How to quit a 1099 gig

A reader asked me how you would go about "quitting" a 1099 gig.

This is a good question.

Typically as a W2 employee you can just say you quit and if you're courteous, give a few weeks notice.

As a 1099, this is ... pretty much the same!

In a typical contract there will be some language about giving at least thirty days notice to the prime AND finding a suitable replacement for yourself within fifteen days or something.

This is because most sub-contracts are written for sub-contractors with employees, and the prime wants to keep the contract adequately staffed.

As a solo 1099, that would mean you would replace yourself.

But don't stress. In practice, you can just quit like you would a W2 employee.

However, since you're now in business for yourself, it's more important to maintain a good reputation.

So here's what I would do:

  • Give the prime program manager at least one month notice and tell them you were grateful for the opportunity
  • Create some "turnover" documentation for your replacement so they can more easily pick up where your left off
  • Let the PM know you made a turnover file and give them instructions on how to find it
  • Let the client know and tell them how great it was to work with them and you'd like to stay in touch
  • Finish up any admin work you need to close out the project

The big picture is you want to end on a good note so that the prime won't hesistate to bring you on again as a 1099 and the client would be happy to work with you in the future or refer you to another project.

I'd also point out that if you are interested in growing a business by hiring employees, quitting and replacing yourself is a good opportunity to do so.

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