First job or seasoned veteran, deciding to be a consultant/contractor is a big decision. It is important that you know your own personality. Consultants don’t have the security that a person in a permanent/corporate position does (most of the time). You are basically running your own business. So if you fret a lot about your next pay cheque than contracting may not be right for you. But if you are confident and secure in yourself than there are a lot of good reasons for contracting over permanent employment.
- Most consultants are paid hourly wages/salaries that are higher than the permanent employees. This is because they don’t receive the benefits of full time employment, ie medical, dental, sick days, etc.
- You will be given a contract to sign, make sure you read it before you sign it. It should layout your “deliverables” – what exactly is expected of you at the end of the contract. Your rate. What happens with personal days. If it is long term can you take vacation days, etc.
- You are running your own business so you can decide where your money goes. For example, if you are single then maybe benefits aren’t that important, whereas if you have a family you may want to sign up for a benefits package through a health provider. There are no union dues.
- There are good tax write offs, for example your car, your home office, entertainment, computers, printers, education, benefit packages, etc. These can all become business expenses. Yes, hire a tax accountant to help you Incorporate. You want to make sure you are taking advantages of everything you can, but also being honest.
- You may get to work remotely if that appeals to you.
- The chance of feeling in a rut is less likely in a contract position as you have the opportunity to work for a number of different companies on a number of different systems. This will enhance your training and saleability. Big corporate companies tend to put you in a slot and then leave you there so your resume can look a little boring if you have been doing the same job, working on the same system for the last 5 years.
- There is the opportunity to travel. It is much easier to work in another country on a short-term contract than it is to try and get a work visa.
- If you want to take an extended holiday then just work your contracts around the dates you want to be away.
- Company politics – not your business, you don’t have to get involved.
- Networking – you will meet an amazing number of qualified people, who will keep you in mind when they hear about other jobs. Contractors love to network with other Contractors. We receive lots of referrals from our placed Contractors who are in long term arrangements, but know a colleague who is qualified and is looking for a new opportunity.
- You are usually considered an expert in your field. Companies hire contractors in good and bad economies. Permanent placements can be harder to get in a downturn.
- If you find a job and a company that really interests you, and you are doing a good job then there is an opportunity to get in full time.
Let me know if in your experience you can think of any other good reasons for choosing the consultant/contractor career path.
Good luck job hunting
Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment. Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!