Anyone here use an agent for freelance work?


Jri

Jri

Member
#1
Hi all,

Im curious to see if anyone here uses an agent to get freelance work? If so, how did that relationship come about and what's it like? Would you recommend it?

Note that I'm referring to an agent as someone who perhaps takes a percent commission in finding you work and not a 'design agency' (in my head an agent is distinct from a design agency as in the term used to describe some studio style setups).

Would love to hear from anyone with experience of this type of thing.

Thanks,

Jri
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#2
I've never used an agent but I do know a lot that have.

Agents are usually reserved for niche areas like Illustration and such though.

Speaking as an Illustrator:

Back in the day before the internet, an agent was almost an essential thing as they were the people that had the Illustrators and the contacts in the industry (Hirers).
They'd usually be in London and know all the people and the alternative would be walking around agencies with an old school portfolio knocking on doors.

Now they're not so essential but many still use them and have a very good relationship but there are also stories of it not working so well.

Agents tend to take a 15% fee and for this they'll promote you (in some cases), hook you up with the client and help with things like contracts and negotiating a fee and such.

Sometimes, if they promote you and if it costs them money then they'll expect a contribution towards this which is something to be cautious of.

Then there's the thing of getting an agent. They can be VERY choosy and most Illustrators struggle finding one that'll take them on.

What is it that's made you thinking of using one?
 
Jri

Jri

Member
#3
I know a music video guy who uses them, and it got me thinking about whether they exist in the design world. I'm trying to get into motion graphics too, but would love that kind of representation for graphics work also.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Not so much for graphics work, at least I've never heard of any.

I'm not so sure about motion stuff though as things may have moved on recently and I'm not that up on that side of things.
Maybe some of those guys that have a very strong animated, illustrative style like you see in a lot of these popular gifs that are going around right now but nor so much 'a guy that can use After Effets'.

Like I say, they tend to be very niche industries that use or need to use an agent.
 
Minuteman Press

Minuteman Press

Active Member
#5
Have been approached in the past, generally promises without substance. "I'm very well linked" etc. May have been somewhat superseded by online work sourcing routes eg PeoplePerHour, etc.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#6
Have been approached in the past, generally promises without substance. "I'm very well linked" etc. May have been somewhat superseded by online work sourcing routes eg PeoplePerHour, etc.
I have in the past by recruiters and that sounds familiar.

I'm not going to cast a negative on the recruitment industry as they work well for some people but my experience has been pretty bad.

I once applied for a role and was asked to go to the recruiters offices for a preliminary interview.
It seemed a bit odd because they weren't really talking about the job I was interested in and more about my driving licence.
I asked them if the job actually existed and they got all uncomfortable and said "Technically.....No".
It was just a "fishing ad" and I used to see them a lot. The same job from the same recruiter advertised over and over again.

Another time I got a call from another recruiter out of the blue giving me all his sales patter and these were his words:
"Yeah. I know all the people. I'm VERY well connected with TDR and I see an empty chair with your name written on it".

He was referring to The Designers Republic in Sheffield who had famously closed their doors six months earlier and all their chairs were empty.

You can come to your own conclusion there.
 
Jri

Jri

Member
#7
Mmm... I actually knew one of the guys that lost their job when tDR folded. I think a slightly leaner version of the company is back up and running these days though.

Just to be clear, I only consider an agent to really be 'legitimate' if they work on a commission basis. The guys that list you in exchange for a monetary advance are generally a scam.

Recruiters are a whole different ball game. I once went to one who asked me about other jobs I'd applied for in the interview, suggesting that in one instance they might take over the application from me in order to take a commission if things went well.

Naturally, I walked.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#8
Mmm... I actually knew one of the guys that lost their job when tDR folded. I think a slightly leaner version of the company is back up and running these days though.

Just to be clear, I only consider an agent to really be 'legitimate' if they work on a commission basis. The guys that list you in exchange for a monetary advance are generally a scam.

Recruiters are a whole different ball game. I once went to one who asked me about other jobs I'd applied for in the interview, suggesting that in one instance they might take over the application from me in order to take a commission if things went well.

Naturally, I walked.
tDR still have a site but not sure what they're doing these days as it's hard to tell.
My first ever freelance gig was for a club in Sheffield which I managed to rob from tDR. :D
I think one of them went on to form Universal Everything but I think I remember reading somewhere that it's site was voted one of the worst belonging to an agency or something.

Just a while back I was contacted by a recruiter out of the blue.
Think they'd found me via Behance or something.

Anyhow. I wasn't looking for an in-house role but it was almost on the doorstep and not bad money so I went.
Had an informal interview and did a sample project (I'd normally have told them to f@ck off about the project) and then had another informal interview.
After that I didn't hear a dickie bird from either the recruiter or the company.
I thought this was SO RUDE and unprofessional.

Okay, I was a being a bit too informal and may have made an insulting comment about the boss who was sat in one of those glass offices but still? ;)
 
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