Contractor Tips

 

5 Top Tips on Becoming a Successful Contractor

There are many benefits for working as a contract worker, particularly financial rewards. It enables flexibility and allows the worker to select when and how they work but there are a number of points to remember in order to reap the benefits.

Although the job role and duties may be similar to being a permanent member of staff, the operative will more likely learn and develop additional skills since their work is varied and versatile.

We have come up with 5 tips on how to excel as a contract worker:

1. Be flexible and adaptive

Contracting will usually require a lot of travelling to new sites and may require travel and in some cases, relocating overseas for an assignment. In many companies, the workforce changes and the worker will be exposed to a wide range of personalities and skill sets. It can be challenging to adapt to new surroundings and build relationships with co-workers and clients but the rewards can be immense. As the saying goes… “don’t burn your bridges” as you never know when you may need someone!

2. Network at every opportunity

This is very important in the life of a contract worker! As the worker is not a regular employee, it is important to keep an ear to the ground for the next opportunity. We recommend the worker have their own professional business cards to hand out at local networking events or even consider advertising their expertise on various social media platforms to help build a client base. Some contract workers tend to work through recruitment agencies which can help take the stress of finding the ideal contract. Some stick by their little ‘black book’ of contacts and regularly call or meet them for referrals and recommendations.

3. Don’t be afraid to Negotiate

Another key part of contracting is the ability to negotiate – to agree on terms that will not compromise the worker in terms of their pay, hours of work and capabilities while giving a firm commitment to their new client.
Before beginning discussions over a new contract, it is suggested that the consultant researches the client and writes up a list of qualifying questions so they have a better understanding of the work and client’s expectations. Remember – the client needs the operative as much as they need them - so they need not sell themselves short!

4. Create a strong CV

CV’s (or Resumes as the Americans call them) should demonstrate a blend of their core skills and experience. CV’s should stand out but for all the right reasons. The more succinct the better. Employers do not have time to wade through pages of information – so the CV should be no more than 2 sides of A4. Within the first half page, the client should understand what skills and strengths the worker is bringing to the table. Ideally, the CV should be tailored to suit the role where their main objective just happens to align to the role or task at hand. Employers are less interested in hobbies so it’s important to focus on what can be delivered. There are some great websites that offer suitable templates such as ContractorCalulator.co.uk and TheGuardian.com

5. Finances & Payroll

Keeping track of business expenses and outgoings as a contract worker is so vital. We suggest that operatives talk to their agency, accountant or payroll provider to fully understand what can be claimed back and those that are tax deductible to reduce tax and NI contributions. Consider that the client may be willing to contribute or meet all travel costs, as well as certain materials needed for the job. Factoring in their own costs into the day rate is imperative since there’s no point in making a loss due to unforeseen expenditure. Get the facts first – then quote!

Engaging with an umbrella or accountant can be a stressfree and efficient way to contract. Today, workers have to consider whether they can be self-employed (sole trader) or satisfy the compliance needs of the contract as an employee, where tax and NI must be deducted at source. Umbrella companies like the Futurelink group offer both self-employed and employed options to suit the needs of the contract and that of the worker. Futurelink Group offers various payment solutions such as Umbrella (PAYE), CIS, Gross payment and Limited Companies supporting a number of sectors.