Making the decision to become a contractor

What do you need to know before becoming a contractor?

Leaving permanent full-time employment is the dream for so many people. We all need money, a way to pay the bills. But having the freedom to say ‘no’, to pick and choose the jobs you spend your time on, and the chance to set your own rate of pay? That’s a scenario within the grasp of most of us. We just have to take the leap, and begin a life of contract work. But is it that easy? And are there things you really should consider becoming a contractor?

What are the main benefits of contracting?            

  • Flexibility – Standard business hours can make juggling personal commitments difficult, especially if you have children. Contracting gives you the option to work when it suits you.
  • Choice – When contracting, you have the power to choose the work you do. And that can make a world of difference when it comes to job satisfaction.
  • Money – Contractors still have to work within reasonable bounds, but if you’re good at your job, you have the power to set the rates you deserve.
  • Location, location, location – If variety is the spice of your life, you can select contracted roles that will take you to varying locations. If commuting is your idea of hell, target the work-from-home positions. The choice is yours.  
  • Experience – Perhaps more than anything else, contracting gives you experience. If you want to become an expert in your field, contracting can give you a taste of endless sectors, helping you to discover different practices and new ways of working.
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What are the drawbacks of contracting?

As a counterpoint to the positives, anyone looking into becoming a contractor should also be aware of the downsides.

  • Lack of security and benefits – Being your own boss is great, but that feeling of being cut adrift with no job security can be daunting. As can the lack of benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay, maternity/paternity pay, and pension.
  • Training – As an employee, professional development comes almost as standard. As a contractor, if you want to stay up to date with new tech – or anything else – it’s on you to manage it.
  • High expectations – Businesses who work with contractors expect you to know what you are doing. Right from day one. You need to be confident in your ability to do that.
  • Admin – Contracting brings layers of unexpected admin and legislation. Unless you decide to work with an umbrella company, you need to be prepared to handle that.

How do you know if now is the right time to become a contractor?

You can start contracting any time that you feel ready. If you think you’ve got the skills that employers want, try it. As a safety measure, many people begin contracting on a part-time basis. Working in the evenings or at weekends, building clients. But that’s not always a necessary step. Just make sure that you have your finances in order to manage the transition.

How can Cool Company help?

As an umbrella company, Cool Company can help you to find clients, and to manage the red tape that contracting brings. Managing insurance, holiday pay, and compliance issues, so you can get on with the business of doing business. Ready to get started?