I'm looking at IT contracting roles at present, based on a day rate, for a set duration, usually between 3 to 12 months. At least here in the UK, these roles are only available through recruitment agencies, and it seems sensible for me to understand the pricing model they use.
My understanding is that a recruiter will take a percentage of the day rate, calculated on the same frequency as the contractor, which is usually weekly. The client pays the recruiter, and the recruiter pays the contractor.
I have been told that since I have not contracted before, it is sensible to reduce my target day rate for reasons of 'competitiveness' (there are allegedly several agencies handling the same role). However, I am minded to think that the recruiter will not pass the savings onto the client unless I can check they have done so. I have asked one recruiter contact how this works, and he was rather non-specific and said that it's not his business area. I asked if the client was aware of the contractor day rate - I would rather they were - and he "didn't know" this either.
Do experienced contractors have an approach to check that they are not being exploited by a recruitment company, or is the best (and least satisfying) approach to decide my value and not worry further about it? Is it generally considered acceptable to discuss these figures with the client, given they would not be happy with recruiters inflating their cut either?