When working in IT, it can often be tempting to become your own boss and work as an IT contractor. After all, you’ve got the skills for the job and you should be paid for those skills. Before you jump the gun, it’s a good idea to consider a few things as it’s not just a simple change of careers. Compared to full-time IT employment, IT contracting has quite a few things you must watch out for.
Just like any other contracting sector, ensure that you have the skills necessary to make the jump. Most of the time you will have the skills, but it’s a good idea to check the current state of the IT contracting market to see if your skills are in large demand.
This may be a simple tip but it’s a very important one, ensure that you have a targeted, high-impact CV. Specifically targeting your CV to each contracting application is what puts you ahead of the competition and with lucrative contracts on the table, you’ll have a lot of competition.
Compared to full-time employment, contracting is very different and this may shock a lot of people making the change. You are now the product and it’s up to you to sell yourself well to prospective businesses. Try to learn a few interview techniques to avoid common pitfalls to properly prepare yourself.
It’s important to research the market you’re going to be working in and setting a competitive rate that sells yourself to potential businesses. Set it to either hourly or daily and compare it to competitors currently in the market. Make sure you’re not selling yourself short to get a head start, know what you’re worth.
Communication is especially important in the IT industry and it’s the same when it comes to contracting. Keeping yourself open to as many channels as possible as it’s an excellent way of marketing yourself. Keep in touch with colleagues and businesses through services such as LinkedIn so that you can keep up with current news and developments.
When working as an IT contractor you can either use an Umbrella Company or start your own Limited Company. Once you’ve signed your first contract you’ll need to set this up but they’re quick and relatively simple to do. Both have their advantages and disadvantages so it’s a good idea to do a bit of research on both before going ahead.
Tax legislation, such as IR35, specifically affect contractors working via a limited company, so it’s vital you have a basic understanding of what it covers. You don’t need to educate yourself on every tax legislation there is as Brookson One will have you covered, but it’s always good to have the basics down just in case.
Ensure that you seek out a specialist accountant for IT contractors that has extensive experience in the IT sector so that they’re familiar with everything that you’ll have to deal with. Here at Brookson One we have experience in a whole host of industries and sectors such as IT and have advice on-hand 6 days a week.
Planning is especially important in IT contracting as the market can shift quite quickly in what businesses are looking for. It’s vital that you plan your income as you may find that you’ll be without work for weeks or months apart.
Remember that at the end of the day, it’s your job to keep your accounts properly managed. If you don’t stay on top of them and you end up getting taxed more than you thought, they will not accept blaming your accountants as a valid excuse. Ensure to keep in constant contact with your accountants to avoid miscommunication.