As a contractor, you do everything within your power to present yourself as a competent and effective service provider in your chosen field. You want your customers to be able to trust you before you arrive for your first day of work. To make that happen, you must create a business-like image that tells your clients you know what you're doing. It starts with understanding that you are both the contractor AND a business owner.
Regardless of the legal structure under which you operate (with the exception of working for an umbrella company), you are self-employed as a contractor. You are providing services to clients based on a contractual agreement that may control how you provide those services to some degree, but you are ultimately in charge of your work. That makes you a business owner. In order to present yourself in that light, you need to think in that light.
There is no legal requirement for contractors to set up limited companies. Contractors can work as sole traders providing services to one client at a time, or they can work for umbrella companies. The contractor who wants to present a business-like image and has plans to expand beyond what sole trading allows should consider setting up a limited company. You can also achieve an uplift in your income by trading as a limited company. ICP Accountancy specialised in this service.
Establishing a limited company adds a certain amount of credibility to your business. It shows that you are in it for the long haul and that you actually have long-range plans for growth and expansion.
Establishing a limited company is relatively straightforward in principle. Once it's done, you can set about the process of marketing your business in order to generate new clients. Where is the best place to start? Online. Create a professional looking website complete with branding.
A website has numerous functions that are invaluable to your business. First, it acts as an internet-based calling card that can attract new customers looking for your services. Next, it is also a resource for keeping in touch with your current customers. And third, it provides a forum through which you can list your service and demonstrate your expertise.
Along with a website, you should be engaging via social media. Nearly three-quarters of all internet users are also social media users to one extent or another, so you need to take advantage of this platform. You should have a presence on Facebook and Twitter at a bare minimum; other sites such as LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest also have tremendous value.
Working as a contractor through a limited company requires accounting that is a bit more complicated than that which you might be used to as a sole trader or an umbrella company employee. You can learn to handle accounting yourself, or you can work with an online accounting service that does most of the heavy lifting for you. We recommend the online accounting service.
Contracting your accounting to a specialist provider is affordable and effective. It also frees you up to concentrate on serving your customers rather than having to put excessive amounts of time into accounting.
Last but not least is paying attention to all the little extras that will complete your business-like image. They include designing and ordering branded stationery and business cards, looking at the possibility of uniforms for yourself and any future workers, and even signing on with industry trade groups within your chosen sector.
As a contractor, you are also a small business owner. So think like one, and present yourself and your business with a unified message.