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If you have some experience in a given trade, you might start a small business and accept work as a contractor. Depending on your skill set, you might find that there’s a steady stream of work available – and you’ll have the freedom to choose your own hours, methods and staff. What could be more rewarding?
Making a success of a contracting business isn’t always easy, however. Let’s take a look at a few of the things you’ll want to consider.
Setting up the business
To start trading, you’ll need to register your business and get yourself insured. The process is slightly more straightforward if you want to start as a sole trader. If you’d prefer to limit your liability, on the other hand, then there are a few more hoops to jump through.
Branding and business identity
Another thing worth considering at the outset is the way that you’re going to present yourself to would-be clients. Branding makes a massive difference – but if you establish yourself under one brand, you might find yourself tied to it after you’ve built up some recognition.
Having a presence on social media can be invaluable. Having a high-quality, responsive website might make an even bigger difference. Showcase your work here, and include testimonials from satisfied customers. Ensure that your branding is consistent across every channel: if your website is purple and yellow, so should your uniforms, van liveries and business cards.
You’ll need to invest in a few key items to get your business off to the best possible start. If you need office space, then you might need a sizeable lump sum to secure it. The same might be said of the tools and equipment you’re going to be using. Invest in high-quality tools that can be turned into a variety of applications.
A Milwaukee multi-tool is a great example which you’ll find yourself using often, and it’ll produce high-quality results with minimal maintenance.
Building a base of clients
To begin with, your marketing efforts might not provide enough clients to rely on. You might therefore turn to friends and family to get the ball rolling. Offer discounts, and provide quality work, and you’ll build the right kind of reputation through word-of-mouth. Put the customer first and set high standards for yourself; the phone will keep ringing.
Managing accounts and finance
At this stage, it’s a good idea to think about bookkeeping and taxation – put in place an electronic solution, and you’ll avoid stress and hassle further down the line. This might mean hiring an accountant to handle your business accounts. On the other hand, plenty of off-the-shelf solutions might help you out, even if you’ve only got limited experience dealing with spreadsheets and databases.