Contract offer directly from client but want the security of an agency
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    Default Contract offer directly from client but want the security of an agency

    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to ask for some advice as someone who has only ever worked through an agency and an umbrella company before.

    I've received an email from a former employer about a new contract opportunity. Previously (concluding 18 months ago) I worked with them through an agency and everything ran smoothly. This will most likely be a one-off contract so I wanted to know if it would be completely idiotic to seek out an agency to be part of this arrangement, for my own peace of mind?

    I just want the simplicity and security of timesheets and guaranteed (I use that word loosely) payments at the end of each week.

    I have yet to negotiate a rate with the client (And I'm not entirely sure how's best to do that either!).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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    Bit of a difficult one here. You could speak to the client and see if they have a preferred agency who they work with and go through them. Alternatively, negotiate the rate, then contact a friendly agent you have worked with before and explain the situation and offer them a % to run the contract, tell them what terms you want etc. They will either say yes or no. You are in a strong position to make whatever contract amends etc that you want.

    Or speak to the client and tell them the conditions you want (paying weekly etc) and see what they say. You get to keep the extra 10% (or whatever then), but obviously you take more of a risk.

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    First question that comes to mind is what exactly are you worried about? Is it the contractual side or the getting paid side? Do you want regular income quicker than the 90 days (plus delays) that is possible in b2b contracts? I see you mention the money and weekly payments but is that it all?

    If it's the contractual side you could just get a solicitor or contract lawyer to help you out. If it's the income you could just look at a factoring company to handle the money.

    I'm not 100% convinced bringing an agency in will give you any peace of mind whatsoever. A good one could help you out, a bad one could end up screwing up adding to your problems.

    Also most of us dream of going direct and acting a bit more like a business. Wanting nice payments in your account sounds a bit disguised permie'ish. You could be missing out on what most of us actually want. I wouldn't go as far as to say idiotic as I can see something in your rationale but I wouldn't be giving any of my money away over something like wanting weekly payments.
    Last edited by northernladuk; 3rd January 2018 at 16:16.
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    First question that comes to mind is what exactly are you worried about? Is it the contractual side or the getting paid side? Do you want regular income quicker than the 90 days (plus delays) that is possible in b2b contracts? I see you mention the money and weekly payments but is that it all?

    If it's the contractual side you could just get a solicitor or contract lawyer to help you out. If it's the income you could just look at a factoring company to handle the money.

    I'm not 100% convinced bringing an agency in will give you any peace of mind whatsoever. A good one could help you out, a bad one could end up screwing up adding to your problems.

    Also most of us dream of going direct and acting a bit more like a business. Wanting nice payments in your account sounds a bit disguised permie'ish. You could be missing out on what most of us actually want. I wouldn't go as far as to say idiotic as I can see something in your rationale but I wouldn't be giving any of my money away over something like wanting weekly payments.
    +1 to all this - I've had some direct contracts and it's so much nicer in my experience. Being able to pick up the phone and talk business to business with an MD or whatever is lovely.

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    Go direct, it's the best way to be a business, cuts out the middle man, etc. As for the rate, take the rate you were getting paid by the agent and add on 10-15%, then you just need a hand drawing up a contract and you're done.

    ...just checking - have you got your own Ltd or are you working through an umbrella? Have you been contracting for long?
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    Hays will typically payroll for 4 or 5%. See if they are on client's PSL or similar.
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    If you are an IPSE member then grab a copy of their B2B contract template and fill in the blanks appropriately.
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    Thank you everyone for your quick and informative responses.
    Just to expand a little, I've been out of contracting for 18 months and the opportunity I have in my lap right now will be a short term return to contracting (2-3 months) because I'm seeking a complete career change in the near future (Back as a full time employee for the foreseeable). The payments from this contract will be very helpful in pursuing that.

    After reading your responses and doing a little more research I'm now thinking of signing up to an umbrella company, arranging the contract directly with the client and then paying just the umbrella fees instead of a large chunk of my pay to an agency.

    This way I'm hoping to get the best of both worlds. Are there any pitfalls to this approach, given my circumstances outlined above?

    (Again, thank you so much for your help!)

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    Umbrella sounds best anyway if you don't currently have a Ltd. Not worth setting one up for a short term contract.

    However I don't think the umbrella will offer you the invoice factoring service usual with an agency where they pay you to contract (i.e. weekly if agreed in the contract) despite whatever delay may be in place with them getting paid from the client. Something to discuss with an umbrella. Give Contractor Umbrella a call, they're recommended by many on here and are prominent contributors to this site.

    In the past when money was tight (before I had built up a warchest) and I had just started a new contract, I lived off a credit card, knowing I could settle it before interest charges came into effect, when the first invoice was paid. Was a simple alternative to requiring quick payments from the agency. So I would consider other options than just getting an agency involved for the payment aspect.
    Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aidnolan View Post
    Thank you everyone for your quick and informative responses.
    Just to expand a little, I've been out of contracting for 18 months and the opportunity I have in my lap right now will be a short term return to contracting (2-3 months) because I'm seeking a complete career change in the near future (Back as a full time employee for the foreseeable). The payments from this contract will be very helpful in pursuing that.

    After reading your responses and doing a little more research I'm now thinking of signing up to an umbrella company, arranging the contract directly with the client and then paying just the umbrella fees instead of a large chunk of my pay to an agency.

    This way I'm hoping to get the best of both worlds. Are there any pitfalls to this approach, given my circumstances outlined above?

    (Again, thank you so much for your help!)
    If that's the case you need to speak to Lucy at Contractor Umbrella. She posts regularly on here and they work well. I've used them in the past.
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