Hard times

I know we are in a recession but this still seems a bit tight:


My West Yorkshire based client immediately requires an Access and Excel Developer. You will be required to produce reports using both Access and Excel along with some development work. This is an initial 3-month contract.

Essential Skills include:
– Access
– Excel
– Pivot Tables

If you are interested in this role, please forward your CV for immediate attention.

Rate: 14- 15 per hour


If you promise me 10% I’ll tell you where I saw it!

Of course you could argue we should be paying them for the honour of working in Gods own county! I suppose it doesn’t sound like too senior a role, but still 15 quid sounds on the low side, what do you think?

On the job front I’ve also heard that a few companies have lopped 10% off their contractor rates in a take it or leave it stylee – nice!  A client once tried that with me (but just 5% or 5 something) I said I’d leave and get a new contract the day the new rate came in, they backed down – well derr! thats the whole point of being a free agent right?

Anyone got any tales to tell?



7 Responses to “Hard times”

  1. Martin Rushton Says:

    Well that’s £2-£3 an hour more than I get for working in God’s own county but then I’m not a developer. Although I have developed automations for my admin role using Access, Excel, Pivot Tables and VBA.

    From memory (cos its several months since I sa an invoice) most of our contractors working in development cost us circa £20p/h but that’s what the agency, not them, get.

    speaking of God’s own county I wil briefly be leaving it briefly tomorrow and heading over to your neck of the woods via “the land of the Prince Bishops” on the A66. It’s not Appleby fair is it?

  2. Rob Bruce Says:

    Let’s not forget, Simon, that most of the jobs that make it to the public lists are ones that the agencies haven’t been able to fill from their usual list of suspects. Often this is precisely because of unrealistic rates.

    I’ve got a major client that hasn’t paid me for a couple of months due to ‘cashflow issues’. I’ve gone into support only mode and I’m thinking of withdrawing even that, but I don’t want to burn any bridges should the situation right itself, and the client has a very good history with me stretching back many years. The relationship is complicated by the fact that the client is based overseas, so resorting to legal means to get any money, should the need arise, is going to be complex. Ho hum.

  3. Marcus Says:

    Hi Simon,

    I was working at an (unnamed) IBank who cut contractor rates across the board by 11%. For me, this also shows that the contract has more value in the lavatory.

    Rob, start doing your homework now. The agency I dealt with at the aforementioned rate cutting IB also had ‘cashflow’ issues. They are now in liquidation. I lost 2 months revenue (I got paid monthly) of which I currently expect to retrieve less than 14%. It is possible to run a credit check on them or involve a debt collection agency who have the means of checking your client’s financial credentials.

    In the search for a new contract I also had agents offer some comparatively low rates for ‘senior’ roles.

  4. Marcus Says:

    As a footnote, we had a liquidators creditors meeting a few weeks back. The agency’s MD explained that some of the slowest paying clients were some of the major IBank’s including the one with whom I worked. They were typically out on their account by 90 to 120 days.

  5. Simon Says:

    Martin – I though you were a permie?, this is only a short term contract so should attract some kind of premium.

    Rob good point, I normally just get contracts off jobserve, but you are right and I should get myself signed up with a couple of (liquid) agencies. (I am currently just starting the process of looking for a contract)
    Sorry to hear about the payment hassles, I just invoiced a client and realised I hadn’t invoiced them since 2005. The value was never big enough to bother invoicing, but then I sent in an invoice for 3 years support! (I’m not expecting them to rush to pay it.)

    Thats exactly what happened to me (search the blog for innova and/or synergi) I was meant to be being paid fortnightly but they jerked us around so long they manged to make off with a couple of months worth of my money before I walked out on the client.

    The final creditors meeting was last month ans we all get zero, so if you get 14% you have done well. Sadly many agencies are run by utter fuckwits who have no concept of running a business. They fail to understand cashflow, and all suffer from piss poor debtor management, which makes them very fragile.

    But if it were just cashflow you’d get 100% right? so they must have been operating unprofitably too.

    I’m trying for weekly payment form now on, and I’d take a few quid a day rate cut to know I’m not going to lose 2-3 months cash.

    Another thing I learnt is to make sure the contract has a reciprocal liquidation clause, mine did, so as soon as the agency fessed up the contract was null and void and I walked and was not in breach.

    Thanks must go to our illustrious leaders for creating such a dumbarsed way of doing business. With a nod to purchase ledger ‘managers’ who would rather pay 20% more (or more) and reduce their registered suppliers by one.

  6. martin rushton Says:

    Yes permanent and fairly secure with it but they are looking at restructuring which might see me shifted to something I like less. At the moment I am being steered in the way of support and development of the Finance system, Agresso, but no guarantees anything will come of it.

    So yes while it was my partial CV I wasn’t thinking of submiting it for anything temporary unless a substantial premium on my current rate.

  7. AlexJ Says:

    IMHO £14-15 gets you someone who can SPELL Excel and Access. for £20, they should be ready to learn the stuff. If you want someone to interpret business needs, execute, integrate, refactor, document and train, as well as bringing their own bag of tools (rahter than re-inventing them all for £14/hour), then be prepared to pay a reasonable rate.

    I’m a contractor, but no agency taxing my income.

    As far as cash flow goes, why not try an up-front retainer, or a work-in-preapproved chunks basis?

    P.S. – I’ve been told that God’s own country is really Canada, but don’t tell anyone.

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