Contracting straight out of uni. Is it doable? v2 Contracting straight out of uni. Is it doable? v2
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  1. #1

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    Default Contracting straight out of uni. Is it doable? v2

    Hi guys,

    Following the advice from the previous thread I decided to stick to perm for a year, which I have done. I'm a pretty bright .NET software developer with a very good CV. I have some pretty niche skills which could land me 400-500/d contract up north.

    But the idea of going contracting has not left me - I want to try it. I have no ties anywhere, I can travel to any part of UK to work. Also my current permanent contract doesn't seem to mention anything about the notice period.. Could you help me out with answering a few questions?

    - How long does it usually take to get paid after the start of the contract? i.e. if I start on 1st of June, when should I expect to get paid into my personal bank account (not the company one).
    - War chest. I have 5k I am willing to risk on this - is that enough?
    - Where do I live? Assuming I get a contract somewhere far away - is it possible to get accommodation where you pay monthly? I.e. if my contract gets canned one month in - I don't want to be stuck with a 6 month lease.
    - How difficult is it to sort myself out with an accountant? How much should I expect to pay for one?
    - IR35. Scary. How difficult is it to avoid getting caught under it? If I market myself as a company (i.e. have my own website, business email, etc - should I be worried about it?)
    - Any general advice would be appreciated

    I have read a lot of information on these forums which probably cover the above questions but I would like to hear people who speak from experience.

  2. #2

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    In short, no, 5k simply isn't enough. You may be waiting several months for a contract and, even if you secure one immediately, it may fall-through before you begin, shortly after you begin, or at any time afterwards. I'd never try to dissuade anyone from contracting if they were well-prepared (although, TBH, now is probably the worst time in recent memory), but you'd be taking a monumental risk with such a small warchest and lack of experience. If you're going to do it, give yourself every possible chance of making it successful, so build a warchest of several months (minimum) and get some more experience.

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    Firstly don't post serious questions in General. Luckily this is the weekend and I'm feeling kind otherwise I would rip the p*ss out of you.

    Secondly if you are young and have not ties why don't you use your British passport and spend time working in other countries? You won't be able to do it when you are older as you will have ties but can now. It will also make you stick out from other people when you come back to the UK plus you may gain foreign language skills and skills understanding other cultures.. These skills are useful to climb the corporate ladder. Being a contractor means you cannot do so, so will be stuck as a developer for years.

    In answer to your questions:
    1. Payment terms vary from weekly to 30 days after you submit your invoice
    2. No-one can tell you if 5K is enough
    3. You should base yourself at your parents' house if they have room for you. You will need to go back every weekend to show this is your permanent residence. Then you can find Monday - Friday lodgings using various websites where you live with the owner. If you are young there will be people who will refuse to live with you.
    4. It is very easy to sort yourself out with an accountant. They cost approximately £100 per month. Some cost more and others cost less. However if they cost less you need to understand why they are so cheap.
    5. IR35 is contract by contract. You need to read all the information on the website and the posts in the professional forums as there are clues in it how not to get caught.
    6. See my second tip to you.
    "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

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    Quote Originally Posted by cannon999 View Post
    Hi guys,

    Following the advice from the previous thread I decided to stick to perm for a year, which I have done. I'm a pretty bright .NET software developer with a very good CV. I have some pretty niche skills which could land me 400-500/d contract up north.
    I'm guessing there is no point going over old ground with you. The advice from that last thread hasn't change and a year extra makes little difference. Many people are still in the same gig from your last post. You've also got to be realistic. A few years does not make a really good CV for a contractor. I could go on but I have a feeling it's pointless so onwards with the rest of the post.

    But the idea of going contracting has not left me - I want to try it. I have no ties anywhere, I can travel to any part of UK to work. Also my current permanent contract doesn't seem to mention anything about the notice period.. Could you help me out with answering a few questions?
    Are you sure. That would be very unusual indeed.

    - How long does it usually take to get paid after the start of the contract? i.e. if I start on 1st of June, when should I expect to get paid into my personal bank account (not the company one).
    There is nothing usual in contracting. It depends on the payment schedule in the contract. Could be week after, could be a month in arrears so no income for 2 months.
    You get paid in to your bank account when you have enough profit to pay a wage or a dividend to yourself. That's your job. Can be done same day in most cases.
    - War chest. I have 5k I am willing to risk on this - is that enough?
    Depends on your outgoings and the contract you get. Can you live for 2 months with no income? What happens if the gig folds before you start?
    - Where do I live? Assuming I get a contract somewhere far away - is it possible to get accommodation where you pay monthly? I.e. if my contract gets canned one month in - I don't want to be stuck with a 6 month lease.
    You would use airbnb, hotels or rent a room or something. It's always a risk even to experienced people.
    - How difficult is it to sort myself out with an accountant? How much should I expect to pay for one?
    There is an accountant recommendation sticky in the professional forums (where you really should have put this). That discusses prices and option.
    - IR35. Scary. How difficult is it to avoid getting caught under it? If I market myself as a company (i.e. have my own website, business email, etc - should I be worried about it?)
    Read the links on the right and learn about IR35.
    - Any general advice would be appreciated

    I have read a lot of information on these forums which probably cover the above questions but I would like to hear people who speak from experience.
    The information in these forums is from peoples experiences. I'd spend a bit more time reading and also digest all the links on the right hand side. I've a feeling you've got a lot to learn from them.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    I'm guessing there is no point going over old ground with you. The advice from that last thread hasn't change and a year extra makes little difference. Many people are still in the same gig from your last post. You've also got to be realistic. A few years does not make a really good CV for a contractor. I could go on but I have a feeling it's pointless so onwards with the rest of the post.



    Are you sure. That would be very unusual indeed.



    There is nothing usual in contracting. It depends on the payment schedule in the contract. Could be week after, could be a month in arrears so no income for 2 months.
    You get paid in to your bank account when you have enough profit to pay a wage or a dividend to yourself. That's your job. Can be done same day in most cases.


    Depends on your outgoings and the contract you get. Can you live for 2 months with no income? What happens if the gig folds before you start?

    You would use airbnb, hotels or rent a room or something. It's always a risk even to experienced people.

    There is an accountant recommendation sticky in the professional forums (where you really should have put this). That discusses prices and option.

    Read the links on the right and learn about IR35.


    The information in these forums is from peoples experiences. I'd spend a bit more time reading and also digest all the links on the right hand side. I've a feeling you've got a lot to learn from them.
    I honestly don't see how the experience matters. I have had the pleasure to work with contractors who are not as good as me and they get paid fairly tidy sums and seem to have no issues with getting contracts. But also I have worked with contractors who are amazing and totally know what they are doing and would blow me out of the water. It varies.

    I have read through my contract - it doesn't mention notice anywhere. That means my notice period is 1 week.

    The job market is pretty hot right now. I could always go back to perm is I fail. I tend to get interviews pretty much for every perm job I apply to and there is plenty of them.

    So in terms of pay - I'm the one who physically transfers money around between company/personal accounts? So if at the end of the month I have money in the company account - I can pay it all out in salary/dividents?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SueEllen View Post
    Firstly don't post serious questions in General. Luckily this is the weekend and I'm feeling kind otherwise I would rip the p*ss out of you.

    Secondly if you are young and have not ties why don't you use your British passport and spend time working in other countries? You won't be able to do it when you are older as you will have ties but can now. It will also make you stick out from other people when you come back to the UK plus you may gain foreign language skills and skills understanding other cultures.. These skills are useful to climb the corporate ladder. Being a contractor means you cannot do so, so will be stuck as a developer for years.

    In answer to your questions:
    1. Payment terms vary from weekly to 30 days after you submit your invoice
    2. No-one can tell you if 5K is enough
    3. You should base yourself at your parents' house if they have room for you. You will need to go back every weekend to show this is your permanent residence. Then you can find Monday - Friday lodgings using various websites where you live with the owner. If you are young there will be people who will refuse to live with you.
    4. It is very easy to sort yourself out with an accountant. They cost approximately £100 per month. Some cost more and others cost less. However if they cost less you need to understand why they are so cheap.
    5. IR35 is contract by contract. You need to read all the information on the website and the posts in the professional forums as there are clues in it how not to get caught.
    6. See my second tip to you.
    Going to work abroad is on the cards at the moment. I'm thinking Australia but not really sure how to go about it.. I'm not a fan of wildlife they have kicking around there tho!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cannon999 View Post
    I honestly don't see how the experience matters.
    That sentence alone means you are not yet ready to embark on a Contracting career.

    HTH
    “The period of the disintegration of the European Union has begun. And the first vessel to have departed is Britain”

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    Quote Originally Posted by cannon999 View Post
    Going to work abroad is on the cards at the moment. I'm thinking Australia but not really sure how to go about it.. I'm not a fan of wildlife they have kicking around there tho!
    Go to any country that will have you. I'm serious. Some of the best experience you have in life are the ones that aren't planned.
    "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaunbhoy View Post
    That sentence alone means you are not yet ready to embark on a Contracting career.

    HTH
    Oh feck I agree with him.
    "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

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    Quote Originally Posted by cannon999 View Post
    I honestly don't see how the experience matters. I have had the pleasure to work with contractors who are not as good as me and they get paid fairly tidy sums and seem to have no issues with getting contracts. But also I have worked with contractors who are amazing and totally know what they are doing and would blow me out of the water. It varies.
    We've just seen a few thousand experienced people dumped on to the job market. Yours is not a rare commodity; your problem is not other people getting work, it's you getting work with no contractor history when they are available.

    I have read through my contract - it doesn't mention notice anywhere. That means my notice period is 1 week.
    No. It means you have to serve the length of the contract.

    The job market is pretty hot right now. I could always go back to perm is I fail. I tend to get interviews pretty much for every perm job I apply to and there is plenty of them.
    So stick to perm and build your experience to the point where you have something to offer the market. Permies have time to grow into the role so general experience is all you need. Contracting ain't like that.

    So in terms of pay - I'm the one who physically transfers money around between company/personal accounts? So if at the end of the month I have money in the company account - I can pay it all out in salary/dividents?
    Yes, if you want to trade illegally and get in trouble with the taxman. Read the guides on here and download the Guide to Freelancing from www.ipse.co.uk. then you will have a better understanding of how it all works.

    And if you're still aiming to try it then (a) good luck and (b) write a CV that demonstrates what you have done that completely meets the requirement - and by that I mean not being able to code in a given language, but code for a given application environment in a given industry vertical that you can add value to. You might find the market isn't quite so hot then.
    Blog? What blog...?

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