Get Your Own Customers
Get Your Own Customers is the second part of a 4-part series on how contractors can really make a pile of money from Contracting.
The big failing that contractors have is that they are afraid to cold call companies that might want their skills.
The difference between agents and contractors is that contractors are too easily put off by the first three or four rejections and give up, especially if they get someone on the other end of the line who is a bit stroppy and demands to know where the contractor got the contact details from.
This is no problem to agents. They are happy to receive 100 rejections in order to get the one crucial lead.
Why is it so crucial to get your own customers and contacts?
It’s not, as you would expect, so that you can get a better rate. The employer knows you are coming direct, so will take most of the agency cut too. That’s as a bonus for their own departments having to deal with the payments and the extra risk factor of not dealing through an agency.
Small Business Opportunity
It is mainly because, if you come in through an agency, they have clauses in their contracts which prevent you doing further business with the client. That’s either on your own behalf or on behalf of others. And it’s not only while you are there, but for a period afterwards as well.
There are arguments as to whether this is enforceable in law. That’s especially after you have left the company.
It could be though of as a restraint of trade. However, you would prefer not to have the arguments at all.
If you have arrived at a company through your own devices, then you have a great opportunity to cash in. If you can get your own customers you will be quids in.
Some companies that you contact will insist that you come through an agency.
If you do, speak to several agencies and tell them that they will only get the free money from your contract if they don’t insist on those particular clauses in your contract that prevent you getting other business from your client.
Setting Up Another Company
You also have the option, if you come through an agency with the ‘offending’ clauses in your contract, of setting up another company, with yourself as a shareholder. Someone else is the contact with your client – perhaps your company secretary.
All in all though, there are less complications if you contact the client yourself in the first place. It avoids any messy disputes, and perhaps court cases, in the future. So, get your own customers if you can.
Touting for More Business from Client
Most contractors are afraid to walk into the boss’s office to tout for other business.
However, if you are the type of person who is able to cold call in the first place, then you should be able to do this.
Too many contractors think of themselves as ‘disguised employees’ still.
You should keep telling yourself that you are a small business with a client. So, the client would expect that you would look to fulfill other business needs.
Acting Like a Recruitment Agency
The most obvious way to get more business is to act as a small agency. You probably know plenty more people with exactly the skills that they need at your client’s. Also, you have the internal knowledge to be able to get them through the interview.
This is handy money, and you can grow from here, especially if you are able to do the same at other sites.
Replicating What Consultancies Do
However, the real money, in the long term, is not from replicating what agencies do, but by replicating what Software Houses and eventually Consultancies do.
You want to be able to get, first of all, small parts of the project, perhaps by doing it for a fixed price. As you get credibility, you can bid for larger and larger portions of the work. You can perhaps even bid for whole projects in the end.
It will be even more lucrative if you are able to win the contract to support those systems in production, and to provide consultancy.
Friendly with Business Users
A good step is to get ‘well in’ with the main users and sponsors of the project. If you can convince them that you are good (and that generally isn’t too hard, as they aren’t used to IT guys being nice to them and taking them seriously), then you are in a strong position to get further project work in their business areas, and for support and Consultancy work.
There is a lot more work to be had if Contractors would walk into their boss’s office and say that they wanted it.
You should prepare thoroughly before you walk in though. Have a plan. Look at it from your boss’s point of view and the company’s point of view. Look to see how you can take risk and cost factors away from them. Their job is hard enough and they will appreciate any reduction of risk.
It might even be an idea to take your boss out to lunch to talk about it.
There is a goldmine here – and more contractors should look how they can take advantage of it.
If you get your own customers it will make a huge difference to your future wealth.
There’s a lot of money can be made on Startup companies. Use your money to make money. Join our Contractor Dragons Investment Club on LinkedIn to hear of money-making opportunities.