I'm self-employed working remotely as a software developer, but have been working for the same software company almost exclusively for ~3 years. My boss has asked me to train another staff member on how to use Wordpress (I am also a web developer out of hours) and will be scheduling this to last over the course of a week. This is fine and all and not a problem to do, but i consider it inefficient, it will push my current tasks back a week (plus negate other out of hours work as I need my office) and is something that is outside of my contract with them. They will also be expecting the same hourly rate.

My question is, isn't this something the workplace should usually outsource to trained tutors? And how can I decline without the risk of offending my boss and the employee? I have offered to train over screenshare but this isn't likely to be accepted.

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    They're not your boss, they are your client/customer. Treat this request in that light. Feb 18, 2019 at 11:22
  • What is your ideal situation ? I can't understand if you want to train but at another rate, or you don't want to train someone at all. Also, how would screenshare change things ?
    – MlleMei
    Feb 18, 2019 at 13:19
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    There are currently 3 answers that do not specifically address that your current project is pushed back. So whatever you do, renegotiate your current project as well.
    – user8036
    Feb 18, 2019 at 16:21
  • I don't understand the part about "plus negate other out of hours work as I need my office". Is there something about training that would interfere with your office, or that you'd need to commute to the site, or what? Feb 18, 2019 at 23:55
  • Yes, I would be relocated to the company's office for a week without the ability to utilize my own office/desktop setup (it has a whole host of specific software and hardware I require) which will make doing any additional work very difficult to achieve
    – Ziggles
    Feb 19, 2019 at 9:09

3 Answers 3


Before I start I should say I am a self-employed contractor working out of the UK and I am not a qualified tax lawyer so this advice is purely my understanding. But this IS what I do.

You are a self-employed contractor. If you are operating outside of IR35 you should have in your contract that you are expected to work on a deliverable and what project that is on.

Training staff in a formal sense is not your responsibility unless you have been taken on as a trainer. There is a difference between working with someone and showing them things and delivering formal training.

This person is not your boss, they are a client, an opportunity has arisen here, if they wish you to conduct formal training then you have an opportunity to charge for those services. In order to do this, your offering should be of a professional standard, you can easily undercut the larger training companies and do it at a location more convenient to the client.

Otherwise, you will have to have a conversation that this is outside of the scope you have been taken on to do as stated in your contract. If you do not do this it is a demonstration of control by the client which can be seen to make you a disguised employee.

  • sounds very sensible ..
    – Fattie
    Feb 18, 2019 at 12:30
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    Thanks, this is what I was looking for I think - the technicalities behind being contracted and what that means regarding additional work outside of that contract. It's difficult as over the years the lines have blurred due to the frequent work. So the options are to write up a new contract or to decline citing some of the reasons above.
    – Ziggles
    Feb 19, 2019 at 9:14

If you're getting paid software developer rates to train someone, I see that as a win!

If you don't want to do it, just say "no thanks". To avoid offense, be modest and tell them you don't have the experience to train someone as well as the specialist training providers, maybe recommend one.

If you do decide to take it on, consider drawing up a separate contract and invoicing them separately for training services, feel free to offer training at an increased rate if you feel it would entice you to be interested! To ensure you don't get sucked into hand-holding the user permanently, make it a specific training schedule for a specific period of time, and explicitly exclude follow-up sessions or ongoing support.

  • If only those developer rates were up to par with industry standard development rates... :'-)
    – Ziggles
    Feb 19, 2019 at 9:16
  • That's the benefit of a separate contract, you can offer it at £1000/Day as a one off bonus for yourself!
    – JeffUK
    Feb 19, 2019 at 9:17

It’s at least a good thing that the boss thinks of you as someone to go to. While yes, it’s probably customary to find someone who’s a trainer by trade, there could be a lot of overhead for what your boss sees as a one-time need that you are capable of fulfilling.

If you simply don’t want to train, you could politely point out that training is not your role nor your forte. It could even be played off as, “I’m flattered you ask. I’ve found I am not great at passing along what I do.”

If your concern is only for the project itself, let your boss deal with that. Let them know the impacts of your time being diverted.

Overall, for such a short stint, it might not only be refreshing to branch out a bit, but good for you. Getting a different perspective on the things you do will overall help you in the long run.

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