IT contractors require a huge amount of equipment in order to complete their job successfully. If you do not have the right equipment, you might find that you’re unable to take on jobs, which could mean prospective clients go to your competitors instead.
However, buying your equipment can set you back a fair way financially. You might need to save up in order to buy equipment in the first place, but it is important to remember that you will then be able to recompense yourself with the work you’re able to complete. You have to speculate to accumulate.
The exact equipment that you need all depends on your area of expertise really. If you specialise in web design, you will need a tablet, web design software and possibly even website hosting services if you are planning on setting up your clients’ websites from scratch for them.
IT repair technicians will need much more technical equipment that they can use to accurately fix their clients’ computers, laptops and peripheral items. Networking specialists will also need equipment, although they may be able to use clients’ equipment when completing work.
Using clients’ equipment
This can actually be quite a touchy subject for some freelancers, as it can sometimes cause issues with IR35.
If a freelancer works for a business on a long-term basis, so much so that they could actually be employed by the business fulltime, they may be in breach of IR35. If this was found to be the case they could be fined a considerable amount.
Owning and using your own equipment can help to set a distinction between the client and yourself in the eyes of HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). Borrowing equipment from a client on a regular basis can make it look as though you work for them.
Invoicing clients for equipment
If you find that you are unable to complete a job without buying the appropriate equipment for the job, you might be able to invoice your client for the cost.
However, you should always consult the client beforehand to find out whether they would be happy with the costs associated with this. If they are, you can go ahead and purchase the equipment, but it can be a good idea to provide a breakdown of equipment costs within the invoice so that they can see what their money has been spent on.
IT contractors do require a lot of expensive equipment in order to begin working on a self-employed basis, but once they are up and running they can begin working immediately.
Aurora Johnson wrote this article on behalf of Nixon Williams, an IT contractor accountant.