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It's been 4 years these days that my colleagues and myself have been working as full-time freelancers. When we started doing this, we hoped that with our quality and expertize in 4-year time we will have found a client who will open a branch of his company in our country hiring us full time and providing us with the work he finds in his own country.

So far, we have worked with literally more than 70 clients ranging from a individuals to companies of 40-100 employees. Do I have to say that none of them has ever offered or asked anyone of us if we are willing to work for them solely and taking care on their projects and hiring additional help. So we gathered and asked ourselves, what the problem may be. I know, if I live in the UK or USA and have access to multitude of clients, I would have a great time overseas.

Does anyone have experience with this? Is there anyone here who started as a freelancer and ended as CEO/CTO of the company who opened branch in his country letting him take care of all those boring things (project management, staffing, etc. )?

Is it realistic to find such client via services like odesk/elance/freelancer/guru and similar large websites?

What should we do on our site to recognize such clients? Shall we ask each client about his vision to open a remote company and letting him know that we seek such clients? Should we do this after the first project ended?

Should we advertise our intention that we are willing to become someone's branch? If yes, what services shall we use?

To shorten up, I need a good advise on how to approach to the problem I described here. Ideally, someone with experience will reply and we can even continue discussion in chat.

  • Not really qualified to answer, but perhaps it is part of the nature of the work and so the client has not considered the option purely because they think the relationship is fine as-is because it's always been done this way. What about showing the client the advantages of opening a branch so they can see what they're missing out on, become dissatisfied with the relationship currently and make steps to opening a branch on their own. – user152 Dec 6 '14 at 18:18
  • @Stacey That's the thing. We're in programming business and it almost normal to have a branch to cut costs on such a demanding work. I've seen other companies coming to our area hiring 100+ employees and I am sure someone suggested that to them. It's got to be something in our approach. – Peter MV Dec 8 '14 at 11:32
  • Many times companies don't want to open a foreign branch because that is just more jurisdiction where they would have to develop expertise in tax and employment law. Much easier just to keep paying your invoices if they are satisfied with your work. – cdkMoose Dec 11 '14 at 17:41
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While the situation you describe provides a desirable outcome for you, you need to look at it from the client's perspective. What would be advantageous for them in converting your team into employees as part of a branch office?

If they were to open a branch office in a new country, they immediately need to develop expertise in corporate, tax and employment law in your country. Even if you would try to take care of those details, the corporation is still ultimately responsible and must have the expertise. If they don't have a formal business presence in your country already, this can be a significant hurdle.

Do you expect there to be some financial benefit too your team becoming a branch office for them? Would their total cost: salary, benefits, facilities, etc., be cheaper than what you are charging now? Otherwise, they are better off just continuing to pay your invoices.

In the end, if you want this to happen, you need to look at it from their perspective and figure out how to address those concerns to make this an attractive option for them.

  • Thanks for the reply. You touched some great points. I will definitely have to consider their perspective too. – Peter MV Dec 11 '14 at 17:55
  • To reply to your questions. I am looking from the point "what if I am there". For example, if the client find a good development team who proved good results by finalizing his own project, I would then think to bring this cooperation to the next step. I would find more clients in my own country charging the rates of my own country (who are higher) and then outsource the project to the team who can do them cheaper. The difference would be my profit. I have seen 5+ US and UK companies who did this way, and they earn 6 figures nowadays. – Peter MV Dec 11 '14 at 17:58
  • I've seen a number of companies that do this, but they have enough of a presence in the country already to lower the bar of entry or are setting up such a large branch office that the costs can be amortized. If you are a small company, the costs of entry may significantly overshadow any value from acquiring your team. – cdkMoose Dec 11 '14 at 18:00
  • Consider this, I may be wrong so may correct me. I am in the USA/UK and I found a good team in cheaper country. I want to elevate my business and I have found a few rich clients in my own country. But to do the projects, I need a team. Setting a team in my own country would be too expensive, plus I don't know how capable they are.Finding a new team abroad - again I am not sure how good they are. Hiring the proven team ad hoc - They cannot commit full time as they have other projects.So the only logical thing is to become owner of the proven team so they work only for me.Isn't this logical? – Peter MV Dec 11 '14 at 18:06
  • The incremental cost to add people to my existing company could be much cheaper than establishing a presence in a country where I have none. It's not just the cost comparison between my employees and yours, on your side I must include significant new overhead costs which I am already paying in my country. – cdkMoose Dec 11 '14 at 18:20

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