Welcome to CSR Nation
I'm currently a staff reporter for one agency (I'd rather not post the name on the site but can e-mail you privately if you'd like to know who it is). And although I keep fairly busy, there are pros and cons to it.
Pros: Consistent work, eliminate hassle of calling around for work, paycheck every two weeks, very pleasant to work for.
Cons: I always receive my job assignments around 4:30p for the following day and never know what I'm gonna get. If it's slow, I get stuck with some crappy job. And if I have the day off, I'm also not told until 4:30p or later. Would be nice to know sooner so that maybe I can pick something up elsewhere. Page rates are also low and they don't pay extra for video or interpreter.....yuck! Rough draft rates are the lowest I've ever seen anywhere.
I was hoping to get more civil type work. It seems everywhere I go, it's mostly WC and PI with occasional civil stuff! The agency I work for now has a little bit of everything. Lately it's expert witnesses, med mal stuff & of course PI & WC. I haven't had an all day in a long time.
I am starting to really miss freelancing. Technically I'm still a freelancer. But it makes it a bit difficult when you don't get your schedule till sometimes 5p for the following day!
I'd like to get some input on how you all work, maybe some advice, some suggestions, how many different agencies you freelance for, etc. Kind of don't like having all my eggs in one basket, esp. with the cons I listed above. But then again I almost feel like I have "job security" with them.
Thank you all in advance!
You got it, Lisa. I am sure I'll have some horror stories in the trenches and just some growing pains. And, yeah, I don't call around much either. Everything is over email. I send an email to let the firms that I want to work for most know when I am available and most of the offers come in over email. There are occasional phone calls but the email is better because most of it happens during the day when I am on the record, and I can't answer my phone, but I can e-mail them back. I think I accept most of my jobs when I am on the record. If I don't respond fairly quickly, they're filled.
I would recommend that you work with lots of different people and find the ones you like the best like Keith said. I did that this past year and it's good to have lots of contacts. That really helped me when my firm went out of business last month. You can't have too many contacts.
Reach out to people. Some people will blow you off. Here's the deal, you only need a few people to say yes.
Good luck to you!!!
P.S., NCRA conventions are a great place to meet agencies, just in case you didn't already know. Several set up in the exhibit hall, and you can go up and chat and hand out your business card. Then follow up with a nice short e-mail a few days after the convention, maybe attaching your resume. Then follow up with another email a couple weeks after that, then a month after that, if needed, etc. That system has worked well for me, anyway, although sometimes I've had to keep emailing several times. Don't give up!
Thanks everyone for your suggestions! This is all very helpful! I have freelanced quite a bit in the past and I had my few main agencies I would take work from, lots of WC, PI and the occasional civil, and I really wanted to venture out and take bigger jobs which is why I went on staff with this particular agency. They do offer a variety of jobs and do keep me busy, but I also feel that I'm limiting myself b/c if I have a day off & I'm not told till 4:30p, I could have freelanced for someone else. I have recently made a few phone calls and it just so happened that the agency, HG Litigation, had a last-minute job she was trying to cover in my area, an asbestos case which turned out to be a 2-day expd!! That's when I really realized that in holding out to one agency and not knowing what type of jobs I'm going to end up on a day-to-day basis and sometimes having several days off in a row when I could have picked up work elsewhere, I am missing out! Thank you!!