Should I take this traveling job if offered? (Per diam question.)

codedwarcodedwar Junior MemberMember Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
So I am interviewing for a job with a defense contractor. The job pays 50k salary + per diem. I believe they go off of GSA per diam rates. The job is 80% travel installing network equipment at military bases. 50k is not enough for me to take the position due to all the travel involved. Will the per diem make a large enough difference in my end salary for me to consider the position? Obviously I wont know if I will be offered the position until after the final interview but I have never had a traveling position before. Can anyone chime in about their experiences with this type of job?

A little about me to give an idea of the level I am at in my career. I have 5 years military experience as a Cyber transport tech. Separating soon. Associates degree, Sec/Net +, and I take my CCNA on the 21st(I'm sure I'll pass.). I have a very solid background in routing/switching and hardware encryption devices especially considering my age(just turned 23) and years of experience(5) and some light server administration skills. I do have some great experience with implementing projects and large network rollouts. SONET and VoIP experience as well. Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • zidianzidian Senior Member Member Posts: 132
    The per diem rates that I'm used to seeing are around $30 a day on the low end up to $75 a day on the high end. Per diem rates are based on geographic location. You get paid per diem for each day on travel and 75% per diem for the start/end dates (they expect you to feed yourself one meal those days). Typically, hours are charged from the time you leave your house until you arrive at the hotel/final work location on travel days (plus any work hours obviously). The same is true for the return trip, time is charged until you reach your drive way again.

    That has been my experience.
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  • codedwarcodedwar Junior Member Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks. I'm somewhat familiar with how per diem works as I've done some traveling in the military. Do you know how it works for hotel stays? Do you generally get the per diem amount regardless of where you stay or do you submit paperwork with receipts for that for reimbursement?
  • networker050184networker050184 Went to the dark side.... Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Per diam and travel reimbursement are two separate things which is seems you are mixing up. For per diam you get a set amount per day and travel reimbursement is when you submit receipts for expenses and are reimbursed.

    You should really get in contact with the employer and get the actual details for this position to be sure.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • MAC_AddyMAC_Addy Happiness is !!!!! Member Posts: 1,740 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If you had Per Diem plus travel reimbursement (paid per mile you travel), that may be quite good. It just depends on how much they're willing to pay for each.
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  • codedwarcodedwar Junior Member Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Per diam and travel reimbursement are two separate things which is seems you are mixing up. For per diam you get a set amount per day and travel reimbursement is when you submit receipts for expenses and are reimbursed.

    You should really get in contact with the employer and get the actual details for this position to be sure.
    I plan to get all the details when/if they decide to offer me the position. I really don't want to put them off by asking a ton of questions about compensation before there is an offer. They pay all travel expenses. For this position you can live anywhere in CONUS withing like 30 minutes of an airport so there should not be any driving besides rental cars.
  • networker050184networker050184 Went to the dark side.... Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Why would they be put off by you asking questions? That is what the whole process is for. It's not just for them to see if you are a good fit but also for you to see if they are a good fit.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • codedwarcodedwar Junior Member Member Posts: 27 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Maybe you are right. This is the first time I have ever job hunted (military out of high school) so I don't have much experience with it.
  • networker050184networker050184 Went to the dark side.... Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    It is a stressful process. I went straight into the military as well so my first job hunting experience was when I ETS. Just realize in the civilian world people can actually leave their job whenever they want so it is not such a one sided employment situation like the military. You are there to interview them as well. Ask questions, meet the supervisor all that good stuff.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • ltj8765ltj8765 Member Member Posts: 35 ■■□□□□□□□□
    As mentioned above by others, it is perfectly acceptable for you to ask questions to any potential employer. Actually, it might gain you a few “points” with the interviewer as they expect you to ask questions.

    In regards to per diem, you need to have a very clear understanding of what they are offering you as this can vary greatly from company to company as to what they expect the per diem to cover. I have also seen companies pay per diem less then the recommended GSA rates. There is no specific rule that says they must pay based on those rates and this is another reason for making sure you have a clear understanding by asking questions.

    Now, based on my experience, per diem is paid and is in place to cover your costs for lodging and meals. Thus, you should be very very careful of figuring that in as additional income since it is going to be spent to cover those two costs while you are traveling. There are ways to make money off per diem, but it is more difficult if all your work is within the US. You can try and stay at lower rate hotels and try to save by not eating out at expensive places. This way you have a little extra each day.

    Basically, do not count per diem as income on top of your offered salary as it is being provided to cover your costs while performing the assigned work.
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