You might consider contracting for a wide variety of reasons – from being able to earn more money, to having the freedom to be able to choose your own clients. Often, it requires a very specific skillset and discipline to become an independent contractor. It is also essential that you are able to manage your own time well, and handle formalities such as tax and national insurance yourself, unless you hire an accountant or work via an umbrella company arrangement. There are many benefits to working as an independent contractor, and the number of independent professionals in the UK has risen by almost 10% in the last year. Many independent contractors have more financial freedom and personal satisfaction than their counterparts in permanent employment. Contractors can also enjoy certain practical benefits, such as not necessarily being tied to a desk all day.
Earn more, work less
One of the many benefits of working as an independent contractor is being able to charge what your work is worth, as opposed to being paid a set wage by an employer who may not take specific qualifications or extra hours worked into account.
Some independent contractors can also utilise the ability to claim expenses, and deduct costs which are required for work such as food, transport and internet. Whilst these additional tasks may seem like a lot to manage, independent contractors have been found to statistically work fewer hours and earn more money than salaried individuals. Unless you work via an umbrella company, it is well worth hiring an accountant to manage your finances as a contractor, as it will allow you to focus on what you do well, rather than using your valuable time and energy taking care of the admin side of your business.
Flexible working when contracting
For many people, being an independent contractor is about breaking free from routine. Dependent on your contract, you can easily adjust your working schedule so that if you’re not required to work in the client’s office, you can work where and when you want. This is ideal if you began contracting because you feel restricted by an office job.
Variety of contracts
One of the many great freedoms that come with being an independent contractor is that you have full control over your workload. You can choose your upcoming contracts, and diversify into new areas if your skillset allows.
Whilst some employers can be generous with their offers of training and development, contractors must take the initiative to improve their skillset and constantly adapt to keep progressing. As a contractor you will often have to adjust your skills to meet each client’s needs. This will ultimately benefit your career and broaden your potential client base, as you will be able to offer a wider variety of services.
Many people say that becoming an independent contractor was the best decision they have ever made. Contracting comes with a wealth of benefits not just limited to increasing your end earnings. Making the decision to become an independent contractor does require a lifestyle change and also comes with some challenges – these may seem daunting at first, but in the end the benefits clearly outweigh the challenges.
Nowadays, many people want more flexible work patterns to fit around their lifestyles, and working as a contractor can offer this flexibility. Whether you want to branch out and try something new, give up or change the daily commute, harness your skills, or earn more money, it’s clear that life as an independent contractor can work for anyone.
At ContractingWISE, we are always here to help. To find out more about becoming a contractor, read our guide here.
To get going straight away, download and complete our free contracting checklist here.