Becoming a Contractor
We were asked this question by a permie who is thinking of becoming a contractor. He wants our advice.
IT Contractor Reader Kinster
I see that the majority of contracts require you to start ASAP. Is it best to quit your permanent role to give yourself a better chance in this market?
I would say no, not at the moment. There are not so many out-of-work contractors now but you still stand the risk of being out of work for months.
However, it depends on a few factors.
Firstly, if you have some very up-to-date skills, especially ones where there is a shortage and where rates are very good, then it might be worth your while becoming a contractor..
It would be worthwhile talking to a few agencies to get advice as to whether they thought that you marketable and your skills highly prized.
Beware though, it would be nothing to some of them if you quit your job and then they couldn’t find you anything.
Secondly, it depends how much notice you have to give. If it is three months then that might preclude you from getting contract work.
However, if it is just a month, then that would not rule you out of all contract work. If a project is being put together then clients may well be happy to take you after a month.
There would definitely be a fair amount of contracts available to you even with a month’s notice (at least in normal times). You would have the advantage of being able to hold on to your job at the same time as looking for contracts.
Make sure, though, that the agencies don’t contact you at work. That’s because it will soon become obvious to suspicious people (and there are plenty of them at most places) that you are talking to agencies.
IT Contractors a Breed Apart
I would say that contractors are a breed apart. They are risk takers. Usually, they back their own ability (sometimes wrongly). They much prefer working for themselves than a company. Most of them don‘t want progression up the firm and don‘t want to get involved in office politics (most of them).
They like earning a lot more money, and are prepared to give up their safety nets in order to do it.
What I suspect is that you are probably temperamentally a contractor.
Put it this way, if you are even contemplating giving up your safe job in a market that is doing OK but is not in boom times then you appear to have the necessary instincts.
Good luck if you do make the jump. However, I would urge a bit of caution. Although, if you really do feel the ‘call of the wild’ get yourself into IT contracting.
Kinster – Agencies Calling Me Up
I’ve had a lot of agencies call me up and it seems that they always want people to start ‘ASAP’! Whenever I mention the ‘2 weeks plus’ notice period, they go a bit quiet.
I’m thinking of jumping ship. I have enough to survive for a year, concentrating on starting a business also.
What do you think of me telling the agencies that I am able to start ASAP and when I do get an offer, just walk out of the permanent role?
Dr. McLaughlin’s IT surgery
No, don’t do that.
Tell them that you have a two week notice period. However, tell them that you are pretty sure that they won’t hold you to that. They will let you away with just a few days notice.
The chances are that they will, as companies don’t like to hold on to people who are ‘on their way’ too long.
They just spend their time making the rest of the employees jealous and making them think of leaving.
One of the hardest parts of becoming a contractor is taking that first step.
If you do decided to become a contractor here is some advice as to how best to operate as a contractor:-