On a daily basis, I receive calls from permanent members of staff asking me about the contract market and how they could make the transition in their career from one to the other. Itís not an easy situation to address but in general, asking yourself the following questions could help you in the decision before you take the plunge.
1. Skill set: Is there a contract market for your skill set?
Is the first question you should ask yourself. What skills and experience do you offer and can this be utilised in both the short and long term? The contract market is very project driven and those that can offer a high standard of project work are constantly in high demand. Having said that, more and more companies are offering vacancies for contract day-to-day BAU work, so being able to switch between the two is important.
2. Security: Are you ready to take a risk?
The contract market is high risk for high reward. One benefit of contracting is higher earnings and better tax breaks however these benefits come at costs such as short notice periods. Regardless of the pros and cons, as a contractor you need to be comfortable with less job security.
3. Flexibility: Are you happy to be flexible on rate and location?
Contracting quite often means having to work away from home 4 days a week and be flexible on your daily rate. I believe the best contractors in the market are those that are open to variance on their rate, interviewing at short notice and are happy to relocate for 6-12 months. Working away from home is not always possible due to personal reasons however, being flexible certainly broadens your client pool.
4. Networking: Are you good at networking?
A lot of the best contractors in the market focus on building excellent relationships with the organisation they operate within and then keeping that relationship going once a piece of work is complete. You never know when you will meet a former client in the future so itís best practice to keep these relationships strong at all times.
5. Running a business: Can you run a business?
When contracting, you are effectively running a business as well as taking care of the finances of that business. The contract market is extremely buoyant in the UK but there are times when your business may be out of work for longer than you anticipated. You need to be financially savvy in order to plan for quieter periods.
Feeling comfortable with the above points can help you decide whether contracting is right for you and whether it suits your future career plans. If you have any more questions or queries surrounding contracting, then please get in touch to discuss further.
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