Frequently Asked Questions

What is Free Agent Source?

We are the sharing economy applied to management consulting. We create the insured vendor relationship through which corporate clients directly engage independent consultants found on LinkedIn or anywhere else, without excessive costs or the gatekeeper role in traditional consulting and staffing. Every consultant operates their own consulting practice. Each is responsible for client relationships and client satisfaction. Just get it done without the overhead. How do we deliver?

  1. Simple structure. No gate keeper. Transparent fees.
  2. Agile values. Lean principles. Professional standards.
  3. The very best consultants do not work, think or act like employees. So we created a company where no one is treated like a traditional employee.

How is Free Agent Source different from other consulting firms?

  • We do not have a partner structure. This eliminates the gatekeeper role and traditional consulting overhead. Our clients want a direct relationship with consultants without a middle man (or woman).
  • We provide corporate clients with a single consulting vendor relationship through which they can engage professional consultants who would otherwise operate independently and therefore would be inaccessible to companies which do not allow individuals to work for them as 1099 independent contractors.
  • Every consultant operates as his or her own consulting practice within the company.  Some consultants work as the solo on client engagements, others form ad hoc teams and work together on client projects. Every consultant is responsible for client relationships and successful completion of client engagements.
  • Consultants are committed to project success because each accepts the engagement by choice.
  • The very best consultants do not work, think or act like employees. So we created a company where no one is treated like a traditional employee.

How is Free Agent Source similar to traditional consulting firms?

  • Corporate clients engage Free Agent Source Inc. to deliver corporate initiatives and projects with professional consultants.
  • Every consulting engagement has an Engagement Leader to assemble a team who can fulfill your corporate initiative or project.
  • The service agreement and terms of engagement are similar to those of other professional services and consulting organizations.
  • Our consultants are W-2 employees of Free Agent Source Inc. From the perspective of the employer of record, this is the same as other consulting firms.

Are consultants employees of Free Agent Source?

Yes. Consultants are W-2 employees of Free Agent Source Inc. As the employer, Free Agent Source Inc. is responsible for employer taxes, collection and remittance of employee payroll taxes, regulatory compliance, general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, 401(k) retirement savings plan, health insurance plan and more. This ensures corporate clients are protected against employment litigation.

What do you mean by “Independent Professional” and “Free Agent”?

When we say "Independent Professional" or "Free Agent" we mean, consultants at Free Agent Source have the same professional freedom they would have when working on their own as sole proprietors or operating their own entity. As a consulting company, we ensure the legal and liability protection which clients need, through one consulting vendor relationship.

We intentionally combine benefits of clients working directly with consultants, and the legal and liability protection expected in a traditional corporate consulting vendor relationship.

This open approach is facilitated by our sharing information among all roles, in the manner of the sharing economy. All consultants know the billable rate and terms of engagement. All consultants have access to invoice and payment status. It's the best of both worlds, and that's why the sharing economy model is so powerful.

What if I want to hire a consultant into my own company?

You are welcome to invite any of our consultants to join your company as a traditional employee. Getting them to accept may be a challenge. (Big grin.) Consultants join Free Agent Source because they want professional freedom AND all the resources of a large corporation to operate their consulting practice. That’s a combination rarely found in traditional employment.  However, in some cases a consultant may indeed choose to join your company as an employee. You are welcome to proceed as mutually agreeable between client and consultant.

How can I find out more?

Contact us here: FreeAgentSource.com/contact/ 

Do you have a project that needs to be done without traditional consulting overhead? Tell us about your unique challenge. Find out how we do it

What is Free Agent Source?

We are the sharing economy applied to management consulting. We create the insured vendor relationship through which corporate clients directly engage independent consultants found on LinkedIn or anywhere else, without excessive costs or the gatekeeper role in traditional consulting and staffing. Every consultant operates their own consulting practice. Each is responsible for client relationships and client satisfaction. Just get it done without the overhead. How do we deliver?

  1. Simple structure. No gate keeper. Transparent fees.
  2. Agile values. Lean principles. Professional standards.
  3. The very best consultants do not work, think or act like employees. So we created a company where no one is treated like a traditional employee.

How is Free Agent Source different from other consulting firms?

  • We do not have a partner structure. This eliminates the gatekeeper role and traditional consulting overhead. Our clients want a direct relationship with consultants without a middle man (or woman).
  • We provide corporate clients with a single consulting vendor relationship through which they can engage professional consultants who would otherwise operate independently and therefore would be inaccessible to companies which do not allow individuals to work for them as 1099 independent contractors.
  • Every consultant operates as his or her own consulting practice within the company.  Some consultants work as the solo on client engagements, others form ad hoc teams and work together on client projects. Every consultant is responsible for client relationships and successful completion of client engagements.
  • Consultants are committed to project success because each accepts the engagement by choice.
  • The very best consultants do not work, think or act like employees. So we created a company where no one is treated like a traditional employee.

How is Free Agent Source similar to traditional consulting firms?

  • Corporate clients engage Free Agent Source Inc. to deliver corporate initiatives and projects with professional consultants.
  • Every consulting engagement has an Engagement Leader to assemble a team who can fulfill your corporate initiative or project.
  • The service agreement and terms of engagement are similar to those of other professional services and consulting organizations.
  • Our consultants are W-2 employees of Free Agent Source Inc. From the perspective of the employer of record, this is the same as other consulting firms.

What do you mean by “Independent Professional” and “Free Agent”?

When we say "Independent Professional" or "Free Agent" we mean, consultants at Free Agent Source have the same professional freedom they would have when working on their own as sole proprietors or operating their own entity. As a consulting company, we ensure the legal and liability protection which clients need, through one consulting vendor relationship.

We intentionally combine benefits of clients working directly with consultants, and the legal and liability protection expected in a traditional corporate consulting vendor relationship.

This open approach is facilitated by our sharing information among all roles, in the manner of the sharing economy. All consultants know the billable rate and terms of engagement. All consultants have access to invoice and payment status. It's the best of both worlds, and that's why the sharing economy model is so powerful.

What is the mark-up on consultant rates?

Free Agent Source applies an 80% - 20% split to client billable revenue, where consultants earn 80% of revenue and Free Agent Source earns 20% to cover operations and employer costs. The cost of most traditional employment relationships is 25% - 45% of an employee's salary. These additional costs for traditional employees include paid personal time off (vacation), paid holidays, paid volunteer days, other employee benefits, training. Over the long term, the cost of an external consultant is about the same as the cost of an employee.  Usually, the difference in cost of a consultant compared to an internal employee of equivalent skill and experience, is related to recruiting. The cost of recruiting can be managed when it is visible and un-bundled from the consultant's on-going billable rate.

Do I give up control of my business?

We get it.  None of us wants to concede freedom over our professional future to an executive, a boss or a company. Each of us wants control over our own business. That’s what you get when you operate as your own practice area within Free Agent Source: control over your business and professional endeavors. Should you ever decide to leave, you can take your client relationships with you.

You have the same control over your future that an Airbnb hosts have with their property.  We take it further, though. As a Free Agent Source consultant, you are a member of an active community who shape Free Agent Source itself, to make it better, to make it serve your interests more effectively.  Together, we make our shared company better than we could if each of us managed our own LLC or Corp. Just like it’s more efficient to share a hosted server or use apps and data in the cloud, than it is to buy a server and maintain it entirely yourself, we think owning and operating your own company as an independent consultant isn’t as efficient either.

Can I manage and lead my own team within FAS?

Yes. You can enroll yourself and a team of consultants to work on client projects together. We will help with details related to dividing client revenue among team members. Bottom line: the person who closes the client deal is the Engagement Leader (unless you give that role to someone else). If you are closing client deals and leading client engagements, there is no problem managing one or more teams within Free Agent Source.

Do I need my own insurance?

No, you do not need to acquire your own insurance. You are covered by liability insurance through Free Agent Source.

These two conditions ensure You have insurance coverage and protection from legal liability:

  1. Client agreements are between clients and Free Agent Source Inc.
  2. You become an "employee" of Free Agent Source Inc.

We put "employee" in quotes because your relationship fits the legal definition of an employee, which is necessary for insurance coverage and legal protection, but your actual working is more independent than a traditional employment relationship.

How do you protect my privacy?

As an employer, we protect employee and client information according to strict standards and employment practices. Employee information is reported to government tax authorities and to government regulators for the purpose of compliance with employment regulations. We also report employee information to designated suppliers of Free Agent Source such as health insurance carriers, the 401k plan administrator and banks which transmit payroll direct deposit and expense reimbursements.  When requested by a consultant, we will provide employment verification in support of the consultant's loan application or other purposes chosen by the consultant. We will never distribute employee information for any reason beyond those normal administrative and regulatory functions as required of any employer.

How often do you process Payroll and Expense Reports?

We process payroll and expense reports every two weeks (bi-weekly).  Time sheets submitted by 5:00pm Pacific Time on Monday following the end of the two-week pay period will be processed for the pay date on Friday. You will be paid by direct deposit into your bank account on Friday, following the Monday deadline for time sheets. If Friday is a holiday, funds will be deposited into your account on Thursday.

The pay period is from Sunday to Saturday. This means you have two days following the end of each pay period to report your time in the timesheet.

Expense reports are processed on opposite weeks.  We process payroll on one week and expense reports on the next week.  Expense reports submitted by 5:00pm Pacific Time on Monday of the expense processing week will be reimbursed on Friday by direct deposit into your bank account.

What expenses can be reimbursed?

  • Computing Hardware, mobile phone, tablet, related gear
  • Software for mobile phone, tablet, desktop or laptop computer
  • Mobile Phone Service monthly fee or prepaid units
  • Desk, Chair, Lamp, Storage Cabinet
  • Desk Rental / Office Rental at Co-Work Space
  • Hosting Fees (web site, domain name, Box, DropBox, iCloud, oneDrive)
  • Professional Membership & License Fees
  • Books, Subscriptions, Educational Materials
  • Training Courses & Trade Show Fees
  • Client Entertainment - Events
  • Client Entertainment - Meals
  • Travel - Air Rail Sea
  • Travel - Hotel
  • Travel - Meals
  • Travel - Personal Car Mileage
  • Travel - Rental Car
  • Travel - Subway Bus Parking Fuel Tips

What expenses are not reimbursed?

These expenses are not reimbursable at Free Agent Source due to the potential ambiguity between personal use and business use.

  • Home internet access.
  • Home office space.

The IRS allows sole proprietors and other business operators to deduct these expenses.  However, considering the more open organizational structure at Free Agent Source, we manage audit risk conservatively.  No need to spoil everyone's freedom by attracting an IRS audit with expenses that are not indisputably and entirely related to business.

What do I get as an employee of Free Agent Source?

The most important benefit of operating your consulting practice within Free Agent Source is FREEDOM.

  • Freedom from administration and regulatory compliance for you business.
  • Freedom to work on your terms the way other business owners and independent professionals do.  If you work for a traditional consulting firm, you will likely be told how many hours you must work each week, what client project you will take next, how much time off you can have each year.

And there are more benefits to consultants at Free Agent Source:

  • Standard corporate client contract.
  • Time reporting and invoices to clients for services.
  • Expense reporting and invoices to clients for client reimbursable expenses.
  • Expense reporting for your own regular business expenses such as conferences, training, computer, software, phone, etc.
  • Payroll processing.
  • Accounting
  • General liability insurance.
  • Professional liability insurance.
  • 401(k) retirement savings plan.
  • Employment verification for home loans and car loans.
  • Group health insurance.

How much does it cost?

The cost of Free Agent Source to consultants is 20% of any amount processed through payroll.  There is no charge for processing business expenses.

Here are two examples which illustrate how the fee is applied.

Why must I become an employee?

Clients need protection from employment litigation. To achieve this protection, clients need assurance that your work is covered by an insured, properly maintained company. This assurance for clients would not be possible if you are not an employee of the company.

We understand the desire for professional freedom, and we understand implications behind that word "employee" are enough to scare any of us. If you're reading this, you're one of us. We understand the desire not to be assigned unwillingly to client projects, the desire to take as much time off as you want, the desire for many other professional freedoms.

To make this all work between clients and consultants, we comply with all regulations governing corporations and employment. Within those boundaries we created a structure of flexibility and freedom.

What are the benefits of W-2 status?

  • Income tax is collected each time you are paid through payroll. You will never need to remit your own taxes. (Freelancers paid as contractors via IRS form 1099-MISC income, must hold back their own income taxes as well as the employer portion, then pay the IRS and state each quarter.)
  • Your W-2 earnings statement makes it easy to file your annual income tax return.
  • Home loans, car loans, apartment rentals and other forms of personal credit are all easier to obtain as a W-2 employee because creditors typically treat pay receipts and the W-2 earning statement as a more reliable validation of your personal income.
  • No saving for quarterly and annual income tax, the way freelancers paid by form 1099-MISC income must do.
  • No large tax payments.

Why is there no salary or paid vacation?

We offer professional freedom. To ensure every member of Free Agent Source has essentially the same freedoms as working independently, we created the same conditions. We earn when we are working (delivering value for clients), we don't earn when we are not working. Nothing limits freedom and flexibility more than a salary and paid vacation. When you are compensated with a salary and paid vacation, your employer has essentially "bought" your entire availability. This means the amount of work you are expected to do (full-time), the rate paid and time off are all fixed, and directed by your employer. While many people find this arrangement to be a mutually beneficial exchange, those who join us at Free Agent Source don't see it that way.  Freedom and flexibility are more important to us and in order to prevent the company from telling us how much to work and how much time off we can have, we forego a salary and paid vacation.

What is included in the fee?

The list and chart below show a break-down of operating costs which make up the overall fee.  Basically we take the fixed and running costs of operating your own company and turn it into a pay-as-you go solution that you can join without start-up costs and leave without break fees.

  • Client service agreement and all client contact related to the service agreement
  • Client invoice, follow-up with amounts due, client inquires related to invoices
  • 401k employer contribution for each consultant
  • Employer Social Security & Medicare Payroll Tax
  • General Liability & Professional Liability Insurance
  • Consultant Support, Internal Operations, Payroll Processing, Expense Processing
  • Workers' Compensation Insurance
  • Employee Benefit Admin: 401k
  • Software Licenses and External Payroll Services
  • Consultant Account Statement (internal software)
  • Federal & State Unemployment Payroll Tax
  • Regulatory Compliance, Form Filing, Tax Filing
  • Legal Services and On-Going Risk Management

Is Free Agent Source less expensive than operating my own company being my own employer?

Yes, when you look at the time, cost and distraction involved with personnel administration and managing your own company, Free Agent Source is truly less expensive.  More importantly, using FAS allows you to focus on your business. An entrepreneur, business owner, contractor or freelancer cannot do alone with greater efficiency what Free Agent Source does as its core business.  We do it not only with greater experience, we have the scale to do it across larger numbers.

But don’t take our word for it.  Here’s an exercise that will help you determine if your company is more efficient at company administration than we are.  Multiply your gross payroll by 20%. Now subtract the following:

  • Create a client service agreement. Prepare and send for each new client relationship. Handle legal questions from client's legal department about making changes to the agreement.
  • Set-up and manage a process to record client billable items.
  • Send invoices to clients and monitor accounts receivable. Follow-up late payments or payment problems.
  • Receive payments from clients. Deposit checks. Record payments in the accounting system.
  • Process reimbursable business expenses every two weeks.
  • Process payroll every two weeks, including employee tax withholding to the IRS and state, 401(k) funding and other payments.
  • Pay employer payroll taxes to IRS and State.
  • Time and cost to register each new employee and separation with state employment regulators.
  • Ensure compliance with all employment regulations.
  • Submit reports and pay for workers compensation insurance.
  • Time sheet and payroll Processing.
  • Time and cost to obtain General Liability Insurance each year.
  • Time and cost to obtain Professional Liability Insurance each year.
  • Time and cost to set-up and operate a 401k plan. File annual reports.
  • Time and cost to set-up and operate a group health care plan.
  • Prepare and file quarterly taxes - Federal and State.
  • Prepare and file annual tax return - Federal and State.

What are the steps to join?

This is the entire process, from initial contact with us through to your first payment.

  1. Send us your contact info using the form at the bottom of our site for consultants StartupOvernight.com.
  2. An Enrollment Advisor will contact you to answer your questions and show you how to work with Free Agent Source and pitch clients. No need to sign your Employment Agreement at this point.
  3. Start pitching clients. When a client is ready to sign, contact your Enrollment Advisor who will send the Service Agreement to your client for signature using an electronic signature app.
  4. Your Enrollment Advisor will also send the Employment Agreement and other employment documents to you for your signature.
  5. After we have the signed Service Agreement from your client and we have also received your signed Employment Agreement, you can begin work with your client.  Congratulations!
  6. Submit time sheets at the end of each week.
  7. We process payroll at minimum wage for your hours worked.
  8. At the end of the client billing period, we invoice your clients.
  9. When we receive payment from your clients, remaining revenue is available for pay-out to you.   (Remaining revenue = client billed amount paid - minimum wage already paid to you)

How many consultants do I need to place before I earn enough commission?

For many sales and recruiting professionals, commission earnings get exciting after placing between 10 and 20 consultants in client consulting engagements. Even placing a smaller number of consultants in engagements while working on the side can earn a useful amount of supplemental income. For specific details about the commission plan, contact us on the Careers page.

Can I keep my current job and try Free Agent Source on the side?

Definitely. We recommend you do not quit your day job. Work on the side, evenings and weekends, until you have enough clients signed up AND those clients have initiated enough engagement requests to fulfill your income requirements. Some Sales and Recruiting Professionals may choose to always work part time or on the side. Some will transition gradually until their client base is large enough to make the jump to full-time sales or recruiting at Free Agent Source. Of course if your personal circumstances allow you to go all-in then you may do so. For example, if you have a spouse or partner who can support you while you start up at Free Agent Source. However, please do not take unnecessary risk.

What roles are available for Sales and Recruiting Professionals at Free Agent Source?

Glad you asked.  All the details are on our Careers page.

Why the emphasis on recruiting?

Our key competitive advantage over traditional consulting firms is this: A good recruiter can assemble a far better team of consultants than any traditional consulting firm can. We are completely open about relying on the entire talent pool of independent professionals rather than retaining salaried consultants on the company roster. Even better, assembling project teams this way is where an experienced independent recruiter excels ahead of his or her peers at traditional consulting firms. When a traditional consulting firm gets a client engagement request, the resource manager looks for consultants internally on the company roster, to find which are available and whose skills fit. The problem is, traditional consulting firms often do not have the required consulting expertise in house. Consultants are either not available or the required skills and experience aren’t represented. When the resource manager goes outside the company to hire sub-contractors, they try to keep it a secret, to perpetuate the illusion that they have the best talent in house and no other consulting company does.

GOT A QUESTION?

Let's hear it. Drop us a note on our contact page.