How IT contractors can make the most of demand
IT contractors are reportedly in higher demand than ever at the moment. With more and more companies opting for permanent remote working, IT contractors are needed to help put infrastructure in place. Add to this the ongoing pandemic (and Brexit) continuing to cause staffing shortages and there being an overall need for flexibility, the time has never been better to be an IT contractor. In fact, you’re pretty much in a position where you can name your price.
So, just how do IT contractors make the most of the demand they find themselves in? The Kingsbridge team has a few tips.
Review your contractor rates
Right now, IT contractors don’t really need to worry about being “competitively priced” as demand is far outstripping supply – meaning now is the perfect time to review and potentially increase your rates. Of course, tempting as it is, don’t just pluck a number out of the air.
Do some research on what the current industry average is for an IT contractor and weigh up your experience level, geographical location and other pertinent factors to arrive at a rate that feels right for you – and that your clients will pay.
Update your skill set
Lockdown has afforded many of us the chance to expand our skill sets, so if you’ve been able to add coding or network management to your repertoire over the past 18 months then shout about it – having that something extra will help you stand out from the crowd and match you with the ideal client.
If you were kept busy with work during lockdown and feel as if your skills could use a refresh, look into courses you could take or qualifications you could work towards to boost your talents and help to give yourself even more appeal.
Do you have a specialism?
Specialists are likely to find themselves in particular demand. As businesses move more towards flexible working models, they are more likely to hire contractors to solve particular problems or work on specific projects. This means that having a niche can really help ensure you get hired for the best jobs – and this can also add a percentage on to your rates as well.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t do more general work as well, but having a specialism to build your reputation on can help make you a more desirable hire. If you’re early in your contracting career and don’t currently have a specialism, don’t worry. It’s something you can work towards as you build experience and hone your skill set.
Update your availability
A big part of getting hired as a contractor is simply letting clients and recruiters know you’re available. With IT contractors in demand, many clients aren’t putting contracts out to tender. Instead, they’re looking for recommendations and, crucially, contractors who are available right now.
So, if you’re currently available, or perhaps have a contract coming to an end, shout about it. Put it out there on LinkedIn, email the recruiters in your network, and even let past clients know. You never know, they might just be looking for someone and your email could be very timely.
Consider your IR35 status
You’ll need to make sure you’re considering your IR35 status when taking on new engagements and factor this into your rates. If your client is a small business or working for an overseas client with no link to the UK, you are still responsible for determining your own IR35 status and are liable for tax and NICs.
However, if your client is a medium or large business, they are responsible for issuing your Status Determination Statement (SDS), while your fee payer holds the tax liability.
If you are found to be inside IR35, you will be taxed at source at the same rates as an employee which could leave you worse off – something worth building into your fee structure. It’s also worth taking a look at your contracts and working practices to make sure that you are indisputably outside IR35, assuming that’s where you’d prefer to be (and you could always use something like the Kingsbridge IR35 Status Tool to help with this).
Get your insurances in place
You can really capitalise on the current high demand for IT contractors by making sure you’re ready to start work as soon as possible. One of the ways to do this is having all of your insurance set up and in place, ready to go when your client requests the details.
So, if your business insurance is up for renewal, or perhaps you need to start it back up as you’ve let it lapse, speak to the experts at Kingsbridge to discuss your requirements. Our contractor insurance package includes:
- Public liability;
- Professional indemnity;
- Employers’ liability;
- Directors’ and officers’ liability;
- Occupational personal accident cover.
This package typically provides all that insurance that you’ll be contractually required to have, plus some additional policies that will protect you financially should anything go wrong. This can also be a great IR35 indicator as it demonstrates that you take on financial risk.