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Discussion on: Those of you who've worked as a contractor and as a full-time employee, which did you prefer?

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Rishi Khan • Edited on

Depends on where you are located. In Canada, we have an integrated tax system, so there isn't a huge benefit to contracting (being incorporated on your own) than being an employee from a tax perspective unless you have an alternative source of income and can leave the income in your business account so it's taxed less. Gov't will eat you for taking out money with their CPP and payroll taxing.

From a flexibility standpoint, it comes down to what company you work for. Some are wising up and learning that developers need more felxible hours and a results based model instead of 9-5. They are also allowing more unlimited PTO and realising we need our time off. Contracting offers you the ability to be your own boss and is hugely dependent on good time management, setting boundaries for your work and life and also doing all the extra stuff that isn't engineering (marketing, client hunting, updating portfolio, accounting etc.). Some of that you can outsource and expense it and is a good learning experience but difficult in the beginning for sure. Also worth mentioning that health benefits plays a huge role. If your health is great and no chronic conditions, then you are in a better spot but if you have conditions that require consistent medical treatment, even eyecare or dental, this is where full time has a huge benefit (pun intended).

Contractors CAN earn more but this depends on if you have a good reputation and again dependent on your tax system. This usually takes 3-5 years average to achieve. Check out Josh Burns on youtube. He explains a lot how to get work on upwork and while its a grind, he goes through a lot of details which are relevant anywhere on being a freelancer and gives a realistic idea of what it's like in terms of time and effort. Some of his latest videos are a bit click baitey but focus on his freelancing ones.