Getting Started As A Contractor: Handy Things To Know

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If you believe your skillset to be competent enough to work for you and you alone rather than for a firm directly, then you might be tempted to work as a contractor. This affords you many freedoms, such as choosing what jobs you take, what hours you work, and how much money you quote those willing to hire your services.

Despite how easy this sounds, it does take a little forethought and planning to set up correctly. You need to know the following to stay effective:

Budget

First of all, you need to assess what you think your skills are worth, and price them reasonably. You might be able to charge a considerable percentage more than you’d be paid with a standard salary, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to stay competitive. Some trades are saturated with workers competing for jobs, and so it’s instructive to do a little research before you start setting your price of commission. It’s important to also understand that sometimes letting a job go due to it’s low cost of entry can turn around and bite you at a later date, when work is drying up. Consider your time, the resources you have and exactly what you want to be paid for those, and most importantly BE FLEXIBLE with the sum you come up with.

Market Saturation

We previously mentioned market saturation as something to consider when taking jobs. It runs deeper than this though. How in need are you skills completely? If you have IT expertise, are you offering a service that is more inclusive than a guide someone can find on the internet? If you are a handyman, can you provide a better service with more reliable and flexible material sourcing than a firm that already has ties and mutual business ties with suppliers? You need to find ways to make yourself stand out. It’s likely that no matter your skillset, competition is fierce.

Ambitious contractors might even choose to bolster their abilities in ways that do not necessarily correspond to what they’re offering. Consider, for example, that you are a plumber in Canada. Learning French in your spare time alongside English automatically opens you up to another half of the population, just waiting to hire your services. Remember, no matter how skilled you are as a contractor, you can always improve and make yourself more valuable. It is your responsibility to yourself.

Insurance

You’ll need insurance to cover the safety of transporting your tools or making a mistake. Several engineering contractors use comprehensive forms of public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance to prevent financial difficulties occurring after mistakes or accidents happen, and they do happen, quite often. Knowing that you’re covered allows you to operate in a relaxed manner, and focus on your work.

Another form, probably the greatest form of insurance is common sense. Never scrimp on materials to save money or otherwise provide an unprofessional service that can come back to bite you, especially in this digital age, where everything is accessible, including negative information about your firm.

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