What makes a successful contractor?
At Intouch, we constantly strive to deepen our understanding of the contractor landscape so that we can provide the best possible service to our clients and help them to become a successful contractor.
Over the past few months, we have been carrying out research so as to provide us with the insight we need to provide a tailor made service to contractors in a number of different sectors.
It’s great to get feedback and to know the service we provide is hitting the mark as well as ways to make it even more beneficial to the UK’s contractor workforce.
Through talking to clients and contacts in the industry, we have gathered some invaluable insight. Some of this feedback is just too good to keep to ourselves, so we have collated any information that could help contractors to get a head start or a leap up the ladder. We’ve also identified some key Do’s and Don’ts to watch out for.
Making a successful switch to contracting
Generally, it is the flexibility and control of contracting that pulls people away from permanent employment and into a more temporary way of working.
Contractors say that it isn’t an easy option. However, it can be a very empowering way to work as you have far more control over your working hours and conditions – making it a great option for those with family commitments or other interests outside of work.
“Contracting can be feast or famine but it is a great way to use your experience built up over many years. Don’t be afraid of the change and embrace the freedom contracting can provide.” Alex Paton, Ctrl Cee Limited
The frequently changing nature of contracting provides good opportunity for variety. As I’ve written about before, switching contracts and even industries is a great way to keep a career fresh and gather a wide range of experience.
The ability to learn new skills and develop existing ones is another big draw, as well as the independence, responsibility and reward of being the actual product.
“Although I’ve only been contracting for a short time, the benefits have changed since I started out. Firstly it was purely financial. Once my confidence grew as a developer and by constantly striving to develop myself as a product, the skills benefit has now become my main driving force.” Paul Davies, Sunny Robot Limited
Of course, the financial aspect plays a part and being able to make the most of your income is a very good reason to start contracting. Those bringing in an income of over £25,000pa tend to create Limited Companies to maximise earnings even further. In our recent survey of IT professionals, we found 69% of those who were contracting were doing so as a Limited Company.
The Art of Contracting
As with everything, the path to contracting success isn’t always smooth. Here are some of the key lessons a few of our clients have learned along the way:
- be positive and professional at all times. Every meeting is a potential job interview and you are living your personal brand at all times
- make sure you know what only you bring to the role and get a measurable deliverable to focus on (even if you create this yourself)
- keep an eye on the future and where your next contract is coming from
- maintain your network; keep talking to people, keep helping others and keep your eyes and ears open for new problems that need solving in the company you are in
- try to take a step back and break free from company politics
- be afraid – have confidence in yourself and your ability
- underestimate the importance of building relationships with the clients you will be working with on a daily basis
- be shy in making it known that you are achieving your objectives and goals
- make too many emotional attachments as you might in a permanent role, so that when the inevitable contract change comes around, it is a lot easier to deal with
- struggle to keep track of time-consuming accounts and complex tax legislation yourself. Appointing a contractor accountant can help make life easier, increase your understanding and provide support and guidance along the way
“My advice for anyone considering a career in contracting is to go for it and have confidence – if you are successful as a permanent employee and enjoy meeting people then with the right attitude you will succeed at contracting.” David Martin, Comprehend Solutions Limited
Get the right help
One of the perceived barriers to contracting is that people worry about the accounting process. Our client testimonials tell us that by bringing our team of friendly and professional contractor accountants on board, they are free to focus on delivering and growing the business.
To find out how we can make your life easier and help you to be a successful contractor, speak to one of our expert contractor accountants today on 01202 375562 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
With thanks to the following for their contribution to this article:
Samantha Bell, DML Strategic Communications Ltd.
Paul Davies, Sunny Robot Limited
Alex Paton, Ctrl Cee Limited
David Martin, Comprehend Solutions Limited
This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.