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by Jimbo at 12:39 24/02/20 (Letters from Freelancers)
It won't go away, lets deal with it
Up till now, there have been lots of efforts to slow or stop IR35 and the changes to it that are happening in April, but nothing looks like putting the politicians off.

OK, so rather than wail and gnash our teeth, we should find a way of working with the new rules.

The problem is that with thousands of contractors doing BAU work, there is some truth in the "disguised employment" claim (yeah, OK thats sacreligeous, but see it through a career politician's eyes.)

So those of us who can, need to emphasise that we are on project-based work, as we have been since before IR35 came along. Thats an easy thing to say, but the difficulty comes when you consider marketing. We have effectively left marketing our skills to agents, who have got progressively more controlling and limiting, and who have pushed us into non B2B operation (like self billing, and inaccurate project descriptions) for their own benefit.

Here's an idea: Why don't we go direct to our customers, with enabling contracts and project-based, fixed price schedules? That puts us well clear of IR35, and allows us to continue to serve industry, essential now Brexit has changed the market for ever.

The biggest problem that I can see (appart from the need to develop marketing skills, which as adaptable freelancers, we should be able to do) is having the contacts to aim the marketing at. I have a number of contacts, but even after 20-odd years, I'm going to be working hard to get to the right people.

We need a central repository of consumers and producers (Customers and Freelancers), a kind of clearing house where we, or customers can flag needs and opportunities, a kind of job-board for freelancers, with the customers' requirements and freelancers' capabilities documented.

Then, if, for example, I know of an opportunity, I can post it up and give another freelancer the opportunity to contact the customer direct, or if a customer wants to source a freelancer, he can post up his project for freelancers to bid for .

We need something to act as a replacement for the existing agency set up, allowing us to go direct with appropriate contracts and working arrangements. Thus we would protect our "self-employed freelancer" status properly, comply with the regulations, and simultaneously counter-act their detructive effect on British industry.

Wild dream, or possible solution? I don't know, but all it needs is something like a bulletin board (phpBB3 comes to mind) with appropriate groupings, and a willingnes of contractors to help each other. I have a server with some spare MIPS....

Actually, that may be the breaking point for this idea: we are all very individualistic and don't work as a team (union?) because thats not who we are. Then again, in the face of the government destroying our industry and other industries' agility and capability, perhaps its time to reconsider our solo performances.

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IR35 Jimbo - 24/02
    Re: IR35 skytraveller - 25/02
    Re: IR35 rutthenut - 27/02

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