A contractor’s guide to finding a contract in the UK

As a contractor, finding and securing a contract in the current climate can be very different to finding a job and the responsibilities associated with working full-time. What you don’t want to do is turn your contracting career into a full-time job search, so below, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you secure high-paying, relevant contracts here in the UK…

Make sure you’re ready

Before you get started, make sure you’re prepared for contract work. Either incorporate a small business, register as self-employed or work under an umbrella contracting company so can offer you the benefits of PAYE with the benefits of being self-employed. Once you’ve done that, you should focus on writing a great CV that offers insights into your experience and skills as a contractor, and perhaps a portfolio or website depending on your industry.

Know your worth

Next up, you should establish your hourly or annual contractor rate. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of applying for and interviewing for a contract job, only to realise you’d be working for far less than you were when you were employed. By setting a clear rate for your services, you won’t have to waste time speaking with businesses who cannot meet your demand, and you can plan for your future, estimating how much you’ll turn over when you’re working.

Speak to agencies

Once you’ve completed your CV and portfolio, send it to agencies so you’re added to their database and can be contacted should a relevant role pop up. Agencies work from a huge number of contractors when they’re trying to fill short and medium-term projects, so the more of those you’re on, the more likely you are to be asked to work on temporary contracts. Keep a good relationship with your agency, responding back to them after a project is completed, so you’re always at the top of their agenda when they’re offering opportunities to contractors.

Treat it as a job search

It’s important to note that you might go through periods when you’re not earning money, so treating your contracting career as a permanent job search will help you. If you’re not working or you’re just starting out, call agencies to follow up applications, chase positions, search job websites for potential opportunities, and send off applications to companies. If you work in construction, for example, sending a construction company a copy of your CV for their records will ensure you’re thought about when they’re next recruiting for a project.

The truth is that working as a contractor isn’t always easy, so it’s important to brace yourself and understand the responsibilities and challenges you may face. With the right skill set and attitude, however, you’ll find it easy to secure new roles and take your career even higher.