Questions Contractors Ask
There are always questions when starting off in contracting. We have tried to answer some of the main queries we receive on a frequent basis. If you think we have missed anything, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help. We would always advise contractors to hire professional account services but we have highlighted some useful information related to tax below.
Going it alone or via a resourcing services partner?
Using the expertise of a third party allows you to leverage their network. The resourcing services partner will also promote you to their network, leaving you to focus on what you do best – delivering or managing projects. It is worthwhile deciding whether you wish to work with a recruitment resourcing services partner versus a resourcing services agency. The latter is often an industry/niche specialist and is not as commercially driven as a recruitment company. This ensures you are a valuable partner as opposed to an asset to be traded at the highest profit.
Paying resourcing services partner margins
We never charge our contractors a fee for securing a placement. Your day rate is agreed at the outset and we never take a percentage of this. In this way, you can secure work through us, knowing that there is full transparency on both sides. Some contractors who have worked with generalist recruitment agencies now prefer to go direct to market via job boards etc. While this is effective for some contractors, many of our partners prefer to maintain the relationship with our resourcing team.
Large bluechips and preferred suppliers.
Many large corporates operate via preferred suppliers. This offers some security, as partners must be fully compliant and deliver guaranteed, high standards of contracting staff. It is worth understanding which organisations your selected resourcing services partner works with. I.T. Alliance Resourcing Services has long-established partnerships across public and private sector.
Due to the demand for skilled IT contractors, you might find that your phone never stops ringing once you announce that you are looking for a new role. We recommend you maintain a separate phone number and email for these purposes. This ensures you do not receive a call on your personal number at inopportune times.
How to write a professional profile.
Never be afraid to seek feedback on your professional profile. Our IT resourcing team view hundreds of professional profiles annually and understand which CVs get the most positive attention. Your resourcing consultant will work with you to optimise your professional profile when needed. We also offer advice on the interview process here.
How do I manage my tax affairs?
We are not a tax advisory service, but we do work with some trusted advisory companies who are able to offer advice or full services depending on your requirements. As a resourcing services organisation, we only work with fully tax compliant contractors.
Can I work as a freelancer?
Our contractors work as a limited or umbrella company. It is unusual for a contractor to work as a ‘sole trader’. Any failure of a sole-trader to pay tax would mean that we or our clients may be liable for failure to pay taxes.
Insurance and Personal Indemnity.
As a contractor, you are personally liable for any mistakes or errors. You provide professional advice to clients and as such, protection against the repercussions is highly advised. Increasingly, our clients insist on evidence of professional indemnity insurance before starting a contractor. We work with partners who can advise you on the best cover for you.
Timesheets and invoices.
Getting paid on time and the correct amount is important. As a contractor, you are paid for your services based on time spent on a project. You will be required to complete timesheets and submit them. In I.T. Alliance Resourcing Services, we use our custom-built, Microsoft based system to track, approve and pay contractors. This ensures your payments are tracked accurately, made in a timely manner and approved efficiently.
Deadlines for approvals.
All timesheets and payments follow strict deadlines. It is vital to submit timesheets before the deadline. If a contractor misses a deadline for any reason, we encourage them to contact their account manager who will endeavour to rectify the situation.
As a contractor, you are not entitled to sick pay but we would ask that you call your account manager before the day starts. This will enable them to notify the client and your internal line manager.
Duration and extension of contracts.
Before you start a contract, the duration will be agreed. We often see successful contractors receive extensions. As the contractor, this extension can only be agreed once you are satisfied with all requirements. We would encourage all contractors to consider short term assignments for this reason. Often, these are extended.
Can I take holidays during my assignment?
We would always advise contractors to avoid taking any leave during an assignment. Any requested leave must be approved by us (the resourcer) and the clients. Some clients may require cover for any time taken and as such, this would need to be backfilled by our team.
Can I apply for a mortgage while contracting?
Working as a contractor does not disqualify you from applying for a mortgage. Mortgage lenders are happy to speak to contractors regarding their options, despite the sometimes-unpredictable nature of their roles. We would urge you to speak to a qualified mortgage professional or financial services lender. Working with a qualified accountant can also help. Many banks don’t understand contracting. Working with an accountant who can act on your behalf sometimes helps. An accountant can explain your situation to the bank and help you put your best foot forward.
How can I upskill?
The onus is on a contractor to upskill but working with I.T. Alliance Resourcing services has additional benefits over any other competitor. We have a range of internal, accredited industry leaders who offer discounted training to our network. This includes our highly acclaimed project management training that is PMP accredited and provided to clients and contractors alike. This programme is run by Terence O’Donnell, a co-founder of the PMI Chapter in Ireland.
Managing finances is not just about toting up numbers. Chasing payments from multiple clients can be stressful at the best of times. Working with a resourcing services organisation such as ours ensures you receive favourable payment conditions. Many public sector clients have 90 day payment cycles. This is not ideal for a contractor who requires monthly payments. Contracting with us ensures that your payment schedules work for you.
What does a day rate cover?
A day rate covers 7.5 hours per day. Anything in excess of that should be agreed in advance as it is out of scope.
Can a contract be terminated without notice?
A project’s duration is outlined from the start in the contract. We would not expect your project to end any sooner than the end date.
Is the dress code important?
Despite being a contractor, we would expect you to follow the company dress code. This not only ensures the appropriate choice of clothing but helps you connect with company staff. It helps to remember that you are selling yourself at all times when contracting, so it helps to live up to expectations – even when it comes to dress code.
How can I remain competitive?
During the recession, it was disappointing to see contractors being forced to reduce their day rates. This creates a ‘race to the bottom’, which does not benefit the market. Thankfully, this is not the current situation, thanks to a buoyant market. Competitiveness is still an issue as more and more full-time employees join the contractor market. Being competitive does not necessarily have to revolve around finances. Being efficient, proactive and creative are all methods to win hearts and minds with clients.
Does your agency or resourcing partner have a payroll department?
While some organisations outsource their payroll (which is not a negative point), there might be delays with payments. Some companies may have longer than ideal payment terms (e.g. 90 days). In order to avoid these long payment terms, using a resourcing services company ensures you will be paid monthly.