Bubble Foundry

An Agency for Web Freelancers?

by Peter.

Ok, maybe ‘agency’ isn’t the best word but bear with me. I see a lot of job openings, whether for freelancers or full-time position, and at the same time I know a lot of freelancers, who by the nature of their profession are (almost) always looking for work. I love helping my friends and have helped out several friends, on both sides of the equation, in the last few weeks. However, I’m wondering whether I could step this up and be more useful to everyone by setting up something a little bit more formal. I’m particularly interested in focusing on freelance tech positions like PHP programming or iPhone app design.

At the same time, I’ve had friends work in ‘ICT’ recruiting (I use that hated word because that’s what those companies use) and it is completely scummy and unethical. How traditional recruiters or agencies work is by taking a cut off the position’s rate. So, let’s say a company is willing to hire a Ruby on Rails programmer for a project and is willing to pay €100 an hour. The recruiter will make their money from the difference between this ceiling and what a RoR programmer (that the company accepts!) is willing to be paid. So, the recruiters lie. Yes, straight up lie, and to the best people! “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s a great company but it’s a new startup and they really don’t have much of a budget. Could you lower your regular rate from €80 to €50? You’ll really enjoy it!” Et voila, the recruiter has more than doubled what they’ll make thanks to lying.

That’s horrible and I’d never want to go there. At the same time, I’d like to have a database of a 100+ freelancers and regularly match them to cool programming gigs. To do this well takes some time, particularly because I really believe that you need to know both sides well (most recruiters don’t, they’re just humanities graduates straight out of university) and to make good introductions. This would be just a thing on the side of my regularly web and mobile programming work, so I’m thinking more like being paid a few hundred per position per good sized project.

I don’t know the fields well, but I like the idea of how I think agents operate, working for the talent, not the money. The incentives are such that It is in their benefit to get their clients the most money possible, not low-ball them. It seems to work for actors and writers and I even know some designers in similar situations, so why not programmers?

So, what do you think? Let me know in the comments if you’re interested, on either side of the equation. And I’d be very happy for you to say it’s horrible idea, so don’t hold back.