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How to be the perfect Contractor

Published: Friday 17th April 2015

In a previous article we looked at how to find and secure the best freelance jobs. But winning the job is only half the battle. Once you have been hired as a freelancer/contractor, another difficult stage begins, that of the project itself and building and maintaining a relationship with your new client. Once you have secured the initial contract your goal is to maximise the benefits to yourself and your client, so that both parties will be keen to maintain a long term client/contractor relationship.

Although there may be many challenges of freelancing, how can you be the ‘perfect contractor’ and what is the perfect contractor anyway? It is a pretty subjective term and open to interpretation. What constitutes the perfect contractor for one employer will come up short for another. It can depend upon the type of role you are looking for, the companies you work with and your speciality. There are however some things which any employer will be looking for and which you can apply to become the best freelancer you can be. Make sure you have addressed these things before you and your client sign a contract.

Portrait of multiethnic architect with blueprints in creative office. Contractor jobs concept.

Your portfolio, profiles and references

Any potential employer will want to check the background of their latest potential employee or contractor before hiring them. Have references and testimonials from previous clients available on your website, or if using contracting sites, make sure you have been endorsed by previous clients and placed them in a prominent place.

Price your bid perfectly

Your bid should be pitched towards the middle of the expected price range for the contractor job or freelance work. When bidding on a project the temptation can be to go to either end of the extremes, whether this is a ‘low-ball’ or high end estimate. Low-balling a client can make you seem like a ‘value range’ product, something to be bought only if you cannot afford a more ‘branded’ product. Similarly, when new to the market you could be just as tempted to charge towards the top end of the market. This can put you in danger of pricing yourself out of many contracts. If a company is selecting between contractors and has two with equal qualifications, they are likely to pick the one with the lower price. Once you secure the bid, go beyond competitive pricing by delivering more than promised and by establishing a great working relationship.

male engineer working on blueprint architectural project at desk in the office.

Under promise and over deliver

Under promise and over deliver, this may seem like an old sales mantra, and it is, but even so it still resonates today. Clients, like many of us, will have had people promise the world to them in the past, only to let them down. In a similar way you may have been over eager when putting a proposal together in the past and overestimate what you can deliver or underestimate the timeframe in which you can do it.

It might seem like a good idea to make a long list of promises to a client but failing to deliver on these promises won’t endear you to them in the long run. It is better to underestimate what you can deliver (by a little) to them and then over deliver on this estimate. Make sure to agree a delivery schedule with your new employer and deliver everything on time.


Once you get a contractor job the client may need you at any time, during your set office hours or not, and this means you should be available to them. Make sure you are available via phone, email, instant messaging or be ready to meet face-to-face when necessary. The upshot, your office hours aren’t always your only hours. Lastly, establish a contract with your new employer which accurately sets out both parties’ expectations and responsibilities.

For contractor jobs in your area, why not try Zoek, the new mobile app which helps you find jobs in a smarter, faster way. Download for free on iOS and Android and let your dream job find you.

For more job hunting tips visit the our Info Hub or follow us on Twitter @Zoekappuk.

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