I am employed by a consulting firm, and I have been on site, on the same site for 4 years. The client regards me as a contractor, and treats me the same as if I was a one-man-band contractor.
I'm charged out on a day rate, as are other contractors I work alongside. I'm currently the only one from this firm at this client, but there were two of us at one stage. I'm being hired to do "Application Support", looking after one of the client's critical business apps; I was originally taken on with a view to supporting the application while in-house developers rewrote it under new architectures. This went the way of most pie-in-the-sky projects - horrendously over budget, and cancelled with much embarrassment, leaving me in an extremely good position as an expert on this live application which has had its lifetime extended indefinitely.
Besides this type of contract, placing individual staff on site, my employer is keen on offering managed teams to work on projects, on site and off site. We also offer "managed service" packages, tailored for the client's needs.
In terms of my future, I'm quite happy with my present employer, and think they are exteremely pleased with me. I know that my client boss would love to take me on as a permanent employee, but I'm not sure that this fits the direction I want to go. I'm considering launching my own business, and offering part time consultancy as one of my activities.
Watch this space, and watch my use.perl journal for updates.
Update: Company name and weblink for the consultancy removed at the request of my employer.
Apprentice wetware hacker