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What makes a good contractor?

Mon 8th Jun 2015

Becoming a contractor for the first time can be very alluring, especially if you have been working along-side contractors as a permanent employee. You may have witnessed them receiving higher rates of pay for the same work, more flexibility in the roles that they take and a greater variability in their experiences – meaning they progress within the industry faster.

Considering becoming a contractor for the first time however should not be done on these factors alone, whilst rewarding there are many pitfalls to be managed too – including managing your own work flow, keeping on the right side of the tax man and the loss of benefits you become accustomed to as an employee – such as sick pay, pensions and holiday pay.

Once you have considered these pros and cons on the industry and found a network of support that can give you the security to make the change, you should also consider whether you are the right fit for such a role. Think about the following –

Are you adaptable? As a contractor you can be moving from site to site and as such will need to find your feet quickly. If you are someone who can adapt you will be fine, however there will be little time for settling in so if you can’t land on your feet and deliver instantly you may struggle.

Are you approachable? Can you get on with a new team quickly to make sure you can work together to meet project deadlines. Landing on site and being able to work alongside other trades quickly is essential.

Are you diplomatic? You may find yourself working alongside an organisation employees, making changes to projects they have spent years on. Being able to manage these situations without causing a disruption or causing unnecessary friction will help to make these circumstances much more productive.

Are you organised? You will find you need to manage many more relationships – from reporting back from site to your client, to scheduling in new projects, start dates and/or delays; you will need to make sure everybody has the information they need at hand when they need it. Clients do not like to chase their contractors and will quickly move on to another if they find that they are not getting the service they need.

Are you driven? You will need to focus on building a client base and make sure they are aware of your services should any opportunities arise. This requires a network of contacts with whom you connect regularly. Make sure you have the rights to do so and are not restricted by your previous roles.

Are you respected? Contractors with a good reputation are always in strong demand. Making sure you use every project as a PR exercise, giving your clients a reason to talk favourably about you and your work to ensure your reputation puts you are the top of the running when new contracts are being awarded.

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