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Here’s our guide to contracting. From securing your first contracting jobs – right through to becoming a consultant and the intricacies of tax that are part of your journey.

ContractorCalculator are here to help you negotiate the world of contracting and to help you make your life easier.


Back to Permanent Work After Contracting

Advice on going back to permanent work from contracting
This guide discusses the factors when deciding whether to go back to permanent employment.

Closing down your contracting limited company
Discusses the steps to close down your limited company

Is it worth going permanent after contracting?
Advice to a contractor who is considering accepting a permanent position at the company where they are contracting.

Making your contracting limited company dormant
How to make a limited company dormant and the responsibilities whilst it is dormant.

Becoming a Consultant

Contractor to consultant: part I – comparing contracting and consulting
Do you want to be part of the team, or an agent of change? Read our three part guide to becoming an independent consultant.

Contractor to consultant: part II – the consulting approach
Do you want to be part of the team, or an agent of change? Read our guide to becoming an independent consultant.

Contractor to consultant: part III – 8 tips to make it happen
Do you want to be part of the team, or an agent of change? Read our guide to becoming an independent consultant.

Contract Renewals

Should I accept an early contract renewal offer?
A contractor asks advice about renewing a contract 2 months early with no rate rise.

Preparing and negotiating a contract renewal - get that pay rise now!
Factors to consider and strategies for maximising your contract rate when your contract is due for renewal. Learn the easy techniques, and earn more!

Is it possible to negotiate a rise when there are 'no rises'?
Want to raise your rate with an existing client? Is the client and agent pushing back? Here's how to negotiate properly and with a strength.

How can I renegotiate a smaller agency margin?
Getting a higher rate by reducing a very high agency margin.

15 tips when renewing your contract
Your current contract is due to finish raising the prospect of a renewal: Do you and the client wish to continue? And if so how can you negotiate effectively to maximise your financial position?

Contract renewals: when the agent calls
To get a rate rise at renewal time strengthening your bargaining position is key. Here we provide some example contractor/agent telephone conversations that do just that.

How contractors should handle contract renewals
Contractors are never obliged to accept contract renewals. Feel free to negotiate a new contract, and never accept an agent's telling you that you have some obligation resulting from the previous contract.

How can I avoid late contract renewals?
Contractors should politely pressure agents and clients to ensure that they don't get too short contracts or too short renewals.

When contractors are between contracts, they still get paid
When your first contract runs out, and you're still working on renegotiating it or renewing it with the same client, you still get paid for your work.

Continuing to work on a contract with no signed contract renewal
Many contractors drift into a contract extension with no signed renewal. That, according to Roger Sinclair of Egos, can leave them vulnerable.

Contractors who understand "contract rate poker" can improve renewal negotiation
When it’s time to renew your contract, understanding your agency process and pressure points can strengthen your contracting negotiation position.

Dealing with Agencies

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

What is an acceptable agency margin?
What is an acceptable margin, how it is calculated, and should you even negotiate it?

Can I bypass an agency that has already introduced me?
The 3 main reasons why it's unlikely you will ever be able to cut out an agency and go direct to the client.

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.

Conduct of employment regulations: a guide to opting in or out
Most contractors don’t need the protection provided by the Conduct of Employment Regulations and when asked by their agency, can choose to opt out.

When your CV is used without your permission
You have a right to keep control of your CV. And you can do something about it when agents don't respect this right.

Sometimes agents cannot unilaterally cut rates mid-contract
When agents play fast and loose with the rules, getting professional advice early can win the day. Roger Sinclair of Egos tells us about a recent case

What is a Key Information Document (KID)?
Contractors working ‘inside IR35’ under the Off-Payroll rules should expect to receive a KID from their agency at the beginning of each engagement.


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.

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

Can my client force me to work fewer hours than my contract says?
Is the client in breach of contract by forcing a contractor to take time off? It depends on the contract’s small print, says Roger Sinclair of Egos.

Contractors who take long breaks between contracts should be aware of likely pitfalls
For many limited company contractors, taking long breaks is part of their reason for contracting, but James Abbott warns there can be pitfalls.

Contracting and jury service – the issues explained
A jury summons means that a contractor is legally required to attend court, which can be costly and time consuming, even with jury service insurance.

Contracting and claiming statutory sick pay (SSP) for limited company contractors
Contractors can claim statutory sick pay (SSP) from their limited company if taking time off due to illness, explains James Abbott of Abbott Moore.


Reducing the IR35 pain with a contractor pension
Reduce the pain of it by diverting your taxes into a pension and achieve up to 48% tax relief.

Saving for retirement: contractors need to act now
With the inevitable future meltdown in state pensions contractors need to act now to ensure a healthy retirement.

IR35 issues

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.

Financial impact of IR35 on contractors
A contractors take home pay is reduced by up to 25% when caught.

Can I change contract terms to be outside IR35 during a contract?
Is it possible to change contract terms to position yourself IR35 during an existing contract? The issues explored

Job Search

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

How often should I change contracts?
Contractor Doctor explains the factors when considering how long to stay at a client site.

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


Recruiting and interviewing new team members - a guide
A simple guide to assist you when your client requests your help to interview new candidates.

Keeping ‘em sweet
With the demand for contractors increasing here’s a guide to holding onto your best ones.

Boost productivity for free
Effective time management can yield huge increases in productivity – for free!

The losers olympics: Is your project doomed?
Are you involved in a project that is doomed to fail?

Measuring your performance
Simple introduction to measuring IT project performance.


5 reasons you shouldn't consider property investments via your company
Considering using company profit to invest in property? Here's 5 reasons why it's a very bad idea.

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

Payment Structures, Finances

Reasons and practicalities of moving from an umbrella to a limited company
Discusses the reasons and steps to take to move from an umbrella arrangement to a limited company.

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

Running your limited company - a contractors guide
This article lists the on going responsibilities and obligations of running a limited company.

Moving from a limited company to an umbrella: reasons and practicalities.
Had enough of running your limited company? Find out why some contractors prefer to use an umbrella.

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.

Does taking a break get around the 24 month contractor expenses rule?
Answers a contractor's question about the 24 month expenes rule and explains the rules in detail.

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

What contractors should do about late payment
Late payment can become a thorn in your side. You do have some recourse if it does.

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

HMRC Inspections

Minimising the risk of an HMRC investigation
Contractors can minimise the risk of being investigated by HMRC by taking simple yet effective measures, explains Abbott Moore’s James Abbott.

Staying at the Top

10 Tips for long term successful contracting
There’s more to a successful contract than getting your timesheets signed. 10 Tips for success.

Effective contracting skills and experience keep contractors in well-paid contracts
“Contracting skills” are a combination of those commercial and business skills plus experience that are needed to secure regular, well-paid contracts.

Keeping your contracting skills updated
Contractors can keep their contracting skills updated by applying new techniques on existing contracts & increasing their value to potential clients.