Entering the IT contracting world can be a daunting time and getting clear unbiased advice can be challenging.

What is contracting and how do I get into it?

Contracting is when a worker is hired for a fixed amount of time and is usually added to the company payroll. 

As a contractor you'd be either self-employed or an employee that works for a client and are employed by an agency. Contracts mostly arise when companies have projects or during especially busy times.

Confused if you should contract, or go permanent? Read our article below comparing all types of employment.

contracting vs permanent vs temporary work.

Research, research, research.

Doing your research is the first and most important step and before you begin a contract you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • is contracting right for me and my current circumstances?
  • are there many contractor jobs available in your field of expertise?
  • can you make enough money from contracting?

Contracting can seem intimidating but it offers many benefits such as increased earning potential, flexible working hours, job autonomy and tax benefits.

Write the best CV.

Your CV is most likely going to be the first impression you get to make on a potential employer. Therefore it is essential that is reflects you and your skills as best possible. 

Find contract jobs.

The contracting industry is populated with many recruitment companies, some specialising in specific sectors and many a broad approach. 

This is a great place to start and the easiest route to put yourself on the market.

You also have the option of finding contract roles directly through end clients. This can be difficult for someone who is new to the contracting world as it is all about who you know. You will be relying a lot on the network you have around you.

Keeping in contact with friends, family, previous and current colleagues can help expand your reach. Make sure you update your LinkedIn profile and put your CV on contractor job sites, this will again show your career path.

Limited or umbrella -  which one do I choose?

Confused whether you should go limited or umbrella? Don’t worry this is common! Both umbrella companies and you own limited company have pros and cons, but which is the best for depends on your unique situation. 

Below are the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Limited company.

Advantages

  • Claim a wider range of expenses.
  • You keep complete control over your financial affairs.
  • Greater opportunity for tax planning.

 Disadvantages

  • You will have to complete your own paperwork
  • Can be costly if you contract for short period of time then return to permanent employment
  • Not ideal for contracts less than £25,000 per year.

PAYE umbrella.

Advantages:

  • All tax and NI is deducted before you receive your money, so you will have no further taxes to pay.
  • Ideal for short-term contracts
  • Someone else will be doing paperwork

Disadvantages

  • The more expensive way of working - you will receive a salary that is subject to full PAYE Tax and NI
  • You are reliant on the umbrella company to collect your money from the client or agent and use it to pay you
  • You have no control over your contracting finances (for examples, dividends)

Are you inside or outside IR35?

The rules are currently changing in regards to IR35. Guides are on our website which explain more about the current IR35 rules