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First Timers Guide


Finding and a contract

Financial considerations when deciding to take a contract
Should you accept the offered contract or wait for a higher paid one to come along? Let's look at the numbers.

Decide between an hourly or daily contract rate and maximise your earnings
There are pros and cons for both hourly and daily rates. Find out what they are here, and choose the one to maximise your earnings.

Can I legally go from permanent to contracting at the same company?
Answers the question from a permanent employee on whether they are legally allowed to immediately contract with the same company after leaving.

How to find a contract: guide for UK contractors
The contract search process explained. Advice and guidance on securing lucrative contracts.

Should contractors use agents to find contracts?
Examines the financial issues and practicalities when deciding whether to use agents to find contracts or go it alone.

Successful contracting – the importance of a professional sales approach
Advice and guidance on using a professional sales approach during your contracting career.

Contractor guide to using specialist job boards
Contractor specialist job boards offer additional benefits, including networking opportunities and resources, says Mark Cherry of GoToJobBoard.

IR35 issues

What is IR35? Does it apply to your contract?
It is tax avoidance legislation designed to ensure workers using an intermediary but who are ‘disguised employees’ pay the correct amount of tax.

Negotiating your contract for IR35 compliance
If you have been offered a contract which is caught, or are in a contract that is caught you’ll need to consider negotiating changes to get it outside. We explain how.

Making the decision

Am I good enough for contracting?
Supply and demand drives the market for contractors and those with transferable in demand skills and experience will always be able to find contracts.

7 common questions answered when considering the move to contracting
Find out answers to the most common questions people ask when considering contracting. Learn the hurdles and get started!

7 reasons why you might think you cannot go contracting - and why you are wrong!
Worried about making the leap from permanent employment? We put your fears to rest by debunking some of the most common concerns.

The 6 most popular reasons why so many employees go contracting. Is it for you?
Thinking of going contracting? Better pay and greater flexibility are just two of the benefits you could enjoy by making the leap. Find out more.

How to get hired by private firms and public sector organisations
Flexibility and cost-effectiveness are just two of the reasons why private and public sector firms want to hire you. Find out more here.

Contracting – taking holidays and time off
Aspects to consider regarding holidays and time off when contracting.

How does contract work compare with permanent work?
Do contractors get stuck with the unattractive work?

Do I need to be an expert to go contracting?
What level of skills do you need to go contracting?

Advantages and disadvantages of contracting
Contracting offers skilled knowledge workers much more than the opportunity to substantially increase their earnings, although pay’s a major factor.

Why contractors make more money than employees
Employees make less money than contractors. It’s that simple. Taxes and the inability to deduct expenses take a terrible toll on what employees earn. Contractors don’t have these burdens.

6 classic barriers to starting contracting and how to beat them
Would-be contractors often believe that there are too many barriers to going contracting, but most can be overcome, or are simply contracting myths.

Negotiating a contract

Dealing with agents and building relationships
Understanding how to deal with agents will maximise your contracting career.

Are contractors being exploited by agents
Some contractors think that agents continually exploit them whilst knowing nothing about the industry. We explain why this is not the case.

How to negotiate your initial rate with agencies to maximise your contractor earnings
Tips on how to maximise your rate when securing an initial contract.

How to negotiate the highest rate you can - never say your lowest rate. Read why.
Don't under sell yourself to agents! Read this guide to learn how to guarantee you negotiate yourself the best rate for any contract.

The reason agents don’t want to pay contractors market rate
Reasons why your agent would rather lower your rate than increase it.

Negotiating contract rates based on salaries: 3 key tips to getting the best rate
3 key tips to help you calculate how much you should charge for your services.


Want to go contracting and earn more money? Follow these 6 easy steps to get started
Guarantee yourself more flexibility, more varied work and better rates of pay. Find out how to do it in six simple steps, here.

Should I quit my job before applying for contracts?
A permanent employee asks whether they need to hand in their notice before applying for contract positions.

How to work out what contract rate to charge and maximise your income
Going contracting and don't know what rate to charge? Follow this advice and you will be sure to maximise your earnings.

Effective CV writing for contractors
The impact your CV makes determines whether you get asked for an interview. This article introduces all the aspects of writing high impact targeted CVs.

How can I avoid a gap when going from permie to contracting?
Advises a reader how to make a smooth transition from permie to contracting without a gap in working.

10 tips for UK contracting - the ultimate first time contractor guide
Tips and advice for permanent employees considering contracting in the UK.

The contracting seasons
Like the best farmers, the best contractors know when to sow and when to reap, and when to stay indoors.

Financial issues for first time contractors and how to solve them
Moving from permanent employment to a contracting career has immediate and long term financial issues to consider.

Moving from employment to contracting? How to plan handing in your notice
If you’re ready to take the first step to independence and a greater income — that is, to become a contractor, you will need to handle giving notice to your employer properly.

Real life experiences

Moving from permanent to contracting - case study 1
A first time contractor shares their experience of how they made the leap from permanent employment to contracting.

Moving from permanent to contracting - case study 2
A first timer contractor tells their story of how they made the leap from permanent employment to contracting.

Moving from permanent to contracting - case study 3
A first time contractor explains their reasons for quitting permanent work to go contracting and describes the issues and hurdles overcome on the way to their first contract.

Moving from permanent to contracting - case study 4
We interview a first time contractor in Project Management who shares his experience of moving into contracting for the first time.

From permie to contractor to small business owner
Kylie Sullivan is a contractor who has built a small business with more than 60 clients.

Veteran IT contractor reveals how to build a successful IT contracting career
After 17 years in software development, 12 as an IT contractor, Jason Gorman explains the strategies he has adopted to become a successful contractor.

IT contractor loves travelling, which the contracting lifestyle provides him
Tim Jones has some tips for contractors who want to use their money to travel, but still walk into a contract when they return.

Setting up your finances

Limited company or umbrella – how to choose the best payment option
Key differences explained. Learn the pros and cons of each payment option and decide which one is best for starting your contracting career.

Valid expenses as a contractor - what you can claim
We describe in detail what expenses are allowed to be claimed when you are contracting.

Contractor start up expenses that can be claimed
All the expenses you can incur on start up and what can be claimed.

Ensuring you get paid when contracting
Contractors are small businesses so, unlike employees, are not guaranteed payment for their work and must adopt strategies to ensure they are paid.

Timesheets, invoices and payments
When you are contracting you need to complete timesheets and raise invoices. This article explains the process.

How much income should I save for holidays and sickness?
Contractors don’t receive sick pay or get paid for holidays, so need to plan their finances to take into account expected, and unexpected, time off.

Do I need to set up a limited company before seeking a contract?
Don't be late and lose the contract. Make sure you set your company up or join an umbrella ready for your start date.

Mortgages for contractors: you can get one
Getting a mortgage when contracting does not have to be painful

Contractors must choose advisors carefully
Under the legislation that regulates managed service companies, working with advisors can be touchy.

What's the difference between temping and contracting?
There is a clear difference between contractors, temps, and agency workers.

Contractors rarely operate as sole traders
Contractors wanting to work as a sole trader will find agencies and clients won’t work with them. Here's why and the solution.

A contractor guide to evaluating offshore tax planning options
How contractors can determine whether an offshore tax planning option is the best place for their cash.

Money management for contractors
Money management is a key skill for successful limited company contractors. The basics are straightforward and easy to pick up.

Timesheet finance can help new contractors with cashflow
Limited company contractors starting out or in urgent need of cash can access funds through timesheet finance, says Joanna Holloway of UC Finance.

What is a partnership?
A partnership is formed when two or more individuals decide to go into business together and want to keep their business administration to a minimum.

Choose the right form of business - sole trader, limited company or partnership?
Choosing the right form of business - sole trader, limited company or partnership - is a key step that all entrepreneurs must take when starting-up.

Contracting legislation: key laws affecting contractors
Make sure you don't fall into any legal traps and carry on contracting compliantly with our comprehensive list of laws and legislation to beware of!

What employee benefits do contractors not get?
Here are some of the important differences when comparing the situations of contractors versus permanent employees.

Recruiters’ insistence that contractors use umbrella companies is breaching the law
Contractors assessed as ‘deemed employees’, and forced to work via umbrella companies by recruiters, have grounds to mount a strong legal challenge.


Why you need insurance
Explains the legal requirements and the products you need.

Insurance products
Overview of insurances products. On line quotes and purchase.