If you are looking to move into contracting it can be a daunting prospect. To give you some guidance, our contracts team have piled together their top tips for starting out as a contractor. Follow these tips from our highly experienced consultants, to help during this change in your career.
A lot of clients want contractors to start within a few weeks. If you have more than a months’ notice it could be worth finding ways to reduce this. If you don't want an awkward conversation with your current employer, another option is to save up annual leave.
Umbrella or PSC
Make sure you have researched and decided the way you are going to contract. Will you register as a Limited company, or do you want the help of an Umbrella company? Having everything in place before a job offer can save a lot of time, avoiding delays to your start date. Also, having an understanding of the different ways to contract will remove a lot of stress. It is not worth rushing this decision, so check out your options today.
Historically all companies would expect a contractor to provide their own equipment. Over the years this has changed but there are still some companies who prefer a contractor to use their own equipment. As a contractor you are your own business. If you were to hire a window cleaner you wouldn’t expect them to turn up empty handed and asked you for a bucket, sponge and soap – this is the view some clients take. Make sure you clarify if you need to provide equipment early on in your discussions with the client or agency.
You will be asked by your agency to provide copies of your documents such as your passport, Company certificate and Insurance Certificates. Having these scanned in and ready to send will make your life easier, especially if you are relocating.
A lot of contracts are for an initial period of 3 months. These often get extended but as a contractor, you are likely to be regularly looking for potential work. Even in long contracts, it is useful to stay up to date on the market. Pro-actively networking with colleagues and agencies will give you an advantage. You will have the confidence that, should you need a new job opportunity, you will have contacts to speak to.
Set Money Aside
Contract rates are often significantly higher than permanent salaries, however, this is partly down to the higher risk you are taking as a contractor. By becoming a contractor you might only have work guaranteed for 3 or 6 months at a time. Make sure you are setting money aside to pay your bills during the short periods of time you may be between contracts in the future.
As a contractor, it is unlikely you will receive training from your clients. It is important you keep on top of your industry so keep an eye on market trends and latest technologies in your field. Put time and money aside to complete training so your qualifications and experience can match other candidates. Don't get left behind by the ever-changing world of tech.
So there is your food for thought. Contracting shouldn't be something you are scared to explore and many people have been successfully contracting for years. Do your research, start looking at job opportunities out there and speak to our team if you would like any other guidance. We will walk you through the whole process.