Two contracts at same time Two contracts at same time
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  1. #1

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    Einstein Jnr's Avatar
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    Default Two contracts at same time

    My first contract is a WFH and some minimal client travel. I am contemplating picking up a second gig which would be based on the new clients site. I am interested in finding out your experience if you have been through this eg managing clients, meeting clashes, working additional hours etc. The double rate is tempting but not sure if I should bite.

  2. #2

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    You may be working from home but you still have to do online meetings and take phone calls.

    On-site it's not managers who get annoyed but the permies and other contractors you work along side who have to interact with you.

    Remember most offices are open plan so every meeting you have on the phone will be over heard. Plus internet use is logged and if you are using unofficial applications or attempt to use an unofficial laptop on their network you will be walked off site immediately.

    Basically you need a second contract that's part-time and can be done on a weekend if you can't fit it in the day.
    "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

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    I think multiple contracts is risky if they're both service-based, i.e. you're paid to provide your services for X hours per day. Because in reality you can't do the same hours for both clients at the same time without encountering all the issues you mentioned.

    If one of the two contracts is a fixed-price job or to provide on-going support on some kind of retainer or where you bill for time spent, then yes it can definitely work but even in this case I'd advise making both clients aware of the situation so there are no surprises if you get caught in a situation where they both want you at the same time.

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    Sounds like a bloody awful idea to me.
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    Einstein Jr? Hi, son.

    Don't try it unless both clients know you are running two contracts and are willing to be flexible as long as you get the work in. They are presumably paying you a lot of money to provide an excellent service/product to their company. Make sure they get it.

    It's pretty hard to have peak efficiency for 70-80 hours a week. You can do it for a week or two, some people can do it for a month or two, but it isn't sustainable. It would be one thing if one contract is starting a month before the other ends, but to run it concurrently for several months is probably not something you should do.

    If one or both are happy to have you part-time then sure, go for it. 60 hours a week is sustainable if you are highly motivated/disciplined. Great way to build a business, definitely helpful for IR35, too.

  6. #6

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    I did this for a year. It was awful - there were so many meeting clashes and conflicting deadlines. It sounds like a great idea and I thought that I could make up the time in the evenings and weekends but the reality was that I ended up with two unhappy clients instead of one happy one. I completed both projects successfully and continued working with the WFH client for another 18 months but I promised myself that I would never do it again - the danger to my professional reputation was much too great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WordIsBond View Post
    Great way to build a business, definitely helpful for IR35, too.
    Not really. It might have helped with the defunct BETs.l but IR35 is on a contract by contract basis. You could argue he's twice as likely to get investigated now

    And IMO he will be on T&M daily rate contracts with an expectation from the clients to put 8 hours in during normal working hours. Doing both would put him in breach of both contracts and he would be fulfilling neither. Not a good way to do business at all.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  8. #8

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    It can work, depending on the nature of the contracts.

    I currently run 3 clients. A is on site 3 days a week, WFH 2 days. B is effectively part time 2.5 days week, 100% remote working and C is ad hoc consultancy for a couple of days a month. It works because I'm staying away from home 2 nights a week for client A, so Client B work gets done in the evenings and around Client A work. Client C work gets done at weekends with the occasional site visit on a WFH day and Client A work made up at the weekend or the evening.

    Don't under estimate the workload involved. You may feel that you could do twice as much at the moment but that's because you have enough down time with one client that you stay fresh and on top of things. Your time management and client management skills need to be up to scratch to make sure every one knows what to expect and when. It's not a case of telling client A they have to wait for something while you work for Client B. Clashes will happened and you will end up working late nights and weekends to meet deadlines.

    The money is good, but it's bloody hard work and I wont be sad if I lose one of the smaller clients.
    "Being nice costs nothing and sometimes gets you extra bacon" - Pondlife.

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    I have seen "big boys" do this at client co. But they have "Partner" contract, not a "Contractor" contract. And also they are not one-man band. They run a small operation with 8+ employees and sub-contractors.

  10. #10

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    I don't think it is feasible to do 1 full-time gig and then another one on the side.... However, I am looking at subcontracting a fair amount of work and charging consultancy for the design, documentation, architecture as well as some elements of the development. If they were to go to a consultancy they would be paying 3-4 x as much for the full package so it's a good way to earn some extra cash on the side and even better make it part of your plan B if you can get some share.

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