Making the leap from full-time employment to contracting may seem daunting at first, but there are so many benefits to doing so. Not only do you get to choose your own hours, work on projects you’re passionate about and grow your business at your own pace, but you will likely earn more than you would in a standard 9 to 5. But if you’re not yet earning the figure you had hoped for, fear not: below, we’ve rounded up some tips on boosting your income…
Up your rates
If you’re producing consistently high-quality results and your clients are happy with what you are doing for them, consider upping your contracting rates. When pitching for new clients, you can hone in on your experience levels and previous projects, encouraging them to pay a little extra for a better quality contractor. And if you’re tied into a contract, negotiate a higher rate of pay by comparing market rates and putting yourself in the best possible position.
Find your own clients
Though there are certainly some benefits to working with a recruitment agency to source clients and work for you, doing it on your own will naturally increase your earnings. The truth is that recruitment companies often take a fee or a cut, which can sometimes add up to 10% or even 20% of the entire contract value, for very little work on their part. Go in on your own and build relationships with clients direct; there’s more work involved, and you’ll likely get knocked back sometimes, but it can allow you to hold onto more of your hard-earned cash.
Work as a consultant
Another way to earn more for your skills is to work as a consultant. You’ve already put in the hours getting to grips with a company, its projects, and infrastructure, so staying onboard to offer your services on a consultancy basis will make sense. Consultants can charge more, and it adds a new string to your bow when it comes to pitching for contracts in the future.
Consider your set-up
Something else to take into consideration when working as a contractor is how you account for your earnings. Some contractors go down the self-employed route, filling in an annual Self Assessment return, whilst others incorporate limited companies. One technique that you should think about is working with one of the best umbrella companies – it’s often tax-efficient and ensures that administration, like tax, bookkeeping, and national insurance, are covered.
Though many companies depend on contractors to cover skills gaps and complete short-term projects, empowering their staff with new skills and responsibilities is also wise. If you’re a good leader and naturally patient, you might want to consider adding training to your arsenal of services, running a course at the end of your tenancy to impart your wisdom onto a company. You can charge a premium for this service, though be mindful – if you “level up” those employees too much, they might not want you to return as a contractor in the future.
There are so many ways to boost your income as a contractor. Know your worth, develop your skills, and be prepared to fight for that extra bonus. Whatever you do, we wish you luck.