Very Greedy Agent
A contractor sent us this, about a very greedy agent.
A few years ago I got a call by an agent who was also strangely enough a contractor onsite at a major investment bank (household name).
This guy was both the agency and a contractor onsite himself. He used to work for the same bank as a perm. However, they made him redundant. He came back later to do the exact same job again but this time as a contractor.
I used to work for this same bank. That’s how he heard about me. He kept in contract with some of the project managers in case of future opportunities as you do!
The role on offer was a 6 month rolling contract performing emergency maintenance on a critical back office legacy application. The bank had not yet started a project to spec a replacement for something more reliable. That’s bcause it would have cost well into 7 figure‘s. No-one was prepared to risk their job on it going wrong as this legacy app handled the back office reconciliation after a trade is made by the front office. This app should have to to allocate the funds/execute the backend functions.
Obviously it was a business critical app. The thing is this app also fed into other poorly written but critical apps, several used hard-coded logon credentials and the exact same username/password. Also, it shared the same server!
I know it‘s crazy and sounds unbelievable but such was the way this particular investment bank operated. It was in chaos a lot of the time.
Poor Contract Rate
Anyway they offered me a role over the phone paying £200 per day for 6 months. The extensions were 6 months at a time as well. It would have lasted years.
I told the agent I would get back to him tomorrow. So in that time I contacted my ex-colleagues. It was to get a better idea of the role and why he was so keen to offer me it over the phone immediately. That was based on feedback he had from project manage‘s I had worked with onsite before.
Huge Agency Margin
It turns out the actual role was charging HR £900 per day. So this agent was making £700 per DAY margin on this role IF I accepted. Obviously not being new to contracting and knowing the way some of these characters operate I called him back. I politely asked if he could have any upwards movement on the daily rate.
I did not mention a number at all. The very greedy agent got very defensive/abusive and actually threatened me a few times. He said I would never work in that bank again as he would destroy my reputation!
I explained to him without revealing my cards/sources that I felt it was worth £300 a day. That was due to the high stress nature of the role. You got the sack on the spot if you could not fix the app when it broke.
The fix was very simple and always the same. It was one of 2 things. Either delete and re-create the Windows ODBC entry for the app supplying the username/password/server credentials again or reboot the server side service for the app & reboot the client PC.
High Stress Work
It was basic but high stress work. Becasue when the app broke it was always when they were processing the backend for the daily trades. This bank executed well over £1b per day. So naturally it was a lot of money to be lost for the bank if you could not fix it quickly within minutes.
The agent was not prepared to offer me the extra £100 per day as he insisted his margin needed to be £700 per day not £600 per day. This agent had 3 contractors onsite including himself. They all did the exact same role in different parts of the building. He was raking in the money.
Someone had left him suddenly (I wonder why). It was for a better role, which is why he was so keen to get me onsite the next day. I explained I felt £300 per day was reasonable. I then also explained I knew exactly how much this role was charging HR .So he had plenty of room to give me the extra £100 per day.
The agent had some very angry words for me. You can guess them as they are of the common 4 letter variety. I said I would not change my mind he hung up in the end. I could sense his anger over the phone.
Contractors Booted Offsite
A few weeks later I heard from my ex-colleagues at the bank. They said he got booted offsite with his 2 contractors and the role was converted to perm at £40k Per annum.
His dealings with me highlighted to HR the role was too expensive for them after all!
All this agent had to do was accept £100 per day less for his gravy train to continue. This just demonstrates how greedy some of these people can be. He felt he had leverage but did not actually have a clue as the basic fixes were not hard to remedy. That’s IF you KNEW what you were doing.
This was one very greedy agent.