What to review if you have been contracting for more than 10 years
Many contractors have been helming their limited companies for more than 10 years now – no mean feat when we live in a time where people often change jobs every couple of years. But contracting gives so many rewards (flexibility, choosing your hours, managing your own workload) that it’s little wonder people choose to stick with it long-term when they find success with it.
Hitting that decade milestone, though, can be a bit of a wake-up call to review your business and check everything is running the way you want it to. After all, a lot has changed in the last 10 years and there may well be things you could tweak in order to run more efficiently, ethically, and effectively between now and 2032. So, what sort of things should you be taking a look at?
Review your rates
If you’re still charging the same as you did in 2012 then chances are you’re underselling yourself. The cost of living has increased significantly, with the Bank of England calculating that goods and services costing £800 in 2011 would cost more than £955 in 2021 – and that’s not even taking into account the high rise in inflation of the last few months.
And inflation isn’t the only thing you should be considering. You are vastly more experienced now than you were 10 years ago and your experience is what clients pay you for. So it’s time to sit down and review your rates and decide how you’re going to increase them. We do appreciate this can be a thorny issue though, so we’re produced a guide to help you navigate your way to more appropriate rates.
Review your marketing strategy
Marketing techniques have also changed dramatically over the last 10 years, so it’s a good idea to take a look at your marketing strategy too. You should definitely re-assess your target market, review your LinkedIn profile and ask for testimonials and a few other things.
One thing you absolutely should do is update your website and LinkedIn to reflect the 10 years of experience you have. Pointing out that you’ve been in business for a decade or more gives prospective clients faith in your reliability and in the quality of your service.
Review your green credentials
10 years ago, environmental concerns were on the radar, but not given anywhere near the amount of consideration they are now. Being an eco-friendly contractor may not have even crossed your mind a decade ago. It’s better late than never though so use your 10 years in the business as an excuse to review your green credentials.
You might want to look at aspects of your business such as working remotely, using public transport, refraining from printing, making use of ethical suppliers, and switching off devices and equipment when not in use. These are all small, easy to make changes that can add up to one big difference.
Keep up to date with industry news
Your industry will have changed over the last decade – contracting in general certainly has. Keeping up with industry news means that you can stay abreast of changes and adapt to them as and when they happen. It also means you can stay up to date with where the major projects are and who is hiring.
Give yourself some time each week to peruse industry newsletters and blogs to keep yourself in the loop. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best blogs for limited company contractors to read so you can get started right away.
Check the tax dates
Chances are you’re a dab hand at doing your own taxes now. After all, you’ve been handling them for 10 or more years. You may well even have an accountant doing the heavy lifting for you. However, it can’t hurt to keep yourself in the know when it comes to the important tax dates each year. We’ve put together a blog of the key 2022 tax dates so take a look and add them to your planner.
There are lots to factor in, and hopefully most of them won’t apply to you because you’ve paid everything you owe, but the big one to remember is 31 January – Self Assessment deadline day. Just promise us you won’t leave it to the last minute.
Review your business insurance
We like to think that after 10 years in the business you’re up to speed with what insurance you need now, but it can’t hurt to review your insurance and check that you have all of the insurance you need. For instance, do you need IR35 cover? Or cyber liability insurance? Or maybe your business insurance is coming up for renewal?
To chat about your contractor insurance and discuss if you need to review it, you can speak to our friendly, expert team to discuss different types of cover and what’s best for your needs. Contact us today.