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2021 returning contractor says hello!

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    2021 returning contractor says hello!

    Hi to everyone on the forum. I've been having a good read through a great many posts and articles on here already and found a lot of useful information.

    When I last worked as a contractor through a Ltd Co it was just before IR35 came in. I then did a variety of fixed term and agency jobs to keep body and soul together. I've been keeping an eye on things in the intervening time and have seen how things have been developing in this area and am once again getting my contracting head back on and now I have some questions to make sure I've understood all that I've read, properly. These may be dumb questions, stupid questions but nevertheless, they represent stuff that I really need to be sure I'm understanding correctly because I do feel there's several grey areas at the minute. Here we go.

    How do you break the '£500 a day' rate?
    Most roles I'm going for are £500 inside IR35 which doesn't give me a lot more than what I had on my permanent role (which seems to prevent achievement of the main goal which is to earn a lot more than as a permie, given the additional risks). What in folks opinion can get me up into the £600 a day rates? I've delivered my current role into 3 major size programmes so far, very complex high value programmes, and I genuinely feel £600 a day for the experience I can apply to another such role, is fair - but those rates aren't getting bandied about. Thoughts? Is that just the ceiling for that role? Should I market myself differently / look at different roles that exist in the same area?

    Something I don't understand.....
    Let's say there's an IT company out there is taken on by an organisation to support delivery of something because the organisation doesn't have that expertise in-house. Is it the case that they don't even get into conversations about inside/outside IR35 because they were procured by the organisation strictly as a 'full-blown' supplier - I'm not sure I'm explaining this adequately but let's say Ernst Young get taken on by a local authority to conduct a review of a project - surely no one is having the inside / outside IR35 conversation with them? And if not (if that is the case), why not, what is the 'trigger' or factor that means they somehow come totally outside of all of that?

    Wanting to work Ltd
    How does one actually achieve this? I kinda feel it's almost impossible, and certainly now IR35 is extending into private sector too, how would you ever be able to do it? I saw mention of working several client contracts at the same time being something it would be key to be able to demonstrate (from an 'it's outside IR35' perspective) but how could you actually achieve working several roles at the same time as a one man band - it would be interesting to understand, how do people manage it - might require a mindset shift or different approach from me, or be more about what type of services you offer?)?

    Can you work multiple inside IR35s?
    Can you? Are there typically umbrella contract terms that prevent this? Would you have to work for several different umbrellas? Also, can you pick your own umbrella these days or do you have to go with the one the organisation has chosen?

    Getting work as Ltd
    I'd really like to extend into consultancy in my field of expertise firstly because I'd really enjoy it and think I could do a really good job of it, but also I feel it might lend itself to more chance of having concurrent clients potentially, but are there any tips for how to go about this? Other than a personal recommendation, how and where would you go about seeking out such consulting opportunities and would you need to get into tendering and all that sort of thing (if that's even possible if you're not on Gcloud or have other such credentials)? Just feel I need to understand this a bit more.

    Just trying to take a minute, make sure I've understand how things are right now at this point, the reality of it, make sure my assumptions are correct and if not adjust them, and be able to chart the most effective course possible. I've got two weeks now left of my remaining permanent employment to get my head on straight and then start properly going for it on looking for roles.

    #2
    Welcome!

    Originally posted by Nebulous8 View Post

    How do you break the '£500 a day' rate?
    Most roles I'm going for are £500 inside IR35 which doesn't give me a lot more than what I had on my permanent role (which seems to prevent achievement of the main goal which is to earn a lot more than as a permie, given the additional risks). What in folks opinion can get me up into the £600 a day rates? I've delivered my current role into 3 major size programmes so far, very complex high value programmes, and I genuinely feel £600 a day for the experience I can apply to another such role, is fair - but those rates aren't getting bandied about. Thoughts? Is that just the ceiling for that role? Should I market myself differently / look at different roles that exist in the same area?
    Hard to say without knowing what you actually do. Sounds like you're a Project or Programme Manager? What industries have you worked in?

    Something I don't understand.....
    Let's say there's an IT company out there is taken on by an organisation to support delivery of something because the organisation doesn't have that expertise in-house. Is it the case that they don't even get into conversations about inside/outside IR35 because they were procured by the organisation strictly as a 'full-blown' supplier - I'm not sure I'm explaining this adequately but let's say Ernst Young get taken on by a local authority to conduct a review of a project - surely no one is having the inside / outside IR35 conversation with them? And if not (if that is the case), why not, what is the 'trigger' or factor that means they somehow come totally outside of all of that?
    If it's a contract for a whole package of services, where the end to end is delivered by the third party with little or no direct involvement with the client then it tends not to fall foul of IR35. However, EY will need to assess any contractors they take on to deliver the work if they are short staffed.


    Wanting to work Ltd
    How does one actually achieve this? I kinda feel it's almost impossible, and certainly now IR35 is extending into private sector too, how would you ever be able to do it? I saw mention of working several client contracts at the same time being something it would be key to be able to demonstrate (from an 'it's outside IR35' perspective) but how could you actually achieve working several roles at the same time as a one man band - it would be interesting to understand, how do people manage it - might require a mindset shift or different approach from me, or be more about what type of services you offer?)?
    Not sure what you're asking. There are plenty of outside IR35 roles out there, not as many as before but they do exist. Running your own Ltd does require a bit of a mental shift to thinking about delivering a service rather than a body. You might need to rephrase this question

    Can you work multiple inside IR35s?
    Can you? Are there typically umbrella contract terms that prevent this? Would you have to work for several different umbrellas? Also, can you pick your own umbrella these days or do you have to go with the one the organisation has chosen?
    Yes, there's no legal limit on how many jobs you can have. No, it wouldn't necessarily require multiple umbrellas (it would keep your taxes simpler if you didn't as you could end up on emergency tax with another brolly as you won't have a P45 to give them). You can to a certain extent pick your own umbrella but agencies do have PSLs that they will ask you to pick from. The devil will be in the detail of the contract as to whether you can take another job. Much like in permanent employment, the hiring client may request that you don't work for another company in the same line of business, or the hours they expect you to be available may physically prevent you from holding multiple contracts. Part-time gigs are hard to come by and are rarely advertised.

    Getting work as Ltd
    I'd really like to extend into consultancy in my field of expertise firstly because I'd really enjoy it and think I could do a really good job of it, but also I feel it might lend itself to more chance of having concurrent clients potentially, but are there any tips for how to go about this? Other than a personal recommendation, how and where would you go about seeking out such consulting opportunities and would you need to get into tendering and all that sort of thing (if that's even possible if you're not on Gcloud or have other such credentials)? Just feel I need to understand this a bit more.
    I would start with approaching some of the boutique consultancies to see if they have any openings (check offpayroll.org as they list quite a few). Use the gigs you do get to build your network and be prepared to do a lot of work to get your name out there. My partner does consulting and it's very ad hoc and he ends up doing a lot for free as you have to sell the benefit before you get into something that will pay. Be very clear about what it is you'll be consulting on and who to. Have a look at GCloud and the DOS frameworks for public sector roles.


    Good luck!

    Comment


      #3
      Welcome! Thanks ladymuck! Great to ‘meet’ you.

      How do you break the '£500 a day' rate?
      Hard to say without knowing what you actually do. Sounds like you're a Project or Programme Manager? What industries have you worked in? PMO Manager of late (since 2018), but can turn hand to PMO Lead / Portfolio Manager / PMO consultancy (have done PM roles also). Mostly within public sector – local authority, NHS.


      Something I don't understand.....
      If it's a contract for a whole package of services, where the end to end is delivered by the third party with little or no direct involvement with the client then it tends not to fall foul of IR35. However, EY will need to assess any contractors they take on to deliver the work if they are short staffed. That clarity is helpful thank you - so why can't us contractors fall into this area of operation using our Ltd Co’s to offer an end-to-end service - I guess is what I'm still not fully understanding. I guess that's maybe in my looking into GCloud and all that side of things as well.


      Wanting to work Ltd
      Not sure what you're asking. There are plenty of outside IR35 roles out there, not as many as before but they do exist. I just cannot find very many AT ALL at over £500/day – unless it’s Programme Manager roles. 97% are inside (maybe this is because due to previous experience in public sector, I'm in that sector however the other day I was called about a PMO role with a 'top 6 bank' who were offering under £450/day - there was me thinking oh great, get into private sector, better day rates - nope! Running your own Ltd does require a bit of a mental shift to thinking about delivering a service rather than a body. You might need to rephrase this question.


      Can you work multiple inside IR35s?
      Yes, there's no legal limit on how many jobs you can have. No, it wouldn't necessarily require multiple umbrellas (it would keep your taxes simpler if you didn't as you could end up on emergency tax with another brolly as you won't have a P45 to give them). You can to a certain extent pick your own umbrella but agencies do have PSLs that they will ask you to pick from. The devil will be in the detail of the contract as to whether you can take another job. Much like in permanent employment, the hiring client may request that you don't work for another company in the same line of business, or the hours they expect you to be available may physically prevent you from holding multiple contracts. Part-time gigs are hard to come by and are rarely advertised. Got it.


      Getting work as Ltd
      I would start with approaching some of the boutique consultancies to see if they have any openings (check offpayroll.org as they list quite a few When I put this in it's coming up as 'website for sale'....). Use the gigs you do get to build your network and be prepared to do a lot of work to get your name out there. My partner does consulting and it's very ad hoc and he ends up doing a lot for free as you have to sell the benefit before you get into something that will pay. Be very clear about what it is you'll be consulting on and who to. Have a look at GCloud and the DOS frameworks for public sector roles. Thanks so much for this, I’ll have a good look at it this week.

      Good luck! THANK YOU!

      Comment


        #4
        Something I don't understand.....
        If it's a contract for a whole package of services, where the end to end is delivered by the third party with little or no direct involvement with the client then it tends not to fall foul of IR35. However, EY will need to assess any contractors they take on to deliver the work if they are short staffed. That clarity is helpful thank you - so why can't us contractors fall into this area of operation using our Ltd Co’s to offer an end-to-end service - I guess is what I'm still not fully understanding. I guess that's maybe in my looking into GCloud and all that side of things as well.


        Because, for the most part, contractors are not single-handedly managing and delivering an entire project. They will play a part in it but are most often part of a wider team. Exceptions do exist and there's several of them here but, for what you do, it's highly unlikely you will ever deliver a full E2E project and you're too small for many private companies to trust with offloading a huge project to and allowing you to do all the resourcing and purchasing required.

        Apologies for the typo, it should be Offpayroll.org.uk but a quick google for offpayroll (all one word) would bring up the right site too

        Comment


          #5
          Its extemely difficult to keep the chat going and quote what you've put if you use colours for your response. Use the quote function or put the bits you want to quote in between [..quote] and [/..quote] and write your response underneath. I put the extra dots so it didn't resolve the quotes so take those out.

          PMO Manager of late (since 2018), but can turn hand to PMO Lead / Portfolio Manager / PMO consultancy (have done PM roles also). Mostly within public sector – local authority, NHS.
          It's going to be very difficult to break £500 in PMO. It's not a bad rate for an experienced PM. You've definitely hit a ceiling so they only way to go up is to change your skill set. Problem is that's hard as they look at the last gig you've done and will look at your inexperience so you just won't compete against a massivly experienced PM for the £500 gigs. You might get the odd gig that might offer this but it is rare to find one at that rate that is outside that won't be snapped up by a highly experienced contractor. Hope you don't mind me saying but you are setting your goals a little high there. Any client worth their salt that has a £500 outside role can drop that to £400 and people will be lining up outside for it as well.

          That clarity is helpful thank you - so why can't us contractors fall into this area of operation using our Ltd Co’s to offer an end-to-end service - I guess is what I'm still not fully understanding. I guess that's maybe in my looking into GCloud and all that side of things as well.
          Your LTD is most cases is just a vehicle to get tax advantages. Having a LTD initself means nothing. If you have a company than can deliver a full managed service to a client then you might be talking, but that never happens for one man LTDs. The market mainly wants bodies to fulfil a resource shortage, i.e. a temp. It's every contractors dream to land a managed service piece of work but you are up against established consultancies with a history of delivering to clients. If you want to do this you'll have to go through a procurment process that will look at your value add, for which a one man contractor has none.

          Again with GCloud they want a ton of paperwork about your offering which you won't have. They did kick all one man bands off GCloud a few years ago but from what I see a few have snuck back in. It's the wrong framework for the standard one man LTD so a pipe dream.

          I just cannot find very many AT ALL at over £500/day – unless it’s Programme Manager roles. 97% are inside (maybe this is because due to previous experience in public sector, I'm in that sector however the other day I was called about a PMO role with a 'top 6 bank' who were offering under £450/day - there was me thinking oh great, get into private sector, better day rates - nope!
          Yep. £500 is a very good rate for 95% of contractors. The ones on more than that can often pick and chose their clients and networking will be more important that jobs on jobserve. As mentioned clients don't need to pay top dollar anymore. An outside gig at less than previously is still way better than inside so the client holds the cards. 97% is a bit accurate. There are more than that I am sure but that's the market now the off payroll rules came in in April. Clients are scared of carrying the risk so just state inside now. Getting in the private sector does not gaurantee good rates. There are no sweeping comparisons that can be made now I am afraid. Have to take each gig on it's own merits.
          IMO £450 outside is a bloody good gig nowadays.

          Can you work multiple inside IR35s?
          Technically yes but in 99.99999% of cases No (but IMO). Being inside means a client doesn't have to give you the freedom to work which was one of the pillars of IR35. Now you are inside they can put 9 - 5 in the contract and can direct and control you as much as you want. It's virtually a given that an inside gig will expect you to be another body in the office/home. You don't have the flexibility to deliver work in most inside gigs you do the outside. So if the client gives you a contract for 8 hours a day or 9 - 5 then no, you cannot work another contract that also needs 8 hours or 9-5 for obvious reasons. We've a couple of people on here that are doing it but in most cases they are just pulling the wool over their clients eyes and can't tell them. If you can't tell them then IMO you are taking the piss. Very much my opinion though.

          I would start with approaching some of the boutique consultancies to see if they have any openings (check offpayroll.org as they list quite a few. Use the gigs you do get to build your network and be prepared to do a lot of work to get your name out there. My partner does consulting and it's very ad hoc and he ends up doing a lot for free as you have to sell the benefit before you get into something that will pay. Be very clear about what it is you'll be consulting on and who to. Have a look at GCloud and the DOS frameworks for public sector roles.
          I'll be my usual negative self here. I'm a strong believer if a contractor has to ask how to be a consultancy then it's not going to happen. The people that make it have the wherewithall to spot opportunities, create business plans, win the work and so on. That's a skill in itself. A bit of entreupenrual spirit and a strong business head. If you don't have it I don't think it's going to work. Again, just my negative view on it.

          Consulting also comes with a raft of other skills to deliver. Small boutique consultancies don't really need PMO, they want billable heads that can deliver to a client, not people to organise. You'd need one big enough to need this and it's likely to be internal. When delivering a fixed price product to a client the over heads of roles that are just need to help it flow come second. I'm sure I'm wrong there but in most cases I won't be.
          Very negative, and I'm sure people will point out, wrong in some cases but if you can start off at the bottom ticking off my negatives you'll be able to work up and be prepared. If you expect to pile straight in to a consultancy gig from the top you won't understand all the hurdles you are going to have jump over. It's the way I work sorry. I can't do anything with good freedback but I can improve on negative.

          I'd say on the whole you are getting way ahead of yourself. I think you need to get your feet planted. Get some work in your field first, get a feel for the market with the new majorly inside gigs, and then work upwards from there. It's a big leap to jump in to fixed price consultancy when you don't know the rate limit for your own skills etc.

          Slowly slowly catchee monkie I think.

          'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks to all for all your responses. Taking everything in and mostly I'm just trying to figure out where I am, what's the best way forward, etc. I looked at GCloud yesterday realise immediately that's a non-starter, possibly maybe something on DOS but, as post before notes, key is to just get going to start with basic contracting - which I am absolutely intending to do, but just want to think about the next steps now as it were, to make sure there's no way I set myself on a track that's the totally wrong track. I agree with the daily rate comments - it's absolutely obvious there's no leeway in that so I may look at adding some formal certifications within my field that might help not only with day rate but with attractiveness to recruiters, as a contractor - can't hurt.

            Really appreciative of all feedback and comments and have a lot more understanding which can only help with decision-making and any efforts towards my working future in general.

            Thanks all.

            Comment

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