Becoming a Project Management Contractor

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For many companies, hiring a short term contractor to fulfil a role is preferable to a permanent employee. Depending on your level of experience, on where you are based and on the state of the economy at the time you start contracting, you could expect to earn twice as much, or even more, than a permanent Project Manager would.

Those with project management experience could find that contracting is the solution to take home more money and enjoy a greater work-life balance.

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Become a successful contractor

Many contractors find that the best way to operate is through their own limited company, but there’s a lot to consider once you make the transition from permanent to self-employed.

If you’re looking for information about securing your first contract, our comprehensive guide is here to help. Also covered in our guide is:

  • Getting started – discover which business structure is best for you and how to get started.
  • Your tax and financial obligations – all you need to know about your paying tax, filing accounts and what costs you offset.
  • Making your business a success – learn how to grow your business, how to market yourself and to forecast for the future.

Why should I become a Project Management contractor?

If you’re already working as a Project Manager in a permanent position, there are plenty of benefits associated with becoming a contractor, such as: 

Increased take home pay

As a contractor, you’re in charge of how much you earn. Contractors usually earn more than their employed counterparts which means you will have greater freedoms about setting your own salary and negotiating with your clients.

Control over your career

You get to control what projects you want to work on and what skills you want to build.

Freedom and flexibility

It’s up to you to decide when and where you work.

What skills and qualifications does a Project Manager need?

There are plenty of things which could aid you throughout your career.


Depending on the industry and the type of client you’re working with, it’s likely that you will need to employ different skills. However, since contractors are expected to pick things up quickly and make a big impact in a short space of time, some skills which could prove beneficial include:


Since you will need to deliver a strategy and oversee a project in a short space of time, organisation is key.

Management and communication skills

Teamwork is integral for project managers, so you will need to be able to lead a team and communicate your plans in a short space of time.

Attention to detail

Overseeing a project means that there’s lots of spinning plates and changing priorities, so you need to be able to keep an eye on these small details and react accordingly.

Understanding of project management software

Keeping up to date with the latest software, its applications and how to use it is key to staying in demand. Currently, Microsoft Project, Basecamp and Asana are some of the best choices, but there are plenty to choose from depending on your requirements.


 It’s up to you whether you undertake any formal training or qualifications, but many contractors find that they’re a beneficial way to aide their career and provide essential training.

Some popular options include:

APMG International

Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Foundation


Some contractors find it beneficial to join a professional body such as APM (Association for Project Management).

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Rates of pay for Project Management contractors

According to APM, in 2018, the rates of pay for Project Management contractors were as follows:

  • The average rate of pay is £450
  • This rose to £500 for contractors working in London and outside the UK
  • For contractors aged between 45-54, this increased to £550

Use our take home pay calculator for a more accurate estimation of how much you could take home based on a number of factors.

Try our take home pay calculator

How to get started as a Project Management contractor

If you’re just getting started as a Project Management contractor, there are a few methods you can use:

Online job boards

Using specialist job boards can increase your chances of finding a relevant contract. Specialist contractor websites like  Easy Accountancy are good choices if you’re looking for roles. Alternatively, some of the following job boards may be useful:


Many contractors find LinkedIn a good resource for finding work and connecting with others. This is a quick and easy way to find new opportunities through networking and to keep in touch with your connections. You can find more about using LinkedIn in our guide.

If you’re new to contracting, don’t underestimate the power of networking. Making connections with others in your position and finding potential clients can open the door to opportunities which may not otherwise be available.

Most Popular Pages

If you need any further help or advice, try these most popular links.