Though it’s common for contractors to command a higher hourly rate than full-time staff and earn more annually as a result, the trouble is that working as a contractor requires you to look for your own opportunities, and potentially go weeks or months without a salary. Below, we’ve rounded up some top tips to help you find your next high-paying role as a contractor…
It’s very important to think about your long-term career plan and decide how you’re going to get there – and fund your ideal lifestyle. Some people see a career as nothing more than a way to earn enough money to get by, whilst others want to think about how they’ll progress and pay for the finer things in life, like second homes, luxury holidays, and fancy cars. Think this through and put a plan into place, setting some clear goals and expectations to work to.
Decide what you want
One of the biggest benefits of moving from employment to self-employment is that you can effectively choose who you want to work with. Decide what sort of things you want from your contracting gigs – free lunches, less travelling, working on your own – and prioritise those to find the right roles. You’ll probably need to make some compromises unless you’re working in an industry that’s low on full-time staff, so consider those before throwing in the towel.
Decide your pay
Though the industry will dictate your pay much more than you will, being able to set a day rate will allow you to pitch to prospective employers and clients properly. If you wing it, you might end up earning much less than you had anticipated, especially when you factor in the associated costs of working as a contractor, like fuel, equipment, tax bills, and accounting. We recommend seeing what other freelancers are charging, or seeing what firms in your interest are offering their current contractors – or speak to an agency for a rough figure.
Don’t do it alone
Aside from finding the right roles for your skillset, the biggest challenge of working as a contractor is managing your own accounts. We recommend working with one of the best umbrella companies in the industry, like Evolve Contract Services, who will manage your pay for you, allow you to circumvent things such as the upcoming IR35 changes, and ensure you are fully insured. The more attractive you appear to potential clients, the more gigs you’ll win.
Dust off your CV
Whether you’re new to contracting or you’ve been working on a contract for an extended period of time, you’ll likely need to refresh your CV and add some more pressing skills and experiences to entice potential employers. We recommend tailoring your CV to the job you are applying for, using a free tool such as JobRocket. Keep it fresh, let employers know that you mean business, and show them what you’re made of when you head for an interview.
We’ve only just scratched the surface on ways you can prepare for your next contracting role and didn’t have time to mention things such as recruitment agencies and tapping into your personal network. Stay ahead of the curve, always be prepared for changes, and you’ll find it easy to stay in work. Whatever you decide to do, we wish you the very best of luck with it!