know. We manage the legal paperwork with you and the candidate. And off you go, to start your project.

This process usually takes no more than a few days.

How long does it take to find the right profile?

Expect to get some profiles within three business days.

The better you know what you want, the easier it is for us to find the right profile for you.

The longer you are ready to wait, the better the quality of profiles we find.

How quickly can your experts start?

Be ready to wait for at least two weeks. Often, everything just falls into place nicely and things move even faster. And sometimes, the right expert is still on a project for two months, and you decide you had rather wait than go with the second best.

With our experience, we know what is realistic. It is our core business to assist you through the selection process with advice and transparency.

What is ipub’s service charge?

The rate we quote covers all company expenses, except for the VAT (MwSt). From that rate, we deduct a payrolling fee, a referral fee, and all mandatory employer deductions. For example (simplified example):

Invoiced daily rate: 970.-

VAT (7.7%): 70.-

Quoted daily client rate: 900.-

 

Who decides on the daily rate?

Our standard process is simple and fair:

  1. In our project brief, we make a suggestion for an offered rate range. Remember that our fee is independent of the rate, so this range is meant to maximize the probability that we will find the right expert for you (i.e. with the right seniority, experience and skill set, within the desired time frame). For example, a daily rate suggestion could be 800 – 950 CHF.
  2. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can ask to modify that range. For example, you could request a maximum of 920 CHF.
  3. When discussing rates with contractors, we make a suggestion for a contractor ask rate. This suggestion will, again, maximize the probability of a successful placement. We naturally hope that this is in everybody’s interest. For example, we suggest for a given candidate an ask rate of 850. However, in the end it is up to the contractor to decide the ask rate. On the other hand, we will not submit profiles to you where we believe the ask rate is completely out of line.
  4. When submitting the profile, we submit the required contractor ask rate to you.
  5. We normally recommend that you don’t negotiate rates with the contractor after successful interviews. However, sometimes the interview reveals new information that makes a counter-offer necessary. For example, the contractor wishes to work from home one day per week. You agree, but only if he reduces his ask-rate to 820.
What is a typical rate for an expert?

The rate depends on many factors such as:

  1. profile sought / expert skills required
  2. current market situation
  3. length of the contract (long term contracts often have lower rates, but sometimes it’s the other way round)
  4. your flexibility (e.g. many experts prefer a part-time contract with some remote work, and they are happy to lower their rate for this)
  5. your company (will it look good on a CV? Are you the hottest startup in town?)
  6. your project (a top team, an interesting book of work, exposure to new technology, and other factors are popular with our experts)

In the end, you decide what you are ready to pay. The contractor decides what he’s ready to accept. And since our commission does not depend on the rate, we are a true partner in advising a realistic rate for your desired skill set.

Can I convert a contractor into a permanent position?

Of course!

At the end of the project, you are free to make an offer to the contractor. If he accepts: congratulations!

If you want to hire a contractor before expiry of the contract, we are also more than happy to walk you through the options. Remember that we pride ourselves on our flexibility and transparency: just talk to us!

Is it possible to extend a contract?

Of course, and this is very common! If both the contractor and the company want to extend: let’s stay together!

Is it possible to terminate a contract early?

Our standard contract includes a clause for monthly termination. However, we advise our companies and our contractors to make use of this clause only in very special circumstances.

Contractors sometimes relocate to Switzerland for the project, so an early termination by a company may have a big organisational impact on them.

Companies invest a lot in a contractor for on-boarding, ramp-up, etc. An early termination by a contractor may put the success of a project at risk.

Luckily, in our experience early termination is very exceptional. And when it happens, it is usually done with mutual consent.

How do I apply?

The application process is simple: Send your CV to recruiting@ipub.com. If you want, you can write a nice cover letter.

If you’re not sure whether you want to apply, you’re welcome to give us a call beforehand: +41 500 60 30.

If you want us to stay friendly, only apply to a given gig if you fulfill the requirements. If a job asks for a work permit, only apply if you have one. If a gig asks for JavaScript, Java alone will not suffice.

If you follow this advice, expect a quick response within 24 hours or less.

If you are particularly self-confident, you can give it a try with a speculative application. We are always looking to expand our network with top talent. And we will do everything to proactively find a project for the right candidate. However, be reminded that our niche is FinTech, thus mostly: quant finance, big data, AI, ML, and blockchain.

 

Is contracting for me?

Are you

a newnew-person (i.e. someone who enjoys new locations, new projects, new teams, new people, new technologies, etc.)

a top specialist in your field, and still learning…

an independent thinker (and maybe a beautiful one too…)

competitive, self-confident, sure of yourself, not too risk-averse

Can you tick at least three of the above? Congratulations! Contracting is definitely an option for you!

True, with contracting the risks are higher. But you’ll learn more. You’ll earn more. And you’ll also develop your soft-skills, your professional network, and your personal branding much faster.

And, if current employment trends are anything to go by, taking ownership of your career is probably also a good idea going forward.

If you are looking for a permanent position, and you accept a contract because nothing else is currently on offer, there’s nothing wrong with that. In this case, contracting will buy you time. And we have a long history of contractors being offered a permanent position after some time in the project.

Is Switzerland for me?

Switzerland has great quality of life, low taxes, and fantastic public transportation.

But Switzerland is also very small. Zurich, the largest city, has only around 400k inhabitants. Don’t expect the nightlife to be anything like London.

And, Swiss cities are expensive.

But then again, there’s skiing, hiking, the lakes, and more.

Difficult: the strange Germanic dialect called schwiizerdütsch. But then again: most people speak English, at least in corporate settings.

Fantastic: Switzerland is situated at the heart of Europe (at least geographically). You’ll be in Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, London, Vienna, Rome in no time.

Well, in short, it’s all a matter of taste. If you’ve never had a dog, it’s hard to debate the advantage of Labradors over German Shepherds.

In short, rest assured that:

  • Switzerland is a nice place to live (like many other places)
  • most people are friendly most of the times (like in most places)
  • if you’re open minded, flexible, communicative (like all good contractors), you’ll be just fine.
Contracting is only a stopgap, right?

This might be true for some. But most of our contractors engage in the gig economy by choice. Unlike their counterparts in other sectors, our contractors have an excellent level of education. They are individualists who enjoy the flexibility and financial independence of contracting, while taking ownership of their careers. Although some remain contractors their entire career, others move into the corporate sector having gained vast experience from involvement in diverse projects over the years.

How much will I earn?

Quoted daily client rate: 900.-

Referral fee: 50.-

Payrolling fee: 50.-

Quoted daily contractor rate: 800.-

Employer deductions (Pension, sick pay insurance, social benefits): 80.-

Gross contractor salary *): 720.-

Employee deductions: 75.-

Net daily salary: 645.-

Tax at source (only for contractors without B permit): 70.-

Net daily contractor payout: 575.-

*) This is what you’ll want to use if you want to compare your daily rate to a permanent salary. Assuming 4 weeks of vacation, you would roughly have 230 working days, thus a yearly salary of 165k CHF.

Are interviews on-site?

It depends.

“You keep saying that!”

Yeah, but it’s true.

First: If we like your CV, congrats! You’re invited to a phone interview with ipub. If you convince us that you’re the right person for the gig, we’ll submit your profile to the client. If the client shares our view: Hurray! Big milestone achieved! The client will funnel your CV into his selection process, and that can be very simple (informal phone interview) or very demanding (series of interviews with different people, on- or off-site, etc.).

Some clients have a clear preference for local candidates. Why? Because they can be interviewed quickly, and the probability of something going wrong is just lower. So, to notch up a few points in your favour, you might want to do whatever it takes to demonstrate flexibility. Providing proof that you really want that project is always a good idea. And flying to Zurich for a day is a very strong demonstration.

 

But that’s what we are here for: we know our clients and will brief you on what to expect, on a case by case basis.

Will ipub pay for relocation?

Dream on! You are a contractor now! Self-driven, taking ownership of your life.

Having said that, we take pride in supporting our contractors wherever we can. We know the tricks to get an apartment in the hottest part of town. We can explain the procedures you have to go through with the public authorities, we can refer you to an insurance company, help you open a bank account, and more. Talk to us!

As an ipub-contractor, am I insured?

Yes, you are insured according to what is required by the regulator, and more! This normally covers:

You are also entitled to other benefits such as family-allowances.

Call us on +41 44 500 60 30 for details.

Can I deduct expenses?

We let you deduct all expenses that are work-related and that we can legally deduct. Talk to us for details!

Do I get to choose my pension plan?

You bet!

Everybody is on the mandatory pension plan (BVG). Some also qualify for extended coverage. Happy to walk you through the details!

Can I keep my own company?

Yes, you can keep your company, wherever it is domiciled.

However, the more interesting question is probably: Can you channel your income from contracting through your company?

If your company is not Swiss-domiciled, the answer is usually no.

Else: it depends.

Bigger companies don’t want to deal with many small companies. So their contracting party is always ipub.

Sometimes, gig-providing companies allow what is called subcontracting. Thus, ipub invoices the company where you do your gig. Your company invoices ipub. And formally you remain an employee of your company.

In short, we always try to be as flexible as possible, taking into account what’s legal and what’s OK with the client.

I’m currently in a permanent position. Can I still apply?

It depends.

Many of our clients hire contractors because they want to start their project sooner rather than later. So, if we are in the middle of March, and the gig description says start date 1 April, don’t apply if you have a six months’ notice period.

However, if you have a notice period of one month, you can still apply, even if your earliest start date would be 1 May. Some clients will wait for exceptional candidates. And in our experience, employers are often surprisingly open to discuss gardening leave.

Also, if you are considering quitting your permanent job, drop us a mail at recruiting@ipub.com, whatever your notice period. Happy to walk you through the options.

How long is a typical gig?

You name it!

However, in our experience the most common contract terms are 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.

Is it possible to extend a contract?

Of course, and this is very common! If both the contractor and the company want to extend: let’s stay together!

Is it possible to terminate a contract early?

Our standard contract includes a clause for monthly termination. However, we advise our companies and our contractors to make use of this clause only in very special circumstances.

Contractors sometimes relocate to Switzerland for the project, so an early termination by a company may have a big organisational impact on them.

Companies invest a lot in a contractor for on-boarding, ramp-up, etc. An early termination by a contractor may put the success of a project at risk.

Luckily, in our experience early termination is very exceptional. And when it happens, it is usually done with mutual consent.