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  • SSG Highlights

    Cambridge 0 Watford 0 (AET)

    Still More Highlights than the SSG WA

The Highlights


The SSG Working Agreement (WA) is dull, not very imaginative and contains very few highlights. If our WA was a viewing of Match Of The Day, it would be a 0-0 draw between Cambridge and Watford. For SSG to claim that we have some highlights to present is pushing it a little, to say the least.

Internally, we refer to the Working Agreement as War & Peace, which is an ironic reflection of the simplicity & brevity of this key SSG document. The agreement is straightforward, concise & almost devoid of any legal speak. It is designed to provide our budding entrepreneurs with a safety net – an impressive service level minimum that can be relied upon at all times. We do not believe that it reflects the scope of what we do & certainly does not adequately reflect the reality of how far we will happily go to ensure that our guys have the best chance of success.

And whilst we are feeling all warm & confessional, here are a few more highlights to consider – we fully expect the scope of what we provide to change as we work together; it is highly unlikely that our fees will remain the same & for our part, we have no intention of abiding to its terms.

Or, to put it another way, from the day that we engage with an eager new business owner, we will do whatever we need to do to help, regardless of what the WA stipulates – ‘once we are in it, we are in it’. SSG must do whatever needs to be done to help. The SSG Working Agreement is a safety net for you guys & pretty much nothing more.

3 Bite Sized Chunks

Warming to the theme that the SSG Working Agreement is a tame, flexible and almost redundant piece of boring prose, why not have a quick look at the three parts which make up this masterpiece? And, whilst you are about it, why not jump between the SSG Jargon version & the Plain English alternative? Remember, we are trying really hard to come up with some highlights here, so don’t be too hard on us if you get drowsy!

Part 1
The Heads of Agreement

Click on one of the two buttons to the right to either read the "Plain English" version, or if you're feeling brave, the "SSG Jargon" version.

We define the initial contract term and the Service Charge schedule. We confirm that the business launch is free & that SSG will not invoice a Client for a Service Charge until that Client has been paid by their end-client. We explain the terms of how either party may exit the agreement & that SSG has no executive power over the business. Confirmation is made that SSG will share the cost of any refunds to an end client, that there are no exit fees or fixed costs to the SSG Client & we stress the importance of honesty and communication.

The core highlights include the clear definition of the initial contract duration (48 months) & the Service Charge Schedule (i.e. the descending percentage of the placement fees paid to SSG in exchange for the provision of the SSG deliverables). We also confirm that the Service Charge will decrease throughout the term of the agreement. Comfort is given to the SSG Client regarding a non punitive exit should they wish to return to employment & the unlikely circumstances under which SSG may also terminate the agreement.

It is important that potential entrepreneurs understand the commitment required to launch a new business and appreciate the significant investment made by SSG to launch a that business. Care ought to be taken when approving the Service Charge Schedule and sufficient due diligence must be completed to provide comfort that SSG is in fact what it presents itself to be & that a new Client will feel comfortable working alongside the key employees of SSG. Budding entrepreneurs should also convince themselves that their decision tree is complete. Do you want to start a business & do you want to work with SSG?

This is where we confirm how long & how much – how long we are all tied in for and how much SSG will charge as the agreement unwinds. We confirm how you can get out of the agreement if you want to & that you are in total control – SSG cannot tell you what to do, it can only advise. If you do want to go back to work for someone else, that’s fine and you will not be asked to cough up an exit fee. There are no penalties for changing your mind! There is a little waffle about being open and chatty.

So, SSG promises to provide all of their deliverables (their stuff) to you for 48 months whether or not you are making any placements. You also get confirmation that the percentage charged by SSG gets lower every year and cannot ever be increased (it can reduce though!). You are obviously committed to working with SSG for the 48 months and can carry on doing so after that period if you wish (most do). You are not committed to any costs with SSG unless you not only make a placement but have actually been paid & the money is sitting in your bank account.

SSG are always saying that ‘once we are in it, we are in it’ – banging on about their commitment to their Clients and that they are flexible & open & honest, but they also want that commitment returned in terms of effort & time. Clearly, any new Client working with SSG better feel pretty sure that they understand what SSG offers and what types of people work for SSG. One way or another, SSG seem very confident that they know what they are doing – so before signing on the line it is vital that a new client feels exactly the same about SSG!

Part 2
What SSG delivers!

Click on one of the two buttons to the right to either read the "Plain English" version, or if you're feeling brave, the "SSG Jargon" version.

SSG define the deliverables provided & the payment terms of the SSG Service Charge schedule. The free 4-stage business launch process is detailed and definition given regarding both the percentage of placement fees charged by SSG but also what constitutes a placement fee / gross profit. The on-going support facility is also introduced. Clear commitment to the process is provided and SSG also explains when payment of any Service Charge is expected.

There is a clear breakdown of the 4-stage business launch (the legal & compliance formations, the creative & branding exercise, the provision of the necessary tools & facilities and finally the accounting structures created by SSG to support the new business). Payment terms for the Service Charges are explained and a strategy for dealing with late payments introduced. Brief notes are highlighted regarding the technical support offering & the problem solving provision.

Potential new Clients need to ensure that the launch process offered by SSG will address any requirements particular to a specialist recruitment market (e.g. CRB checks, CIS calculations etc). Every business is unique so care must be taken to ensure your version of the Working Agreement reflects your proposed new business, not just any recruitment business. Care also needs to be taken to ensure that the payment terms are understood and how SSG defines temporary revenues (as well as Perm’ based placement fees).

Everything to do with the launch is written down – exactly what SSG are committing to providing (their offering, as they explain it). Clarification is provided about how much the Service Charge will be on temp' revenues (i.e. what really represents GP, not timesheet values!). A little waffle about the technical support and on-going day-to-day support provided is designed to make a Recruiter feel happy that SSG know what they are doing. SSG also say you need to pay the Service Charges as soon as your end-client has paid you, but not before.

SSG obviously take care of everything regarding the launch of the business, from the easy bits (bank accounts, VAT man etc) to the fun bits (the design of the web site, business cards etc) & the ‘I did not even think of that’ bits (like telephone numbers, where my business is legally based, who does the ‘end of year’s stuff etc). The implication is clear, SSG are saying that they are responsible for pretty much everything outside of actually making the placement – they don’t want a Recruiter wasting time on anything which does not generate revenue. Fair enough!

Bottom line seems to be that as a Recruiter working in a particular market, it is very important to ensure that SSG not only understands my specialist sector (for example, what proven experience do they actually have in my field?) but can SSG also provide me with the specific tools that my market needs? It is not enough to just have a basic business launch, a Recruiter needs to feel convinced that SSG can then help to drive that business forward – i.e. the ‘tools, talent & time’ that they waffle on about throughout this web site!

Part 3
The Scary bit!

Click on one of the two buttons to the right to either read the "Plain English" version, or if you're feeling brave, the "SSG Jargon" version.

SSG outline the Cessation Agreement provision by which SSG can (under extreme circumstances) potentially exit the agreement. Specific examples are provided by SSG to illustrate the circumstances under which SSG could theoretically not only exit the agreement but surcharge a client who has breached the terms of the Working Agreement. If these specific examples of extreme agreement breach are clear, then SSG has the potential right to enforce the Cessation Agreement.

SSG define the areas that would constitute a breach of the Working Agreement. These include hiding fees, creating invoices outside of the Working Agreement, non-payment of SSG fees, diverting funds, breaching confidentiality, refusing to provide information, misuse of deliverables. These are extreme circumstances and if shown to occur, would entitle SSG to terminate the Agreement, withdraw services and charge a penalty to the SSG Client. Warnings would be given and a chance to remedy the situation provided.

There is a very clear requirement that any SSG Client acts with care, honesty and integrity. The eight (8) specific examples detailed by SSG are very specific and a potential SSG Client needs to consider if there were any circumstances under which they would consider a clear breach as being acceptable behaviour? The Cessation Agreement is the potential exit route for SSG & is the equivalent of the potential exit a Client might seek were SSG not to delivery against the Working Agreement.

SSG reserve the right to quit if a Client keeps on breaching the agreement in any one of 8 specific ways. OK, it would have to be that a Client actively wants to mess things up and cheat on SSG – this could only ever potentially happen if a client gets three written warnings and still continues to cheat in a clear way. Let’s face it, after cheating, being caught out a few times, receiving three written warnings and still cheating, SSG would not want to hang about and keep spending money supporting that type of business!

SSG list the terrible 8 breaches (all really horrible and obvious stuff) and then come up with a process they would have to follow before calling it a day. To make it sound even more scary, they then provide an example of what they might try to do if the breach was proven to be clear. Bottom line seems to be that if a Client were to behave in such an extreme and protracted way, ignoring every chance to stop then SSG would reserve the right to throw their toys out of the pram at high speed!

If you are likely to be a blatant cheat, ignoring not just the Working Agreement & SSG but the ordinary moral values we all live by, don’t sign on the line and work with SSG. It just wouldn’t be worth it and such behaviour would certainly be a deal buster. And remember, this is not something that could accidentally or suddenly happen – it has to be a clear, breach of the agreement following three written warnings asking you to stop. Why not ask SSG how many times this has happened since 2003? That might make it even more scary or not scary at all.