Contracting with an agency is very popular with contractors. It’s an option that takes the hassle out of finding and securing contracts, as well as reducing or completely removing the time spent out of work between contracts.
At the end of the day, it’s important to make sure your contracting career works for you, so that you can really excel in your chosen field.
ContractingWISE has put together a list of the main benefits of using an agency, so that you can decide if it sounds like a suitable path for you to take.
Agencies can negotiate a good rate
One of the main draws of contracting is the chance to earn more money than in a permanent position. Whether you’re working with an agency or not, earning a good rate is fundamental. One of the benefits of contracting through a recruitment agency is that they can help to negotiate a good rate for you. In order for them to put you forward for high-value contracts, you will have to show the agency that you’re worth it, by proving your skills and experience. Do this successfully and you can enjoy good money by using an agency, as they will assign you to high-value contracts and negotiate with the clients on your behalf.
If you’re signing up with an agency for the first time, or even contracting for the first time, you will need to decide on an approximate rate. Using your skills and experience as the basis, decide on a rate you’re happy with, making sure to charge marginally higher so you have a little wiggle room to be able to negotiate down if required. Your chosen agency should be able to advise if the rate is appropriate, but you can check for yourself if your rate is competitive, by doing your research into the market beforehand.
Along with a good rate, you will need to be able to sell yourself. Make sure your CV is up to date. Do the fact-finding and the agency will make sure your CV is pitched well to sell your skills successfully. If you can decide on your unique selling point, it will help you deliver an awesome pitch when you get picked for interview.
Agencies can help you secure the contracts you really want
An attractive benefit of using an agency for many contractors is that agencies often have strong relationships with large and lucrative clients that contractors simply don’t have access to. So, if you want to bag contracts with reputable, high-value clients, working through an agency could be a good option for you.
Using an agency is often a two-way street. Contractors need to work for an agency just as an agency needs to work for contractors. The agency’s reputation depends on the performance of the workers it supplies.
You can prove your worth to the agency by always performing well on contracts, this will help you to be assigned to good contracts time after time. Always try to prove your great track record for reliability, hard work and ability to hit the ground running. This way you will get opportunities to work on exciting contracts and excel in your career.
Agencies can help to take risks out of contracting
One of the biggest risks of working as a contractor and sourcing contracts yourself is failing to get paid by the client or going for a long period of time without work. Using an agency reduces this risk, making contract work more stable and secure.
A good agency will act as a buffer between the contractor and the client, from sourcing work to making sure you are paid regularly – as would be the case if you were employed on a permanent basis.
There can be a lot at stake in contracting. So, it’s important that you use a good agency who will shoulder these responsibilities for you.
Contracting with an agency can help build your experience
Due to the number of clients and projects agencies deal with on a regular basis, you are likely to gain lots of valuable experience contracting through an agency. Reduced gaps between contracts means you not only increase your income but your experience too.
Through increased experience you will be able to build up a strong reputation in your industry that will stay with you, whether you continue contracting with an agency or decide to work directly for clients.
There are certain ways you can help build and improve your contracting portfolio when working with an agency. Firstly, keep in touch with them, continued communication is key. If you’re an IT contractor that has recently completed a new course in Agile, for example, let your agency know! At the end of the day, this will help the agency source better contracts for you, more appropriate rates, and may also create new opportunities that were not previously available to you.
Showing how you’re advancing in your career will better equip the agency to go after better-paying contracts for you.
There are many benefits to contracting with an agency, and many contractors decide to go down this route. Contracting with an agency can reduce many of the risks, often providing stability in terms of future work and income.