The contracting profession is renowned for its independent nature. Once an individual’s expertise is packaged up and started to be delivered through their own personal service company, the successes, failures, and everything in between that they encounter paint a candid picture of their contracting livelihood.
Given that contractors generally have the luxury of pursuing whatever business they desire with no influence of peers, it comes as no surprise that they are often enticed to wherever the money may be. As a result, this profession will often see contractors working all across the country, and perhaps even overseas.
Evidently, this lifestyle offers unparalleled freedom and opportunities, regularly enjoying different locations and business environments.
However, the profession also denotes long periods of time spent away from home, adjusting to an unsettled life living out of a suitcase usually placed in an unfamiliar B&B.
Staying away from home is generally quite difficult, especially if this distances a contractor with their family.
The lightest a contractor can make of the situation is taking advantage of tips and advice previously provided by others who have endured it, and come out the other side.
There are different types of accommodation available, the first obviously being a hotel. If the duration of the stay is relatively short, suggestions returned by a trade-specific search (Travel supermarket, Last Minute, Late Rooms) are usually sufficient. It’s also worth double checking that the hotel provides first world ‘essentials’ to keep boredom at bay, e.g. Wi-Fi, room service, bar, etc.
If the contract period is a little lengthier, however, it is worth directly contacting the hotel to enquire whether they have any discounted rates available for longer stays. Chances are, a majority will, especially if it’s just week nights.
It’s worth mentioning that B&Bs are even more likely to offer discounts for longer stays. But whilst the rooms may set a more homely scene, they’re unlikely to offer the aforementioned first world ‘essentials’.
If these options are not particularly attractive, there’s always an opportunity to rent a room, flat, house, etc. This may seem like a hassle, but spareroom.co.uk and mondaytofriday.com are both useful platforms to search through a vast amount of available accommodation. In addition, if the contract is during the summer, students often vacate their apartments, meaning that many companies will rent out the unoccupied properties in ideal locations for not much money at all, simply to keep them occupied.
As to not add to any negative implications of a profession prone to travelling far and often, contractors are also advised to invest in a travel insurance policy.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued a recommendation that individuals should avoid traveling without it, and some standard agency contracts also stipulate that sufficient travel insurance is maintained if a contractor is required to go overseas in the provision of services.
Qdos Travel Insurance will cover for both business and leisure trips, including the option to cover family members/partners, winter sports and higher risk sports and activities. This flexibility in cover has been arranged specifically with self-employed contractors in mind, although it is not restricted to this profession and can be used by any individual.
Premiums start at under £50 if you simply require cover in the EU, but cover can be extended to include worldwide travel.
The standard policy covers trips of up to thirty days at any one time, but is able to be increased to 60 days on request.
It should be noted that offshore contractors are able to purchase this policy, but that it will not cover any claims occurring whilst offshore.