Contact vs Employee Investigators

Can anyone explain to me the perks of being a contractor vs an employee?

I’m currently an employee of a prime vendor and am considering the switch.

My biggest questions:

1: Do you still get case support?
2: Do they ride your back over reopens and ACD?

I’m just really burnt out on the rat race and looking for a little more autonomy and control.

I’m tired of the rush to meet my employer metrics every week.

I cannot recommend going IC enough. Yes you get case support, and at least I have not been ridden, harassed or belittled over reopens and ACD’s like I was when working as an employee.

I know 1Force is looking for experienced people.
If you apply let me know there is a referral, and at least when I signed on there was about $2500 in total bonuses available.

That said I would also encourage you to talk to the different places that subcontract and see which is best for you. 1Force, Brush Creek, ISN, CANDA, and I am sure there are others. I know I saw Peraton was hiring IC’s as well, not sure about CACI or if they are all being handled by CANDA.

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  1. Peraton provides case support on the back end with the Investigator Helpline. Their coverage and reporting guide is also helpful.
  2. you’ll be harassed as an IC about refiles and missed ACD’s just like the hourlies do.

Pro’s to being an IC:

  1. more autonomy to work for other contracts and vendors.
  2. can become less reliant upon DCSA vendors to almost non existent for DCSA work which is a major positive if you live in the right markets for DHS and Intel work.
  3. potential for higher earnings if you work your tail off as an IC than an hourly.
  4. not held to a certain metric or standard for promotions and raises.
  5. some vendors actually treat you with professionalism (non DCSA agencies and vendors).


  1. no 401K or investment into your retirement . Be sure to hold back 15% or more of your income to put it into an IRA at the end of the year.
  2. quarterly taxes need to be withheld each year as an LLC or S Corp.
  3. good luck finding affordable health insurance. Try to reduce your adjusted gross income to qualify for an advanced premium tax credit.
  4. you’ll have only about two to three weeks of vacation. When you stop working, the income stops. No PTO. I miss PTO the most as an IC in order to take vacations.
  5. vendors and agencies don’t pay professional wages even as an IC. $250.00 for an ESI; $62.50 a source, and $31.25 per record is an abomination. Those fee rates should be doubled in each category especially when they aren’t paying for briefing cases, manifesting, fixing refiles, subject re-contacts, no mileage, or windshield time.

Good luck out there. Hope this helped.

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Are you able to choose the work that is assigned to you?

Yes and no. For CACI SUBK ICs, they can request types of work (ESIs, TESIs, only records, etc) but cannot turn cases back in once they are received. They can also limit the mileage range (not really a concern with items moving to remote) or request certain zip codes.

I do not know how Peraton or their Subks operate.

Upside; you determine how much work you want to take on. One month maybe 1 ESI, next month 10 TESIs, etc. Pay is by item, so that cuts both ways. No stress about meeting production metrics. Being able to take your time (within reason of course) and doing it the right way is a big deal for me. You still have access to case support, review, Help Desk, etc. Like with being a W2, much of your experience will depend on the ability of your point of contact (supervisor, section lead, field manager, contract liaison)

Downside; no health benefits/401(K), paid vacation, etc. No reimbursement for mileage (some vendors may, but not in my experience). If work dries up, there is no guarantee you’ll get work.

Good luck!

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What I am really tired of is having my pay grade held over my head and the constant pressure of maintaining it.

I have zero control over the cases I am assigned and they have absolute control over my pay.

For instance, every single case I get assigned and submitted can be reopened at their discretion thus affecting my pay.

I feel like it’s in their best interest to reopen my cases and I have to compete against them to maintain my salary.

I’ve had cases reopened for the most BS reasons. “What color was the ford bronco Subject ran from the police in?” Type questions.

I don’t mind making the correction when required. I get the corrections made quickly and out of the way. But every time I get a case reopened my heart sinks little because I know it’s going to eventually screw my paycheck.

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I felt the same anxiety about metrics for seven and a half years and I know how you feel as an hourly. I have never looked back since becoming an IC. You’ll feel much better when metrics cannot be held over your head. I would recommend leaving your hourly position and make the transition to be an IC. There are different challenges as an IC but I believe for your mental health and well being, being an IC will be a welcome change.

What area are you in?

It really depends on your situation personally. I was FT employee for 6 years when my father developed dementia and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him home 100 percent of the time. I choose to go the 1099 route because of that. Now, I’m retired from the Army so I didn’t need any insurance for health. I also had no personal debts and my children were all grown. I was able for a period of 8 years to work when I wanted and not when I couldn’t. I never took on more work than I knew I would not make the ACD’s except in those cases that for one reason or another just “keep on giving”. I made a decent living at it. I am located in a military area. After about 7 years of this without any rhyme or reason all I was being assigned were T3’s laden with issues. It got to the point that it was just not productive time wise the amount of time I was spending on cases for the amount of money made. I was offered and choose to go back to FT with a vendor in the Integrity Assurance department which I promised 3 years. The pay was ok and it was 100 percent from home. I as scheduled retired for good after those 3 years. I haven’t looked back.

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