Am I restricting myself too much if I can only contract in London? Am I restricting myself too much if I can only contract in London?
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  1. #1

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    Default Am I restricting myself too much if I can only contract in London?

    Hi,

    I'm being made redundant from my company and am tempted to try contracting.

    I've got 20 years of IT experience, 5 of which are as an IT Project Manager, I'm Prince2 Practitioner certified and have run both infrastructure projects, and development projects for a leading UK retailer.

    In the last 3 years, most of my experience has been in project managing Oracle developments (OBIEE and EBS) and my prior technical career was as a Java Web Developer.

    I've got a family life and so would only really be willing to work in London (plus Kent or Surrey).

    ...my question is, is this an unrealistic restriction?

    i.e. would I *have* to travel to stand any chance of finding contracts? Note, I'm not that fussed about rates, I'd prefer to lose £100/day than have to drive for hours a day, or stay away all week in hotels etc.

    I don't have any financial services experience - but would be happy to work in any sector that would employ me!


    Any help, or suggestions greatly appreciated.


    Regards

    David Bevan.

  2. #2

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    Of all the places in the country, London is probably the best you could pick for being "stuck" there. I'm from the Midlands and the vast majority of my contract work has been London based.

    I think the SJD survey said something like 40% of ALL contracts (from the contractors they surveyed, of course) were in London.

  3. #3

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    I'm Yorkshire based and have managed projects all over the place in the last decade, well everywhere BUT Yorkshire, I tend to avoid London.

    Being London based is (as said by vwdan) is probably not going to cause you a lot of discomfort.

    The only caveat to that is if there's nothing there and loads elsewhere you have to be prepared to wait without work or travel.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by dabevan View Post
    I've got 20 years of IT experience,
    What's your personal network like of potential contacts that you could approach or at least keep in contact with should opportunities arise? After 20 years, I'd have to assume you have enough to make them useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by dabevan View Post
    In the last 3 years, most of my experience has been in project managing Oracle developments (OBIEE and EBS) and my prior technical career was as a Java Web Developer.
    In my humble opinion, the OBIEE will stand you in the best stead with the other items being backup / secondary skills. You may though find a lot of the work is with consultancies - which means travelling where the work is...

    Quote Originally Posted by dabevan View Post
    i.e. would I *have* to travel to stand any chance of finding contracts? Note, I'm not that fussed about rates, I'd prefer to lose £100/day than have to drive for hours a day, or stay away all week in hotels etc.
    Ultimately - Given your experience, skills, flexibility on rate and assumed network of contacts - my opinion on the face of it would be you should have enough to sustain you in contract work in London. The only way to find out is to try the market and see what agents come back with. Going through the redundancy process may well buy you the time you need to stick your toe in.

    I'd remove your actual name from your post.

    Good luck - and don't cheapen my niche

  5. #5

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    I got into it after redundancy as well. Hopefully you'll have enough cash that you can spend a couple of months looking for jobs and experimenting - that's what I did. Spend a couple weeks reading up about how to form a limited company etc. and got an accountant, a little handholding and now pulling in more income contracting than I would've had from the old job if I'd had 10 years worth of promotions. DO IT.

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    Most contracts are in London and around there so it is a realistic prospect. Better still if you can break into the financial sector.

    The contracting market isn't as good as it once was and these days the permie sector seems to be booming. Therefore no harm in trying your luck because it won't be a problem getting a good permie job if you can't find a contract.

    Give it 2 months, and see if you can land anything.
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    What were you earning before ball park monthly net? You could probably bring in 6-10k a month as a contractor.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dabevan View Post
    Note, I'm not that fussed about rates, I'd prefer to lose £100/day than have to drive for hours a day, or stay away all week in hotels etc.
    If you genuinely aren't fussed by the rates, then that helps. However, looking like a cheap project manager may scare some clients (who aren't all driven by price) away.

    Some of the bigger projects I've been involved with have been in London (central government departments tend to do that) - the issue with that is that you can end up at the mercy of the consultancy as to location. For example, you start off working in the government department building in London, then get moved to the consultancy offices in Slough, and then in the call centre in Newport.

    As oracleslave says - see what your network throws up. Assuming that you have a network in London.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFaQQer View Post
    If you genuinely aren't fussed by the rates, then that helps. However, looking like a cheap project manager may scare some clients (who aren't all driven by price) away.
    doesn't mean he's going to be cheap to the client...just the agent will get bigger margins out of him

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dabevan View Post
    Hi,

    I'm being made redundant from my company and am tempted to try contracting.

    I've got 20 years of IT experience, 5 of which are as an IT Project Manager, I'm Prince2 Practitioner certified and have run both infrastructure projects, and development projects for a leading UK retailer.

    In the last 3 years, most of my experience has been in project managing Oracle developments (OBIEE and EBS) and my prior technical career was as a Java Web Developer.

    I've got a family life and so would only really be willing to work in London (plus Kent or Surrey).

    ...my question is, is this an unrealistic restriction?

    i.e. would I *have* to travel to stand any chance of finding contracts? Note, I'm not that fussed about rates, I'd prefer to lose £100/day than have to drive for hours a day, or stay away all week in hotels etc.

    I don't have any financial services experience - but would be happy to work in any sector that would employ me!

    I'm not a techie so I'm not 100% sure if I am comparing like with like, but I have found it next to impossible to break into financial services because I don't have FS experience. I've worked in almost every other major industry sector apart from energy and utilities so have very broad and deep experience and can adapt to almost anything but FS is an exception. I did manage to get an interview recently for a large insurance broking firm but that was mainly down to the agent who knew me very well and persuaded the client I was worth talking to.

    I think you might struggle to find work in the Kent region, Surrey is a much better bet. Many of the larger non-FS companies in approximately the M25 region tend to be on the western side of London - think of a segment running from Hatfield to Luton, Slough, Woking, Kingston and Hammersmith. SABMiller, GSK, Sky, Diageo, Unilever, Tesco, Whitbread, TUI Travel, Easyjet, British Airways and Dixons Carphone are just a few of the FTSE100 companies in that area I can think of off the top of my head.

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