5 Important Things To Look For Before Signing A Contract

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September 01, 2017
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Independent workers spend a lot of time trying to win new business. When there’s an opportunity in our sights, we’re prone to barrelling forward, rushing over the careful steps to an agreement that benefits us. Contacting professionals, for instance, may come within inches of signing the dotted line before they see that something isn’t right…

Or, in the worst cases, they can ignore the small-print altogether. Failing to nit-pick the finer points will compromise your earnings on a project, and leave you open to extra charges and tax payments.

So, check out Bright Ideas’ top five factors that lead to a contract that treats you well:

1. A definitive set of timeframes

There shouldn’t be any doubt as to when you expect X or Y to be completed. In this sense, the client may ask for predictable elements – hours, materials, technical methods – that’ll dictate how long you’ll be working.

This isn’t just for your own peace of mind; whoever’s hiring you is likely to have other processes orbiting yours, and they have to know what timescale/achievement you’re delivering. Plus, you won’t be doing extra, unpaid work if the deadline is met early.

2. Full confidentiality 

The average contract has plenty of sensitive information within it. We’re talking about names, addresses, signatures; numerous data elements that shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Before you sign, be sure to scan the contract for non-disclosure pledges that’ll stand up in a court of law. Moreover, the paperwork should be clear about which details, exactly, are going to be protected.

3. Mutuality of obligation

Much of IR35 – the level by which we measure a worker’s ‘independent’ status – is decided by mutual obligations between client and contactor. Essentially, you have to be assured that the project exists, what’s expected of you, and the payment figures you’re going to receive.

On the other hand, a temporary employer should have 100% faith in your skills, in addition to believing you’ll show up on-schedule. By making such promises, you’ll both be in a more confident position – and from your perspective, the tax benefits of being outside IR35 are there to enjoy.

4. A single point of contact

What happens if something goes awry? Who’s going to be there for advice, opinion or information relay, if (for example) you become ill during a week of contracted work? Avoid these problems by setting a point of contact in stone.

There must be one or two backups to go with it, just to ensure the primary details aren’t redundant in the event of a serious issue. Again, highlight your own contacts too: a person/s who can speak for your whereabouts during and after the project.

5. Easy-to-grasp risk assessments

Lastly, we’d like to point out what perceived risk is involved with what you do. Only you, of course, know the answer to this, and it’ll inform the lion’s share of your insurance investments.

Whether you go for equipment, buildings, public liability or other types of coverage, state it in the contract. It shows you have a good amount of foresight for what may happen, as well as proving you’ve tried to mitigate a threat or injury.

Hopefully, by seeing to these nuances, you’ll earn two things – a fantastic reputation, and the cash you deserve for ridding uncertainty at every turn. Before you do so, stay smart with Bright Ideas on your side: we’ll help you achieve the best earning potential of your contracting career.

Want to see what we’re talking about? Call our accountancy team on 0161 451 3924 or email info@biaccountancy.com for the lowdown on our services.

things to look for before signing a contract

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