Working as an Independent Contractor

18 Aug , 2016  

Who is an independent contractor?

An independent contractor is a person who offers his or her professional services to another person without a legal attachment between the two parties. In this case, you may be a doctor, engineer, therapist, investigator or any other expertise. You offer your services to a hospital, an NGO, government, or otherwise, on a consultative basis.

How is an independent contract different from being an employee?

The main difference between working as an independent contractor and an employee is that you are not legally liable to, or under control of, the company you work for. In case of any liability, you take the responsibility for your actions. There is no specified monthly of periodical remuneration in independent contracts. Independent contracts are mostly paid in a lump sum for every service delivered. You may choose your methods in independent contracts, but you must deliver the product or service as specified.

Where can I work?

Once you choose to deliver a service as an independent contractor, you are responsible for finding organizations that may require your services. Sometimes the positions are advertised in relevant media, but ideally you will build up an industry capital and experience that will attract organizations to you.

Independent contracts range from technical and high paying government contracts to small contracts for online gigs. The level of experience differs from one industry to another. It is wrong to purport to offer services in a field you are not qualified or permitted to practice. Engineering, therapy, medical practice, and nursing are some of the areas that you must have formal accreditation before practicing.

How much can I charge?

It all depends on the level of expertise and the nature of work. You can always check updates on the adverts on the expected hourly rates or even lump sum amounts. For those that are not advertised, you can compare advertised positions and how they have offered their pricing. Some independent contracts have fixed budgets while others take into consideration other factors notably experience and expertise.

What are the terms of the contract?

This will differ from job to job. Some terms are specified while others are open for negotiation. While it is important to maintain some standard contractual terms, it is always good to negotiate favorable terms and conditions especially those that relate to the methods, timelines, and payments.

Is there a guaranteed job security?

There is no job security when you are working as an independent contractor. Once the term of the contract is over, unless it is renewed, your services are no longer needed.

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