I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting ElanceTrainers.com and let you know what this site is all about. Having been a certified trainer for Microsoft and Cisco since 1997, I have seen a lot of changes in the industry, particularly for those of us who operate as independent contractors. While every industry has its ups and downs, the IT Training industry has seen more than its share of downs. The involvement of Brokers in the industry has only served to exacerbate this situation. What should be an enterprise dedicated to supporting independent trainers has become an instrument used against us. In the early days of training, I always felt that the brokers I dealt with were fighting for me; I think many would agree that those days are over. In recent years, I have even had brokers getting myself and several other trainers into a bidding war; a situation I would quickly excuse myself from as it benefited no one except the broker.
Many brokers take a flat rate, anywhere from $100 to $250 per day, regardless of the rate earned by the trainer. With this scenario, where is the incentive for a broker to negotiate a decent daily rate for the trainer, their profit remains the same. In many cases, a trainer has no real way of verifying the rates charged by the broker. The broker remains in control of the entire transaction, neither the training center nor the instructor have any real way of verifying the rates charged vs. the rates paid.
A major contributor to this environment is the use of extensive contracts and non-competes. Over the past several years, these have become yet another tool in the brokers' arsenal of keeping instructor dependent upon the broker system. In a sense, the trainer is building and maintaining a relationship for the benefit of the broker, who will have the opportunity to force lower rates or find another instructor who will work cheaper.
As a solution, I have developed ElanceTrainers.com to change the way Independent Trainers do business. First, I have eliminated the concept of charging a broker fee for each class, which means the training center is spending 100% of its money on the instructor alone. With the ElanceTrainers.com instructor selection system, training centers will be able to search the database for a trainer that meets all of their criteria.
The second aspect of ElanceTrainers.com will be the absence of non-compete contracts. Foremost, it is the trainer who builds relationships by providing an outstanding service, why should anyone but that trainer benefit from that relationship. Any training center that whishes to deal with the trainer directly, or visa versa, is free to do so. At ElanceTrainers.com we believe we will keep your business by providing a valuable service at a reasonable cost.
Third, we have eliminated all per contract fees, and have instead moved to a subscription based fee of $19.99 per month. To compare this to the standard broker system, take a trainer who delivers twenty 5 day contracts, with a broker fee of $100 per day (I know of no broker that charges less) in a given year. Those charges add up to $10,000 in fees for the year; which, while not paid directly by the trainer, ultimately comes out of the trainers' revenue. One year's subscription to ElanceTrainers.com will cost a maximum of about $240, about half of a brokers fee for a 5 day class. No fees will be charged during the initial instructor sign up phase, and ample notice will be given before the subscription fee is implemented.
The final aspect of ElanceTrainers.com is to use our group power to our advantage. For example, ElanceTrainers.com has already teamed up with American Express to provide travel services directly through the ElanceTrainers.com website. As the amount of travel dollars spent increases, so will the discounts our members receive. One of the most important goals we are working toward is in the area of health care. I'm sure you will recognize the benefits of group coverage, and ElanceTrainers.com is already working towards this outcome.
During the development of this site, I contacted every company and
organization I could think of who would be interested in helping trainers.
For example, CompTIA, which provides for the CIT+ certification program,
told me their primary focus was the training centers, not the trainers.
So-called trainer associations on the national level were also less
than willing to help. In the future, I would like to create a national
professional association that is dedicated to the goals of our profession.