Re: Fair Cut

Subject: Re: Fair Cut
From: Berk/Devlin <armadill -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com,Techwrl-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2000 17:22:05 -0700

At 12:03 PM 7/1/00 -0700, Andrew Plato wrote:

So basically, you want the freedom to contract with companies directly but you want somebody else to handle all the business aspects for free.

No, actually. I pay my accountant to handle the business aspects.

Freelancing requires you to be both a good tech writer and a good business
person. If you are do not want to negotiate contracts, argue over invoices, and demand payments then you should quit freelancing and get a full-time job.

I have to do all this and more when I am forced to use an approved provider.

Your only other alternative is to turn over these functions to a agency.


While you're lazily cashing that weekly paycheck and debating which FrameMaker template to use, somebody at your agency is probably on the phone all day beating your clients to pay.

Bull, Andrew.

I have clients right now that are 60, 90, as much as 200 days overdue to me.
And these are large, respectable companies with billions in assets.

And when they are, do you still pay the people who are writing the FrameMaker templates? If your contracts are anything like the contracts I see, no, you are not paying the contractors until these checks clear.

Guess who has to bear that burden? The put-upon contractor? Hell no.

Hell yes. We get to nag BOTH the approved provider AND the actual client. And, they can point fingers at eachother for weeks while we don't get paid.

The agency. That means loans, interest, and other nonsense you can't even imagine.

I don't have to imagine this, Andrew. I deal with it all the time.

You should hear some of the lame excuses clients have given me to pay.

I'm not interested in what your clients tell you about why they don't pay you.

Now, how did you like it when your agency "lost" 160 hours? Pissed you off,
right? Well this is an average day on the agency side.

Yup it certainly did piss me off. That is an average day on the agency side. And, just what had that agency doing to earn it's cut of MY 160 hours so it could righteously demand that cash. NOTHING.

You have to haggle over
every hour with the clients. And you can't short the contractor.

In my experience, agencies do this all the time.

I have to pay
my contractors on the dot every Monday. But my clients sure don't pay me on

Well, since you believe it's such a dog-eat-dog world, Andrew, I suggest you NO pay your contractors on the dot one Monday. And, you know what, Andrew, you'll get away with it, because your contractors have very little recourse.

Second, have you ever filled out a quarterly tax report? Have you ever had to
deal with the morons at the IRS?

No, actually, that's what I pay my accountant to do.

Insurance, FICA, rent, reading contracts - the list is endless.

My company pays all these too. MY company NOT the agency. The agency has NO costs except, literally, the cost of re-generating my invoice with their fee added on and cutting me my check.

My company paid
thousands in legal fees last year just to have a lawyer review contracts from
my clients to make sure my contractors weren't getting screwed. Most agencies
have the same problems I do.

The contracts I see from the agencies I've dealt with are so reprehensible that I've nearly given up reading them.

So while you are meandering in to work and whining how the agency is taking 25% - trust me, you are avoiding more frustration that you can possibly imagine.

No, actually, I don't trust you. But I hope this little tirade will help you feel better about how you earn your living.

I encourage all of you who hate agencies to start your own agency. You try
staffing some jobs and dealing with contractors for a few months. I would
gleefully bet anybody on this board that you would go insane in less than six
months. It is not an easy business to run. And the money is not that great.
Contracting is a VERY competitive business. I am not some millionare with a
yacht and an estate.

I am not interested in this line of work.

I have been on both sides. I contracted too. And I can tell you, you have it
very easy. Just showing up each day and writing documents is a breeze compared to running an agency.

Wow. Sounds like whining to me, Andrew. Perhaps you should give up your agency and go back to writing.

The NWU is just another agency with a differnt spin.

Incorrect. They are a job-finding service. And they do their job well. And they don't lie about what it is they do. The NWU's 10% is a finder's fee for services rendered truly, dependably and well. The NWU's finder's fee ends after 4 months with each client. The NWU's finders fee doesn't come out of my pay check before I see my pay check.

They are taking a cut, just a smaller one with more hugs associated with it.

They EARN their cut. That's the only difference.

You are also just being greedy. If you don't want an agency to take a cut - go get your own clients who will work with you independently.

ONE MORE TIME. I ALWAYS FIND MY OWN CLIENTS. OR I FIND THEM THROUGH NWU. But agencies offer clients something that NWU does not. They provide a way to totally screw writers and get away with it 80% of the time. That is why so many of them insist on these after-the-contractor-is-hired-agencies.

Believe me, if it were possible for me to NEVER work for a company that used an approved provider, I'd be there. In Silicon Valley, that's not an option. You lovely agency people have virtually cornered the market.

Moreover, go try running your own agency. You have no comprehension of how
difficult and stressful it is to bear the legal and financial burden of
contracting people.

You are repeating yourself, so I'll repeat myself. I pay an accountant to do my taxes and financial paperwork. I pay a lawyer to review my contracts and legal imbroglios. I am a writer. I am not interested in dealing with these kinds of issues.

But I suspect that one reason the people you deal with are so unpleasant to deal with is because they are not feeling that you provide them much value for what they know you are getting.

You can either play the game, or the game will play you. Either way, whining
how those that are winning are cheaters never got anybody ahead.

Ditto. I'm just not interested in playing the game you have set up.

--Emily, who hopes you will soon realize that it is YOU who are whining and that you are beginning to repeat yourself.

On the web at *** Armadillo Associates, Inc.
~Extremely-technical technical documentation that developers use.~

Re: Fair Cut: From: Andrew Plato

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