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How to earn more as a contractor in 2018

In recent years the contracting sector has continued to evolve at an unprecedented rate as more people than ever before recognise the many unique benefits that come hand in hand with becoming an independent contractor.


If you haven’t already considered it, now could be the perfect time to take a leap of faith in 2018 and potentially earn more simply by working for yourself and becoming a contractor.


From flexible working hours through to gaining greater recognition for the work that you complete, it’s no surprise that contracting is now a popular career choice. But that’s not all… statistics have revealed that contractors often earn significantly more than those working in fixed roles within organisations.


And whether you have been contracting for several years or you are new to contracting, there are a whole host of ways that you can earn more as a contractor in 2018!


Read on for our top tips for ways you can increase your earnings as a contractor, bring added value to your clients and enjoy your work more as a result.



Building solid relationships with your clients


Building solid relationships with everyone you work with is a must if you want to progress in contracting career.


Make sure you take the time to understand your end client, their needs, frustrations and aspirations and, once the contract has commenced, schedule regular catch ups to follow up on the progress of projects.


Understanding your end client will help you deliver exactly what they need and demonstrates that their project and satisfaction are important to you.


By building solid relationships with the end client you will be more likely to secure work on a retainer basis or set you up for business based on positive referrals, thereby boosting your earnings throughout the year.


Additionally, having positive relationships with your end client means that you can may be able to secure work directly without going through a third party agency. This means you can often cut out the margins they charge, benefiting both you and the client.



Finding a niche area of expertise


Becoming an independent contractor is a big decision. There are many aspects to consider such as how you will find your work and which payment vehicle you should choose. However, before you decide whether to operate through an umbrella company or set up your own limited company, make sure you do your market research as this will give you the best opportunity to optimise your earnings.


In your research you should identify your target market and the type of clients that will most need your services. Then establish the specific areas of expertise you can offer and focus on these as you advertise or sell your services. For example, rather than advertising yourself as an IT contractor, hone in on your unique offering and sell yourself as a Cyber Security Specialist, a CAD Engineer or an SQL Server Developer.


Specialists are more sought after than generalists and positioning yourself as an expert will set you apart in the marketplace and give you a huge advantage over the competition. It also means you will be able to charge more for your services as you become the ‘go to guy or gal’ in your area for your particular skill.



Recognise the importance of credibility


When positioning yourself as an independent contractor, it’s vital that you recognise the importance and relevance of credibility, especially when it comes to securing contracts and growing your portfolio.


Always keep your and seek accreditation in your chosen field to build a strong online presence. This can all help to boost your income when it comes to soliciting your services.


Remember to tap into the power of social proof when growing your digital presence by seeking testimonials and endorsements from existing clients and colleagues.



Charging a competitive rate as a contractor


In order to maximise your income it’s important that you quote a fair market rate to potential agents and clients but also one that reflects the value you offer. Failure to do so will have a detrimental impact on your success as a contractor. Pricing yourself too highly could limit your chances of securing a contract in the first place. Pricing yourself too low would be underselling yours skills, making it much more difficult to earn more money or establish a lasting and viable career.


Instead, focus on pitching yourself at the right level based on your individual skill set and experience. Ask yourself key questions such as, what extra experience and skills do I bring that make me more valuable? And what premium could the client pay for the flexibility I provide as a contractor? You can then establish an appropriate rate by comparing contract positions, advertisements and researching what others charge using market surveys. These should all give you a good idea of your value which can be used as a benchmark during contract negotiation.



Taking an active role in the particulars of your contract


Although many people think that finding work is one of most challenging parts of being a successful independent contractor, contract negotiation may be one of the most difficult skills to master.


Although the ability to negotiate well will come with experience, there are lots of best practices that you can implement now in order to optimise your income and boost your profits.


Contract negotiation is all about executing the appropriate steps to agree on terms that benefit both you and your client in order to achieve the best possible outcome. To do this successfully you should determine the highest market rate based on your skills and experience, understand your target market, as well as the strength of your bargaining position. Don’t feel under pressure to accept a rate that you are not happy with and don’t be afraid to ask for more money.


You should have it clear in your head the lowest rate that you are prepared to accept and not feel pressured to drop below this mark.


Other factors that should come into play when finely tuning your negotiation skills include the following:


  • Is there a demand for your skills or are you the only person that is offering this service?
  • Deadline – is your client working to a tight deadline? If so, you should price the project higher.
  • Value – what value and unique insights will you be bringing to the business through your work?


Working as an independent contractor can be a daunting prospect however there are many ways in which you can earn more. This often starts with seeking the best support and guidance to establish and grow your career. From understanding more about managing your finances, how umbrella companies operate or your tax requirements, through to finding the best providers, Contracting Scout can help.


For a free consultation or for further information about any of our services, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly and helpful team is always on hand to answer any of your questions.

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