A step-by-step guide to contracting

If you are just starting out in the world of ICT contracting, then it is entirely possible that you are feeling overwhelmed and ill-prepared for what to expect.

Mirriam Webster Dictionary defines a contract as "a business arrangement for the supply of goods or services at a fixed price". This is a very succinct and accurate description, but does little in the way to explain what happens when you become a contractor.

Below is a step by step example of contracting with Online 89:

1. Find a job you are interested in

All our jobs are posted online through Captial Jobs, Twitter and our website. Our jobs are also emailed out in our Job Alert newsletters (which you can subscribe to through our website).

2. Contact Online 89

If you see a position that interests you please contact us to let us know that you would like further information.

3. We will email you a submission information document

This document contains all the detail about the job including the job description, requirements, selection criteria, term of contract and any other terms particular to the position including security clearance and citizenship requirements. Read through this document carefully and contact us if you have any questions.

4. Complete the submission information document

Once you have determined that you are suitable for the position (based on your skills and experience) you will need to complete the submission information document. You will need to complete the sections on contact information, referees, your requested hourly rate and selection criteria.

We have an article about selection criteria in our knowledgebase, but if you find that you are having trouble completing the submission information we are more than happy to talk you through it.

5. Update your resume

This will form a part of your response to the agency. It is a good idea to tailor this for each position to which you respond. If you need help putting together a resume have a look at our articles about resume writing.  If you need further help don't hesitate to contact us.

6. Email us your response

This should include your completed submission information, resume and responses to the selection criteria. Please provide these documents to us in Word format.  Also be mindful of the deadline for submissions. While we try to be as flexible as possible, we too are bound by the agency's deadline.

7. Your response is sent to the agency

Once we have received your response and determined it is suitable we will insert it into the document the agency requires.  If more information is required we will contact you prior to submission.  Our goal is to work with you to provide the strongest submission possible.

8. Candidates are shortlisted for interview

If you have been selected for interview the agency will contact Online 89 with a proposed interview time and date. We will contact you to confirm your availability for this interview, as well as talk you through anything that you will need to do on the day.

9. Now we wait

Some agencies have a very fast turnaround time, others do not. We expect to hear back about roles within two weeks, and will begin following up if we have not heard back within this time frame.

10. The contract is awarded

If you are successful in securing the role we will contact you with the offered rate and term (sometimes this will be different to what you requested). If you are happy to accept the role we will go back to the agency with a confirmation of acceptance.

11. A work order is generated

The agency will send through a work order for your services. This work order will state the role, job description, length of contract, start date and rate. Once we have checked over this we will confirm the start date with you, before signing and returning to the agency.

12. You sign a contract with Online 89

This contract is legally binding agreement with us, and states the particulars of the work order that you are entering into, as well as the terms of the agreement between yourself and Online 89.

13. Choose what type of contractor you want to be

There are two ways of contracting with Online 89. The first is to use our preferred payroll management provider, Professionals Online; the second is to be an independent contractor through a subcontracting company.

If you decide to be an independent contractor you will need to provide us with the following:

  • Details of your subcontracting company
  • Evidence that the subcontracting company is a genuine employer
  • Certificate of currency for your workers compensation policy
  • Certificate of currency for your professional indemnity insurance policy
  • Certificate of currency for your public liability insurance policy

If you decide to contract through Professionals Online they will take care of all this for you. More information about Professionals Online's payroll management service is available on their website.

14. You start your new job

We will send you your first day arrangements.  This will include such things as the time your need to start, who your contact person will be, the address of the office,  any documentation you will need to take with you, and WH&S requirements.

15. You provide evidence of the hours that you work

How this is done will depend on the agency. Some prefer you to use our timesheet, others will have their own timesheets. Unless other arrangements are made, simply email this evidence through to us by 5 p.m. on the first working day of the month following the month worked.  Your signed and endorsed timesheet should also be forwarded to your payroll management company.

A final word

Contracting services is not for everyone. Many people prefer the security, leave and superannuation provisions offered by permanent employment, while others prefer the flexibility that contracting provides.

Some of the benefits of being a contractor are:

  • Ability to change projects more readily
  • Shorter term commitments to work
  • Networking opportunities working across various agencies/contracts

Contracting is about building a strong reputation and ongoing relationships. It is important to be realistic and to charge fair win/win rates. If you do this you will not only earn a fantastic salary you will be given the best ongoing opportunities.