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5 tips on how to effectively negotiate contracts

Posted on by Jane Fretwell

Effective negotiation capabilities are essential when operating as a limited company or umbrella company contractor. It is important that you always receive the pay rates you deserve for the skills you are offering. The real challenge is to sell yourself in such a way that you can secure contracts at competitive rates.

As a contractor you should have the upper hand during negotiations as it is your specific skill set that companies need. We have put together our 5 top tips to help you utilise this:

1. Know your worth

Contract rates are dependent on your skill set and the industry you operate in. If you have a niche skill you are likely to hold a strong bargaining power – make sure you use it. Industries such as IT and Oil & Gas have recently experienced a strong growth and as a result contractors are able to demand a much higher pay rate.

2. Be aware of shifting industry rates

Being aware of current industry pay rates is crucial when constructing a credible argument. Having this knowledge will also prevent you losing out and accepting consultant pay rate estimations that are less than your worth.

3. Keep up to date with industry trends

Pay rates aren’t the only things subject to constant change; it is important to be aware of changes in systems, processes and technologies. Utilising seminars, training days or online forums and training programmes can be a valuable tactic in maintaining a sharp and desirable skill set.

4. Don’t agree to everything

It is easy when you first set out as a contractor to accept everything that comes your way in order to increase the pay that you receive – this is not always the best solution for the long term. Looking to accept contracts with recognised firms can boost your credibility and lead to longer term contracts with which you are able to enjoy greater financial security.

5. Be conscious of industry averages

Setting a standard pay rate for yourself across a number of contracts may seem like the easier option, especially if you are taking up further contracts within the same company, but you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Each contract should be reviewed in isolation and if a new skill is required then this should be taken into consideration.

At Simplyco we understand that working as a contractor, freelancer or a self-employed individual can be difficult as you have a lot of responsibilities. We take away the hassle of tax, accounts and payments allowing you to have more time to do the things you enjoy. Learn more about our accountancy service.

Simplyco are expert contractor accountants and take a keen interest in giving expert advice to their clients to help them and their careers. If you would like to learn more about how we could support you then give us a call on 01900 898 440 or email

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