Contractors Previous Clients
We show you the best ways to get work from a contractors previous clients.
Your Best Shots
The people most likely to employ you are previous clients, at places that you worked before. After all you have an advantage on all the other people who are applying.
You have knowledge of their systems and you have knowledge of their business.
You also have knowledge of the tools those clients use and how they set them up and use them there. You have knowledge too of previous clients way of working and their culture, which is very important.
Everybody knows that, even if you have all of the main requirements for a new job at a new client site, when you actually start there, there is still quite a learning curve. With previous clients that is not a problem.
Knowledge of Exisiting Systems
IT Contractors with knowledge of existing systems are at a premium when companies want to make small, or more hefty-sized, changes to those systems.
Too many IT contractors burn their bridges when they leave a company. They say goodbye and many of them are never seen again.
Not only that, many are not contactable again by previous clients if some new work comes up in the area of the system where they worked before.
Lost Opportunities wiht Contractors Previous Clients
As someone who has run an IT department before, I’ve often found that when a piece of work comes up where I could have used some of the contractors that I had used in the past, normally around half of them can’t be found again.
That’s even after trying to contact them directly, through their IT agents, or by asking around the department to see if anyone had kept in touch with them.
There must have been many occasions when IT contractors have been sitting at home, unemployed and in dire financial straits, with their marriages or relationships breaking up, when I, or one of their other previous clients, was trying desperately to get hold of them, without success.
It’s a wasted opportunity. How do you know that it hasn’t happened to you?
So what should you do then?
Change Your Attitude
Well, for a start, you should change your attitude. You should remind yourself every day, ‘I am a small businessman (or woman) not an employee. I should act like a small businessman would, and not an employee’.
I think that it is that mindset where IT contractors often see themselves as temporary workers rather than as small businessmen in their own right, that prevents them from acting as one.
What should you do then when you leave a site? The following does not apply to those who have been marched off the premises.
Keep in Contact with Contractors Previous Clients
Firstly, you should make sure that they your ex-clients can get hold of you again.
Also make sure that they make contact with you first, if you can, rather than your agency.
Tell the previous client that you will no longer be using that agency and so shouldn’t contact you through them. That’s so you can go direct to the client.
Often agencies have a clause in their contract which states that you are not allowed to do work for the client within a specified period of time after you have left the company.
There are arguments as to how legal this clause is, but I won’t address them here.
However, even if it is within the specified period of time, and you feel that you want to involve the agency, it will give you a better bargaining position if previous clients get in touch with you first, rather than the agency.
You can then cut a better deal with the agency if you call them up and tell them that there’s a pot of free money for them if they’ll do you a reasonable rate.
Of course, if it is outside the specified time limit all the better for you.
It will be very annoying for you if the client contacts the agency to get in touch with you, after the period has run out.
This gives the agent the whip hand.
This is what happens in most circumstances, I’m afraid.
What should you do then?
It is imperative to have an end-of-contract meeting with your client. What should you do at that meeting and what questions should you ask?
We will answer that in a follow-up article called ‘When you Leave a Company, How to Maximise the Chance of Coming Back’.