Skip to main content

A day in the life of a contractor

Alex Bentley

Alex Bentley | Marketing Assistant

Monday 24th Oct, 2022

Whether you’re already working as a contractor or are considering making the move, there are many reasons why the lifestyle is so appealing. Not only can it offer additional freedom and flexibility, but in some cases it can also mean higher take home pay. But what kind of lifestyle do contractors really have, and what factors do you need to consider if you’re thinking of going it alone?

Wake up early or late, it's your choice

If you’re working as a limited company contractor, you have more control over when, where and how you work. So if you’re feeling a little run down and fancy a midweek lie in, you’re free to have as many late starts as you like because you have the ability to set your own working hours.

Regular industry news checks

It’s beneficial for a contractor to keep a keen eye on the latest news and trends that affect your field of work, and what better way to do that than checking reputable industry news channels and social media accounts. Being up to date with all the latest sector news means that you can start to plan for any potential changes that may impact either the work that you do or the way in which you work.

Planning your workload

It may sound obvious, but an important part of a contractor’s day is getting work done and keeping on top of deadlines. Building your reputation as a reliable contractor that produces work to a high standard can have many additional benefits. It could result in generating recommendations from clients, which could not only lead to more contracts in the future but also the potential to negotiate an increased rate of pay for your services.

Liaising with clients

It’s important to have regular communication to maintain a healthy working relationship with your clients to reassure them that they are in good hands. Ultimately, this can only work to your advantage, however if there are any potential issues on the horizon, such as the inability to meet their deadline it’s best to communicate this with your client as soon as possible.


To keep a consistent flow of work it’s important to build a loyal client base. For most contractors this means networking which in this day and age doesn’t have to be done via face to face events, sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to connect with individuals and to build your potential client base. We recently published an article which explored the power that LinkedIn can hold for contractors and gave some tips and tricks on how to improve your profile. That being said, some contractors prefer the face to face approach as may better present themselves in this way, which means attending local get-togethers or trade shows is really important.

Managing your paperwork

Your IR35 status will determine how you are able to work which will impact how much paperwork you need to manage. For contractors inside IR35, working through an umbrella company is the obvious choice. Not only does it give you a record of continuous employment, but you’ll also gain access to entitlements such as a workplace pension, holiday pay and statutory benefits such as sick pay or maternity / paternity pay. There’s also very little admin to do, you simply submit your timesheets and log any allowable expenses online. PayStream’s umbrella company also supports salary sacrifice contributions into your personal pension plan saving you £100’s in not only PAYE but also NI each month whilst also better preparing you for your retirement.

For contractors outside IR35, they have the option to operate via their own limited company. However before choosing to work in this way there are a few things you need to consider. Firstly there are certain responsibilities that come with being the director of your own limited company. These include filing returns, making tax payments each year and ensuring your limited company admin is kept up to date. However don’t worry because help is at hand and contractors working through their own limited company may want to consider choosing a reputable accountancy service provider who can help with this. PayStream’s accountancy service also gives you access to a dedicated team of accountants who are on hand to provide you with all the accountancy and administrative support you’ll need at a price that makes sense for your business.

If you’re looking for a change and are considering making the move from permanent to contract work then our team are on hand to help you discuss your options. Get in touch with our team at or call us on 0161 923 0201 for more information.

Read more in:

Related article - 7 tips for contractors starting out

There are times in life when we reflect on the past and think ”if only I'd known…”. Whether it be an embarrassing little blunder or a huge life decision, either way hindsight can be a funny thing. With that in mind, we asked contractors for some advice that they’d give to others starting out in the sector. Here’s what they had to say…

7 tips for contractors starting out
Back to the Top