There are loads of other people in the same position as you and you’re all fighting for the same jobs. What can you do? Well, you’ve got to start somewhere…….Join the freelancing world!
I got into a discussion the other day where I tried to prove why underpaying is a good idea.
The obvious things, you save money. The lower the day rate the less you spend.
The people you get are of lower quality. This is also good. They make your permanent staff look better than they really are.
The fact they are not great also means they are more likely to stay around meaning fewer cases of having to replace them.
They aren’t aware how bad your company is, ergo fewer complaints to deal with.
Frankly I knew by this point I had lost the argument. This was further compounded when my adversary pointed out there were better ways to save money such as switching to platform recruitment workflows that have included the onboarding and management needed, SAAS delivered and PAYG. Like 6progmembers do.
They tend to use the savings to pay their freelancers a bit more, helping to retain them and in the longer run saving more money through quality work.
This is not a freelancer ‘sob story’ and neither is this blog about the challenges of procurement leads pushing contract agencies for lower margins.
It’s a story about the human interaction between a project manager and a freelancer.
Hidden agency margins hurt the freelancer and the manager because neither is able to ascertain what level of work is required or should be expected based on the set fee.
A project manager hires a developer for 12 months at a cost of £700 per day who is in fact paid £560 by the agency.
For the PM this is a stretch. It is slightly above the ideal budget and now it is a necessity the developer works fast to bring in the work early and come under project budget.
For the developer this is a job taken because of timing and ‘if a better paid job comes along’ it will be hard for the freelancer to reject it.
4 weeks into the project the PM has a one-to-one with the developer to discuss the pace of the work. In theory neither are contractually permitted to disclose the rate. (This only helps the agency and is a policy that is often disregarded).
The PM mentions the stresses they are under on budget control. Casually the freelancer mentions they are also concerned as the agent said budget was a pressure so a low daily rate was applied.
Both sides feel uneasy. Neither side is at fault.
A project manager asks an agency to find a developer for a 12 month contract. They do. High fives all round.
The agency supplies an excellent selection of profiles and following some interviews one developer is selected who joins the project a few weeks later.
Unfortunately the management is changed, and the business direction is under question so the project is halted immediately. Two weeks payment is made to the agency and most of this is passed to the freelancer.
All that work for 2 weeks of margin. Is this good trade?
A final example:
A project manager and a freelancer catch up having worked together a few years ago.
As luck would have it, one is in need of a freelancer and the other has just finished a contract.
Procurement policy dictates an agency should be used to manage the papertrail, help on timesheets and invoicing and keep the relationship IR35 friendly.
A call is put in to a known agency … what margin can you charge if I give you a candidate?
(Frankly I’d prefer you offered us the work at our normal margins but) “how about 10%?”
Both sides have done the other a favour yet neither have received one!
As shown by the above it is good news that 6prog designed a platform with managers, freelancers and recruiters’ best interests in mind. An ultra low services charge for paperless paperwork that streamlines the process, a fixed fee for recruitment services (or networking introductions) AND no hidden margins.