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Had it not been for a nasty parasite which Ian Lindgren ingested when deployed with the Australian Army in the Middle East, contractor management company PayMe Australia might never have come into being.

Lindgren had joined the army as a young man, and risen through its ranks, ultimately taking on a role as chief information officer of a peacekeeping voice until he became unwell. After receiving a medical discharge, Lindgren worked as a contractor, and finding himself very dissatisfied with the services that contractor management companies were offering at the time, decided he could do it better, and PayMe Australia was founded.

In the current ICT skills market contractors are very much in the ascendancy over permanent hires – which is driving demand for specialist contractor management. It’s fuelled significant growth for PayMe.

Established in 2006, PayMe has grown by 120 per cent a year on average – and in some years by over 400 per cent according to Lindgren who is the company’s chief executive officer. In the first year it had salaries of $600,000 running through its books – a year later that had grown to over $9 million.

Lindgren says that it now has over 1200 contractors on the books with a combined payroll of $133 million.

Over the last two years he has deliberately put the brakes on growth in order to have time to work on rather than in the business. Based in Canberra with an office in Perth, he has ambitions to open in South Australia and Victoria next year, and open the PayMe Group which will offer a broader range of services, from March next year.

Lindgren claims that what sets the company apart from rivals is the quality of the services it offers. “We utilise qualified industry experts in terms of tax lawyers that are external, and employment barristers external to PayMe and our senior staff are educated on current laws and changes to laws. That way we can provide people with the best-practice advice in each of the States.”

PayMe is also choosy about the companies it will work with and Lindgren says he turns away anyone who he does not consider ethical.

Once a contractor has decided to work with PayMe and signed up, they provide their banking details, information about their recruiters and employers, have a contract written and then work with PayMe advisors to sculpt an appropriate salary package.

PayMe takes over the payment of the contractor and can look after superannuation, salary sacrificing and car leasing – and also provide insight and support with claiming back work related expenses and completing tax returns.

Says Lindgren; “We have a single fee of 3 per cent for payroll services– you might have one or two car leases and you don’t pay any more. Taxation services are paid on a flat scale starting at $280 for a tax return and more if a contractor has a Pty company.”

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Beverley Head

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Beverley Head is a Sydney-based freelance writer who specialises in exploring how and why technology changes everything - society, business, government, education, health. Beverley started writing about the business of technology in London in 1983 before moving to Australia in 1986. She was the technology editor of the Financial Review for almost a decade, and then became the newspaper's features editor before embarking on a freelance career, during which time she has written on a broad array of technology related topics for the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Boss, BRW, Banking Day, Campus Review, Education Review, Insite and Government Technology Review. Beverley holds a degree in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials from Oxford University and a deep affection for things which are shaken not stirred.

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