Is it time to swap your nine-to-five for contracting?

Are you considering freeing yourself from the shackles of office life and becoming a contractor? For the right type of person, contracting can provide a fantastic change of lifestyle and one they’ll never regret. If you think becoming a contractor might be your next career move, then there are plenty of things to think about first.
There are so many benefits to contracting
Contracting is not just a different way of working, it’s a lifestyle, and with it comes so many benefits that can improve both your work and home life.

Flexibility is the number one draw for many contractors. The chance to choose your own working hours and holiday, and to build your working day around your own life, is an opportunity too good to pass up for many. Never miss another school sports day or play, see the kids off to school every day, or simply take a holiday when you need one and not when the boss decides to give you annual leave.

As a contractor your job role expands. You’re not just providing a service – you’re also advertising and selling it, meaning you have the opportunity to use a wider range of skills than you would back in your old job. What’s more, as your own boss your organisational skills really come into play – not to mention the new financial knowledge you develop from managing the monetary side of the business. With new challenges to face every day, these skills just keep developing.
Practicalities to consider
If you’ve thought about the benefits of contracting and you’re sold, the next thing to do is to consider how you could actually take the leap and become your own boss.

The first and most obvious thing to think about is deciding what sort of contractor you’re going to be. You could decide to contract in a field you already work in and already know plenty about, or an area you’ve always dreamed of working in and are now going to become qualified to do so.

Look into umbrella company services. These can make the difficult and daunting parts of being a contractor – such as dealing with money and legal issues – run much more smoothly and easily. Under the care of an umbrella company, you have a business manager who will provide advice and take care of processes that you don’t want to, or don’t have the knowledge, to deal with. There are also plenty of other benefits – for example, with an umbrella company you are able to claim tax relief on allowable business expenses, meaning it is a much more tax efficient way to work. In addition, you will also be able to enjoy some of the benefits given to people in a permanent position, such as maternity and holiday rights.

Consider using a contracting agent. While you will develop skills at bringing in and retaining clients, a contracting agent will help you to get business – something that not even the most seasoned of contractor would sniff at. In order to actually secure work, you will need a solid interview technique – remember as a contractor you’ll have to interview more regularly, as you’ll be doing more jobs.

There is no denying that money one of the biggest worries for those going into contracting. Those worried about whether they would make enough money can estimate how much they would be taking home using a contractor salary calculator. This tool is also incredibly useful once you’ve taken the leap into the world of contracting.

If you’ve decided to take the plunge into contracting, and have identified a number of business opportunities, it is important to play fair with your current employer. It is natural to want to keep your contracting plans close to your chest for as long as possible, as going from a secure job to one with minimal contracts can be a bit worrying to say the least. However, you need to take your notice period into account, as remaining on good terms with your employer is crucial – you may need references from them, or even to return to the company if contracting does not work out for you.