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Say you get a 6 month contract via a recruiter. Now you finish that contract.

How many months should you wait before approaching the company directly? Or should you never do this?

What is the unwritten rule regarding this?

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Did you have a contract with the recruiter? If so, there is probably a specific time frame in the contract.

I am in the US and have done training as a sub contractor for companies that specialize in getting big contracts and filling them with sub contractors and their terms were usually 2 years from the end of my doing business with that client through them.

If there is no mention of this in a contract and the contractor never said "don't approach our client directly," then legally, you are free to do so now. Of course that doesn't mean you should.

I would never approach their client directly as long as I hoped for more business from the contractor, because If they know you approached the client they sent you to directly, they will feel betrayed and be afraid to send you to any other clients.

If you believe the contractor has no intention to get more business from that client and would never find out, that might change things. For example, if you can offer the client a similar service that is not quite what the contractor offers. Even in that case, if you want to maintain a good relationship with the contractor you might talk to them first, to explain why what you're doing for this client is not taking business away from them, in case they hear about it elsewhere and get the wrong impression.

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