As technology continues to evolve and dominate our lives, many IT professionals are finding that contracting provides a unique opportunity to showcase their skills, work on diverse projects, and earn higher hourly rates. However, the transition from a permanent job to contracting can be daunting, as it requires a different set of skills and responsibilities.
If you are looking to make the switch, the following steps can help pave the way to a successful contracting career in the tech industry.
Is contracting the right fit for you?
While contracting offers flexibility and independence, it also requires you to be your own boss and manage your own business. For those who are up for the challenge, the next step is to start building a professional network. Reach out to former colleagues, attend industry events, and consider joining professional organisations.
Building Your Brand
Once you have a network in place, it's time to develop a strong brand that showcases your skills and experience. A professional website and a strong social media presence can help establish your personal brand and attract potential clients. This takes time and a huge amount of effort, you will need to ask yourself if you are up for the challenge.
How much will you charge for your services?
Creating a business plan is crucial for contractors to manage their own businesses. Establishing goals, services, pricing strategies, and a marketing plan can help you stay organised and focused.
Deciding on pricing is also an essential part of contracting. Researching industry standards and understanding the market can help you set competitive rates. Offering different pricing structures, such as hourly or project-based fees, can also be a strategy to attract clients. At Vector we can help guide you and have a strong track record of providing fixed price work for clients.
Staying up-to-date with industry trends and continually improving skills is vital for success in the tech industry. Taking advantage of training opportunities, attending conferences, and seeking mentorship can help you remain competitive and in demand. This will fall solely down to you to take responsibility for your own development, you will not have the backing of your employer to fund and guide you through this anymore.
What to do about IR35?
IR35 is an important consideration for people looking to make the switch to contracting. The IR35 legislation, introduced in the UK in 2000, is designed to prevent "disguised employment," where individuals work as contractors but are treated as employees for tax purposes. The legislation requires contractors to assess whether their work is akin to an employee, and if so, pay the same tax and national insurance contributions as an employee.
The rules around IR35 can be complex, and it's essential that you understand the obligations and responsibilities under the legislation. In April 2021, the UK government introduced changes to the rules for contractors working in the private sector. These changes shifted the responsibility for determining IR35 status from the contractor to the end client, which means that contractors must be prepared to provide evidence of their self-employment status to their clients. It is up to you to decide if you want to take on roles Inside IR35, fortunately here at Vector we have a huge amount of experience in dealing with roles inside and outside of IR35 and can give you expert guidance on what the best choice for you will be.
The dreaded time in between contracts
Finally, it's essential to be prepared for ups and downs in income. You may face lean periods between contracts and having a financial plan can help navigate these challenges. Another way to minimise your financial risk is to partner with respected agencies who will be able to find you suitable work, minimising your time out of contract and increasing your overall earning potential.
By following these steps, you can successfully transition to contracting and build a thriving career in the exciting and ever-changing world of technology.
If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of contracting, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our consultants will be happy to have a chat with you.Contact Form