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how to become a contractor

Your 5 mins no-nonsense guide on how to become a contractor

There are many reasons why people are opting to leave permanent employment in favour of becoming an independent contractor including flexible working, many financial benefits, and the option to fit their work around the demands of family life. Work as a contractor also tends to be far more varied, enjoyable, and fulfilling.

 

In recent years, a wide variety of sectors and industries have witnessed a significant demand for highly skilled and adaptable labour force and contractors fit the bill perfectly.

While making the decision to switch to contracting can be challenging and moving from the stability of being an employee to a freelancer can feel intimidating, the good news is, you don’t necessarily need to have lots of experience in your field to become a contractor, you just need to be excellent at what you do.

If you are thinking of becoming a contractor and not sure where to start, we can help you make a first step towards a rewarding career in contracting. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know to get started in contracting in the UK.

 

Conducting Industry research

 

Before you consider becoming a fully-fledged contractor, it’s vital that you recognise the importance of market research.

This will not only help you to distinguish whether or not there is a demand for the services you are offering, but it will also allow you to identify any long term benefits, short term obstacles, and competitors that you should be aware of.

 

Quit your job!

 

Secondly, once you have decided you are serious about becoming a contractor and that there is a strong demand for your services, you will need to take a leap of faith and quit your job.

Although this is a daunting prospect for even the most spontaneous and ambitious individuals, if you’re serious about setting up as a contractor, you will need to take the plunge and dedicate all of your time to this new and exciting career route.

And it shouldn’t take long to secure your first contract, especially if you’re an expert in your chosen field.

 

Know your rate

 

If you stand any chance of becoming a successful contractor, it’s vital that you know your rates inside out. The majority of contractors use a daily or hourly rate to price each individual contract.

You will find yourself in many situations where you will have to use your negotiation skills to agree on a price that both you and your client are happy with. So, before you put yourself out there, make sure you determine a market rate that is not only feasible and competitive (you can do market research to determine this), but will also put you on good stead to secure the contract.  You should also set up a template for your  contract so that it is always ready to go at short notice.

 

Learn to market yourself

 

The key to becoming a successful contractor is understanding how to market your services. This will not only allow you to secure new contracts, but it will also allow you to connect and engage with the right people, at the right time.

With this in mind, it certainly pays to familiarise yourself with effective sales techniques to stay one step ahead of your competitors.  Many contractors use a strategic sales approach, which has been formulated to help professionals optimise their negotiation skills and minimise gaps between contracts, especially during periods of low market demand, which can sometimes happen.

Networking plays an essential role in marketing yourself as a contractor, so, when you first decide on this route of employment, make sure you reach out to existing contacts, whilst also trying to forge new relationships.

Another way to ensure that you stay one step ahead of your competitors is to finely tune your CV  so that it not only documents your achievements, experience and qualifications but it also portrays the way you run your business in the best possible light. It should also be personalised and targeted towards each individual contract you are applying for.

 

Securing your first contract

 

Working as a contractor has many benefits, however, the key to securing your first contract is patience, especially during the early days when you’re still finding your feet.

And whether you choose to approach clients directly or you target potential clients via a recruitment agency, you should also utilise online job boards and upload your CV to specialist sites.

Of course, social media is also an extremely powerful tool when it comes to advertising vacant contracts or securing your next role – check out our Using Social Media to Improve Your Job Prospects Guide to learn more.

 

Next Steps

If you have any questions about setting up as a contractor, call Contracting Scout on 0203 603 1878  today.

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