We all know that one of the great advantages of being an independent contractor, as opposed to a member of staff in-house for another company, is that you are your own boss. You decide which jobs you want to take and which ones you want to turn down. You set your schedule, you decide the layout of your day, and you have the opportunity to pursue your own interests and your own career objectives.
But it is hard to ignore the fact that contractors are often left without many of the employee benefits that in-house staff members enjoy. There can be a cost to the freedom that you enjoy, and in these uncertain times, it is easy to see why so many contractors are feeling a little apprehensive.
We have seen how quickly illness can leave you unable to work, how a family issue can leave you struggling to pay your bills, and how rapid movement in the marketplace may leave you feeling like you have been left behind. You may even be wondering how you can get to the next job with the current petrol crisis. But there is no reason to throw in the towel and give up on your goals as a self-employed contractor. There are ways that you can replicate the employee benefits that in-house staff get if you are proactive. Here are a few suggestions.
Keep A Strict Timetable
As a contractor, you can probably count the number of times that you have not left your phone on your bedside table just in case there is an update on a job on one hand. Being a contractor requires you to hustle constantly, to be the person who can jump in at a moment’s notice and who can provide around the clock customer support. If you are feeling like you are approaching burn-out, it’s time to reconsider this approach.
You may not have any holiday allowance, but you can create your own. Make sure that you take time off throughout the year to recharge your batteries and step away from it all. Try to keep to a strict timetable during the day, clocking in and clocking out at the same time and keeping your weekends for you and your family.
Make Sure You Are Covered With Insurance
One of the biggest benefits that a business can throw at in-house employees is insurance. Many companies offer some form of health coverage, from dental all the way up to life insurance. To put it simply, you cannot argue with the security that comes with knowing that your family will be covered in the event of something happening to you. When you are working as a contractor, the burden of making sure that you are properly insured is entirely on your shoulders.
So, how can you go about finding the best coverage? One of the most popular policies is relevant life insurance, which cannot be taken out by individual employees but can be taken out through your own limited company. Now, what is relevant life insurance? This policy pays out a lump sum benefit to the family of the deceased that is tax free, and the premiums are paid by the company which can be listed as a business expense. If you want to learn more about relevant life insurance and to find a policy that could work for you, visit Drewberry Insurance. They have a wealth of information, a comparison tool and a 4.92-star rating.
Keep Learning About The Changes In Your Industry
These days, many businesses out there are encouraging their employees to learn new skills to keep them ahead of the game and to keep their staff engaged and developing. As a contractor, it can often feel like you are not getting that extra leg up when it comes to staying on top of the latest developments in the market.
However, the good news is that the pandemic has levelled the playing field in a lot of ways. There are so many institutions out there which now offer online courses that you can fit around your other commitments, allowing you to set your own schedule for learning.
Plan For The Future
During the pandemic, everyone was focused on the problem that was right in front of them. Now that things are starting to get a little easier with vaccination rates climbing and businesses reopening, we can start looking ahead a bit more. As a contractor you won’t have a payroll staff member sorting your paid time off or your pension contributions, so you need to get proactive.
With the former, make sure you are factoring in your annual leave into your freelance rate. With the latter, it is well worth talking to an accountant or financial advisor about the best scheme for your business. There are several different options available, including Stakeholder Pensions and Self-Invested Personal Pensions, so it is important to do your research to find the right fit.