Contractors – as we come out of lockdown this is what I know you need
There are huge lessons we can all learn from the current pandemic. You may have even seen my recent 4-part series on lessons every business should take from the crisis. For contractors, the cards may have been dealt slightly differently, with much of the decision making out of your hands, but there are still important takeaways.
IR35 Reform still planned for 2021
Despite attempts to delay IR35 reform, this looks likely to go ahead in 2021. Don’t get caught out. Plan now and negotiate your contracts to work for you. I published an article back in February to help contractors get ready, while the date has moved to 2021, my recommendations are unchanged:
- Organise your umbrella now – even if you don’t need it immediately
- Speak to your agency and clients – learn how they plan to implement the new process
- Get on top of your finances – know what the financial impact will be for you, run through scenarios now, renegotiate if possible or plan for a change in your circumstances.
Good financial planning gives you choices
Whether you fared well, or feel panicked by the state of your finances during lockdown, this should highlight to all contractors the need for shrewd financial planning. Contracting can, and should be lucrative – you’re taking on risk that the regular employed workforce do not and should be rewarded for it. However, when the money stops rolling in, you need choices.
I have two top resources for you on financial planning for contractors.
Who’s supporting you?
As a team, we’ve supported hundreds of contractors and business owners to navigate the array of Government support on offer. The main lifeline for contractors has been the Furlough scheme, in May alone we’ve organised £8,576 of Furlough payments for contractors.
Like anything new, it was far from straightforward, but rather than simply charge contractors to do this for them we gave our clients choice. We put together detailed instructions for anyone wanting to invest their own time in processing their claim, or we offered a very low cost done-for-you option.
I firmly believe contracting is about choice. Having the flexibility of choosing who you work for and for how long, choosing who will support you and give you the tools you need.
If you’re not a Meades client, have you been supported by your accountant through this pandemic? Have you been kept informed of your options? If not, let’s talk. Call me on 01923 729517.
Remote working – get setup properly so you can adjust quickly
Many of you will know, my team have worked in a “results-only working environment” for a long time. That means we work where we want, when we want, as long as the work gets done. Think it sounds too good to be true? Well, our team are the proof that it works. We’re happier and more productive. I don’t know any business owner that will say “no thanks” to that.
As a contractor, are your clients considering saving money by shifting to a remote workforce? Are you ready to adapt?
Many contractors have been thrown into disarray with accommodating homeworking. But, had the technology already been in place, the transition would have been smooth – trust me, I’ve done it. And it’s worth it.
There are a multitude of ways of communicating with your clients – if you’re not sure where to start, get in touch. I’ll share with you the complete setup we use to keep our team connected.
Contractors are often required to provide their own technology – so get yours ready, as I believe remote working will be a major part of our new normal.
Maybe you’re a big fan of remote working and all your tech is in place already. Now you need to sell it to your clients. Efficiency alone is valuable to your clients, but there’s more. Meeting more frequently will allow you to have a bigger impact – be that by providing more support, or regular strategy sessions if you’re an advisor. I urge you to take ten minutes now and write a list of all the ways an online meeting is better for you and your client. Then share it with your clients and get their buy-in, to keep the positives even after lockdown.
Create the new “normal” that suits you
What lessons have you learned as a contractor during lockdown? I’d love to hear from you, comment below or drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whatever you have gained from this period, please put it to good use. Don’t just revert back to the old ways when lockdown is lifted. Apply the lessons long term and use them to deliver a better service at a higher profit.