This question was posed by one of our readers who asks if he should cut out the agency.
Cut Out the Agency
Recently an agent (whom I have never had work from before) sent me on an interview.
The agent called me this morning to say that the project was not looking good. The client likes me, but the cost is a problem.
Should I call the client and offer to go direct to cut out the agency? Through the agency nothing will happen, so I am not doing the agent out of any money
What you are talking about is a high risk strategy if you try to cutout the agency. For instance it is possible that companies only take freelancers through agencies.
It is also possible this particular agency is on the Preferred Supplier list. It is even possible that this agency is the sole supplier.
If any of these are the case then you are pretty certain to lose the job opportunity if you take the action that you suggest, i.e. phoning up the client and cutting out the agency.
It would only work if the company takes direct contractors – which most companies don’t do.
It could be that the agency are genuine in what they say, i.e. that the money is too much for the client. It does often happen, especially nowadays, that clients have a new perception of what they want to pay.
It could also be the case that the agent is trying to cut down your rate, either to make sure of the business or to increase their cut.
Depends on Situation
A lot depends on your particular situation if you try to cut out the agency. If you have other irons in the fire, but you particularly like this job, then you might think that it was worth giving it a shot.
Also, if you have a skill that is in shortage and you are confident of being able to get something else at the rates that you would like, then it also might be worth giving it a shot.
My instincts would be to try to find some sort of compromise solution on the rate. It looks as if the rate is the only sticking point as far as you being back in work is concerned.
High Risk Strategy
If you really did want to go ahead with your high risk strategy and cut out the agency, it might be worth your while to get a friend to phone up the client and find out some details, i.e. if they take contractors direct, if they have a Preferred Supplier List, what agencies are on it etc. before you take the leap into the dark.
I would tend to say that you need to bring this to a conclusion with your agency one way or another before you try other routes. Perhaps you could give them a deadline.
If the agency tells you that the job has gone, then you are then free to pursue other routes, either by trying to go direct or by finding another agency who takes less of a cut.
You would be free then to phone the client to say that your agency has told you that the job is gone because of cost and you were wondering whether there was another way around this.
The final advice I would give you, though, would be not to take too many risks in this market of ending out of work for any length of time.
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