At the start of the year we (that’s Character Creative) got to thinking about what we could do for freelancers and those agencies trying to find them.

More and more of our clients were asking about them and, whilst we never turned the work down, we hadn’t formalised any offer or even a general response.

Hence we struck upon the idea of a single introductory fee for freelancers, and it works something like this;

Pay us £500 for finding each freelancer and you’ll never have to pay us - or even speak to us! - again. Simple.

As far as I knew (and still do), there’s no other main stream recruitment agency doing this. Their usual method is to agree a rate with the freelancer and then add a percentage (normally in the region of 20%) to that rate to then charge their client. The rate rarely changes, so the longer the client has the freelancer the more the recruitment agency make. Ultimately, over a period of time, it becomes very costly for the client and they’ll spend and much, much more than £500 in recruitment fees (£500 in recruitment fees = 12.5 days if the freelancer is earning £200p/d).

Don’t get me wrong I think the traditional model still has a place - if you need a freelancer for just a day or two’s cover then it’s a damn sight cheaper than using our method - however, in my experience, if a freelancer is any good, they’ll tend to be booked again and again and can end up working months and months for the same client throughout the year. If that’s the case then a £500 one off fee looks a very good deal indeed.

After all, surely all the work is done in actually sourcing the freelancer in the first place?….. not in then picking up the phone once in a while to book them in again and again - the work seems disproportional to the income somehow.

So, all in all, we thought we’d come up with a cracking deal for all three parties - the client, the freelancer and us. And, by being so transparent, we thought we eliminated the temptation for client and candidate to hook up directly behind our own back.

The client gets to speak to the freelancer directly and, the more they use them, the more value they get out of our fee, the freelancer will likely earn a higher rate because we’re not forced to batter them down to build our own rate in and we’re chuffed because we get to make a quick fee, further build relationships with our clients and dodge all the pay-roll aspect of the traditional model.

So £500 one off fees; a simple solution that means everyone’s a winner….. or at least I thought.

10 months down the line and there’s been a few takers…… Elmwood have had half a dozen, Twentysix four or five, the odd one or two at the likes of Creative Lynx, driven, Storm, Made by Pi etc. But not loads by any stretch.

I wonder why.

I’ve spent time pushing it. A bit of direct mail, loads of emails, phone calls etc but just trickles and most of them not generated through this “pushing” of the offer - more word of mouth and generally they don’t know about how we do things until we talk price.

So my question is this; if you’re a freelancer, agency boss or even another recruitment consultant, have you even heard of our offer and, if so, what do you think? Have we missed something or am I just not SHOUTING loud enough?

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