Contractor jobs are some of the most in-demand positions today. These careers may be perfect for you if you’re interested in working as a contractor and becoming an independent worker.
With the growing demand for contractors, now is the perfect time to dive into this field and start your own contracting business. Here are some tips on how to become a successful contractor. If you’re thinking about becoming a contractor, there are many benefits to this type of career.
Contractors have more freedom than employees to set their hours and locations. You can also take on projects that pique your interest while still making a steady income. And with so many contracting jobs available, there are plenty of opportunities if you’re ready to take the plunge into contracting life.
What Is A Contractor?
A contractor is an individual who pays taxes and receives no benefits. Contractors also charge a fee to complete a job. Contractors are freelancers, independent workers, consultants, and sole proprietors.
Typically, contractors work on a project-by-project basis rather than having a steady 9-to-5 work schedule. While the hours can vary, contractors can often choose the projects they work on. This flexibility allows contractors to balance work and life better than those who work for someone else.
Know The Basics Of Contracting
To find independent contractor jobs, you need to know the basics of being a contractor. You’re essentially starting your own small business when you become a contractor.
Get Familiar With Numbers
There is no better way to start your contracting career than by taking the time to understand the financial aspect of contracting. To succeed as a contractor, you need to know how to estimate projects correctly, manage your cash flow, and track your profits.
Business expenses are also essential to understand as a contractor. You can deduct certain business expenses from your taxes, saving you money come tax time.
Get Your Finances In Order
You’ll need to have all your financial ducks in a row before you start your contracting journey. If you don’t already have an established business, you’ll need to set one up. This is a crucial first step in your contracting journey and is necessary to be adequately protected by law.
Have Writing Samples
If you’re hoping to become a freelance writer, you’ll need a portfolio of your best work. When hiring writers, a portfolio is often the first thing clients will ask to see. Make sure you have writing samples ready to show your clients so you can get more contracting work.
Your construction project should be planned out before you start advertising your services. Local businesses are always in need of contractors to help with construction projects. You can find work as a general contractor or a specialty contractor.
How To Find Work As A Contractor
Independent contractor jobs can be found in a variety of ways. Job search engines, job boards, and networking are all great ways to find contracting work. Here are a few avenues to explore:
Network Like Crazy
There are plenty of online contractor forums that you can join to network with other independent contractors. These forums are great places to meet people in your field, ask questions, and get advice from those who have been in your shoes.
The job boards on these websites are also a great way to find new contracting opportunities.
- Get on social media. Social media has become an excellent way for contractors to network and find work. You can use platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to find potential clients and work. Over time, you can also use social media to build your brand and establish yourself as a leader in your field.
- Attend networking events. You can also meet potential clients at networking events. Many industries hold networking events and conferences where contractors can get together and make connections. These events are also great places to practice your elevator pitch and learn from other contractors.
Set Up A Marketing Fund
When you first start contracting, you won’t have any clients yet. This usually means you’ll be working without pay until you can find your first job. To get around this issue, set up a marketing fund.
- Get a contractor’s license. Before you start contracting, you’ll need to get a contractor’s license. Contractor licenses vary by state, but most require contractors to have general liability insurance and work up to code. A government contractor in commercial construction will require you to have a DUNS number.
- Build a website. You’ll also need your website to promote yourself as a contractor. Include your services, pricing, and contact information on your website. You can also use websites like Upwork to find short-term work while building your contractor business. Quality contractors have a solid online presence so make sure you put your best foot forward.
Establish Good Practices
- Establish a payment schedule. Make sure you have a payment schedule set up before you start contracting. This will help you avoid problems and get paid for your work.
- Set up a proper accounting system. You’ll also need to set up an accounting system for your contracting business. This will help you stay on top of your profit and loss and make it easier to file taxes.
- Stay current on your permits and licenses. You may need to renew your contractor’s license every year. Make sure to stay on top of your permits and licenses to keep working.
- Join a trade organization. You can also join a trade organization to stay up to date on your industry. Trade organizations are great places to network with other contractors, get contractor advice, and learn about new materials and techniques. Subcontracting jobs are also often posted on trade organization websites.
Don’t Rush Into Hiring Employees
One of the biggest mistakes contractors make is rushing into hiring employees. The same job will often take two employees twice as long as it would take one contractor. Employees need time to learn the ropes and get up to speed.
- Don’t hire employees to do the work. Instead, use contractors to finish the job. Contractors are cheaper, easier to replace, and don’t come with many added costs that employees have.
- Understand the risks. While you don’t need to hire employees immediately, you should understand the risks of contracting without employees. Contractors are responsible for all their expenses, such as health insurance and taxes, while employees are provided with some of these benefits.
- Find a good insurance company. You also need to ensure that your contractor’s insurance covers employees. This is often the case, but you should check with your insurance company to be sure.
Run A Solid Background Check
Another thing you should do before bringing on employees is run a background check. You don’t want to hire contractors with criminal records or abuse other contractors.
- Contractors with large amounts of debt are likely to skip out on payments. This means that you could be left paying someone else’s bills.
- You want to avoid hiring contractors with a history of ignoring building codes and other regulations. This can lead to your company being fined and paying for other damages.
- You also want to avoid bringing on contractors with a history of violent crimes and other felonies. These contractors may be more likely to abuse and harass your employees.
Know The Ins And Outs Of Being A Contractor
- Taxes and deductions. First, you’ll be responsible for all your taxes. This means you’ll have to file taxes yearly, pay taxes on any income, and pay taxes on your employee benefits.
- Health insurance. You’ll also be responsible for paying for your health insurance if you choose to get it. This can get expensive, especially if you have a family.
- Retirement. You’ll also be responsible for funding your retirement account. This can be tricky since you don’t have a consistent paycheck.
- Managing cash flow. Contractors also have to manage their cash flow more closely than employees do. This is because you don’t receive regular paychecks.
Build A Portfolio
When you first start contracting, potential clients will want to see samples of your work. To do this, you need to build a portfolio.
- Start with a website. The first thing you should do is set up a website. You can use a site like Wix or Squarespace to create a professional website. You can also use online portfolios like Behance or Coroflot to showcase your work. Make sure to include things like your name and contact information and samples of your work.
- Offer a trial run. You can also offer potential clients a trial run or sample of your work so they can decide if they want to hire you. It’s common to provide a free sample of your work to both clients and potential employees.
- Be patient. Building a portfolio can take time, especially if you don’t have any clients yet. Be patient and keep showing your work. Eventually, clients will start calling, and emails will come in.
After reading these contractor career tips, you might be ready to make the jump into contracting full-time. Contracting can be a great way to work for yourself and set your own hours and schedules. Remember that contracting jobs can be competitive, and you’ll have to put in the effort to find clients.
By following these tips, you should be able to find plenty of ways to find work as a contractor. Just remember to be patient and persistent, and eventually, you’ll find the perfect opportunity for you.