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5 tips for IT contractor success - Part Two
Posted Jan 20, 2011
Following on from our previous article, here are five further tips to help you make the most out of contracting over the coming year.
Always use an up-to-date, well presented and concise CV when you apply for contract roles. Make sure your most recent roles are displayed on the first page of the CV, and tailor the CV to suit the role if specific skills need to be highlighted. You can find out more tips, and a suggested layout for your CV here.
You will be working with permanent members of staff on most contract postings. As a contractor, you will be expected to find your feet quickly, and to get on with the job straight away. Over a career as a contractor, you'll meet permies who resent contractors, others who expect you to be an expert at all things technical, but the vast majority will treat you like a normal colleague. In all cases, however, be sure not to brag about your contract rate - this won't go down well.
All successful contractors have learnt to be adaptable over the course of their careers. Unlike many permanent roles, you will often need to compromise when seeking contract work - particularly when the market is subdued. You may need to travel to different parts of the country to source work, take less lucrative work for a while rather than waiting on the bench while the dream job comes along, and take roles which neither stretch nor stimulate you intellectually. Over a number of years, you'd hope that the number of 'great' contracts makes up for the dull ones, which pay the mortgage but are uninspiring.
Limited or umbrella?
Take time deciding upon a trading structure. The limited company route is the most tax efficient, even for contractors caught by IR35. However, for short term roles, and a hassle-free way to go contracting, the umbrella company route appeals to many. In both cases (choosing an accountant for your limited company, or choosing an umbrella company scheme), you should spend time researching the market for the right provider for you. Read our limited company or umbrella? start-up guide for more details.
Some contract roles will require you to take out professional indemnity cover as standard to cover you in the event that you inflict damage on a project due to carelessness or misfortune. The cost of contractor insurance is very low considering the peace of mind it offers, even if your contract doesn't specify taking out cover as a requirement. You should be able to get a package including professional indemnity and business liability cover for a few hundred pounds. Tax investigation insurance is also very competitively priced and will cover you in the event that you need professional representation during a tax dispute.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance - Essential cover from Hiscox
- Helix Management Ltd - Up to 90% retention. Same day payments
- Parasol - the UK's favourite umbrella company
- Qdos - IR35 experts - Providers of low cost contractor insurance
- Contractor Finance - up to £30,000, when you need it
- Umbrella Company - 12,000 contractors can't be wrong!
- SJD Accountancy - UK's largest Accountants to Contractors
- Together we're stronger! - Join PCG, representing contractors
- ClearSky Accounting - specialist support for contractors
- Free IR35 & Tax Review - Call ICS on 0800 195 3750
- InTouch Contractor Accounting - Clients love our personal service
- Contractor Mortgages - Based on your daily rate alone