This post is the first in a two-part series that compares the advantages of ongoing contracts and short-term contracts.
Which type of contract is ultimately better? Well, that will be for you to decide after reading both posts in this series! This post (part one) will highlight some of the benefits of ongoing contracts, arguing for the superiority of ongoing contracts over their short-term equivalent.
When you were considering embarking on a freelance career, not having a source of dependable income was most likely one of the considerations that caused you to rethink whether freelancing was right for you.
Ongoing contracts, whilst not providing the same level of security as working as an employee, do provide a certain degree of stability that isn’t present when you’re switching from one short-term contract to another.
If you can ask your client to agree to a minimum notice period of, for example, two weeks, then this will ensure that, if they wish to end the ongoing contract, then you’ll have enough time to find other work before your ongoing contract expires.
Another of the downsides to working on a freelance basis is having to spend considerable time marketing yourself and sourcing new clients. With a few clients signed up to ongoing contracts, you won’t have to spend as much time looking for new work and promoting your services. You can use this extra time to secure additional income, or you can simply enjoy more free time to pursue leisure interests.
It’s often assumed that ongoing contracts with a fixed monthly price generally provide a lower rate of pay than short-term contracts that are billed hourly.
However, with some foresight and negotiation this needn’t be the case: when agreeing to an ongoing basis, the more detail you know about the expected workload, and the more understanding you have of your own capacity for completing work, the better you will be able to negotiate a fixed price that’s comparable to a similar amount of work that’s billed hourly.
When you’ve been working for a client who expects regular work, you’ll find yourself forming a relationship with them. Over time, you’ll become more familiar with the sort of work that your client sends, and you’ll pick up on their likes, dislikes and personal preferences.
This knowledge is very valuable to clients, and the longer you know a client, the more valuable and harder to replace you become. Further, clients who know you well will be more likely to recommend you to others who might be in need of your service too.
One of the disadvantages of bouncing from one short-term contract to another is that you don’t feel like you have a sense of ownership over your work, or that you’re making a valid contribution to a bigger cause.
However, if you’ve had an ongoing contract for a while, then you might start to feel like you’re playing a valued role within a bigger picture. Depending on your personality type, this may or may not be particularly important to you, but for those of us who want to have the same sense of collaboration that working as an employee can bring, then ongoing contracts are definitely something to pursue.
Do you agree that ongoing contracts are better than short-term ones? Perhaps you prefer the variety that short-term contracts bring? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to check out part two to read about some of the advantages that short-term contracts have over ongoing contracts.