Contracting for information technology businesses, or for other businesses as a provider of IT services, is highly lucrative. IT personnel are paid very high salaries, and as contractors your hourly earnings will reflect this. In addition, as a contractor, you will have the freedom to pick your clients and the projects that you want to work on, and to choose how many hours a week you want to work.Follow these five tips to develop your IT contracting career.

Get a broad range of experience

Your contracting career will flourish if you can offer a wide range of skills and expertise in addition to your core IT skills. In other words, the more projects and assignments that you have been exposed to, the more you will be able to contribute to a project. It is also more likely that clients will see you as a suitable worker if they can see evidence that you have had some exposure to their field of business.

Complete a formal course

Educational credentials act as a stamp of assurance on both employees and contractors. If you can prove that you have a certain base level of skills by means of a course or degree certificate, clients will feel reassured when considering you for re-employment. Education in a formal setting will also provide you with a rounded understanding of your subject field.

Follow tax and legal obligations

In contrast to employees, contractors are responsible for their own tax and legal affairs. You need to register with the tax authorities and pay tax on your income as the payments from your clients will not automatically include tax deductions. Make use of contractor tax help from an accountant or via an umbrella company to make sure that you meet all government requirements and don’t fall foul of requirements such as IR35.

Sound financial planning

Your income as a contractor will be unpredictable. Instead of a monthly salary, you will receive payment in return for services rendered. This could be in the shape of a regular monthly payment, but even these payments are determined by the length of a contract and you could find yourself without an income for a month or two. Make sure that you adequately save up so that you can cover brief periods without income with savings.

Sales and marketing abilities

Finding new contracts and clients can be a time-consuming exercise. You will find it easier if you are able to sell your skills to clients in an effective manner. A grip on marketing practices will help you to take advantage of, for example, referrals over social media, helping you to avoid periods out of work. The better you are at explaining what you can offer to clients, the more likely you will be to get appointed to highly paid and interesting projects.

Contracting is a career choice and is often made after workers have had several years of salaried employment. Once you’ve builtup some experience in your career, you may find it much easier to sell your skills to a range of customers. However, it is important that you make the right preparations and have the right mindset when setting out on a consulting career as it involves a different approach to working for a salary.