Whether you’re thinking about getting into contracting or you’ve already found your first client in the sector, the chances are that you have a lot of questions. Not only is contracting harder than working for someone else, but you need to think about tax, marketing, insurance, and accounting, so below, we’ve put together some top tips to help you make the right decisions.
Save for a rainy day
You might be thriving right now and struggling to complete every contract you’ve won, but the truth is that the world of contracting is unpredictable. We recommend building up a rainy day fund to help you cover costs (like your mortgage, car payments, and living costs) for up to six months. That way, if you suddenly hit a dry spell, you’ll be able to get by temporarily.
Find an accountant
Finding a qualified accountant to manage your books and submit your tax returns on time will not only save you time and money, but it will reduce headaches and unnecessary stress that’s associated with self-assessment and tax deadlines. What’s more, they’ll offer you the best tax efficiency advice and make it easier to secure a mortgage if you don’t yet have one.
Network, network, network
Business is all about people. If people don’t know who you are or what you’re offering, they aren’t going to magically come to you when they need help. Attend networking events, visit conferences and exhibitions, and use LinkedIn to keep yourself visible to potential clients.
Choose a trading structure
Some contractors choose to set up their own limited businesses or go self-employed, though others prefer working with an umbrella contracting company for speed, convenience, and peace of mind. Weigh up the pros and cons of both options and work only with the best in the industry; there are many providers are they won’t all be right for your exacting needs.
Whether you’re offering IT services or you’re working on an oil rig, we recommend that you take out a professional indemnity cover plan to protect you. Such insurance is inexpensive and gives you some added peace of mind, even if you don’t need it legally for your trade.
Take time off
Working for yourself is significantly more challenging than working for someone else, as you choose the hours and days you work. It can be tempting to accept every job under the sun and work all the hours God sends you, but knowing when to take a breather is so important. Give yourself time for some rest and relaxation – if not, you’ll burn out and will end up delivering sub-standard services to your clients, causing your business and sales to suffer.
There you have it – just some tips we’d give to contractors entering the industry. Whatever you are planning to offer, we wish you the very best of luck with your venture. Have fun!