Re: Leaving Hi 'n Dry?

Subject: Re: Leaving Hi 'n Dry?
From: Eric Brown <eric_brown -at- SFU -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 09:25:31 -0800

Sounds a bit like a company I've been doing more and more work for --
they've printed cards for me, and wish me to represent myself as "one of
them" although I'm a freelancer. They've been less blunt than your people
but they do want my new work to flow through them.

However I made it clear before they could ask, that I have existing clients
that I intend to continue servicing directly. I think it's unfair to expect
otherwise. I don't think my existing clients would switch -- what would be
the benefit? If my rate stays the same and a middleman enters the picture,
my clients will suddenly be asked to pay more for the same service. They
won't; they'll go elsewhere.

If I were in your shoes, I'd try to make a reasonable arrangement with the
agency whereby:
a) clients you had contacted prior to the new company's involvement are
"your" clients (this may include some new clients that you'd done previous
prospecting on, but who may come through at a later point).
b) completely new clients are "their" clients that you work with under
their auspices.
c) allowance is made for the time you spend with your own clients. Don't
devote 40 hours a week to them, or your profile as a freelancer will wither
and die.

It's a difficult situation. The upside in my case is the company has a very
good name and is able to pull down a much higher hourly rate than I
can.(they do marketing, not strictly tech work, which explains the big
budgets). Even with them in the picture I make more money than I've been
able to up to now. The downside is that they have no commitment to me
beyond $20 worth of business cards, and could dump me seconds after a large
client leaves them. So I feel the real need to keep my "oar in the water"
as an independent, as insurance against that happening.

There are likely tax-status implications, too, if I spend all my time
working for a single client (i.e. after a certain point they cease being a
"client" and become an "employer" under BC law ).

Let me know how it works out. Does anyone else have similar experience?

Eric Brown
Marketing Communications
869 Drayton Street
North Vancouver BC V7L 2C2
(604) 980-6947 fax 980-6933
eric_brown -at- sfu -dot- ca

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