And the contract goes to …
Like it or not, the world is changing. The traditionalist, old-school values (while being noble, worthy and some would say ‘humanly’ better) are fading away, to be replaced by electronic evaluations, ticked boxes and smarter marketing.
Sorry, but that is just the way it is!
The good news is that personal relationships are still massively meaningful in doing your job, being the best that you can be and making sure you are in the running for a renewed contract. But you still need to get on the ladder and stay there. One of the ever-changing and consistently relevant factors in the life of a contractor or freelancer is being the right side of IR35 and being able to operate as a legitimate business.
And the contract goes to the contractor who looks, sounds and operates like a small business
Like all changing environments, some of its residents will die-off or give up, while those that remain through the tough challenges will eventually reap the benefit of less competition for the goods. That means that your worth or value is likely to increase as more and more contractors and freelancers decide that the legislation and demands are just not worth the hassle anymore.
To survive the harsh winter, however, until more fruitful times return – you will probably need to invest in your infrastructure and processes a bit more than you have done in the past. Basically – the more you can look like a serious company to the outside world, the more likely you are to keep HMRC happy and attract the attention of companies looking to hire small businesses with your expertise.
Five essential things you can do, as a contractor, to demonstrate that you are a real business
- Have an up-to-date website that explains exactly what you do and your experience at doing it. This will both establish that you exist as a business and may even attract more work opportunities in its own right.
- Publish your terms and conditions: how people can work with your business, who they need to contact and your full payment/credit terms. This is another indicator that you operate commercially as a business.
- For your IR35 reporting, it is also good practice to have an identified SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code which quickly identifies the industry and niche that you operate within.
- List, on your website or other supporting documents, the clients who you have worked for in the past. This demonstrates that you do not just supply one client and adds credibility and evidence for people looking to employ you in the future.
- Tick boxes: you probably didn’t start working as a contractor because you wanted to run a business. But things change, and if you do these simple things right you can still enjoy all the freedoms, earnings and other benefits of work as a freelancer.
If you need any help making yourself look and run more like the small business that you are – please get in touch because we’d love to help you.