We have a simple fee model that ensures that our interests are aligned with those of our members.
When you work for a company through a middleman, like a recruiter or an agency, the middleman will pay you a certain hourly/daily rate and charge the company a different (higher) rate. The difference between these two rates is their profit.
We decided early on that we don't want to employ this model. See the next section for the reasons why.
When you find a job through Uplink, you will be the one invoicing the company directly, and we will invoice you for our fee. For the majority of jobs, this fee is 10% of what you invoice the company, limited to the first 6 months of your collaboration.
This means that you should already factor in this fee on top of your rate when you apply for a job. If you apply for a job with a hourly rate of 90€ for example and you get the job for that rate, our fee will be 9€ per hour worked, for the first six months, so only 81€ will end up in your pocket.
To that end, we ask you to send us the invoices you issue to the client, either via Slack in the channel that was created for your application (our preferred way) or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then send you our invoice for the fee.
Why don't you charge the fee to the company instead of the freelancer?
This is a question we hear very often - why don't we invoice the company for our services, like most (all?) other providers do?
We argue that this would not be in your best interest as a freelancer.
There is this saying, "If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.", which we think is very relevant in the IT recruiting industry. Most recruiters/agencies only charge the companies for their services, thus the companies are their customers, which they are trying to please, and you, the freelancer, are essentially the product that is being "sold". This has several negative effects:
- The recruiter will try to charge the companies as much as possible, and pay the freelancer as little as possible, since the difference is what ends up into their pocket.
- The recruiter is not motivated to be transparent about the fee. If the fee is, for example, 40% or 50% of the freelancer's rate (which is not unheard of), both the company and the freelancer might feel it's too high for the actual work the recruiter has done, and they might try to re-negotiate or refuse to work with the recruiter again in the future.
- The recruiter is not motivated to offer the freelancer the best-possible service, e.g., clear and prompt communication, complete and honest project descriptions, or follow-up after a rejection. Due to opportunity costs it makes more sense for the recruiter to focus their energy on the company, which is paying them, instead of the freelancers, who essentially have no choice but to put up with the recruiters, regardless of how they are treated, if they want to work with the company.
Disclaimer: of course all of this isn't true for all recruiters, many of them surely do a fine job and are respectable ladies and gentlemen. However, these power dynamics are still at the core of the IT recruiting industry and affect everyone working in it, some more and some less.
To avoid all this, we decided to charge the fee to the freelancers, and thereby make them our primary customers. Moreover, we are very transparent about our fee, i.e. the company knows exactly how much the freelancer is paying Uplink.
Some of the positive effects of this setup are:
- Everyone involved knows who pays whom how much from the beginning, so there is no risk that anyone becomes disgruntled later on when they find out about our fee or how much they pay (or how little they earn).
- The company doesn't have to sign a contract with us and won't get a separate invoice from us either, since we will never directly charge them. This makes it very simple and attractive for them to post their jobs through Uplink, which in turn means more rewarding jobs for our members.
- The freelancer has the direct relation with the client, so she can negotiate pricing, project extensions, and other conditions himself/ herself without a middleman.
However, there is also one negative effect that you should be aware of: if the company goes bankrupt or refuses to pay an invoice, we will of course step in and try to find a solution for you, but since you are the contractual partner, the eventual risk is yours.
What happens after the initial 6 months?
We of course hope that you find a long-lasting project that runs longer than 6 months (if that is what you're looking for). We only charge you our fee for 6 months though, since we think that our main contribution was before the job even started, i.e. finding a great project for you and making the introduction phase as smooth and pleasant as possible.
So if you work for the client for longer than 6 months, or the client gets in touch again after a year to hire you once again, we don't charge you a fee anymore and you keep 100% of what you earn.