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Posted by David Brown, EVP, Veredus, a Hays company on Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Contracting can be one of the best ways to start or boost your IT career. It will give you a variety of skills and experience, improve your resume, and help you develop expertise or specialization. There isn’t a magic switch you can flick that will turn you into a contractor overnight, but considering a few of these points will help you on your way.
1. Make sure there’s a market for your skills
Searching job boards and recruitment websites will give you an idea of the number of companies recruiting for different IT roles at any one time. If there are lots of full-time offers for a certain role that your skill set covers you can assume contract offers will also be prevalent. You should also look at popular blogs and websites to understand the trends that are in the market. Will your role still be hot in two years’ time or are there other skills you need to pick up to make sure you stay ahead of the curve? Continual investment in training is critical to being a successful IT contractor.
Finally, speaking to an experienced recruitment consultant can be a really useful way to get an expert perspective on the employment market. At Hays we have consultants covering different specialisms and locations, so we will be able to give you a clear picture of the market relevant to your personal situation.
2. Establish your company or business
There are key differences in employment law in all of the states where Hays operates. There may be conditions unique to your region that mean you should set yourself up in a particular way to be of the most benefit. We are happy to have an informal chat with you around local employment law, so feel free to pick up the phone.
You can set yourself up as an independent contractor, establish a 'limited company', or other legal options. You will need to act as an independent company, even when using a recruiter like Hays, and market yourself on social media and online, such as creating your own website to promote your services. Make sure you always carry business cards with your company information can be a useful reminder of this fact (and you never know when you might get a chance to network!).
3. Be prepared to deal with taxes and administration
Like any company owner you will be responsible for the taxes and administration involved in running your business. Things can go very wrong, very quickly if you fail to manage this side of things. Many people decide to hire an accountant to help them, or even share one with a group of fellow contractors. Their expertise is especially useful when dealing with complicated tax issues. As well as this, you will need to consider saving money for when you have a gap in employment or if you need to take time out for an illness.
You will also need to insure yourself/your business. As you are working in a complex technical environment any mistakes made could be costly e.g. if an error causes an application to be unavailable for a period of time. You need this protection in case a client sues you as a result. These cases are rare, but it is still important to be covered, and in fact clients often make it a condition in your contract that you need to be insured before working with them.
Working as a contractor can be very rewarding, both professionally and financially, but you will only truly be able to enjoy the benefits when you take care of all the extras that come with the job.
For an informal chat about setting up your IT contracting business, get in touch with one of our local recruitment experts in your market.
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