Do you provide your technical skills on a contract basis to companies as an incorporated business or sole proprietor? Getting yourself organized in January can help save you time and headaches for the rest of the year. Here are three things every technical freelancer should add to their to-do list to start off 2019 on the right foot.
Resolution #1: Create an Employment Status Proof Portfolio
If someone from a government agency knocked on your door and asked you to prove that the working relationship you have with the company you’re providing your services to is truly as an independent contractor, could you do it with confidence? Employment misclassification can have serious financial penalties for both the company and the independent contractor. Having easy access to the items in this list will help you prove your independent contractor status should it ever come into question:
Business Process and Documentation
- Certificate of incorporation (if you have incorporated your business)
- Business Information Number
- Canada Revenue Agency Business Number (If you have registered your business for GST/HST, you’ll have been assigned this 9-digit number by the CRA)
- Federal Tax ID Number
- Proof of your GST/HST account
- Copies of any licences or certificates required for carrying out your business
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (Ontario) Clearance Certificate (if you have registered)
- Proof of coverage and amount of business insurance
- Proof of your own benefits coverage (e.g. disability, health and dental, life, critical injury orsimilar benefits)
- If you have employees, proof of any benefits coverage purchased for them
- Proof of how you market your business to the public (e.g. business cards, website, social media accounts, paid advertising, sponsorships, industry group memberships, trade fair participation, etc.)
- Sample business invoices
- Evidence of corporate banking and bookkeeping
Written contracts that clearly identify you/your business as an independent contractor and ideally:
- Are for a fixed term or based on completing a specific project vs being open-ended
- Outline the services to be performed or the project or product to be delivered
- Have an indemnification provision that requires you as the contractor to compensate the client for any losses related to any negligence or other factors
- Permits you as the contractor to provide services to other organizations
Proof of Control Over Services
To help prove your status as an independent contractor, authorities will want to see evidence that you exercise a significant degree of control over the work you perform for your clients. Asyou complete projects for clients, gather examples that help illustrate:
- Discretion you’ve had in determining how your services are provided and the order in which they were performed
- Latitude you’ve had in setting your own hours and schedule
- Instances when you’ve contracted other people to provide services to your client
Tools and Equipment
- List of all equipment you supply to perform your services (including computer hardware and software, cellphone, specialty equipment)
- Details around any fee-for-service arrangements for tools you use to perform your work
- Details on office space you own or lease
Resolution #2: Add Contract End Dates to Your Calendar
Time flies when you’re working on technical projects. If you lose track of contract end dates, you could be left scrambling for work. Conversely, if you continue to work for a company after the contract end date, it can work against your case should your employment status ever come into question. Set aside some time to locate your current contracts and review their end dates. Set a reminder in your calendar to speak with your recruiter six weeks prior to the contract end dateto explore having it extended or discuss new projects to pursue when that contract ends.
Resolution #3: Conduct Your Own Performance Review
As an independent contractor, you are your own boss. As you focus on providing your technical services to your clients, it can be easy to lose sight of goals for yourself and your business. Carve out a few hours to spend reflecting on your 2018 performance and developing professional development objectives for the year ahead.
- Are there courses you could take to upgrade your skills and make your services more relevant for the future?
- Are there industry audio books or podcasts you could listen to on your commute to help take your business to the next level?
- Could a conversation with your recruiter help you identify exciting new work opportunities that might not be on your radar?
Rocking 2019 as a technical freelancer might also mean landing a shiny new gig! Sign up to receive our job alerts here.
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