There has been a surge in interest in contracting jobs as of late. Both for the obvious monetary benefits and the liberty it offers people to have more control over their career destiny. More and more people are becoming increasingly drawn to the idea of being their own boss.
Apart from the flexibility and the obvious earning power, just why are contractors are becoming so popular in Ireland right now? Also, what do people need to be aware of with contracting if they are thinking of going out on their own?
Here, we outline our top tips for contractors so that you are fully equipped with knowledge of what a move into contracting requires and the positive spin-offs.
If you are a developer and have niche skills, you will be in hot demand as a contractor. Highly sought-after professionals include those with specialist expertise that a company will not have in-house. We recommend that you do plenty of market research on the type of contracting jobs that will suit you. This will be based on your skillsets and the amount of experience you already have working in your field.
It’s well accepted that take-home pay is good for contractors. Reasons for this are that the company hiring you for a contracting role will pay you a higher rate because of the short-term nature of the work. You could be paid an hourly/daily rate, for example. If you are considering leaving a permanent job to become a contractor, it is important to be aware that you won’t be getting paid for sick days or holidays. Again, we advise that you do your research and speak to someone who is either a seasoned contractor or someone who has recently made the jump to contracting.
It can be easy to forget this, but you are self-employed when you become a contractor. That’s why it is essential to realise that you will have to manage your own tax affairs (see next tip), holidays, health insurance and downtime.
You will also have to do paperwork when you become a contractor. This will typically include sending invoices, recording your working hours, applying for new contracts and filing tax returns. If you are the type of person who will find this a challenge and prefer to concentrate on your work as a developer, you can employ the services of an external company. They will be able to manage your accounts, tax and invoicing for you. This brings us to company status.
Before you start working as a contractor, you will need to ensure that you are set up to operate as one. Because you will be self-employed, you can opt to set up as a limited company, or become part of an umbrella company. The latter is where the contractor enters a contract with another company who will manage their financial affairs for a fixed fee.
Contracting Plus is one such company that works with independent contractors. Depending on a person’s circumstances, Niall Hayes, director of sales and client solutions at Contracting Plus, says it’s about providing the appropriate solution for contractors.
“We would either set them up into a one person limited company. Alternatively, we put them into a pre-existing set-up company, which is a managed company structure,” he explains.
Ultimately, we think it is a good idea to research the options open to you and to consider talking to an accountant or an independent financial advisor who can provide guidance on the best company structure type to suit you. They will also be able to advise on the schemes. This means that you, as a contractor, should possibly consider in relation to everything from tax to health insurance.
Contracting roles will, most definitely, provide you with opportunities to develop your skillsets and flesh out your portfolio of what you can offer companies. The end result? You’ll become an expert with specialist skills. You will also have more time to acquire new skills along the way.
Recently I spoke with developer Ronan Brett who has made the leap into contracting. Having previously worked for a large organisation, one of the aspects Ronan likes about contract positions is the freedom it offers to work with different technologies.
Ronan has found contracting a “great way” to open doors to innovative companies who don’t have the headcount for permanent staff while also allowing him to acquire new skills. For instance, Ronan had been working within the Angular front-end web application. Since moving into contracting he has been given the opportunity to expand his skill set using React to build user interfaces.
Contracting is a draw for many because of the freedom it offers, not just to be your own boss, but to steer your career in a particular direction. Obvious benefits include greater control over your work-life balance. Contracting jobs, in particular, suits people who wish to work for a specific amount of time and then move on. Another perk is that you will have the facility to choose the type of work you want to do – knowing that the contract position will last for a defined period of time. Just be mindful that building a partnership with an agency like TalentHub is key. We’ll keep you one step ahead and be on the lookout for new contracting roles before your contract is due to expire.
We will help to market you to clients and always be on the lookout for new contract jobs, especially before your current one comes to a close. Project/Relationship management plays its part, however, don’t let this stop you. There is plenty of assistance here to help you get started on what can be a very rewarding career.
Ultimately, if you are prepared to go out on your own to become a contractor, you can shape your career in the long term, as well as learning vital new skills along the way. You will build up your expertise to become known as a go-to expert in your field.
You just need to ensure that you do ample research at the outset before committing yourself to becoming a contractor. Speak to the right people, get advice, check in with us here at TalentHub and you’ll be halfway there. Once you are set up, this will help ensure that you will have the freedom to do your best work!
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Author: Stephen Kilgallon
Stephen has recently relocated back to Ireland from Canada where he spent his time was spent working for the world’s 2nd largest recruitment company. Stephen has a proven track record in the building of technical and c-suite teams for globally recognised brands, SMEs and start-up organisations both locally and internationally.