How to become a successful Salesforce Contractor

In Salesforce experts by David BowkerLeave a Comment

Talent Hub regularly speaks to Salesforce professionals who are interested in making the jump from full time permanent employment and becoming a Salesforce contractor. This can be a daunting decision so we spoke with a number of people who have made the move previously, to share their advice and insights in how to make the move a successful one.


Everyone has different reasons for going contracting

Mubbashir Ali is a Senior Developer contracting to System Partners. “Contracting allowed me to choose projects rather than companies. I wanted to work on diverse projects industry wise as well as functionality wise.”

Faruk Ahmed is a Salesforce Solution Architect. “I wanted to go back to working for an end user, however, I’d spent quite a few years in consulting so wanted to feel out the client space again,  so becoming a contractor was a good option to begin with. This time contracting solidified my knowledge that I wanted remain in the client space long term. I never saw myself as a career contractor and always knew I would return to permanent when the right long-term position came up.”

Experienced Sydney based Salesforce Professional: “As a contractor, you can just be creative and you can set stronger boundaries – for example, you say no to certain things that as a perm you feel obligated to do. Also, you’re not tied to a culture or burdened by it.”


Ensure you understand the market demand for your skillset

Vamsi Krishna left a permanent position with Cochlear to launch his own consultancy – TechForce:  “My advice is to get to know your strengths.  You are going to sell your professional skills so be sure to know what  your selling point is – be it functional / technical / architecture / management etc”

Mubbashir Ali:  “I knew there was a high demand for Salesforce developers and knew that projects were generally 3 – 6 months long. The duration and availability of the projects made my decision very easy”

Faruk Ahmed: “I assessed my skills and demand in the job market and I discussed with my former work colleagues and mentors about my move.”


Seek expert financial advice

Brett Dwyer, is a Partner at Eagle Financial, an accounting firm based in Sydney. ‘As tax agents, we have come across numerous instances where contract workers have been recommended to set up a company, whether this is from friends, colleagues or industry professionals. Most of the time the recommendation was due to “big tax benefits.

However, the tax benefits do not always exist. In fact, sometimes the whole exercise will simply be a waste of your hard-earned money!

If you are a sole person, contracting to a single entity out of your company, then it is likely you will fall under what’s known as Personal Services Income rules. The ATO have these rules in place to ensure that someone, who should effectively be a PAYG employee, can’t simply incorporate a company and gain beneficial tax treatment. Personal Services Income can apply in almost any industry, most commonly in finance and information technology.

And if Personal Services Income applies in your case, then you will receive absolutely no beneficial tax outcomes from operating a company – and it may have simply been an unnecessary cost.

What scenarios would make it worthwhile to set up your own company?

  • If you are contracting to multiple clients then the ATO can view your company as a legitimate business and Personal Services Income rules do not apply. If this is the case, you may be able to achieve tax-effective outcomes such as utilising the company tax rate of 30% (which is lower than the average individual marginal tax rate), the possibility of claiming more deductions than an employee might be able and the prospect of splitting income with your spouse.
  • Also, on occasion you will only be able to engage with particular firms if you have your own company. (Sometimes firms dealing with highly confidential information or risky industries will feel more comfortable dealing with another company instead of an individual) In these cases, despite the fact that you might fall under Personal Services Income rules, it might simply be worth the expense of setting up the company simply to get the job!

With all of this in mind, it’s recommended that you speak to a tax agent for advice specific to your situation – certainly before you go ahead and set up a company on your friend’s advice!”


 Always be skilling up

Mubbashir Ali:  “If I was starting out as a contractor again I  would have trained myself and got certified in more areas of Salesforce especially Marketing Cloud. More knowledge opens up more opportunities.”

Vamsi Krishna:  “Back your skills with authority – Get Certified, Certification does get you noticed. and on top of it go thru online courses, webinars, classroom training, etc..  Diversify your skills – once you are out in the wild, be ready to wear multiple hats in a day. so once you get a base with your core skills, start diversifying / expanding / building up on top of it.”


Prepare to hit the ground running.

Sudarsan Vijay is a contract consultant at Kincare  “Be Prepared. The expectation is to dive straight into the pool (project team) and start swimming. Permanent jobs give a learning curve timeline for a few weeks but with contract, its just a few days.”

Faruk Ahmed:  “Don’t oversell yourself. Because there is very little or no honeymoon period in a contract role. The employer would want you to perform and deliver from day one.”


Building your contractor career

 Experienced Sydney based Salesforce Professional: “Make sure you do great work so people recommend you (be dedicated) and create a compelling story about your projects / achievements. Go to interviews with a plan or suggested approach to the project they are embarking on (I put a printed pack together for a contract role on how to approach a best practice Salesforce implementation).

 Vamsi Krishna:  “Grow your network, know the leaders & experts in your domain, connect with them either online or in person via different channels – linkedIn, twitter, local meetups, community events, user groups. Also ensure you publicise your skills – participate in local community events like user groups, do a presentation, share your experiences, participate in online forums (especially with salesforce community – the number of ways to contribute is unlimited).


If you’ve read this and feel like the time is right to make the move into the contract market or have any further questions, please get in touch with Ben Duncombe on 0405 838 965



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