Getting to Know You: Dave Chaplin, CEO of Contractor Calculator

What do you currently do?

Founder and CEO of, a website for contractors and freelancers, providing news, guides and tools for UK based knowledge based workers in IT, Engineering, Oil and Gas, and other knowledge based service sectors.

What is your inspiration in business?

At a high level most ideas come from exploring how things could be done quicker, easier, or for less money. It’s the “Surely there is a better way than this?” type reaction. Ideally solutions that appeal to the cash rich and time poor crowd.

Who do you admire?

People with an abundance of tenacity and focus. They tend to set their own course in life rather than bobbing around in the sea of life and seeing what happens. Having said that, it’s often useful to temporarily set oneself low expectations and targets – it reduces the feeling of always being overwhelmed and makes relaxing much easier!

Looking back are there things you would have done differently?

Sure, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I’ve no major regrets. That’s not to say there haven’t been some stumbles along the way, but that’s all part of the game. You learn much more when you have to fight your way out of a situation rather than just happening to chance upon a lucky break.

What defines your way of doing business?

Lots of attention to detail, particularly risk management. Have a plan and be ready to manage the downside, whilst being in a position to capitalise on the upside.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Follow something that you are passionate about. Just chasing profits alone doesn’t provide enough motivation to stay focused day in day out. And don’t forget to hum the lyrics “Each time I find myself, flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race”.

Dave Chaplin is CEO and founder of, which has provided advice and guidance on freelancing since its launch in 1999. He has just published the second edition of the Contractors’ Handbook.