Getting a good rise at renewal time - Part 3

This is the final installment of a 3-part series provided by NamesFacesPlaces on getting a rise from both your client and your agent at contract renewal time.

Making a Mint

Another tack that you might want to try, is to try and buy out the agency. If you know that there is plenty of work there, e.g. 2/3 years worth, and that they rate you highly, have a word with your boss about the prospects of them wanting you for an extended period. If he or she is keen to do something, then you should approach the agency about buying out your contract. There's no need to tell them that you'll be wanted for the next 2/3 years.

It happened to me once that the company that I was working for wanted me to turn permanent. They paid a one-off fee to the agency, and I worked then for the company. I don't see why it should be any different for contractors. Find out first what the agent charges for one off fees (especially if they have a permanent division). This would be a good indication of the price that they might want (it'll probably be in the range of 10-20% of one years salary).

Year End Bonuses

Also, find out when the agency's year end is, and end of quarter. It is usually the time when most companies will give you a bargain as they are short-termers and want to hit or exceed this year's targets. If the agent smells something up and doesn't want to deal, get in touch with their Finance Director (especially near year or quarter end), who will be very keen to deal with you. I've done this before when trying to get a good year end deal for software licences (that we were going to buy anyway). I phoned up the sales rep who said that the deal couldn't be done. I phoned up the Finance Director (on the last day of their financial year), and said how disappointed I was that this deal couldn't be done. He corrected me straight away, and said that it must have been an oversight, and that of course the company could do it, if I faxed over the request straight away.

It always good to know the psychology of the people that you are dealing with, and sales reps (and even more so with Finance Directors) are always focused on this year's results. In their eyes, next year can take care of itself when it comes. It is important that you get your client company on board. They could say that they are very impressed by the quality of person that they were presented with and would like to use the agency again - provided that this little matter was sorted out, as they don't want to lose you.

Goldmine Beckons

If you play your cards right you can make a mint here. If you are taking a 2/3 year renewal, make sure that your fees are reviewed regularly, i.e. on a 6-monthly basis. Don't think that you are swapping rate rises for security as the company can get rid of you at any time if circumstances change. Also, try to get a 6-month notice period built in either way to the contract. Whilst the company are still very keen on you (and these things can change), they might be inclined to secure your services this way).

You could be sitting on an absolute goldmine here, if you insisted, as part of the deal, that you go on their preferred supplier list for supplying staff. This would probably take you outside IR35 as well. Opportunity comes once in every young man's (or woman's) life, and you've got to take these when they come. Of course, the average contractor would probably just ask for the agency to take a small rate cut for agreeing a long term contract. There are other ways of skinning this cat though, as I hope you've seen.

Part 1 | Part 2

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