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The hidden life of a contractor

Fri 15th May 2015

The life of a contractor for an outsider may look rosy. Flexibility, higher incomes and variety in job roles can look appealing at first glance. However the life of a contractor can be much harder that people give credit for. Along with winning a contract, comes a lot of responsibility to manage the process and your own career in tandem. This work, often done in the background, maybe in evenings or weekends, can be the hidden life of a contractor. Managing it well and it will be rewarding. But it is also the mostly likely cause of anyone’s contracting ambitions failing. Many people under estimate the quantity of paperwork that needs to be completed as a contractor.

Paper work

Record keeping and report writing – keeping records for your own benefit, your clients and to conform to industry regulations, can be a timely activity that seems thank less at the time. It however can avoid future conflicts and be a life saver should questions arise in the future.


Making sure your records are available for HRMC to review if necessary is essential. If you were ever to be investigated, through no fault of your own the stress and impact will be minimised by complete records.


Working at other peoples locations you need to make sure your insurances are up to date and cover the work you are carrying out. Without it you risk everything you own and potentially your freedom.

Time sheet management Keeping track of time spent on site for your own management analytics and to ensure compliance with IR35 rules is strongly advised.

Licensing and certification requirements Time needs to be spent on making sure any industry requirements for certifications and licencing are up to date, in place at the right time.


Customer service keeping your customers happy with timely and accurate details about the status of a project is essential. Customers often are buying in your expertise for critical projects and therefore they need the right information, delivered at the right time in the right way. This can change project to project so you need to adapt to the needs of the current customer. Keeping your customers happy is essential for managing your own reputation.

Building contacts keeping up to date within the industry to know where and from whom you can obtain services, to know what new technologies are available that can influence your project. Building a network of contacts you have ready to call upon for their input will make your project easier to manage than sourcing as you go would.

Reviewing suppliers being able to rely on others to deliver your materials on time to your requirements is essential too. Having a network of trusted suppliers is key to ensuring other organisations activities do not negatively impact upon your reputation.

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