How to be assertive as a contractor

How to be more direct at work

Here at Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, we recently had a conversation with an IT contractor that gave us insight into a scenario that we think may be fairly commonplace. How to be assertive when contracting.

The contractor told us that a couple of projects she had recently worked on had overrun past their deadline due to her clients holding things up internally. This was due to things like long turnaround times on sign-offs, delays in providing information and other hold-ups. She said she felt as if she should have pushed back to her clients, reminding them of the deadlines and asking them to speed things up. However, she didn’t feel confident to do this as she is a contractor and didn’t feel she had the same influence as a permanent employee.

So, we’re here to tell you what we told her: never be afraid to be assertive.

 

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Think cyber criminals don’t bother with small businesses? Think again.

Cyber Crime

It seems to be a regular news fixture: large, well-known companies suffer massive data breaches where personal data is obtained by hackers. The type of business and nature of the data often changes, but the stories are always connected through how instantly recognisable the businesses involved are.

So, you’d be forgiven for thinking that as a small business you’d be safe from the interest of hackers. However, the truth is very different. According to the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses. In fact, attacks on small businesses make up the largest share of attacks in the report.

This suggests that small business owners are lacking in the resources and knowledge required to prevent such attacks, especially when we consider that 21% of the breaches were caused by error, while 15% were caused by misuse.

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The biggest unexpected costs of self-employment

Costs

Self-employment as a contractor can seem like an easy way to keep your costs down: low overheads, no wage bill, perhaps a home office to save on commuting costs. However, the reality is that even experienced contractors can get caught out by all sorts of unexpected expenses. Here’s our list of the top unanticipated spends that contractors and freelancers face – and some tips on how to prepare for them.

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What if I get injured at work?

Injured

For any contractor who has previously been in traditional employment, you probably didn’t think that much about what would happen if you got injured at work. Or, if you did, you’d have found that your employer would have significant responsibilities towards you in the event of an accident in the workplace. As a bare minimum employees are guaranteed £92.05 per week Statutory Sick Pay, payable for up to 28 weeks, if they are too ill to work. Many employment contracts offer enhanced sickness benefits on top of this. And, of course, while at work, your employer is liable for your safety, so if they have been negligent you may be able to make a claim for personal injury compensation against them. Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit also exists to support those employees who become ill or are disabled because of an accident or disease at work.

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Baby, it’s cold outside – running a home office

Home Office

It’s January, so the heating’s cranked up full blast and you’re having to work with the lights on. Most contractors and freelancers are aware that they can deduct expenses for running a home office from the profits of their business, but what exactly are allowable costs? This blog gives a quick rundown of the main things to consider and how to work out the numbers ahead of filling in your self-assessment return.

Exactly what you can claim depends on your business, your bills and how much and how often you work from home. We’d always recommend sitting down with a qualified accountant to help you crunch these numbers. But here’s an idea of some of the expenses that you might be incurring in the course of running a home office.

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A Christmassy New Client

Christmas

Kingsbridge had an interesting and very jolly new client call up this week, looking for cover for his present manufacturing and delivery business based in the Arctic Circle. The client works on a contract basis for approximately 75 million parents across the world. The majority of his deliveries are scheduled for December 25th, so this is an extremely busy time of the year for him. He asked us to quickly assess his insurance needs – here are our recommendations.

This client is world-renowned and his reputation is first class. However, with over 600 million presents to deliver, there is always a chance that an unforeseen error might mean a child receives the wrong present on Christmas morning. We advised that he protect himself with a sufficient level of professional indemnity insurance to cover damages arising from such an incident.

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Back to school for contractors and freelancers

Back to School

The kids are now well and truly back to school and most contractors and freelancers can breathe a collective sigh of relief at no longer having to remove Lego from their laptop every morning. But have you thought about going back to school yourself?

Not in the literal sense, of course – we’re not suggesting you head back to Mr Jones’s Year 11 maths class to refresh yourself on sine and cosine. Rather, have you thought about continuing your education and expanding your range of skills to improve your prospects as a contractor?

You may want to improve your knowledge of Excel, better your digital photography skills or even learn basic bookkeeping so you can manage your accounts more efficiently. You might even fancy starting that Masters or PhD to really make yourself an expert in your field. Whatever you want to do, there’s lots of choice out there.

If you haven’t, now is the ideal time to start thinking about it. One of the first things you need to consider (besides what you want to study) is what type of learning suits you best. Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of the two main options.

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Sportsmanship in contracting and freelancing

Sportsmanship

July 2018 is proving to be an epic month for sport. The British Grand Prix has sped past, Wimbledon has been served up, the Tour de France is kicking into gear, The Open will soon be teeing off and the Hockey Women’s World Cup is set to flick away. Oh, and there’s been some football on too but we’ve not heard much about that…

All this athleticism has got us thinking about notions of sportsmanship and what that means for contractors and freelancers in their professional lives.

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Productivity hacks for contractors and freelancers

Productivity Hacks

When you only have to answer to yourself, it’s easy to slip into an unproductive rut. Some days, Homes Under the Hammer is just too tempting. Others, you just can’t settle until the room has been dusted.

At Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, we’ve spent years chatting to contractors and freelancers and productivity is often an issue that comes up. We’d like to share some of the advice we’ve picked up during that time and share it with you so you can be the most productive you’ve ever been.

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