Making the jump from permanent employment to contracting can be a daunting prospect. To ensure that the contracting profession works for you it is essential that you are fully aware of all aspects of contracting and how these should be taken into account as you begin your contracting journey.
Here we outline our top 10 tips for new contractors to ensure that they get started in the most effective way:
1.Write an effective CV
Your CV is often the first thing that a business will see about you, therefore you want to present your skills and experience in the best possible light, so that you portray yourself as the ideal contractor for the job. Your CV should be reviewed, amended and tailored to each specific contract.
2.Understand how to market yourself and find contracts
For your contracting to be a success you obviously need to understand how to appropriately market yourself (including your CV) as well as where to look for potential contracts. Whilst some opportunities may come from recommendations, it is essential that you are able to professionally put yourself forward for opportunities also.
3.Refine your interview skills
Like your CV you want to be able to portray yourself, your skills and your experience in the best possible light when interviewing for a contracting role. Ensure you prepare fully for each and every interview, research the company, read up on common mistakes and most importantly practice answering common interview questions.
4.Get the right insurance
Once you have started contracting it is highly important (and often essential for a contract) to have the right level of insurance for the work that you are carrying out. This includes but is not limited to personal accident cover and public liability insurance.
5.Utilise the power of connections
You can never underestimate the power that knowing someone can bring to your career; keep in touch with past companies for whom you have contracted for, fellow contractors, recruitment agencies, to name just a few examples. These connections will be vital resources in sourcing contracting opportunities, but also for guidance and advice when needed.
6.Carefully consider your hourly rate and understand negotiations
First and foremost you need to decide on an hourly rate, this should be calculated before you even begin to search for contracting opportunities. As well as deciding your rate, you should also have a good understanding of how to effectively negotiate.
To ensure that you receive the best possible returns for your contracting it is highly recommended that you contract outside of the scope of IR35, as you may find that you are financially worse off as result, read more about IR35 here.
8.Plan for time off
Contractors often find themselves struggling when taking time off for summer holidays with regards to juggling their work responsibilities. In order to successfully have time off without your work suffering, comprehensive planning is required.
9.Make time to review your situation
You should regularly be reviewing not only your hourly rate as you gain more skills and experience as a contractor, but reviewing whether it makes more financial sense to establish your own limited company, those contracting under a high hourly rate will find it a much more tax efficient option.
10.Choose the ideal umbrella provider
When choosing an umbrella company to partner with it is essential that you consider a number of things including, their dedication to compliance, the trade bodies for which they are members and the benefits they can bring to both your personal and professional life.
Contact Sterling Group today for more information on how we can help to get your contracting career started in the ideal way.