Bottom Line – Am I being duped by an Agency?

Bottom Line Advice
Bottom Line Advice

Contractor’s Bottom Line

Contractor Rob sent this article to us, about agencies asking for his bottom line, asking for our advice.

Dear Dr. McLaughlin,

I would be very grateful for your advice on the situation I find myself in. An agent contacted me who asked if I would have an interest in a short term contract (8-9 weeks) and asked me what my bottom line was.

Knowing the market rates for such a job I told them my bottom line (which was the top market rate). They said that was fine and that they would put me forward for the role.

Well the closing date has passed now (1 week ago). The agent tells me that the client is busy right now. He says that I will just have to wait until they hear back from the client re my suitability.

I also discovered the same contract on another agent‘s web site. The hourly rate is lower on this site in comparison with the agents that I am with.

Have I priced myself to high?

And if so, do agents wait until the last minute before putting their highest charging contractor forward.

Worried About Missing Out on Contract

My worry is that I may miss out on the contract when I would actually lower my hourly rate in attempting to get the contract.

Should I apply through the other agent who is offering less and where the contract shows no closing date? Alternatively, do I sit tight and hope that my original agent will put me forward?

I would much appreciate your advice.

All the best,

Dr. McLaughlin’s IT Surgery

It could well be that the client is just too busy at the moment – especially as the job is still being advertised on other sites.

Other possibilities could be that:-

1. There is a Preferred Supplier List and your agency is not on it but sent your CV on spec.

2. The agency is on the PSL but hasn’t put your CV forward. Sometimes agencies put the CVs forward of those who they will make the most money on and hold back the CVs of others. They tell those others that they have forwarded their CVs but what they are really doing is eliminating the competition

You could check with this other agency saying you’ve been told that you’ve already been put forward by this other agency but if this is not the case then they can put your CV forward. The agency might even be able to tell you if the other agency is on the PSL.

The most likely scenario, though, is that the client hasn’t decided yet who to interview.

However, always make sure you never give agencies your real bottom line. That quickly becomes the maximum you would get.

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