How to get a Rate Rise – Hitting Agencies for Six (Part 5) | IT Contractor

Rate Rise for Contractors
Rate Rise for Contractors from agency

How to get a rate rise after getting that IT Contract


Part 5 in the series Hitting Agencies for Six. This one shows you how to get a rate rise from your agency.

Agency Commission

If you go to the interview and don’t get the job, it is immaterial anyway. If you do get the job, then you now hold the whip hand. The company wants you and not the people that they have rejected.

The agent wants the commission, and doesn’t want to risk losing it, even if they might get somebody else in.

Successful IT Contractor advice
Successful IT Contractor

Bargain with Agency

The agent is at his or her most vulnerable now. He or she now wants no other result than for you to take the job. Now you must bargain and go for a rate rise. You now say that you want the high side of your range.

If you have quoted a set price, you then say that there are one or two aspects of the job that will cause you more expense, e.g, there will be extra traveling expenses, you didn’t know it would be a 37.5 hour week, you won’t be learning any skills etc. etc. etc. and you’ll need a rate rise to the top end of your scale.

The agent is very vulnerable here, and will say that they will go back to the client. You can rely on the agent not to screw this up. What you will usually find is that the agent will talk the client into giving a bit more. They will then get back to you to say that the client will only go up to 535 per day which is a rate rise of £35 for you.

Agency’s Cut

The agency will not have made any concession themselves at this stage. They may also come back to say that the client won’t budge. In both circumstances you say the same, i.e. that it is not enough for you.

Please believe me when I say that there is no way that the agent is going to let this one go. They will move hell and high water to keep this one even if they have to give you a rate rise themsleves from the agency’s cut.

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Contractor Opportunities to hit Jackpot

Competitive Market

The great majority of individual agents have less than 20 contractors out. They can’t afford to let one slip away in a highly competitive market.

You now must make them dip into their own percentage to give you your rate rise to make sure that they get you out.

It is just too risky for them to go back to the client to try to get them to take someone else – and they just won’t do it.

Rate Rise Offer

In the first circumstance, where the client offers £535 per day, then you tell the agent that although you’ll come down to 560 per day, that’ll be your bottom line.

You are only 25 quid away from an agreement, and it is too tantalising for the agent. They will go away ‘to see what we can do ourselves’. It is now up to you as to whether you accept their new rate rise offer when it comes of either £545 or £550 per day.

Money Advice for Contractors
Money Advice for Contractors in the UK

Renewal Time

You could stick to the £560 per day, but that would be rubbing their noses in it. I would go for £550.

You can always get a bit more back at the renewal. If the client sticks at 500 per day, then go for £535 from the agency and settle for £525-530.

It’s all part of the game. The agent will not be very pleased when you first put the proposition to him or her, but don’t let that put you off getting your rate rise. When the deal is sealed up, then they will be pretty contented.



  1. Why not simply call this article ‘how to burn all ties with an agency’? If you agree to a rate then change the goal posts, chances are the agency is now thinking ‘how much more trouble is this guy going to be further on down the line? I’ve already spent lots of time and effort arranging interviews for this guy, checking and double checking the rate is OK for the role and location, I’ve been upfront and honest throughout the entire process and that’s all I ask in return’. Professionalism works both ways and if you act you accordingly you reap what you sow. All in all a terrible article which is detrimental to the industry.


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