We recently held a SOLIDWORKS contractors meet up in
Bristol. The aim of the meeting was to introduce the world of contracting to
those thinking about setting up on their own. We were very fortunate in that
one of our long standing customers and contractor Martin Mervyn (www.theworksdesignservices.co.uk)
was able to come along and act as guest speaker, sharing his experiences from
12+ years in the industry.
It was fantastic to hear Martin’s answers to the many
questions he took over the evening, below are some of these questions and responses.
Am I good enough?
If you’re not, you quickly will be. You are going to be
exposed to more industries and people than any other time in your career. Drawing
on the experience of those around you, your skills are going to improve
exponentially. After a year in the trade you will look back and be amazed at
your progression, after 5 years you may have become a specialist in a field you
didn’t even know existed.
Is the workload unstable?
Even during hard economic times there is work for
contractors, companies are less inclined to invest in software and take on full
time employees when there are uncertainties in the future. Often the problem is
there being too much work and finding ways to manage this without turning away
clients. This is when your network is important in being able to share your
work load and refer business to others. What goes around comes around.
Will I get any
The last 3 years Martin has taken 3 months off over the
summer and gone to France. His intention is to leave work behind and hopefully come
back, slowly building back into it. Although it never works this way, his inbox
is full on return and he is straight back into work. Ultimately it is up to you
how you take holidays; you are your own business, you get what you put in but
if you want some time off, take some time off.
How will I get paid?
There are many ways for you to take work and bill companies as
a contractor. Working through an agency is the least exposed as they handle to
monetary side and you will get paid regardless. You can earn more dealing with
a company direct, but you need to consider your agreed terms and often it can
take longer for you to get paid for your work. Again, there are options on how
you handle this.
Will I have to
Every company works differently. More companies are letting
people work remotely but most still want you to visit the office on occasion.
Travel is something you will need to consider, but again it is up to you to
manage this. Some in the industry travel very little but if you are willing to
move around there will be more work available.
What are the benefits
of being a contractor?
• You will be financially better off
• No need to manage people
• No office politics
• There is no ceiling on your earnings, you get what you put in
• Flexible working, you’re the boss
• Raise your profile as an engineer, constant improvement
• Variation, you will meet many different companies and industries
• Tax benefits
• Shape your own destiny
How will I find work?
There are many ways for you to find work including:
• Agencies (Solid People - https://www.solidpeople.co.uk/)
• Your website (easy to make one on https://www.wix.com/)
• Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
• Solid Solutions – referrals from account manager and engineers
• Solid Solutions – on our website take a look
• Word of mouth – previous contracts etc.
• Virtual Office – set up a virtual desk in London and other geographies
• Repeat business
• Register office on googlemaps – more companies searching via locality
• Your network – build your network and share work, it’s a two-way street
Is the financial
outlay too great?
Consider the costs of setting up any business – electrician,
plumber, mechanic, shop owner, hospitality. It is difficult to think of a
company/business that can be born from less than £10,000. As a SOLIDWORKS
contractor your two outlays are your software and hardware. They are an
investment but they are your tools of your trade and all that you require to
get up and running. Setting yourself up
as a SOLIDWORKS contractor is one of the cheapest options in starting your own
will I have?
You are going to be exposed to a huge variety of companies
and people. Over time you will have a multitude of opportunities present themselves
· Investments – some companies, start-ups for
example, may offer you shares in their business in return for free work or
·Directorship – Many in Martin’s network have
gone on to become directors in companies. Along with improving as an engineer,
exposure to a variety of companies will improve your business acumen. Companies
recognise this and in a short amount of time you are a desired asset to the
· Develop new inventions – people will come to you
with their ideas and inventions giving you a chance to cherry pick and be
involved in exciting new projects
· Full time positions – overtime you will be
offered many full time positions. With the freedom of contracting you are in a
good negotiating position when a position presents itself.
If you are thinking of setting up on your own, you are
likely to have 101 questions. Many of our customers are contractors and we have
a lot of experience in helping you get started. Get in touch today to discuss
how we can help you get started on your new venture.