Tips for contractors looking to get work from agencies

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 06:53

Contractors need to be professional at all times

Contractors need to be professional at all times

One of the most exciting things about being a contractor is having the freedom to work on a range of different projects, although it does mean you always need to be looking to source new contracts. Given the ongoing difficulties in the global economy, it has become more important than ever to do everything possible to get work from agencies.

With many businesses continuing to take a cautious approach towards hiring permanent staff, contractors ought to ensure they are presenting themselves as reputable, highly-skilled professionals that are able to help with temporary projects. Here are some of the things that you should be looking to do, assuming you're not doing so already.

Set up as a limited company

One way you can enhance your profile as an independent contractor, and inspire the right level of confidence in your services, is by setting up a limited company. You'll often find agencies feel more secure working with contractors like this in comparison to freelancers. A possible reason for this is because the former can devote more time and energy to projects they have been hired on. Those who don't work as a contractor in a limited company quite often have to keep track of their own tax and accountancy matters, something that can sometimes be difficult to do when they have professional tasks they need to work on too.

Setting up a limited company also means you will be expected to maintain various forms of insurance that will provide both you and the agency taking you on with the peace of mind that you'll be financially protected in the event of an accident happening while at work. Among the types of insurance you can maintain (and which you should remind agencies you have) are employer's liability and public liability cover. Ensuring you have a comprehensive level of insurance should give the impression that you are prepared for any eventuality.

Dress appropriately – As obvious as it sounds, contractors looking for work should ensure they are always dressed smartly when meeting agencies. Even simple things like making sure your shoes are clean and having an ironed shirt will help to create a professional image and could make the difference between you winning a contract and it going to someone else.

Double-check your CV – Contractors working as a limited company also ought to make sure that copies of the CV they distribute to agencies are an accurate portrayal of their skills and experience. Again, this sounds like a point that ought to go without saying but it's worth ensuring your resume represents you in the best possible light without deviating from the truth.

Honesty – Whether it's about your qualifications or the previous clients you've worked for, being dishonest is likely to be found out eventually and could damage your likelihood of securing contracts from agencies in the future. You should also check your CV thoroughly for spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors, as potential recruiters tend to take a dim view of mistakes.



Finance articles

  • How to form a limited company

    If you are confident that you will fall outside of the IR35 regulations and would like to minimise your tax burden, then you should be looking to operate as a limited company contractor. But how do you go about setting up a limited company?

  • Umbrella vs limited company – which is right for you?

    If you're looking to become a contractor, then you need to consider the two main options open to you – operating as a limited company or using an umbrella company. However, you must also be aware that this decision may be taken away from you.

  • How does the 24-month rule impact those utilising umbrella companies?

    The 24-month rule is something most people have come across, but many will admit they do not fully understand what it is. However, it is particularly important and must be considered when submitting paperwork to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

  • What allowable expenses are available for the self-employed?

    Working for yourself makes for an incredibly exciting career choice. Not only do you get the chance to set your own hours and choose the projects that excite you the most, but it enables you to operate in a highly tax-efficient manner. Being self-employed also potentially allows you to receive a significantly higher income in comparison to doing the same kind of work as a permanent full-time employee, most notably as you could off-set tax against the expenses that you incur.

  • How the forthcoming Real Time Information system will affect reporting payroll data

    Being a contractor gives professionals the freedom to select their own working hours and choose the projects they work on; however, with that comes the need to look after their own payroll and tax issues. With HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) set to introduce a new payroll reporting system later this year, now is the time for professionals to make certain they are aware of the changes this will entail.

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