Thinking about becoming a contractor.

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by FAST6191, May 23, 2008.

May 23, 2008
  1. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    It seems engineering has near enough died in the UK but I knew that well before going into it so no bitching beyond this sentence.

    I had always envisioned myself becoming a contractor but I had wanted to get a couple of official/full time years first, alas it seems that will not happen (and funding to make it easier would be enough for me to leave to UK which is my ultimate plan) so I am going to move up the schedule.

    Been reading about IR35 but I have also been reading it is enforced about as much as the no timeshifting law for TV (i.e. not at all or rarely as a oh damn he is going to slip by so go go trump charge).
    Also been reading about but to my eye it seems like rights I am more than happy to waive.

    I have had less than brilliant experiences with agencies (although nowhere near as bad as some) so I would like to avoid them (being proactive is not a problem anyhow and the bonus of engineering being near death is that when an agency advertises an engineering job a location and general description is usually more than enough for me to find the company behind it in 30 seconds with a bit of basic searching or at worst narrow it enough for a mailshot).

    Where: UK and Europe for now, I have a green card available for US but that is where I will probably end up and I what I hope to fund with this venture, Israel is an option (I know a few people) and Russia is equally viable but the latter two will require some proper reading and planning (and likely some funding to do it). If Europe provided people do not mind a slight linguistics learning curve on my part I have no problem adding another language to the list.

    Me: I have a degree (specifically heavily electronics biased materials engineering: think mechanical engineering ending at year 2 with a hell of a lot more materials and project management) but I have tended to favour doing rather than chasing paper so while I have been doing stuff (fixing machines, soldering, machining, welding, computers....) since around and even before the time I hit 2 digits I have nothing to show for it (night school/distance learning for the token certificates is in the plan however). While this does not bother most others I know I am not in such an enviable position just yet for anything more than computing (installing networks, OS stuff, building/fixing/upgrading machines and basic *AMP server work mainly) and the odd bit of electronics work (reverse engineering, re-engineering and other stuff the DCMA would have me banged up for mainly).
    I care not for job security, a pension, holiday pay, to have pay beyond "normal" staff, sick leave, perks, "decent" hours (shops are near 24/7 much like my friends and family and the internet is always on), health care is free for the most part in the UK and I know enough people to swing the stuff that is more complex, any vehicles I use are either self powered, public transport (which is OK if you are willing to sacrifice flexibility it seems) or rented (it is cheaper a lot of the time)......... so no need to worry there. While it does not seem to be in the definition of engineer these days I have no problem whatsoever getting my hands dirty.

    My reason for being here: judging by posts around here a lot of you have IT/science/engineering jobs and contracting is a common method by which it is done. Reading in general it seems a lot of these sorts of jobs go through a limited company on a semi permanent or project by project basis (which sounds exactly like what I want) so I am here to ask for peoples thoughts and experiences (be they personal or second hand) in the area.
    Whether I go solo or drag in some friends (more than likely on a strictly shared webspace and nothing more kind of thing as skillsets overlap but are not the same) is open to debate, I probably will leave all manner of tax dodges beyond sticking my 25% in a high interest account for when I get remotely established and if possible (and I know this is a serious longshot) I would like nothing I can not walk away from in 5 minutes (i.e. no loans) and does not take 3 years to get established (like a fair section of the limited companies).

    Thanks in advance.

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