Previous studies carried out by organisations like IPSE revealed that over half of contractors were working through recruitment agencies. But why is this such a popular choice for contractors?

It's not just what you know, it's who you know too.
Recruitment agencies are well connected and use their contacts to find contractor positions; often with big, lucrative clients. With this client base already in place they have a steady flow of projects that individual contractors may not be aware of or have access to. These projects are essentially potential work opportunities for you as a contractor, which means that recruitment agencies are there to find you work.

A match-making service.
A good agency will take the time to get to know you and the skills & experience you have. This ensures that they don't put you forward for jobs you're not suitable for. Although it's still always a good idea to try to find out as much as you can about the contract, before you give the agency permission to send your details to the client. An agency placement is only successful if both the client and the contractor are happy working together so it's the recruitment agency's role to match the contractor to the right project in the first place.

Your own personal sales team!
Recruitment agencies are trained salespeople and negotiators, roles which you as a contractor may not feel comfortable taking up. Agencies work to connect you with clients by pitching 'you' to them. They promote your previous experience, the skills you possess and what they know about you personally, all in a professional sales manner. If a client does want to work with you, the agency will then work on securing good contract terms and rates for you. With agencies taking care of this side of things, you don't have to haggle with clients directly but through your agency instead.

No more beans on toast weeks!
You can set up payment terms with your recruitment agency so you know when you can expect to be paid. Agencies often pay promptly after an invoice is submitted even if the client has failed to do so which provides you with a financial safety net. Whereas contractors working directly with clients are at their mercy as to when they get paid. Furthermore, while you're working on one contract, your recruitment agency is working hard to find you your next one. This means that when one contract ends you can move comfortably into another without any gaps in employment and crucially; no pauses in income.

With these advantages it's clear to see why working through a recruitment agency is proving a popular choice for many contractors. Especially as choosing the right recruitment agency just got a whole lot easier with the ability to compare them here.