Rarely do you pick up a book that answers all the questions. Not only does the new Contractors’ Handbook answer them in detail, it goes into areas I hadn’t even thought about – despite creating and running several successful businesses.
I thoroughly recommend this book. It is so good it should be renamed The Contactors’ Bible!
I met Dave Chaplin, the author of this book, late last year following my response to a posting on his site. You can always measure a competitor’s integrity by the way they respond and talk to you (in essence you could argue Dave’s site, ContractorCalculator isn’t a competitor to Freelance Advisor as we serve different types of free agent workers). Dave’s response via email was a friendly introduction: ‘Nice of a competitor to take the time to get involved in our site!’
After three meetings, most involving copious beers, I realised a few fundamentals about Dave. Not only is he a thoroughly nice chap that turns any beer evening into a laugh-a-minute adventure, you can see instantly that this guy truly knows the contractors marketplace. Who else could be as well placed as Dave to write a book like this?
Dave’s career started in the city, during the IT contractor’s heyday in the nineties. He realized his worth as a programmer and project team leader after watching less capable contractors come into his firm and decided to jump into the world of contracting. After many significant IT projects, in some of the largest investment banks (he tells me they are all still around now!), you could honestly say that Dave had been there and done it! (a phrase he uses throughout the book as headings on real-life examples; the phrase gets a fraction jaded, but in all the examples he conveys some real gems).
The book starts from the beginning with a really balanced view, mapping out the pros and cons of the contracting life. For those of us who don’t take these sorts of decisions lightly, this area leaves no stone unturned. From this point onwards, the book goes literally step-by-step from how to find work to making the CV stand out, to detailed sections on accounting and tax.
And what is clear is that the book doesn’t just include Dave’s experiences, but is compiled from 10 years running contractor sites and speaking on a daily basis to experts in the industry.
Whether you are a freelancer, contractor or freelance consultant, regardless of the years you have been working, this 500-page book is an absolute gem. Get one and I promise you it will remain on your shelf for reference and get used very often.
By Darren Fell
Contractors’ Handbook: the expert guide for UK contractors and freelancers
Published by ContractorCalculator.co.uk