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Common mistakes to avoid for IT contractors


U.K. Contractor recently surveyed IT contractors about some of their most significant errors of 2011. Their responses could be useful to contractors on either side of the pond who are looking to have a smooth and successful 2012.

Respondents cited "cooling off periods" as something that has caused issues. Contractors need to be scrupulous about what their agreements specify in terms of pursuing additional work, especially with clients' competitors, and they need to be sure they are contractually permitted to attend such things as interviews and programming tests as part of the process of securing a new deal.

"It's really important that contractors check their notice period and ensure it's accurate when making an application," a senior executive at a technology company told the source.

Widespread economic pressure has pushed down pay rates, which is something that IT contractors need to accept, given that unrealistic expectations in this regard will only lead to frustration and lost business, survey respondents said.

Other mistakes were related to the negotiation process. For example, comparing pay rates with a business' current contractor is risky, the source stated, because the potential new contractor is unlikely to have all the information about the current contract. It's also important to adhere to professional best practices, such as always dressing suitably for a meeting or negotiation and posting appropriate photographs to business-related social networks.

These tips could be especially useful for tech companies that are competing for U.S. government contracts in 2012. Experts have predicted competition for government software contracts and other IT solutions is likely to be intense.