August 19, 2022

Becoming a freelance developer (based in the Netherlands)

First let’s clarify, this guide is NOT meant for junior/starting/trainee developers.

The intented reader is an IT professional wanting to transition into being a freelancer. Which will provide more freedom (to move abroad) and ability to buy tax deductable (e.g. development toys/gear).

01 Registering company

  1. Company name & domain name
  2. List of activities, denoted in SBI codes
  3. KVK

    SBI-code: 6202 - Advisering en ondersteuning op het gebied van informatietechnologie
    SBI-code: 6201 - Ontwikkelen, produceren en uitgeven van software
    SBI-code: 6209 - Overige dienstverlenende activiteiten op het gebied van 
    SBI-code: 6311 - Gegevensverwerking, webhosting en aanverwante activiteiten
    SBI-code: 72192 - Technisch speur- en ontwikkelingswerk

02 Setting up company

  • slick resume
  • get a bank account on the name of your company (not on your personal name) since some companies demand this
  • beroeps & bedrijfsaansprakelijkheids verzekering (I have it from Markel via a broker)
  • check other sources as well

Not needed

  • Bookkeeping system, don’t waste time on this when starting, this comes after you’ve landed your first gig
  • Invoice template; since this might be done by your broker (e.g. Brainnet)
  • Website; focus on a good resume/linkedin instead, but do register your domain name

03 Getting hired


Recruiters add value in some cases, but in my case they usually are a MITM. Examples when a recuiter might add value;

  • First freelance assignment and are socially awkward
  • you’re scarce (e.g. specific skills like Cobol)
  • you’re hard to sell
  • you’re introverted
  • you’re not a self starter (please stop reading, don’t be an entrepreneur)
  • you’re too lazy to make a slick resume

Why I prefer to find an assignment on an online platform;

  • I don’t want a recruiter to change my resume when sending it out
  • I don’t like recruiters emailing/calling me constantly; I prefer pull vs. push messages
  • The 10-20% cut they take, I prefer to receive
  • Recruiters lied (gave incorrect info) to me in multiple occasions (sellers just want to sell)
  • When I apply, I feel more in control
  • Direct communications, not via (an extra) intermediate

Vacancy brokers

I’ve only used Brainnet and Headfirst up until now, so I cannot comment on the others.

  • brainnet (2.5eu overhead per worked hour)
  • headfirst (3eu overhead per worked hour)
  • itstaffings
  • harvey nash
  • yacht
  • Sweden

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