Welcome to another edition of Consultant2Contractor. Last time I introduced the topic and explained the who, what, where, when and why of making the move into the contracting space. In this edition, I will explain the how. International readers note that some of this is written with a UK perspective but the concepts should still be valid.
As with most career moves, the first thing to do is find yourself a potential position. Thankfully there has never been a better time to be working in the Salesforce ecosystem; with Salesforce’s core clouds like Sales, Service, App and Marketing still driving huge growth in revenue YoY, there has never been more demand in the market.
Therefore, if I’m honest I don’t really tend to do much looking because as you can imagine a wealth of demand for Salesforce, means a wealth of demand for professionals to implement solutions.
Now, I personally have a bit of a love-hate relationship with recruiters – and here is definitely not the forum to air this – but what I can say is that given the sheer volume of recruitment companies, recruiters, vacant positions and demand for Salesforce, it should not be a problem to receive at least a small amount of interest from recruiters.
My advice here would be to make sure your LinkedIn game is decent first and foremost. Come up with a succinct and impactful header, list all your hard-earned certs, highlight your skills and relevant experience, and use keywords that will show up in searches. Then make sure you have an up-to-date CV highlighting your relevant Salesforce skills and experience to hand, should they come calling. And believe me, they will.
Have the recruiters not come knocking? Go to them. No doubt they’ll be only too happy to help. Quick shoutout to Mason Frank who have never let me down and have helped me in at least three different geographical regions.
Unlike working at a partner where you may not have the choice of which client you work with, here you do. But you need to make it very clear what you are looking for to a recruiter, and on the flipside, you need to try and ascertain exactly what a client wants if a recruiter approaches you with an offer. If you’re approaching a recruiter, a cover letter outlining exactly what you want will really help here.
Self-employed or Ltd Company
This is particularly pertinent to anybody in the UK. As stated in my last post, “a Salesforce Contractor is essentially a professional for hire whose knowledge, skills, experience and expertise is used by a company for a specified length of time, written into the contract, to fulfil a service or function for a Salesforce project”. Therefore you will work for yourself and hire yourself out to a client, or you will work under the guise of an Ltd company and pay yourself via the Ltd company.
There are some subtle but very important differences between these two situations, particularly related to tax, accountancy and liability. It is very important that you understand what they are and what the potential consequences would be to you. The following page on the GOV website is a good place to start your understanding.
Ok, so you’ve found yourself a position at a client that you like via a recruiter or otherwise. You’ve set up an entity for the money to be paid to (but not how to get it out yet – see Getting Paid section). Now you need to do your legal due diligence and sign a contract which states the terms of your employment i.e. all of the terms and conditions between you, your client and you recruitment company (if applicable) as the enabler.
Just like in IT they say ‘RTFM’ (if you know, you know), please read your contract through with a fine comb as there could be something that you’d like to contest. At the very basic level, you will want to understand what your rights and entitlements are to items like; holiday, sick leave, any other kind of absence leave, working conditions, pensions etc. You will also want to be very clear what your obligations are to the client, such as working hours.
Other housekeeping tasks such as the number of remote days allowed and BYOD policies might not be written onto the contract, but you should discuss and confirm these upfront. My suggestion is that you get these explicitly stated in an email from your contact at the client directly or via the recruiter. You can use this as some form of sign-off/audit so you always have something to show should any issue arise.
Now you might be tempted to think that this should be the easy bit, but in practice, this can be the pain point. It certainly has been for me. If you’re self-employed, you should really set up a business bank account for your money to be paid into, if you’re an Ltd company, its compulsory. This is the first piece of admin.
The second piece of admin will come from having to fill in your timesheets to both the recruiter and the client, and possibly to another entity too. This will inevitably require you to submit timesheets in varying forms, possibly to different systems; i.e. more admin.
Then, if you’re an Ltd company remember that the money is not yours, it’s your businesses money, so you need to find a way of paying yourself some money from your business. When you do, remember you need to make sure that this is all legally and formally accounted for as you will need to show HMRC (or whatever equivalent Government tax body) your accounts and earnings for self-assessment tax purposes. Cue more admin. Add on top of that that if you’re an Ltd company, you will also be required to pay corporation tax and VAT if you are VAT registered. Oh and expenses; don’t forget expenses, remember how much you love doing your expenses? Admin, admin, admin.
Can you see how much you love getting paid now? Whereas before in a company, you would have had a whole department to do this for you, now as a contractor, this is all up to you to sort out. My tip? Get an accountant. It will cost you money each month to get your money out but will free you up from hours of extra admin. My top tip? Get a decent accountant, believe me when I say it will be a very painful journey if you don’t.
Next time I will cover international contracting for any of those hoping to make the move.