W-9 Background Investigator


#1

I am fully cleared as I have previously worked for several government agencies but was approached to become a W-9 background investigator. I left federal service as an IT specialist to pursue this route because of the freedom. I was wondering if other W-9 investigators can offer advice. I do not require healthcare or other benefits but I wanted to know if anyone has experience working for CSRA and subcontractor ISN. Additionally, since you may be a W-9 employee, have you thought about starting your own investigation LLC and getting on a prime contract?

Of note: I’m still going through the process and follow up has been rough. I have yet to be given a training date. So far I have submitted paperwork for credentials.


#2

It truly is in the eye of the beholder. The job has a high turnover rate to begin with. I also don’t know how long you plan on being an investigator but everything will be switching over to DOD within the next two or three years, so be prepared for that. I know people who love the job and love the fieldwork and I also know people who despise it. It is highly metric-driven, meaning you will be expected to conduct so many interviews a week no matter the circumstances. A common complaint in this regard is that companies, including CSRA, tend to favor quantity over quality. This conundrum is endemic with the contractor side of background investigations. If this bothers you on a moral level then you might be in for a rude awakening. I don’t think CSRA is bad company but they don’t show the same integrity they expect of their employees in this regard. Training is fast-paced and can contradict what you are taught in the field, so be prepared for that as well. Do you mind me asking what area you were hired in? They have had to rescind some offers because the caseload wasn’t supporting the investigative staff.


#3

The OP wants to become an independent contractor. This is a whole different beast. The prime rule for 1099 employees in the past was the requirement to have worked OPM/NBIB cases in three of the last five years before one could become independent. This changed sometime after the USIS collapse.

I know several independents, I also know several that went back to being employees with ISN or CSRA when they could. You will want to look for some other blogs that deal specifically with independent background investigators for more information.

Also, some contractors require their independents to be an LLC before they will assign work.


#5

Thank you for the wealth of information. I’m in the Washington/Baltimore/Northern Va. metro area so hopefully they won’t rescind my offer.


#6

That is normally a good place to be as there is normally a lot of work. The independent is normally given work as a relief valve for the local workload.