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Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?

 
#1 Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
13/10/2012 20:51

DiamondSea

Hello all,

I'm a 29yo consultant with 3 years of Big4 experience in the UK (clients mainly in London and in service industries) and 1+ year of experience with a smaller, pan-European firm specialising in operations management for material industries (manufacturing, automotive etc).

I'm at a point in life where I have no debt, no dependencies and can definitely afford a few months of unemployment. A bit tired with being sold at 2000 GBP a day to my clients and seeing about 10% of it after tax, not to mention working in excess of 70 hours a week and travelling.

My experience is pretty varied, maybe too much, and includes PMO, organisational redisgn, cost modelling and reporting software testing, data migration, business process mapping, lean transformations and loads, loads of data analysis.

I'm planning to give my notice towards the end of the year and to start contracting end of january/beginning of february. I can and will work anywhere in Europe but I'd like to re-align myself to financial services, London would be an obvious choice.

I have created a credentials deck of about 12 slides, in each I described one of my most relevant consulting projects so far in terms of what was the issues, how my colleagues and I approached it, how we delivered and what skills/knowledge I gained from it all. In most slides, I have put references (i.e. name, surname and a phone number) of senior people relevant to that one project. I;d say that 90% of the people I worked for were very happy that they had me on their project.

When the time comes, I plan to:

- get in touch with contractors I know and send them my Cv and credentials

- get in touch with agencies and send them my CV and credentials

- hit jobserve, reed and some other websites "like they owe me money"™

Ideally, I'd like an FSI related project in any decent sized European city. Will invoice from a UK limited company, looking for around 400-500 GBP a day and a 6-9 months contract.

Is there anything I should do and I haven't thought of yet? Any elements I am not considering?

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#2 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
14/10/2012 17:05

Programmes to DiamondSea (#1)

Hi DiamondSea.

I found David Chaplin's book "Contractor Handbook" very useful. There are several legal and contractual aspects you need to think about carefully, for example are you going to set up your own Limited Company or go through an Umbrella? If the former can you stay outside of IR35? I also find membership of the PCG is useful to keep abreast of legal and tax matters.

Your CV and credentials may need re-thinking for the contract market, where it may be helpful to think of yourself as a business offering B2B services. So for example your credentials deck maybe needs to focus on the skills you brought to bear, and not on the skills you learned. (As a client I'm hiring you because you already have the skills and experience for the jobs; at best I don't care about - and at worst I'm alarmed and put off by - any thought that you may have an agenda other than to deliver what I want).

Also what were the business benefits to the client (all the better if measurable and verifiable)? From my experience the agencies etc. will be interested in your CV BTW and not the deck, but the deck could be good generic 'marketing' material from which to prepare a more targeted set of messages for an interview.

I found it useful to develop an Excel model to figure out inputs (days, rate) and outputs (VAT, Corporation Tax, allowable expenses, company pension) and follow that through (salary, dividends) to personal models for me and my partner (income tax). Bear in mind that after you go independent, no-one but you is looking out for you, so you need to think about pension, critical illness insurance, training courses to keep your skills up to date, making sure you get enough downtime (which limits your earnings).

Finally, while I think the Limited Company model is the most tax efficient for the UK (certainly if you can stay outside IR35), I understand working outside the UK is completely different and if that's the direction you want to go in you'd best get some up-to-date advice from someone who knows the ropes.

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#3 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
14/10/2012 17:29

DiamondSea to Programmes (#2)

Hi Programmes, thanks for the advice.

I am in touch with an accountant who will take care of all those things.

My biggest worry at the moment is securing a contract, so any further advice on how to increase those chances is very welcome.

Are contractors ever wanted something like 3-4 weeks ahead in time? Like interviewing and signing a contract today to start in a month time or so?

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#4 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
11/01/2013 11:47

DiamondSea to DiamondSea (#3)

A bit of a cheeky bump up here, got in touch with MindBench, FreshMinds and Eden McCallum, passed the initial screening and all.

But any more leads would be welcome, especially from the likes of marsday and Tony, if I may deserve such help :)

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#5 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
11/01/2013 13:35

abc123 to DiamondSea (#4)

Well, as it has been resurrected I'm going to chip in too.

How many years experience does one need to go solo? What's the youngest contractor you've ever worked with or signed up?

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#6 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
11/01/2013 20:37

DiamondSea to abc123 (#5)

I've heard of people that started to be contractors after two years of unassuming work in minor insurance companies as a grad.

Ten years down the line, they were little more than warm bodies in IT change for financial services: no technical IT experience, no professional certifications (no ACA, no CIMA, PRINCE2 no nothing), hardly able to use Office, lazy as fcuk, the only thing they could do with skills and enthusiasm was talking about football.

YET, he was cashing in about 600 GBP per day, straight into his Swiss account, plus allowances for flights and hotels. Allegedly, he never had more than 6 months of unwanted unemployment.

The whole thing was absolutely beyond me...

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#7 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
12/01/2013 09:38

presidentbartlet to DiamondSea (#6)

See tonnes of substandard contractors around all the time, seems like if you're only half competent you can be better than most of what's out there in the marketplace..

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#8 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
12/01/2013 10:18

DiamondSea to presidentbartlet (#7)

I know bartlet, I just want to maximise the chances of getting a first contract, I'm sure it'll all be downhill (or almost) after that.

The channels I am following are

1 - Personal contacts

2 - Former consulting employers

3 - Agencies like the ones mentioned above

4 - Jobserve, this website, Reed etc

5 - some consultancies that are known for using contractors

If anybody can suggest more names belonging to 3,4 and 5, it'd be much appreciated :)

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#9 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
15/01/2013 16:49

Fount1953 to DiamondSea (#8)

I came across this website http://consulting.co.uk/ that really was useful.

It had just about all that pertains to consulting; be it the firms involved to the actual consultants.

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#10 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 08:28

Mr Cool to abc123 (#5)

@abc123

Youngest contractor I've ever worked with was 12, but he really was quite exceptional. Black belt in six sigma, he ran the process improvement project at the Nike factory in Malaysia.

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#11 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 08:32

Mr Cool to presidentbartlet (#7)

@ president Bartlett - to be fair, exactly the same could be said about consultants! But yes, some shockingly poor quality contractors picking up 400-500 a day for 3-4 years on a single project.

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#12 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 08:52

Mr Cool to DiamondSea (#1)

DiamondSea, you're going about it all wrong! In fact i'd say if you follow your plan then one particular component if it will HALF your chances if getting a contract.

I'll lay a bet that no one on this forum can work out what that component is?

Anyone that gets it, I'll do a "consultant to contractor" coaching session.

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#13 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 11:39

UKCONTRACTOR to Mr Cool (#12)

Are you going nuts!!

- So you have 12 shining reference/projects which you will put it on a deck and send across to agencies/contractors with your references contact details!! Why the heck you want to bother your references with enormous calls from those agencies and contractors which they will solely use for their own purpose!! That cut down your chances to be hired by any of them by at least 90%

- why the heck you don't ask those 12 references only to hire you as a contractor....the best chance who will offer you your first contractor is your current/previous clients i.e. those 12 people!!

- You want to leave your job first and then look for a contract!! That will cut down your chances of getting a contract by half!!

Mr Cool...are you up for a "consultant to contracting" session ;-)

regds

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#14 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 12:28

DiamondSea to UKCONTRACTOR (#13)

Clients are anonymised in the "leading British bank", "European car manufacturer", "global components manufacturer" fashion.

References are either a couple of client people with no consulting/contracting experience or 2-3 senior managers of my former employers who I know for a fact won't just be tempted by the first contracting offer that comes across.

Plus if the agency and whatnot are after a senior manager, in all fairness, I know it wouldn't be a job for me.

I am in touch with my former employers and they are happy to contract me if the occasion arises, I just want to pursue more options.

Mr Cool, interested in knowing that tiny detail.

UKCONTRACTOR, I deeply empathise with whatever condition makes it impossible for you to tell question marks from exclamation marks. I trust there is a lot to learn from you, it's a shame my English is not good enough to understand yours.

¬¬

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#15 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 13:08

UKCONTRACTOR to DiamondSea (#14)

No your English won't get you a contract either!!

For a fact my English got me to work for 2 of the BIG 4 as Manager and Senior Manager and this forum knows me as someone who has been bombarded with job offers (contract and perm) whenever I am out in the market (I am also known as someone who has left contract in 2 days and Big 4 jobs in 2 month because I simply didn't like it)!!

You are simply a joker who will not disclose your client names on your deck but will disclose your references names!!

You are correct you don't understand simple English as you couldn't quite catch what I meant when I mentioned agency and contractors will use your references for their own use!!

Seems you have already left your perm job!! No wonder you will struggle to get your first contract!!

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#16 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 13:32

DiamondSea to UKCONTRACTOR (#15)

You are correct you don't understand simple English as you couldn't quite catch what I meant when I mentioned agency and contractors will use your references for their own use!!

So why don't you explain it to me?

Seems you have already left your perm job!! No wonder you will struggle to get your first contract!!

Given that websites like Jobserve don't offer many (if any) contracting job with a start date which is further than 7 days from the day they post the ad, how could anyone commit to one of those contracts if they are in full time employment?

My former employers were also looking for contractors to start project no later than 2 weeks, at times less than 1. Same question applies...

How many projects can afford to wait an average notice period of a couple of months to poach a fulltime employee from their employer?

Also judging from some of your previous posts you don't seem to be the deus ex machina you seem to describe on this thread

Have I messed up my career?

http://forum.top-consultant.com/UK/76548/13/Have-I-Messed-Up-What-Are-My-Options/

Out of contract at the moment. CV has been submitted for 40 roles with various comapanies within FS/IB in last 2 months.

http://forum.top-consultant.com/UK/77250/1/Contracting-Market-At-The-Moment/

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#17 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 14:16

Anon MCs to DiamondSea (#16)

Hi Guys,

Looks like everyone is getting heated up on this one.

For me, its pretty simple:

- There are as many stories about "bad contractors staying for years earning £500 a day" as there are about bad consultants doing the same and bringing in £1.2k a day, while pointlessly increasing team sizes

- Ultimately, good Divisions get rid of bad contractors pretty quickly. I have worked as a full timer in a big FI, MC and Contracting and can tell you that in the current environment, where I am the bad contractors are let go pretty quick

- I have convinced an old colleague who is ok at his job NOT to leave its safety and become a contractor, this is due to the market being tough at the moment and hence you should only join it if you are a high performer. He was a solid 5 out of 10 and hence should NOT be leaving his full time job. Be truthful with yourself, which one are you? If ok at what you do, stay full timer. If good and a wide network, then give it a go.

- I love contracting, I love running my own company while doing client work. I love that the juicy rate goes all to me to build my company into something better and bigger. However, I am taking a huge risk by not being a full timer and the pressure gets to some people. I am looking forward to my little company doing more things

Genuine good luck in whatever you decide

By the way, efinancialcareers is also a good starting point

Rgds

Anon

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#18 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 14:58

UKCONTRACTOR to DiamondSea (#16)

You are correct you don't understand simple English as you couldn't quite catch what I meant when I mentioned agency and contractors will use your references for their own use!!

So why don't you explain it to me?

Seems you have already left your perm job!! No wonder you will struggle to get your first contract!!

Given that websites like Jobserve don't offer many (if any) contracting job with a start date which is further than 7 days from the day they post the ad, how could anyone commit to one of those contracts if they are in full time employment?

My former employers were also looking for contractors to start project no later than 2 weeks, at times less than 1. Same question applies...

How many projects can afford to wait an average notice period of a couple of months to poach a fulltime employee from their employer?

Also judging from some of your previous posts you don't seem to be the deus ex machina you seem to describe on this thread

Have I messed up my career?

http://forum.top-consultant.com/UK/76548/13/Have-I-Messed-Up-What-Are-My-Options/

Out of contract at the moment. CV has been submitted for 40 roles with various comapanies within FS/IB in last 2 months.

http://forum.top-consultant.com/UK/77250/1/Contracting-Market-At-The-Moment/

Did your English not let you read that I was the one who left the contract in a week cos I didn't like my boss and it is not obvious to you that leaving a contract like that can take anywhere from 1 to 2 months to secure another one and to complete the background checks of investment banks!!

Did you not read the same Bank hired me again despite of I left them in 5 days and I am with the same Bank at the moment and shaping a £20 million programme!!

you are a real joker who don't know that any damn bank takes 2-6 weeks to get someone on board from the day they make an offer unless their bank/ BU is failing not having you on board in a week time!! So you leaving your job without securing your contract only confirms the biggest stupid you are!! Tell us the truth that you were fired or forced to take the redundancy! No wonder your references are happy for you to put their names because they wanted to get rid of you anyways!

You are lucky that you post got my attention cos I also started contracting after getting out of consultancy but it's shame you could only make consultant in the age of 29! You haven't yet made wonders and you will never be....with this attitude!!

A couple of months notice at your level.....you must be working for teloitte

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#19 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 15:26

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to UKCONTRACTOR (#18)

Things are hotting up...

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#20 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 15:36

UKCONTRACTOR to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#19)

not anymore from my side ;-) getting back to work as I don't come quite often to this site now a days due to busy work schedule!!

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#21 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 18:01

DiamondSea to UKCONTRACTOR (#20)

UKCONTRACTOR, do you understand there is a plethora of clients who are NOT banks, pay just as well and are happy to take people on board with much shorter notice?

Plus, can you deny that the whole of jobserve doesn't even allow you to search for jobs with a start date of over 7 days?

Do you understand that there are reputable consulting companies who work with contractors as part of their staff, with people being staffed to clients with as little as a 2 day notice?

For the record, my employer is sad to see me go, will be very happy to have me back and will contract me if they can. I haven't been fired, never have in my life, always been a top performer and much liked by managers for the work I did.

The rest I see here on this thread is a few helpful comments, until your first, genius one, in which you

1 - clearly misunderstand how I am putting my references together

2 - ignore rock solid evidence that shows that not all contractors are found and onboarded with the timeframes of an IB

3 - typed with the accuracy of a drunken ape

none of these three points are useful to the topic, so I doubt you'll be missed.

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#22 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 18:34

DiamondSea to deleted (#0)

A) FSI is a preference (I said "ideally" inmy initial post), not a must. Again, my experience is varied.

B) Fair enough but my point stays: in some industries and if you are contracted by a management consultancy, you could be needed at very short notice

C) I'd be happy to by contracted directly by a Booz to work with them just as much as to go through an agency such as those mentioned above to do the same. What's the problem?

D) Honestly, baseless allegations here, and you are making a spectacle of yourself

E) I resigned in Jan so I'm covered until mid Feb. Happy?

F) Further poor grammar on your side which makes it barely understandable, again, my references are my former managers who are happy to receive an e-mail to confirm my experience and skills to an agency that liked my CV and credentials.

What do you know apart from the little I have shared here about me? As I said in the topic opener, I don't mind some unemployment, I have things to keep myself busy with (learning an extra language, travelling which you have done too). And I am basically having garden leave at the moment, after having given my notice, and have money saved up :)

Well done on adding profanity to the poor grammar and spelling... Now, be consistent with what you said in your previous post and go back to your busy busy multimillion project...

Booz Nordic DOES use contractors, for instance.

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#23 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 18:36

UKCONTRACTOR to DiamondSea (#22)

HAHAHA

BOOZ!! You made my day!!

That' should sum up the post!

Gud Luck!!

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#24 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 19:12

UKCONTRACTOR to UKCONTRACTOR (#23)

Sorry had to add on!!

- So your references phone numbers in your first post are now changed to their e-mail address!!

- So you resigned in Jan instead of your earlier intention of ending your notice by Dec End!

- So your couple of months notice has been now shortened to 6 weeks

- So you were so good that the moment you put your resignation your former employer "who was sad that you are leaving" immediately put you on Garden leave rather utilising you during your notice period!!

Get a life your moron and don't waste time of others!! Mine is fine as I like kicking the a*** of arrogant useless people on this form!!

I am still laughing at your aims of joining Booz as a contractor despite of having pathetic experience and also laughing you claiming doing hell loads of data analysis but couldn't interpret how jobserve was supposed to use and based upon your misinterpretation that jobserve don't publish contracts which are starting beyond 7 days you even made life changing decision and left your job (not that I believe but as you say)!!

I promise this was my last post on this topic!! you don't deserve anymore time from me!!

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#25 RE: Consultant to contractor: how to do it well?
16/01/2013 23:02

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#19)

Gee-zus! I popped back in to see if any of you super-bright consultants had picked up on my playful wager and it looks like a freaking helicopter has hit the top-consultant site.

Carnage! Registration of users has really helped!

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