The Complete Guide to Working as a Successful Contractor

22 Jun 2022

As a contractor, you are there to fulfil a need, whether long-term or for a short contract. Therefore, you should start your contract with a mission to perform as well as possible and to meet the objectives set by your client. A successful contract could lead to further projects and help you build relationships and future contacts.
Here is our complete guide to working as a successful contractor.

Understand Expectations

First and foremost, you should take the time to understand the needs of the client and their expectations of you. In doing so, you will be clear about your goals and will be in a better position to impress your client. Contractors are hired for a specific need. If you are unsure of the outcome when you finish your contract, you should seek clarification.

Adhere to Deadlines

If your client has given you deadlines to achieve throughout the project’s lifecycle, you should make sure you adhere to these. Likewise, if there are any issues along the way, make sure you communicate these with your client, giving them notice that you may need an extension.

Regular Communication

To keep a project on track, it is crucial to ensure lines of communication are open and that both parties are aware of what stage the project is at. Your client should be able to reach you to discuss the contract, and you should be able to provide them with clear updates.

Manage Expectations

You should always be focused on managing the expectations of your client. If you are asked to do something that you are unable to fulfill or that you may need some additional training on, you should inform them straight away. It is more frustrating for a client if you have agreed to an assigned piece of work, only to fail to deliver it.

Update Skills

Even during the duration of your contract, it is a good idea to keep updating your skills, especially those that will help you in your current contract. In addition, there are many online courses that you can do from home in your free time, and these may help you secure further contracts in the future.

Market your Company

Working as a contractor, you will be working through your own limited company, and many contractors forget (or do not realise) that they should be marketing their skills and knowledge via their Personal Services Company (PSC). An easy (and cheap!) way of doing this is by purchasing an online domain for your company and making use of a professional business email address, reflecting your PSC, including signatures and even logos where appropriate! Maintaining an updated website with all of your relevant skills and past clients is also a sure way of working as a successful contracts (and also helps keeping outside of IR35!)

Efficient Time Management

As a contractor, it can be easy to slip into a routine where you work many more hours than you are paid for, especially if your project is home-based. It is crucial to offer flexibility to your clients, but you should also maintain your physical and mental well-being. You won’t be able to support a client if you have reached burnout stage. Therefore, keep a good routine while also aiming to help the client with additional needs.

Build Good Relationships

Although you are working for a set period with the client, you should aim to build good relationships with all contractors or permanent staff. When good relationships are built, the project is more likely to reach a positive conclusion, making for a more pleasant working environment.

Manage Finances

Although you are likely to be paid more as a contractor than a permanent staff member, you also have a tax bill to consider. With this in mind and the fact that the contract could end, you should aim to manage your finances efficiently. Save where you can so that you are prepared for the future.
At myCOS, we offer high-quality project management services. If you are looking for your next contract role, you can contact us (link to email), and we will inform you of any requirements that match your skills and experience.

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