Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've kept on coming across the term "bodyshop" in terms of a programming job/environment but despite googling I can't find out what exactly this is referring to? Can someone please enlighten me?

share|improve this question
You may find answers in How can you distinguish a good consulting firm from a body shop? question. In France, body shops are called "meat sellers". – mouviciel Dec 21 '11 at 9:37
up vote 12 down vote accepted

It means an employer that is not interested in improving the people they hire - a place that will not train people but expect them to train themselves on their own time.

These are places that are more interested in having the personnel so they can bill their clients per person (hence - body shop) than the actual quality and capabilities of the people.

In short, a body shop is a place that is more interested in billable hours than quality people.

share|improve this answer
In 20+ years I've never worked for a company that was interested in improving the people they hire. Any training I did was on my own in terms of money and time. – jfrankcarr Dec 21 '11 at 10:22
@jfrankcarr - I have worked for some managers that were interested in improvement. – Oded Dec 21 '11 at 10:26
@jfrankcarr - I have also worked for 12+ years and except while I was a contractor I have been given paid training, courses, conferences to improve my skills. If people don't improve their quality of work won't improve as also the soft skills. Good managers would recognize that. – Pratik Dec 21 '11 at 10:34
@Oded - I've heard such managers exist and that the company actually gives them a training budget. I've never worked for one though. At best, they've bought a MSDN subscription and called it 'training'. Actual serious training is quite rare around here. – jfrankcarr Dec 21 '11 at 11:19

Basically it means a company that hires programmers only to lease them to clients on a per-hour basis. The programmer gets a steady salaray (lower, often much lower that what they'd get as a freelancer), possibly some benefits, and doesn't have to actively look for projects. The client has someone to go to if they have a position to fill but can't find anyone qualified and/or don't want to hire permanently.

Such companies usually call themselves consultancies, but the jobs usually are grunt work, often in legacy projects, with little chance for any actual consulting to happen.

The term also implies a company that has no interest in optimizing anything but the difference between the employee's salaries and the hourly rates paid by the clients.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.