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I want to increase my day rate, what should I do?

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    I want to increase my day rate, what should I do?

    I just started contracting recently. This is my first gig and there's still lots to learn, but everything is going great so far.

    I want to plan out a "career progression" so to speak for the next 5 to 10 years, so that I have a goal and can push myself forward, rather than being too complacent.

    For a permie this would mean moving up the ladder, but as a contractor I think this mostly means increasing the day rate.

    Do you experienced folks have any tips or directions or learned mistakes that you can teach this total noob please? What did you do to improve your rates?

    Thank you.

    #2
    It doesn't necessarily mean an increase in day rate in perpetuity as there's always going to be a ceiling for any skill set.

    You need to get industry experience, work experience, keep up to date with developments in your chosen field, consider side moves into related industries / skill sets. As you gain seniority you may decide to move off the coal face and into management roles.

    The best way to get good rates is to show you're reliable, personable and good at what you do. Build a network of people who will think of you for roles when they come up as the best roles rarely get advertised.
    Last edited by ladymuck; 6 June 2021, 17:17.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by wywywywy View Post
      I just started contracting recently. This is my first gig and there's still lots to learn, but everything is going great so far.

      I want to plan out a "career progression" so to speak for the next 5 to 10 years, so that I have a goal and can push myself forward, rather than being too complacent.

      For a permie this would mean moving up the ladder, but as a contractor I think this mostly means increasing the day rate.

      Do you experienced folks have any tips or directions or learned mistakes that you can teach this total noob please? What did you do to improve your rates?

      Thank you.
      Put bluntly you can't.... yet.

      You mention you are starting out so you will be competing with contractors who have years of experience as contractors, the mindset, the attitude, the ability to hit the ground running is what you need to focus on. At the moment new to the market your only outstanding quality will be you are cheap. Once you get a few years under your belt the rates will nudge up.

      (this is based on the past 10 years of past experiences, the current market and way that contracting is going could very will be a race to the bottom)
      Originally posted by Stevie Wonder Boy
      I can't see any way to do it can you please advise?

      I want my account deleted and all of my information removed, I want to invoke my right to be forgotten.

      Comment


        #4
        Would be helpful if you mentioned an industry

        Comment


          #5
          Comes down to a few factors:
          • Do you have a proven track record of delivery? You can control this.
          • Is your skillset in demand? You can control this (to an extent) with training.
          • Do you have the relevant industry experience? This is more difficult and partly down to luck - can be tricky to move industry later on (easier when you are junior).
          • Do you know the right people at the client? (or a very good agent!). Stay in touch with (good) people. You never know when the spotty BA you worked with becomes a Programme Manager 5 years later.
          You need to think about optimising the above and the money will come, not simply about the money itself as the driver.

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            #6
            Always remember you are already being paid to be really good at your job. If you want a raise, it's a commercial issue, basically what value add are you bringing to the deal. That would be wider experience, specialist experience, long experience improvement experience, cost saving experience...

            Get the picture...?
            Blog? What blog...?

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              #7
              Rates will go down on the next 10 years unless you have that super niche skill set

              race to the bottom

              remote working
              new visa rules enabling anyone to come into the UK
              etc etc

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by wywywywy View Post
                I just started contracting recently. This is my first gig and there's still lots to learn, but everything is going great so far.
                If you've just started out your immediate goal is to get gigs under your belt. You are paid for experience and that can only come with time. That said, looking out for opportunities to grow isn't a bad thing. Problem is if you are on an outside gig you can't be looking for extra work and deviate from the SOW which will look like Direction and Control. If you are inside then not a problem. It's a fine balance.
                I want to plan out a "career progression" so to speak for the next 5 to 10 years, so that I have a goal and can push myself forward, rather than being too complacent.

                For a permie this would mean moving up the ladder, but as a contractor I think this mostly means increasing the day rate.
                Not really. There are still similarities. If you want to up your day rate you generally need to also update your skill/knowledge which is still similar to a perm. E.g. you'll up your day rate going from a junior PM to a senior PM so still moving up the ladder. Just up'ing your day rate on your existing skill set is a very hit and miss process and it's just as likely your next one could go down. Negotiating a better rate in the same skill is not the same as gaining new skills.
                Do you experienced folks have any tips or directions or learned mistakes that you can teach this total noob please? What did you do to improve your rates?
                I'm speaking on behalf of others here so might not be accurate for some but we have a set skill base for what we do and we get gigs because the client has a need that we've done many times over. Our rates will flex depending on what the client pays. There might be some negotiation around a few tens of pounds a day in some gigs, others are fixed and take it or leave it.

                In some cases people learn new skills then can then take forward but it's not a given. If that opportunity isn't in the work given then you just do your stuff, get paid and move on. Could happen in a year or two, could never happen. Contracting isn't designed to offer this skill increase really. We are taken on for what we know, we deliver and move on.

                By all means keep an eye on it but if you are as new as it sounds then your main focus is just getting some solid gigs behind you and getting end to end work. They say the hardest gig to get is your second one. People usually move in to contracting without a break but at the end of your first stint you'll be on the bench with no income. This can get very sweaty. You'll effectively up your income by getting the next gig quicker, not upping your day rate.

                Get your head down, get another contrac on your CV, then another and so on for now. You'll be competing against very experience contractors for every role so your main goal is to become that experienced contractor. A few gigs here and there with different skills is not going to get you end to end work.

                And as has been pointed out. It's likely rates are going to drop in the longer term, even more so if you were hoping to be outside for your career. You'll likely be inside more that you our outside in the new world.

                Another thing also asked is what you do. If you are a junior PMO your path will be very different to an experience coder for example. Some context might be nice.
                'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by northernladuk View Post

                  Get your head down, get another contrac on your CV, then another and so on for now. You'll be competing against very experience contractors for every role so your main goal is to become that experienced contractor. A few gigs here and there with different skills is not going to get you end to end work.
                  This ^^^^^^^^

                  I had 5 gigs before I got an increase. In fact gig 5 was a slight decrease.
                  Timing and luck is probably more important than anything else anyway (assuming a level of competence to do the job).
                  See You Next Tuesday

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You'll find that rate isn't the only goal. Length of contract comes into it too, as well as intention to extend. No point getting £500 pd for six months, benched for three then another £500 pd for three months when you can have £480pd for 12 months.

                    Other factors such as location, costs, commute, opportunity to learn (new industry, tech), etc will all factor into decisions. Four clients, each with multiple extensions on your cv will demonstrate that you're worth hiring because you see projects through - jumping every three months for a better rate doesn't look anywhere near as good.
                    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist

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