If you’re unsure which direction you want to head, career-wise, perhaps you should consider studying to become a qualified contractor. Or, maybe you’re already a handyman and you want to get a contractor’s license to become a fully-fledged, successful contractor. If so, here are some things you should consider beforehand, to ensure that a career as a contractor is the right choice for you.
Advantages of becoming a contractor
Here are 3 main benefits of becoming a contractor:
- You are better paid – qualified contractors are usually more skilled than the people companies have in-house, so their services are generally better paid. Clients are also likely to pay contractors more per hour because they are not required to pay their sick pay, holiday pay, redundancy pay, etc, as they would be, by law, for permanent employees.
- You get more freedom – freelancers are their own bosses, and with this comes freedom and the ability to choose when and for how long you work. This can be very appealing for people who aren’t suited to working in office hours, all-year-round.
- You get more variety – one of the biggest benefits of becoming a contractor is the opportunity for variety: being able to move between jobs, between companies and across an array of locations.
Risks of becoming a contractor
There are a few risks that comes with working as a contractor, here are 4:
- You are more expendable – clients like to hire contractors because of their flexibility, as there is no long-term commitment on their end. However, this also means that clients can fire contractors as and when they please, because they are not contractually bound to keep them.
- You have less financial security – contractors may make good money, but there is no guarantee of income as a freelancer, and no one will pay you when you’re sick or on holiday.
- You have less job security – life as a freelancer means there is never a guarantee of work, and it is up to you to ensure you have work coming in.
- You have extra work to do – when you’re your own boss, you’re responsible for your taxes, accounts and any other paperwork, which can build up and become overwhelming.
The qualities you must possess to become a contractor
Deciding whether a specific career route is for you depends a lot on your character: what you are and aren’t good at, what you look for in a job and your interpersonal skills. To become a successful contractor with a steady flow of work, you must:
- Be reliable, hardworking and trustworthy
- Have the ability to adapt from job to job, and be able to work with an array of different people and businesses
- Be able to recognise when your advice is wanted by the client, and when it is not
- Be able to manage people and assign work efficiently and professionally, and with that, can give disciplinary action where necessary to ensure jobs run smoothly and your status as the boss is clear
- Be proactive in seeking new work by thinking ahead financially and logistically, and being super organized
- Maintain relationships with past and potential clients, to build up a good client database and reputation.
If upon reading this you are considering becoming a qualified contractor, look through the requirements below to discover whether you are eligible to study for a contractor license:
- You must be a US citizen or have a legal residency status
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must have a school diploma or equivalent
- You must not have a criminal background
- You must have relevant experience in the field
Note: different states in the US require different license requirements, and different states have different degrees of leniency and examination processes. Therefore, you may need to acquire multiple licenses to work all over the nation, so do the research before applying.