Getting a Good Rate
This is the first in a 3 part essay on getting a good rate from agencies, when getting the initial contract.
Don‘t Quote Rate
If you can avoid it, try not to quote a rate to the agency in the beginning. If you can do this, then you‘re really in the driving seat to get a good rate if you go for a job interview and the company wants you.
Once a client has decided on the one that they want, they don‘t usually like to take second best.
The agent will press you hard to quote a rate though, before he or she submits a CV. Before they have got you an interview, you can get away with it by saying that there are too many intangibles for you to be able to say exactly.
You would need to know how many hours that you would need to work, where the location is (there‘s traveling and even living away from home expenses), and what the skills were at the company (you might take a lesser rate to learn new skills.
There are just too many imponderables, and the agency will normally accept this, especially if you tell them that you will come up with a more accurate figure when they do put you forward to an actual job with an actual location.
This‘ll normally satisfy them.
When they actually put forward your CV, they will usually need to know what kind of rate that you want.
To get a good rate, you should still try to avoid it at this stage by saying that if the job is right, then they‘ll find that you are in range.
If they really insist on having a rate, otherwise they won‘t put you forward, then give them a range where the low figure is inside the range for the job and the high figure is outside.
If they tell you that the rate for the job is 500 pounds per day, tell them that your range is 500-575 pounds (500 if you don‘t get the job and 575 if you do), but that if you like the job, you‘ll be easy to deal with.
The agency will normally put you forward now. Most usually, there is not a set rate for the job from a company, although there often is.
Getting a Good Rate – Holding the Aces
If you go to the interview and don‘t get the job, it is immaterial anyway. If you do get the job, then you now hold the whip hand and can now get a good rate.
The company wants you and not the people that they have rejected.
The agent, however, wants the commission, and doesn‘t want to risk losing it, even if they might get somebody else in.
The agent is at his or her most vulnerable now.
He or she now wants no other result than for you to take the job.
Now you must bargain.
You now say that you want the high side of your range.
If you have quoted a set price, you then say that there are one or two aspects of the job that will cause you more expense, e.g, there will be extra traveling expenses, you didn‘t know it would be a 37.5 hour week, you won‘t be learning any skills etc. etc. etc.
The agent is very vulnerable here, and will say that they will go back to the client. You can rely on the agent not to screw this up.
A Good Rate and A Bit Extra
What you will usually find is that the agent will talk the client into giving a bit more.
They will then get back to you to say that the client will only go up to £535 per day. The agency will not have made any concession themselves at this stage.
They may also come back to say that the client won‘t budge. In both circumstances you say the same, i.e. that it is not enough for you.
Please believe me when I say that there is no way that the agent is going to let this one go.
They will move hell and high water to keep this one.
The great majority of individual agents have less than 20 contractors out.
They can‘t afford to let one slip away in a highly competitive market.
You now must make them dip into their own percentage to make sure that they get you out.
It is just too risky for them to go back to the client to try to get them to take someone else – and they just won‘t do it.
Now you are on for a very good rate.
See Part 2 of this series on getting a good rate.
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