Friday, 9 October 2015

Contracting 101

Seems a large number of people I meet are interested in becoming a contractor/consultant/freelancer. So I thought I better write a up what I did and recommend. Note this is very UK / London centric.


For general information, tools, conversations and advice on contracting in the UK and are very good sites. And a very dodgy contractor calculator...


The forums at have been a great help to me. But prepare to be condescended and shot down if asking noob questions. 


IPSE, formerly known as PCG, the major contractor and freelancer association in the UK. 

They will represent you if you have disputes with the HMRC of which they have a great track record. And they offer a range of services in general that will help you sleep at night. And discounts with Apple etc. Membership is a no brainer. You can use my referral code of IPSEMGM0921 if you want.


You will need indemnity and public liability insurance and optionally others such as IR35 cover. QDos came recommended in the forums. Don’t under insure yourself but also don’t over insure.


To soften the move to contracting world I joined an umbrella company initially. Basically the only paperwork you need to worry about then is the contract renewal. I was with and they were great. 

But eventually I took the next step to become a limited company as Umbrella taxes do add up.


As a limited company you need an accountant. I joined Crunch as they have web site that automate almost everything on top of friendly advice. So far they have been great. Please use referral eraybyfl to receive Amazon vouchers.

Finding contracts

To find contracts is the major challenge. If you have a great network where you turn down work, then marvelous. Network at meetups and conferences. Verbally sell yourself to former colleagues as they may not be aware you could help them with a problem they have at work. Get business cards from

Otherwise global project sites such as Elance/ODesk/Upwork can turn up some work, just remember to not bankrupt yourself. I have actually had the best responses when I quoted a lot higher than anyone else. 

Job sites such as,, etc is the normal way to find contracts. Be aware a large chunk is simply cv fishing and not real job ads. 

Contract Recruiters

If you can go direct then great, but most of the time you will have to deal with recruiters, and contract recruiters are much worse than normal recruiters, which does say something. Especially in a numbers game location such as London. 

The major difference is for permie roles the recruiter will be better off if you agree a higher salary, whilst with contracts the recruiter/agency will be better off the lower they can get your rate. 

And never ever believe them requiring two references. That is only so that they can extend their contact list. 

Office Space

If you are not at a client I recommend using shared workspaces. I frequently use the 4 days a month for free IPSE members receive with Club Workspace I have also used and the more corporate

Good luck

Ivar Abrahamsen
Benevolent Dictator / Technical Architect Consultant

Eray by Flurdy Ltd |

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