Don’t be Left in the Lurch! How to Keep your Contractor Longer

Posted on August 2016 By Judy Cole
Contractor Extensions2

​ The market is hotting up and that means only one thing! Contractors are in demand!

So how do you ensure you keep the contractors around when new technologies, more money and longer contracts are being dangled seductively in front of them?

Here are a few points to prevent you being left in the lurch!

Forward planning and work allocation

Know your future pipeline of work. It sounds simple but many companies are not tracking this as well as they could be. Effectively predicting projects 6 – 12 months in advance is not unrealistic and will help you manage you resources better… Remember, you will not be held in stone on this as everyone knows things can change in this industry.


Once you know the plan… communicate it!

Contractors are aware that they are contractors and do not automatically have the “right” to an extension but they do have the right to know so that they too can do some planning.

We recommend communicating as early as possible with regards to project pipeline and if you want them to extend, start the process 6 weeks out. The contractor should be locked in to their extension 4 weeks prior to the end of their existing preventing the need for them to “look” at other options.

Contract Length

If you know that you need the contractor for 6 months then extend them for 6 months. A common occurrence recently has been 1 or 2 months extensions and a “let them know it will go for longer”

While you may think that you know the contractor well enough to do this and by letting them know it will go for longer should eliminate them looking around, the truth is it doesn’t. The Golden rule in contracting is that it is not locked in until paperwork is signed.

Keep in mind that the contractor end date or availability dates (as recruiters call it) are what Recruitment companies use to “search” – recruiters are sales people and the majority would be able to sell their new and exciting long contract over “it is likely to go longer”.

Remember – contractors will continuously look out for other opportunities as long as they can sense ‘the end of their contract’. This is not because of lack of commitment it’s simply due of the fear of being out of work.

Use the Service you pay for

Hopefully you have a great partnership with your recruiter; utilise this when it comes to managing the contractor throughout the engagement and the extension process – after all you are already paying for this service. The recruiter should be having the difficult conversations with the contractor on your behalf to ensure that if an extension was offered, that they would accept. These conversations should be happening 6 weeks out and will highlight any issues, if there are any; such as rate negotiations, other opportunities, minimum length of contract, holidays or the contractor not wanting to extend etc.

By doing this in advance, there is plenty of time for both parties to work through any issues and it ensures your time is not wasted going through all the internal approval processes only for the contractor to say they won’t extend at the last minute.

Hopefully we have given you a few ideas of how to prevent good contractors leaving, when you would have preferred to keep them. We are not unrealistic and do appreciate that some of the above is not always possible and your hands maybe tied. When this happens, the key is communication – it is amazing how understanding people are when they know and understand your challenges and why the process is slow. A 5 minute chat to manage expectations can make all the difference – especially in this current SAP market.