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How to freelance in the UK


How to freelance in the UK – a beginner’s guide 1 By Dave Chaplin , is CEO and founder of contracting authority ContractorCalculator and the author of The Contractors’ Handbook – Third Edition . As the economy recovers from the impact of Covid-19, now might be the perfect time to go it alone as a freelancer. For risk-averse businesses in this current climate, the immediate access to key skills that freelancers provide presents a more economically viable recruitment solution than a permanent hire. If you possess an in-demand skillset, you are well placed to capitalise. Dave Chaplin is CEO and founder of contracting authority ContractorCalculator , and the author of The Contractors’ Handbook – Third Edition , which provides essential guidance to freelancers and contractors, whether they are new to freelancing or experienced old-hands. Though other key concerns include deciding upon a business model, registering with HMRC and enlisting an accountant, this article shares Chaplin’s advice on setting a contract rate, marketing yourself and finding work. Setting your contract rate Setting a contract rate is a careful balancing act. You want to establish a competitive rate that ensures you receive a good return for your efforts without risking pricing yourself out of the market. There are useful sites online that share survey results of the standard rates that specific skills command. However, while these sites provide useful guidelines, they don’t account for the combination of skills or the level of experience required. Therefore, you should create a baseline rate based on a multiple of up to twice your current salary, assess the results from your research, and ask around. Otherwise, lack of clarity over your market value could leave you vulnerable to poor negotiation. Ask other contractors. ‘Human intelligence’ is a good source of information. Talk to as many colleagues and friends as you can, but do so discretely, especially if you’re currently permanently employed. Existing freelancers and contractors, as well as permanent employees who have worked with freelancers, understand the work and recognise the value of specific skills. If you can, speak to an experienced freelancer who has similar skills and experience to your own. Market conditions can also significantly impact freelancer demand. Browsing contract advertisements online can therefore help you create a clearer picture of the rates you should command in the current climate. Covid-19 did result in market rates dropping, as firm sought to save money, and off-loaded their freelancers. The new Off-payroll reforms also had a considerable effect on the market – large numbers of freelancers, some of whom were perhaps operating as “deemed employees” moved to permanent employment. Brexit also saw contractors move out of the UK. The market may take a year or two to bed back down, and as it does market rates will return to a level where the potential earnings, if you can secure ongoing work, will be lucrative. Marketing yourself Your CV and LinkedIn profile have one purpose: getting an agent or client to speak to you on the […]

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