8 Top Tips to Make You a Successful Contractor

19th August 2016

By Walker Smith’s Senior Marketing Executive, Caroline Martell.

Whether you are starting out as a new contractor or you’ve been in the business for a number of years, there are certain aspects you need to keep in mind to ensure you stay on top of your game and be as successful as you can.

1. A signed contract

Before starting work for any client, you must ensure that you have a signed contract so both parties are completely aware of the terms and conditions surrounding your work agreement. This sounds simple but without any sort of written agreement, you leave yourself and your business wide open to a potential legal dispute, which could cost a lot of time and money.

2. Rates

It can be difficult to establish your rate of pay as you want to find a common ground between being competitive while being careful not to undersell your skills and experience too. So try and find a balance which indicates your own self-value and remember, if your services are too cheap, your prospective clients may assume you aren’t suitably skilled for the job at hand

3. Network

Networking is an essential part of contracting, as the majority of your contracts will come from contacts and referrals. So network with fellow contractors and clients as much as possible, as this can help secure long-term contracts, recommendations and respect within your field.

4. Insurance

The three most common and important insurances held by freelancers and contractors are Professional Indemnity Insurance, Public Liability and Employers Liability. It’s crucial as a Director that you invest in contractor insurance, as this will not only protect you against negligence in various circumstances, such as a client suffering financial loss, but it will provide you with peace of mind knowing you and your business are safe. We work with specialist contractor insurance providers and can talk to you about their packages if you speak to our team.. Business Insurance is considered an allowable business expense and is thus offset against your earnings

5. IR35

IR35 is the piece of Tax legislation that aims to diminish the false self-employed. The way you operate on your regular working day has a huge impact on your IR35 status, so as a contractor it’s crucial to have your contract reviewed by a tax specialist and also invest in IR35 insurance.

6. Business bank accounts

As a contractor, you may decide that the best route for you is to open your own Limited company. If so, having a business bank account is a requirement. Additionally, separating your business from your personal account is certainly beneficial when it comes to managing your company’s income and spending.

7. Dedicated accountants

Even though you may feel comfortable in managing your own finances, it’s advised that you hire a specialist dedicated accountant. All of Walker Smith’s accountants are specialists in dealing with contractors.  They make sure you’re legally covered, save you time, minimise your tax bill, deal with your paperwork and help you meet you’re your HMRC deadlines. And as well as this, accountants themselves are also a tax-deductible expense!

8. Work Smart

Without having structured, set hours, many self-employed people work long, tiresome hours which can affect enthusiasm and also your ability to perform smart and efficiently. So, for the benefit of both you and your client, ensure you pace your workload so you’ll be able to remain consistent and not end up exhausting yourself.