Contracting is an extremely rewarding life choice, however, being a contractor also means that you have a lot more responsibility compared a permanent worker – although the benefits far outweigh any negatives!

SJD Accountancy - finding work

Some of these benefits include:

  • Being your own boss and ultimately having more control of your destiny compared to a permanent employee.
  • Having increased flexibility and freedom – this means being able to choose when you work, where and for however long you like.  There is also the fact that taking time off for holiday will be a lot easier, as you will not be in the position of having to juggle your days off around other colleagues.  You can also choose to have as much time off as you want, instead of the standard few weeks in a year.
  • Being able to claim all of your business expenses against your income to further reduce your tax bill.
  • You can set your own rates – an average freelancer rate can easily be double that of a full time employee, sometimes even more.

Tips for finding work

As a first time contractor, you will need to have a lot of determination and perseverance, as you will have to actively seek out your own clients.

Firstly, you need to ensure that you have an impressive CV that will convince potential clients that you are the best person for the job!

Update your CV, checking that it has no typos, use correct grammar and industry buzzwords; keep it short, highlight skills that will make you an attractive contractor to work with and ensure that it is well organised with a clear structure.

Here are a few tips to help you with finding a contract:

  • Look on specialist contractor websites – news feeds from these types of websites are a great method for finding all the current jobs, as well as finding out how your particular industry is developing.
  • Jobsites – post your CV on as many jobsites as possible, focusing on more niche sites so you know that the right person will be viewing it.
  • Social media – Look out for local networking groups or industry-specific events that could generate more interest in your work.  Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are an effective source for freelancers and are a free way of advertising your business.
  • Contacts – Building up a portfolio of contacts that you have met along the way is a great idea; this is especially useful if they can perhaps offer you a role in your chosen field.  Don’t be afraid to contact them directly and send them your CV.
  • Websites for freelancers.  There are many websites that are especially for freelancers and some of these provide job opportunities, such as Elance or People Per Hour.

Contractor calculator and take home pay

As mentioned previously, one of the main benefits of joining the world of contracting is the fact that your take home pay could be much higher than if you were working as a permanent employee.

If you are considering becoming a contractor and would like to know how much you could earn, then using a contractor calculator could be an extremely useful tool for you.

A contractor calculator can work out a rough estimate of your potential take home pay; after putting in an hourly or daily rate the calculator does the rest. The take home amount assumes full tax planning and a number of other variables, which would need to be discussed further with a contractor accountant.