Good Contract Rate
An agent advises contractors on how to get a good contract rate. This is well worth reading.
This article from an agent is in response to our series on Getting a Good Contract Rate from your Agency and Agency Tactics and How to Deal with Them. See what you think.
An Agent Replies
I have read your article with interest. After I had finished it, I was thoroughly depressed. What you are suggesting throughout your article is not good advice. Furthermore, it’s out-of-date and a threat to the income of IT contractors who are silly enough to follow your advice.
Five years ago agencies might have got away with such practices but not anymore. The market has changed and changed for the worst for all concerned.
Manager of Recruitment Agency
As a manager of a recruitment agency with some 18 years experience behind me it beggars belief the attitude that some IT contractors, and the websites that claim to represent them, have toward agents.
Firstly let me state that being in the business for so long I have heard about and seen a lot of antics that agents get up to. So, I am certainly not looking at the industry through rose-tinted glasses.
There is good and bad in all industries. Just as there are reliable, professional contractors there are those who will leave a contract, client and agency in the lurch at the drop of a hat for 50p an hour extra somewhere else.
Partnership of Trust
The key to successful and profitable contracting is to build a mutually trusting relationship with your agency. A professional relationship built on honesty where all parties concerned benefit.
Playing the games that you are suggesting, therefore, may well lead to the client getting mightily hacked off with the agency. It may result in them possibly taking their business elsewhere.
In turn, the agency is hardly going to look upon the contractor with affection and will, most likely, not deal with him/her again. The contractor will go to another agency (after all there are plenty of them) and do it again with, in all probability, the same consequences.
Eventually his/her actions will backfire. Agencies will, therefore, turn him/her away because of their actions.
An example of a good working relationship from my own experience is when I placed a project manager with a client on a long-term telecoms project (those were the days!).
He did excellent work for the client and we built up a good rapport. Also, we paid him on time, every time throughout the project. That’s even when he couldn’t get his time sheets in on time and gave me his hours verbally.
He was with the client for several years and I negotiated an annual rate increase, passing 100% of it to him each time. The client gave the project manager a five-figured bonus at the end of the project that I was very pleased to hand over to him. That was before we received payment I may add).
The delighted client got the project on time and under budget. The contractor earned nicely out of it with little or no hassle over pay. I, as the agent, earned my commission.
Not Greedy Agent
Rightly so I hear you say. The IT contractor does all the work and the greedy agent sits back, does nothing and takes a slice of the pie that could be mine. Remember we paid the contractor each month no hassle and he received rate rises each year.
Also remember we found the job and administered the contract throughout its duration. Often IT contractors don’t realise the financial burden of paying contractor invoices almost immediately (we pay 2 days after receipt). In this case, often have to wait up to 6 months for clients to pay us.
Report the Agency
No doubt your readership will be shedding no tears over the recruitment industry’s woes and some will be able to wax lyrical about a horror story or two from their dealings with agencies.
As mentioned earlier, there is good and bad in all walks of life.
If you have cause to complain about an agency’s practices, firstly don’t deal with them again, secondly tell every fellow contractor that you know not to, thirdly report them to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (www.rec.uk.com) and finally tell your fellow contractors to do the same. If all contractors did this, it would force the industry to clean up its act pretty sharpish.
Awaiting the anticipated backlash with interest.
Philip Dixon MREC
Silicon Valley Consultants
It’s great to get advice on how to get a good contract rate from a top recruiter.