Get started a freelance SAP consultant
Becoming an independent SAP consultant is an alternative to the status of employee within an ESN or a SAP end customer. The objective of this article is not to say whether the status of self-employed is better or worse than employee status. This is a matter of personal choice and individual aspirations.
The objective of this article is to provide you feedback on my journey as a freelance SAP consultant so that you can get an idea of what to expect in terms of journey, if you choose this path. To do this, I told myself that the simplest would be to tell you the typical journey of the consultant who chooses to go into independent mode based on my own experience and on the observation of the journey of my peers. Note that, this article is based on french market.
First the idea comes to life then ... questions arise
One morning, when I opened my eyes, the idea germinated. You tell yourself that you like your job as a SAP consultant, but for various reasons you realize that you want to work as a freelance.
Things fall into place in your head and you realize that you are going to have a lot of issues to deal with. You must negotiate your departure with your employer, without offending him. Possibly and ideally succeed in obtaining a conventional rupture which will assure you a safety net if you do not immediately find a mission (because you will be entitled to unemployment). It will also be necessary to choose a form of company to exercise or make the choice of wage portage. Do I need to hire an accountant? How to find SAP expertise missions?
Activate his departure
You announced the news to your manager. He is disappointed to see you leave but understands your choice. Furthermore, he is not against the idea of a conventional break but it is not certain that it will go to HR level, so he will find out ... You tell yourself that securing this conventional break is really important because this will bring you serenity in your process of becoming a SAP freelance. You therefore have the idea of giving your manager a shocking argument so that he can defend your request with the HR teams:
In the event of a contractual breach, I am ready to make a long departure over 6 months instead of the 3 months notice, this will allow us to complete the current project together.
Bingo! the argument has hit the mark, the conventional break is accepted. You can finish your current project, calmly prepare your launch and stay on good terms with your company.
Note that it is now also possible in France under certain conditions to obtain unemployment by resigning.
The choice of a form of company or salary portage
Nothing special has happened since you informed your manager of your intention to switch to a freelance mode and you obtained the contractual break. However, the deadline is approaching, you are 2 months before your departure. You have therefore made a free appointment with an accountant to discuss the different possible choices of legal forms, this accounting firm also offers a salary portage service. During the conversation, you realize that there is no generality on the legal form to adopt or the fact of choosing the company mode rather than the portage mode.
The choice of a legal form for the creation of a company or the choice of wage portage is made on a case by case basis according to the situation and the objectives of each.
After study, you opt for the salary portage, you are not yet sure to remain freelance on the long term therefore this choice allows you to test the market, without having to carry out administrative procedures of company creation, writing articles of association, bookkeeping by a chartered accountant ... etc.
Your strategy is as follows: If you feel that you are continuing for the long term after 1 year as a freelancer, you will create your own structure. You did not stop choosing the porting company but there are a lot of choices like ITG, Dreamteam Portage, and many others ...
Calculating your ADR
It is time to worry about the ADR (Average Daily Rate) that you will apply to your customers. There are two possible approaches, you can (or must) also combine both:
Starting from a target gross annual salary to deduct an ADR:
Example (large mesh):
Target gross salary: 65,000 EUR
+ 10% provision for interco: EUR 6,500
+ 30% broker and management fees (chartered accountant / Portage): 19,500 EUR
+ 50% Social security / employer contributions: 32,500 EUR
+ 10% sick leave provisions: 6,500 EUR
+ 10% additional health / occupational benefits: 6,500 EUR
+ 5% Miscellaneous costs, RC Pro insurance, etc ...: 3250 EUR
TOTAL: 139,750 EUR / 218 working days
TJM = 640 EUR
Refine and control your calculation with a market benchmark
Once your ADR calculated as in step 1, you can adjust your ADR up or down depending on the market conditions of profiles similar to yours.
Other factors come into play to refine a ADR such as the duration of the mission
How do you find SAP jobs as a freelance?
You are leaving the company in 15 days and you still have no assignment ... You have contacted colleagues who themselves have chosen freelancing and who have explained to you the different channels they use to find assignments:
- The personal network: It is essential to always keep a good contact on all of its missions, the more your network will grow the easier it will be for you to find missions directly, without the help of an intermediary and therefore to more advantageous rates
- Social networks and ad sites: LinkedIn is the main social network where you can find assignments. Then you have general computer ad sites like Freelance-Info or more recently Malt.
- Brokers: These are companies whose business is to put companies in search of SAP consultants with SAP consultants. They will somehow take care of being your commercial force, finding for you a mission. This service will however cost you between 10 to 30% of your daily rate over the entire duration of the mission. There are several brokers specialized on SAP such as: Red Sap Solution, EurSap, Westhouse ... etc. Intermediaries also stand out by offering freelancers a little more service, such as an exchange platform, events between freelancers, I identified: Colibee or FocusTribes. Unlike pure brokers, these players respond to missions by ensuring the realization entirely or mainly by subcontracting to independent SAP consultants. Finally you have SPRO-Freelancer which aims to simplify the life of independent SAP consultants by making the link between these different channels.
The minute you put yourself on availability and visibility, you receive several dozen calls (essentially brokers), that's a good sign! Some proposed rates are well below your claims, you go your way. Offers are not in your area of research. In the end there are 3 offers that interest you ...
You are interviewing, some physically, some by phone. Out of the 3 offers: 1 has already been filled, 1 does not ultimately meet your expectations after having passed the interview with the operational staff and for the 3rd, that which interests you the most, the client is still waiting to receive two other independents in interview.
Luckily, your previous consulting company heard that you just went freelancer. That's good, they just need urgent reinforcement on a SAP project that is starting. The mission is exactly what you are looking for and it reassures you to work with known faces for your first mission. You accept and it starts tomorrow! It is therefore your network that will have been your first vector of missions.
This confirms to you that the SAP world is a small world and that it is very important to take care of your network and your relationships.
If a mission goes wrong, try as much as possible to never break your business relationship during the contract. The contracts are often 3 months renewables, hold until the contractual expiry by warning your customer in advance that for various reasons you could not renew the contract. This will give him time to organize your replacement. Obviously, try to the maximum that your missions go well so that you and your client are always delighted to renew the mission.
SAP missions are often long and it is common to spend more than a year on a mission.
The client of the 3rd mission who was to receive other maintenance consultants warns you that they retain your profile for the mission. Too late, you have just given your word to your former ESN to intervene on their project. You are reliable and do not reverse even if you had a little preference for this mission.
Congratulations! Tomorrow begins your first day as a freelance SAP consultant.