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Very basic question

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by zaphod42, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. zaphod42

    zaphod42 New Member


    This is a very basic question but I would like to begin as a freelancer and I would like to make sure I understood correctly how it works.

    The rates you require are VAT excluded. The customer have to pay us + VAT and we have to give it back to the state minus the VAT we paid on our expenses. Am I correct?

    Many jobs are advertised by agencies. In my case (IT), I find that most of the contracts I come across are advertised by agencies and for work that is suppossed to take place at the premises of the company that hires you. I would have preferred to work from home and interact directly with the customer however I don't see any way to do so, at least for a start. I have tried networking but it did not help much.

    When you work with an agency, the customer pays the agency which pays us after it took a commission (usually 20 %). After that, you can pay your own company (I preferred to set up a company rather than be self-employed) with the remainder. The other drawback of working through an agency is that they can prevent you to work directly in the future with the same customer. Is all this correct?

    Thank you very much for your help.

  2. Opus

    Opus Member

    I'll let others with more knowledge of VAT etc to answer the first question.

    Regarding being prevented from working direct for a client that you have initially been contracted to through an agency, there will most probably be a clause in your contract with the agency that defines a time period for which you can't work direct for the customer. In my experience it will basically mean that you have to have a gap of a few months between doing any work for the client through the agency and doing any work direct - you won't be prevented permanently but neither will you be able to end the agency work one week and start direct the next. That said, you should still be cautious even if following the rules of your contract - you won't be breaking any rules but if the agency feels that you've taken one of their clients and morally gone behind their backs they may be reluctant to give you work with different clients in future.
  3. johnthecoach

    johnthecoach New Member

    Dear Philippe,

    That's what I call timing. :)

    I've just written the first version of a Guide for Permanent IT people who want to move to Contracting:

    If you let me know you email, I will send you the PDF free of charge.

    Hope it helps

    p.s. if anyone else would like a copy, just say the word.
  4. zaphod42

    zaphod42 New Member


    Opus > Thank you for your explanations

    Johnthecoach > Thank you for proposing to send me the guide you wrote. I will send you my e-mail in a private message.

    I would like to start as a freelancer in IT but finding customers is extremely difficult.

    I tried networking but it did not help much.

    I saw sites where you have to bid for projects. I have already done that in the past and it was a bad idea. I ended up doing small projects and working a lot for a tiny fee.

    I saw agencies that advertise freelance contracts. But these are like regular jobs where you have to go everyday to the office. I don't mind doing so but working from home (and commuting or even travelling frequently to see the customer of course) would have allowed me to search contracts further away from where I live, in places where there are more opportunities.

    Would you have some advice or some sites to recommend?

    Thank you!

  5. FreelanceUK

    FreelanceUK Administrator

    Freelance Alliance

    Do you do web development/design work Philippe? If so perhaps take a look at our own network and directory.

    Freelance Alliance is not a bidding site; it's a directory of UK based freelance media and creative professionals. It costs £5+ VAT per month to be listed in the network.

    Here's what some members say about it:

    "Freelance Alliance is simple to use, easy to find, and great value for the money. A wonderful resource for all freelancers to expand their web presences and reach out to new clients - highly recommended."

    Jessica Foote

    "In the short time since joining the Freelance Alliance I have experienced a significant increase in the amount of quality enquiries and leads from clients; totalling more than £17000.00 in just one month. If it keeps on like this I will need more staff."

    Glenn Bramble-Stewart

    “I joined the Freelance Alliance a few months ago. At first I was slightly reluctant to pay the joining fee but it has definitely been worth it. I’ve have had a surprising number of people contact me asking to collaborate on projects and more importantly offering potential work. The site is easy to use and it took minutes to create my profile and upload my portfolio. I’ve recommended the site to many freelance colleagues of mine and they’ve been just as impressed.”

    Alex Peterson
  6. zaphod42

    zaphod42 New Member


    Hello Alex,

    Thank you for your suggestion. Your site seems very intersting.

    But I was not looking for contracts to work as a web developer. Technically I think I could do it but I have no experience in the field. I was rather looking for projects in pure programming, databases, Unix administration...


  7. FreelanceUK

    FreelanceUK Administrator

    You may find more on Contractor UK - for UK IT Contractors, IT Contracting and Computer Freelancers in that case. The IT contracting market is competitive at the moment so you may find you can't immediately negotiate on where you work. Perhaps look at those contracts that will further enhance your CV and make you more desirable to hire/keep hold of in the long run, over and above the location? Perhaps then you can work your way up to bargaining on working some of the week at home, either having the sold the benefits of doing so to your client on your first contract or others in future.

    There are articles on this site explaining VAT however:

    The Basics of VAT :: Freelance UK

    Introduction to VAT :: Freelance UK

    Best of luck
  8. zaphod42

    zaphod42 New Member


    Thank you!

    There is a lot of interesting information.

    Best regards,


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