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SOLIDWORKS Elite Specialists


Wednesday November 7, 2018 at 9:45am

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 ( 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 holidays?

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 travel?

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 -
• Your website (easy to make one on
• 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 company.

What opportunities 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 such as:

·  Investments – some companies, start-ups for example, may offer you shares in their business in return for free work or discounted rates

 ·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 business.

 ·  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. 

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