Contracting Guide for Professional Contractors and Interims
A brief guide to contracting in the UK Market - BITE Consulting Group Ltd. “The career coaching company for contractors”
Most people reading this will be first time contractors and we recognise experienced contractors may have their own experiences and views. The contract market consists of 30-40% of all advertised vacancies, 80% of all contracts go through an agency or employment business and of the 11,000 agencies in the UK the majority concentrate on permanent work. So to be successful as a contractor or interim manager you need 2 years or more commercial experience in your “identified field”, and to get in contact with the right decision makers in your field.
To do this you need to adopt the right approach:
1. CV: To gain a job as a limited company contractor you need an ‘easy to read’ CV that is targeted at Contract or Interim work. It needs have a summary page which establishes your “personal brand” (who you are and what added value you offer) and include 2-3 pages of employment history majoring on the most relevant job not necessarily your first or last job. It also needs to define who you are and include keywords for S.E.O. and agency database search optimisation. Completing the CV template correctly will provide you with an effective FREE interim/contract CV and FREE marketing on www.getacontractor.co.uk.
If you want the FREE template and FREE internet registration form contact email@example.com and when you complete you can be marketed on getacontractor free provided you are residing in the UK and legally able to work in the UK (having EU nationality a relevant current work visa).
Some candidates may need consultancy advice on establishing their profile and positioning their personal brand. This is a chargeable service (generally around £500 for face to face consultation and advice in our offices, over one or two days).Why not ask about this?
2. Contractor Marketing: To gain work and to continually stay in work, avoiding down time, you need to invest in your ‘personal brand marketing’. Google and Facebook have revolutionised the strategy for marketing. This can now be achieved independently by investing time in Social Networking on sites such as LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Twitter and Facebook and bookmarking any web sites where you have placed your CV. To be successful in the UK your CV needs to reach far and wide, hitting many of the 11,000 UK agencies. Additionally, you need to access the “hidden job market”, get seen and have the agencies chase after you as an ideal candidate in your niche market. www.getacontractor.co.uk will provide you with FREE MARKETING and S.E.O. leverage, through BITE Consulting, that you can bookmark and link in to your social networking.
BITE Consulting can also help you achieve this through its comprehensive contractor mentoring and coaching scheme, which is chargeable. More information can be found at www.biteconsulting.co.uk.
3. Limited Umbrella Company: To work as a limited company contractor you need a limited company as a corporate vehicle. This is best provided as a simple PAYE Umbrella that allows you to claim travel expenses and subsistence for work, receipted and at HMRC recommended BENCHMARK Sums. See BITE’s JBT Umbrella: www.jbt-umbrella.co.uk
For new arrivals from Australia, Canada, India, U.S.A. and New Zealand, the Relocation Umbrella option, such as BITE Contractors, is probably the best option, allowing you to claim flights, accommodation, food and travel costs, provided that this is your first UK job since arriving in the UK. See BITE’s relocation umbrella: www.biteconsulting.co.uk/limitedcompanyinfo/relocation_umbrella.htm
The value to you of the relocation umbrella can be up to £8000 per year for two years and you only pay for the service in the weeks that you are working. Be aware that many agencies will try to push you towards their own preferred umbrella due to incentives that they receive and that you don’t have to accept theirs.
Established and longer term contractors (especially after 2 years when you have used up your relocation benefits) may choose to run their own limited company with a qualified accountant, known as a Personal Service Company (PSC). There will be fixed costs to set up a PSC and you will also need to pay a suitable qualified accountant each month or year.
4. Contract Support: Once you gain a contract job you need to obtain a professional contract with a professional schedule or terms of engagement. This will detail the terms of business that you will be agreeing. This will normally be provided by the agency you are contracting through, or BITE if you are using BITE’S Contract Administration Services (chargeable, but provided as part of our umbrella service).
You will need to provide your limited umbrella company’s registered company name, registered company address, registered company number and VAT number. Without these the agency or client cannot provide you with a legal contract.
Once obtained, you will need to read the contract carefully checking the pay rate, overtime rate, notice period, contract liability, insurance requirements, health and safety responsibilities and confidentiality clauses.
Generally you can do this yourself but you will also need to ensure you have £1million professional indemnity insurance amongst other insurances specified in the contract.
As part of our contractor “one stop umbrella shop”, BITE will provide professional indemnity insurance and will also credit check the client, credit control the client, provide bad debt wage insurance (ensuring you get your money) and check your contract for “nasties” or “surprises” as part of our Contract Administration Service – all within the chargeable service.
I hope this is of help to you. There is a good deal of information out there to read on contracting in the UK and our site www.biteconsulting.co.uk can help you and point you at independent sources for verification, or an additional view.
Managing Director BITE Consulting – April 2010
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