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Top 4 Common Contractor Mistakes

Posted: March 13th, 2020

Forging a career as a contractor in the construction industry can be a difficult task. It comes with peaks and troughs and won’t always be smooth sailing. You’ll likely have to work through and negotiate some tricky situations. Below we’ve listed some common contractor mistakes, so you can hopefully avoid them.

1. Starting work without a contract

It’s natural to get excited about a new opportunity and often contractors can get head of themselves, jumping head-first into a role without any paperwork signed. To protect yourself, it is essential that you carefully look over and sign a contract before you start work on a new project. Doing so will mean that you and whoever you are working with agreed on the terms and conditions of your employment.

2. Letting accounting and record-keeping slide

At the end of the workday, it’s easy to feel exhausted and put off paperwork to the following day. But what inevitably happens is that the paperwork just doesn’t get done. Letting your accounting and record-keeping slide makes for a big headache come tax time. Try to make the paperwork side of your work as easy as possible for yourself. There are so many accounting software options that are making it easy for contractors. Their services as easy as a click of a button on your phone. Check out our blog “apps every tradie should have downloaded’ for more details. 

3. Exaggerating the truth

Pumping up your resume or previous projects is a risky move to climb the career ladder and will catch you out sooner or later. Make sure you are truthful when promoting yourself, this will only result in a higher level of trust further down the line.

This can also be said of commitments. Don’t agree to projects knowing you won’t complete it within the agreed timeline or budget.

4. Accepting lower rates or any project

Becoming a competent negotiator takes work and practice, but it’s a skill crucial for every contractor to develop and avoid more common contractor mistakes. If you don’t even try to negotiate, you could miss out of taking home a higher pay rate. Whether it’s a new contractor or a renewal, do your research, find out what the industry standards are and what your competitors are charging. Consider your own worth and find a figure you won’t go below and then negotiate for well above that you give you some room to move.

As with lower rates, it can be tempting to take any and every job that comes your way. Especially if you are just starting your career. Think about who you ideal client is and what your ideal projects are, then instead of applying for every job, simply apply for the ones that really fit your criteria. Doing so, you’ll save time and energy and create a niche network of clients that are suited to you