Freelancers, start working better with corporates - here's how

Navigating negotiations with recruiters and companies can be a challenge - Arno from Charipickers can help
During the Freelance Business Month, Arno Morsa talked about the difficulties freelancers face when working with corporate clients. Years of experience behind his back have taught him what is the best course of action for freelancers. Here is what they had to share.
External hiring market in Belgium
Unfortunately, there is a lack of transparency in the Belgian market. Freelancers are being asked to drop their rates below where they are comfortable. At the same time companies are complaining that they are paying too much for freelancers. The intermediary (recruiter) finds the interesting projects but then they take a fee to place a freelancer. The intermediary knows the client's maximum budget and the freelancer's daily rate. They can maximize the margin by negotiating with both sides. The freelancer doesn't know what the markup is. It can vary between 15-20% of a daily rate. Working with an intermediary is not wrong, but they should not be involved with the contracting side. That's where the issues and lack of transparency arise. There's a conflict of interest there.
External hiring market in the Netherlands
There are similar issues in the Netherlands which start with a lack of awareness by freelancers who don't understand the hiring process. When you understand the hiring process you can navigate it better. There are two systems in the Netherlands. Firstly, the company has preferred suppliers. Freelancers have to go through the preferred suppliers. The second system is a marketplace, you must be admitted to it by filling in paperwork and submitting an application. You need to know which system a company uses to work for them. In both systems, there may be intermediaries in between who post the jobs on job boards which creates a lack of transparency.

How to enhance transparency in freelance market and lead to better projects and client connections

It all comes down to communication and information.

Use your social connections who can connect you with a company. Start with a small project and establish a relationship with the company. It leads to a better, long-term relationship without the need for recruiters or intermediaries. It's counterintuitive, but it's faster and easier to go indirectly through your network. Have good connections, maintain them.

Communicating with recruiters is very important. It's not bad to work with recruiters but you need to ask the right questions. Are you a preferred supplier? How many freelancers have you placed with the company? What are the conditions? Try to find out more about the relationship between the client and the intermediary.

When you're an employee looking for a job, there are certain companies that you want to work for because of the benefits. Freelancers want to work for certain companies but can find it harder to find the opportunities that are open to them. If you can find the direct person who needs your services that could be a good way to go. It's not always easy but could be worth the effort of looking through your connections on LinkedIn.

We also need to communicate with the end client about our experience of being hired and working for them as freelancers. Start the conversation about what went well and what could be better. Give them useful feedback on how they can work better with freelancers. Some companies go through their purchasing department for hiring freelancers so it's a completely different onboarding experience.
About Charipickers
Charipickers are specialists in freelance contractual and legal matters, working with organisations and freelancers to advise both on best ways of collaboration. You can find out more about them here.
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