May 17th, 2016 Bethany, OK
Been on the FN platform for 4yrs now. Very up and down with the site from a technician's standpoint. I will start with the good.
Field Nation has the majority of major companies (technical/network companies) that are large nationwide companies and 3rd party companies that service just about every major chain you can think of from service to projects. There is potentially a lot of work in my field and I get at least 10 to 20 emails a day with new jobs/work that go up, even in a low market state such as Oklahoma for my field. FN is the primary source for freelance/independent in my field.
The nice thing about this is that, as mentioned there is no membership fee and the fact that this does save you advertising for your services. Another good thing is payment is always on time and twice a week assuming your work was approved in timely manner by the buyer (buyers are the companies you do the work for through FN. You are the provider).
Probably the worst catch to all this is the 10% fee (now 13% if you don't have insurance). No need to go liking for fine print on details for this as mentioned in article...it is simple. FN charges that 10% on the total money paid out to the tech/provider at the bottom of the work order. They deduct this before you are paid. This is the total of everything they charge. This includes all expenses and even material you reported. Again, it is 10% of ANY money you make or get reimbursed per work order.
The website has a fancy expense reporting section per work order but it is never used because it is pointless. They charge 10% regardless of how it is itemized. You agree to this policy before you even do work on the platform. FN does not budge on this policy. I have fought with them many times over it and lost every time. They simply respond with "then mark up your material and expenses 10%". This is laughable as the more you mark up....the more they make as well. It is mathematically impossible to every make back that 10% charge through marking up through the site. 95% of companies already have a material pricing sheet you get with work order that states what they reimburse in materials. Either way you are trapped. Marking up materials can hurt you. For one it means the buyer spends more money and may not assign you the job if others have put in for a cheaper price. Secondly, buyers also may not use you in the future if you haggle too much.
10% doesn't seem like much but you have to understand that fuel, materials, etc. are a big expense over the course of each year. I average about 35k a year through FN alone and FN makes that $3500 off it. While I am filing my taxes with tons of receipts to help on taxes, FN is making a 10% profit on them. You fuel, materials, etc. Is profit for them and a loss for you almost every job where you have a set reimbursement from the buyer on these things. One of my biggest hits was a large 1 week fiber job I did. This was over $5000 in materials as well as an additional $480 for the hotel and $100 for fuel.When all was said and done, the total money with expenses and labor paid to me on the WO was $8500. FN got 10% of it all. I lost $500 on materials due to the buyers material price they pay back. I paid FN 10% of MY hotel and fuel cost...and then on labor. I still made money if course but took a huge hit on profit. FN doesn't negotiate with you.
All in all the 10% of the total is pure bs. It should be on labor and services only...not out of your materials and especially fuel as well. FN ONLY charges the workers/providers. The buyers and major companies do not pay fees or memberships. FN makes their money off the people working.
Another bad thing is that FN is essentially cornering the market platform. Your 3 major platforms, FN, Field Solutions, and Work Market are pretty much shadowed by FN now. FN bought out Field Solutions and dropped the site and merged. This resulted in even more work they charge 10% for as FS did not. A lot of buyers who do not like FN contracted me directly when this happened. Work Market has also taken a huge hit in available work. FN is making power moves to expand their racket.
Screening.... Let me tell you... I am a certified technician with 15yrs experience, about every cert you can think of, and a master degree as well as CCNP. I still have to compete on specific jobs to my degrees and certs with other freelancers who have absolutely no certs. I have worked with many technicians like me that are on FN...my competition...and the quality and knowledge is very poor. I have seen these guys google how to make a crossover cable, come to a job with tools carpenters use instead of network technicians, or even ask me to show them basic stuff. I don't report this or complain but it is obvious to me that FN has made it too easy for anyone to simply jump into a high paying market with little to no experience. It is as simple as making a FN profile, checking all the boxes in your field stating you can do those tasks, and then clicking ok. People who have never used a punch tool but worked in a call center as "tech support" consider themselves field techs. I have jumped these guys often BC it makes me have to do more work when multiple FN techs are on one job. Just because you moved a phone jack in your house and it worked doesn't make you a professional or a field technician. FN foes not verify its providers. You can say you can do anything you want and go right out and do it whether you know how or not.
FN allows you to enter your certification numbers to the platform for the buyers to see (example- my CCNP, RCDD, etc. certification numbers and registry proving them). This would be great if FN actually had a database that recognized the official certifications. Instead of making the system work for this...which in turn gets you more work when buyers see you are a professional....FN instead wants you to fax and email copies of all your documentation to them..and then take 3-6 months to actually put this on the certification section of your profile. I have a SECRET clearance as well which in 4yrs they still have not found a way to put on this section. It is easier to simply put your certs in text in your profile with the numbers.
The background check and drug testing system.... FN will NOT allow you to use any outside source other than their own. A SECRET clearance to FN is not considered a background check. If you run a background check for yourself and a drug test they will not accept it. You MUST pay the $40 to FN for their low level bg check. I have a friend who is on FN who has duis, suspended license, and even assault and battery conviction on his record and FN gave him a green light on his profile. Another $50 for a drug test by FN is also required. You cannot use your results outside of FN to be considered. Insurance is also a hassle as FN uses their own company. If you have business insurance already through a non-FN company it takes them forever to verify this....therefore charging you the extra 3% per work order.
FN also will not release your background and drug test results for use on anything other than FN. You pay $90 for this to FN and you cannot use it on any other platform etc. This means you have to pay for all this 2-3 times (per platform you work off of).
FN also does not escalate or back you up when dealing with bad buyers. Even though FN's primary income is from you...the provider... they do not help you resolve issues with the buyer. I have had several buyers break the FN contract in the work order and FN did nothing to help me
. Examples - one buyer got 2 months straight of work from me with the work order stating approval within one week per job. This buyer suddenly lost contact and I had 50 completed jobs worth $5,000 plus lots if fuel and materials that sat pending approval for payment for 2 months. I called FN many times. I even spoke with one of the "top dogs" there and they told me to try and resolve the issue with the buyer. Later I was called and told that the buyer didn't even have the money in the FN account to pay me and that FN is not liable to pay me. There is no protection for the provider. Eventually the buyer paid me because they took on a huge project and failed to mention they don't get paid from the customer but every 90 days.
FN also only gives you a W2 for taxes at end of year. I pay quarterly....this means I have to spend days generating a report of income every 3 months.
All in all....FN has the work...but if the buyer screws you...your 10% to FN does not buy you backup.... You only benefit from FN BC it is a platform people use for help/jobs where you don't have to go out and market yourself. My area had a recent layoff of help desk techs who jumped into FN for quick work....most of whom counter offer for half of the job posted in order to get it. A buyer offers $50/hr for a WO and many bid 25 just to get it. This is driving the market down in my field in a big way...and this year it has been a nightmare trying to compete and work for my field's pay.. I am taking more and more jobs at a seriously reduced price whereas I was making much more for the same tickets from same buyers the last 3yrs. With health insurance and other expenses of being self employed....this has become a less than profitable market unless I am direct with the customer.