Hitting Agencies for Six – When they ask for your bottom line

Bottom Line for IT Contractors
Bottom Line for IT Contractors

What to do when agencies want to know your bottom line.

Bottom Line

This is the 4th article in our series ‘Hitting Agencies for Six’. It is about when agencies ask contractors for their bottom line.

When agents want to put contractors forward for roles, they will ask them what rate they are looking for. They will even ask ‘What’s your bottom line? What’s the lowest rate that you will take? We’ll obviously try to get you as much as we can though’.

They won’t.

Contract Recruitment agency
Contract Recruitment agency get contractors jobs

Once you’ve said what your bottom line is, you’ll never get any more than that.

If they happen to get any more from the company, then they’ll keep it themselves.

Set Agency Margin Percentage

The only time that you should consider such a deal is if you can get the agency to agree that they will take a set percentage. In other words, the more that they get from the client the more that you will get.

I wouldn’t even agree to this though, as the priority of the agent will be to get the business. If that means putting you in cheaper than anybody else to get the business, they’ll probably do it.

Don’t Quote Rate

The best thing to do though is to try to avoid giving a rate in the beginning.

If you can do this, then you’re really in the driving seat if you go for a job interview and the company wants you.

Once a client has decided on the one that they want, they don’t usually like to take second best.

The agent will press you hard to quote a rate though, before he or she submits a CV.

Contractor References asked for by agencies
Contractor References asked for by agencies

Before they have got you an interview, you can get away with it by saying that there are too many intangibles for you to be able to say exactly.

You would need to know how many hours that you would need to work, where the location is (there’s traveling and even living away from home expenses), and what the skills were at the company. You might take a lesser rate to learn new skills.

There are just too many imponderables. The agency will normally accept this. That’s especially if you tell them that you will come up with a more accurate figure when they do put you forward to an actual job with an actual location. This’ll normally satisfy them.

Contract Rate Range

When they actually put forward your CV, they will usually need to know what kind of rate that you want.

You should still try and avoid it at this stage by saying that if the job is right then they’ll find that you are in range.

If they really insist on having a rate, otherwise they won’t put you forward, then give them a range where the low figure is inside the range for the job and the high figure is outside.

Dodgy Agencies
Dodgy Agencies that trick contractors

Quote A Rate Range

If they tell you that the rate for the job is 500 quid per day, tell them that your range is 500-575 pounds (500 if you don’t think, after the interview, that you’ll get the contract and 575 if you think you will), but that if you like the job, you’ll be easy to deal with.

The agency will normally put you forward now despite not quoting a bottom line.

Most usually, there is not a set rate for the job from a company. Although there sometimes is but never get sucked into quoting your bottom line when an agency asks for it.

Here are parts 1, 2 and 3 of the series Hitting Agents for Six.

Agency Tricks – Hitting agents for Six

Hitting agents for Six – The Oldest Trick in the Book

Hitting Agencies for Six – When Agencies Ask for references



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here