If you’re a contractor working through an agency, chances are you’ve come across Preferred Supplier Lists (PSLs) in the past. In simple terms, a PSL is a pre-approved list of umbrella companies that an agency will work with. So, what exactly does it mean for you and your chosen umbrella company?

PSLs can be confusing. Sometimes they are strict, yet other times they can be merely guidelines. Searching for answers doesn’t seem to help clarify the situation either. If you look up PSLs online, you’ll find that most of the information on them is there to help agencies and not contractors. Fortunately, Umbrella Broker is here to buck the trend. Read on as we take a closer look at PSLs, why they exist and how they could affect you.

A brief introduction to PSLs

A PSL – also known as an ASL (approved supplier list) – is something you’ll find at the majority of agencies nowadays. They’re an agencies way of controlling who their contractors use as an umbrella company.

Some agencies use simply them as the name suggests – as a way to recommend their preferred umbrella suppliers to their contractors. Yet others are stricter and refuse to work with umbrella companies that aren’t on their PSL. Why? The reasons are mainly two-fold…

Compliance

Agencies will openly admit that they use PSLs to maintain compliance. Essentially, they want umbrella companies to be legally compliant, meeting all the same regulations as they do themselves. So, they make an ASL or PSL comprising of all the compliant umbrella companies they have either audited or belong to a trusted umbrella organisations such as the FCSA.

They will complete regular audits of companies on their PSL to ensure they are always following the correct rules. That way, they can let contractors bill through these umbrella companies safe in the knowledge that there will be no future kick back to them should that contractor have chosen to be liberal with their tax payments

Financial incentives

Another reason, which some agencies are less open about, is the financial incentives given to agencies by the umbrella companies that are on their PSLs.

Having a list of companies which you prefer or insist on contractors using will naturally provide more business for those companies. This limits the companies that contractors can use, or at least points them in a certain direction, helping those on the PSL sell more.

In return for sending contractors their way, the favour is returned by the umbrella company in the form of commission payments, although these aren’t always strictly legal.

The benefits of PSLs for contractors

We’ve firmly established that PSLs are advantageous to agencies. But on top of that, they can also help contractors in a number of ways:

1.    Trust

Most agencies’ PSLs will only include companies with certain accreditations, such as:

These organisations require certain standards from their members. Companies have to be compliant to gain accreditation. With that in mind, a good PSL provides you with a list of umbrella companies you can trust.

2.    Specialists

While some umbrella companies provide services across sectors, others specialise in specific industries. If you’re looking for the latter, a PSL could help. Agencies might only include umbrella companies that operate in and understand your sector.

This will make things easier going forward, as they can assist with any industry-specific issues or regulations that come up.

3.    Services

Agencies will know what services and additional extras their clients require, from fundamental payroll and benefits to different kinds of insurance. Through a PSL, you could find that all companies provide these services – rather than having to search and filter through many that don’t.

4.    Convenience

Let’s face it, comparing umbrella companies can be stressful if you go it alone. Where do you start, with so many different providers, varying service levels and prices?

A PSL gives you a list of recommended umbrella companies to choose from to narrow things down. Be wary, however, as they may just be companies who have agreed to pay the agency for this privilege.

To make their services more attractive, PSL umbrella companies may even offer a discount to contractors operating through certain agencies.

How to navigate a PSL

A PSL could have several of the benefits listed above. However, it could have none. It’s important to ask agencies about their PSL or ASL so you know exactly where you stand. Find out whether they are accredited, industry specialists and what services they offer.

Make sure you’re clear on whether the list is preferred or obligatory. If it’s just a recommended list of umbrella companies, there’s nothing stopping you looking elsewhere for a better deal and more comprehensive service.

It’s also worth noting that agencies can’t legally take money for pushing contractors towards using a particular umbrella company. So, if you suspect this is happening, remember there’s no obligation to use those umbrella companies.

Alternatives to a PSL

Despite all the potential benefits of a PSL to contractors, it’s quite rare that they are fine-tuned and filtered in the contractors interests. Instead, they focus on the benefits to agencies, with compliance top of the list. While compliance also matters to contractors, you ideally want an umbrella company that ticks all the boxes and gives you the greatest financial benefit.

Fortunately, there is a way to understand how each umbrella company benefits you financially. Using a reliable umbrella company comparison site, you can compare providers based on what’s important to you. Whether it’s the price, reviews and ratings, or additional benefits, you can find the perfect company for you without any obligation.

How can we help?

At Umbrella Broker, we make it easy for contractors to find the perfect umbrella company for their needs. We have a wide collection of handpicked, well-reviewed providers, ready for you to compare online. Using our fast comparison tool, you can compare the very best umbrella companies based on your specific details.

See your take home pay, any taxes and the effect of any benefits. If you want to know more, simply click on the chosen provider for more information. Best of all, there’s no need to resubmit information if you want to see how a change in pay would impact your take-home pay or tax. It’s never been easier to choose the best umbrella company for you.

Insurance for contractors is of paramount importance, covering you against legal costs, unexpected damage and even cyber attacks. There are several kinds of contractor insurance available, so it’s a smart move to get familiar before choosing the right one for you.

That’s where Umbrella Broker can help, with our review of the different types of cover available to contractors…

 

Public liability insurance

There are two kinds of liability insurance available for contractors. The first is public liability insurance, which covers any risk to the public and the resulting claims. This could be anything from your postman slipping when delivering to your site, falling debris from scaffolding causing injury or just somebody tripping over a loose cable while passing.

It also includes your clients when they visit your premises, as well as any damage that may be caused by you or your employees when visiting a client’s site. Let’s say you knock over something expensive while you’re there – they won’t think twice about claiming for that damage.

In short, public liability insurance is essential for anyone who deals with customers or clients face to face. The cost will depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • Your industry
  • How many employees and clients you have
  • Your location
  • Previous claims

 

Employers’ liability insurance

The other type of cover is employers’ liability insurance, which is a legal requirement for contractors with one or more employees. Here’s the difference: employers’ liability insurance protects you against costs from compensation should employees become injured or unwell from work.

As soon as you take on any employees, you need to be covered for at least £5 million by employers’ liability insurance. Insurance must be provided by an authorised insurer and it includes any casual workers or short-term contracts. Fail to do so and you could face a fine of up to £2,500 per uninsured day.

 

Professional indemnity insurance

With professional indemnity insurance, you’re protected from any claims against your services, products or advice. So, if a client claims that your work is substandard or incomplete, your insurance will cover the cost of the legal defence and any expenses as well as any compensation should they succeed in claiming against you.

Professional indemnity insurance is required for several professions – such as management consultancy, business consultancy and IT contractors – in order to secure contracts. Basically, clients want to know you’re covered, so they know they’re covered too.

Even if you’re not legally obliged to take out professional indemnity insurance, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Legal fees and compensation can stack up and cost thousands just for one claim. They can be crippling if you have to fork out yourself, while the cost of insurance is completely manageable.

 

Personal accident insurance

As a contractor, there’s no sick pay to tide you by if a serious injury stops you working. Instead, you’ll be short of money or reliant on your own savings. That’s where personal accident insurance comes in. When you’re covered by personal accident insurance, you will receive an ongoing payment to cover the loss in profits while you’re out of work, or a lump sum if you suffer a permanent disability.

Personal accident insurance can also be taken out for key employees. Again, if one of your employees is injured, it’s you that will need to cover their wage or sick pay. Statutory Sick Pay is £92.05 per week for up to 28 weeks and can no longer be reclaimed from the government. That’s over £350 per month, which could cause serious problems for some contractors if they need to cover it themselves.

As well as temporary injuries, personal accident insurance can be taken out to cover death. A lump sum will be paid out for people who are covered by the policy. This could help relatives of the contractor, or the contractor themselves if one of their employees can no longer work.

 

Contents insurance

Insurance for your office contents protects you in case any office equipment or furniture is lost, stolen or damaged. This could be computers and office phones, furniture like desks and chairs or even important documents that are stored on your premises.

You can even insure portable items, which aren’t stored permanently in your office. Fortunately, with the right flexible policy, you can get insurance for remote working too – so yourself or any employees will be insured when working at home.

 

Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance is useful for contractors who own their office. Unlike contents insurance, it covers fire and water damage to the office itself. Without it, a fire or leak could set you back thousands. However, it’s important to have contents insurance alongside buildings insurance, as no contents are covered by the latter.

 

Cyber insurance

Most contractors are reliant on digital tools in some way or another – whether it’s for communication, payment or just data storage. Needless to say, any data breaches, hacks or information loss can set you back and cost you big. That’s where cyber insurance comes in.

Also known as cyber risk insurance, it covers you for the recovery process after any cyber damage or loss. This could include investigating what went wrong, notifying and compensating clients, and reimbursing monetary losses.

 

Which type is right for you?

Contractors’ insurance isn’t a case of “either-or”. Instead, it’s about deciding where the risk lies and which plans are required to cover you. Professional Indemnity and Public Liability are the two most common insurance types held by contractors – in addition to Employers’ Liability insurance because it’s required by law.

However, Professional Indemnity insurance is required by some regulators and essential for members of some professional bodies. Because of this, both Professional Indemnity and Employers’ Liability insurance are provided as standard by umbrella companies.

The other types of insurance – such as cover for contents, cyber attacks or personal accidents – are optional, but will provide that extra peace of mind.

 

Make things easier

If you’re looking for peace of mind with contracting work, Umbrella Broker can help. We help contractors find the right umbrella company and accountant, so there’s no need to worry about payroll and taxes.

Need more information? Feel free to contact us today.

 

Are you considering contracting? With a range of benefits – independence, greater flexibility and more money for your time – it could be the perfect next step for your career. That said, it’s not necessarily the best option for every professional.

Like any big career change, it’s important to know as much as possible before making the decision. Fortunately, Umbrella Broker is here to help. Read on as we take a look at the pros and cons of contracting and whether it’s right for you.

Pro – Earnings

We’ve all been in jobs where you feel you’re simply not paid enough. And, while there are other factors at play, it’s hard to get over the unrewarding feeling of a sub-standard rate of pay. The good news for contractors is they can charge their own rate – within reason.

Understandably, this rate depends on experience and skills, but it generally means contractors earn more. Figures from Emolumentshow that the daily rate for contractors could be as much as 49% higher than full time employees in the same role.

Pro – Freedom

We’ve all heard of the supposed benefits of ‘being your own boss’ – but does it really improve job satisfaction? In short, yes. The McKinsey Global Institute found that an impressive 97% of contractors are happier than permanent workers in almost every aspect of working life.

Among the top reasons were the flexibility and autonomy. Contractors choose how they work – which projects they take on, the locations of these projects and how long they last. In stark contrast to the controlled 9-to-5 routine, contractors are in control of their own working life.

Pro – Development

In a standard job, your development is controlled by managers or other staff. You might want to specialise in a certain area or take up special training but are held back by a lack of support from management. Not with contracting. Remember, you are your own boss as a contractor.

It’s up to you to gain experience and develop new skills as and when you choose. This is perfect for ambitious, driven individuals who can continually push themselves to develop in a number of ways:

  • Networking events
  • Taking on challenging jobs
  • Studying for a qualification
  • Taking training courses

It’s not just about pushing for development through training and networking however. Contractors also benefit from the natural development of varied work. Working on projects of 12, 6 or even 3 months, contractors gain a more varied, rich portfolio of work.

This naturally provides greater experience and a wider skillset compared to permanent employees – not to mention the stimulation of an ever-changing working life. Further down the line, these experiences and skills will pack out your CV and provide the selling points that get clients interested in you over other contractors.

Con – Benefits

Working a standard 9-to-5 isn’t all bad. Permanent workers benefit from the safety net of statutory employer rights. This includes access to an employer pension, sick pay and annual leave. If contractors are ill, they lose money. The same can be said when they want to take a summer break. And they need to plan ahead with their own pension scheme. And let’s not forget the security of having a set wage coming in every month.

With some planning, these benefits can be accounted for by contractors. Plan ahead when lining up contracts so you can spread your income across the year. This will allow you to make the most of time in between for holidays as well. It’s also a good idea to keep some money aside as an emergency reserve in case anything goes wrong. This could be used to cover sick pay or simply periods where work is sparse.

There’s also the option of working through an umbrella company. This allows you to work as a contractor, while still being classed as an employee who benefits from statutory rights and benefits like sick pay, holiday pay and a monthly wage.

Con – Securing work

As a permanent employee, you’re not generally in charge of finding your own work. In contrast, contractors have to source, apply for and secure jobs and contracts. To do so, they need to be proactive – especially at the beginning. Here are some ways to actively source new work:

  • Use recruitment agencies
  • Tailor your CV to specific roles
  • Post on contractor jobs boards
  • Network with potential clients or employers

Con – Administration

As a contractor, the term ‘take home pay’ takes on a bit more of a loose meaning. You can set up as a sole trader or a limited company, but in either case you’ll be in charge of your own finances and administration. As a limited company, or working through agencies, you’ll be subject to administration charges.

With invoicing, contracts and tax payments the administrative burden is another consideration for contractors, which puts many people off. Some contractors seek assistance from an accountant, which can add further costs coming out of your pay.

Alternatively, you can use an umbrella company. They will take care of administration and client management for a fee, making it easier to manage your business or contract work.

Weighing things up

There are clear benefits, and also some drawbacks, to working as a contractor. Ultimately, it’s about which style of working is the best fit for you. People who are proactive might not find securing work a problem and will benefit most from the development opportunities contract work provides.

On the flip side, workers who want job security from a monthly pay packet and statutory rights will feel more comfortable working as an employee.

Umbrella companies provide a happy medium, combining the benefits of permanent employment with the freedom of contracting. If you find yourself worried about some of the drawbacks of going it alone, an umbrella company could be the best fit for you.

Going self-employed is a big step in your career. And it could be something you look back on fondly. It gives you more flexibility, a better work-life balance and typically a higher rate of pay. But it isn’t without its complexities and hurdles, including where to start. That alone is something that puts a lot of people off.

Before you register with HMRC as self-employed, there are two main routes of getting paid for your work that you need to consider – working through an umbrella company or forming your own limited company. These routes will determine how your journey into self-employment works – from your statutory rights to the way you pay tax & even your self-employed status itself.

So which is best? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, as this guide from Umbrella Broker will explore. Both routes have advantages, drawbacks and important things to consider. Read on as we take a look at limited companies versus umbrella companies when it comes to your self-employment options.

Limited companies

What do you want from self-employment?

In many cases, the answer is independence, control and increased earnings. Limited companies deliver exactly that. They allow you to make the most of your earnings with a more tax-efficient set-up.

With a limited company, rather than putting 100% of your income through pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax calculations like you would as an employee, you can combine expenses deductions low tax dividend payments to lower your salary (and therefore the amount you put through PAYE). Essentially, this means more money going into your pocket rather than straight to HMRC.

Limited companies also give you more power over how you work. Because you’re literally your own boss – the boss of your limited company – you can market your services however you choose and take on whichever contracts you wish.

The downside

The downside is that limited companies require more work. Setting up and running a limited company is by no means easy. For one, because of tax. While limited companies are tax-efficient, they need to be completely tax-compliant and adhere to financial regulations. When taking out dividends, for instance, the business still needs to be generating a profit while you’ll need to compose and file accounts annually.

Couple regulations with the hassle of organising your own invoicing, chasing bad debts, managing all your payments, processing payroll (calculating tax) and registering as self-employed in order to fill out an annual self-assessment. There is also the extra administration burden that comes with managing a limited company to consider.

To help ease the burden of running your own company, it’s best to partner with an accountant who’s used to working with contractors. Your accountant will complete both your annual accounts and self-assessment forms while some will even provide you with free access to online book keeping software to track expenses and invoice clients.

Once you have a limited company and have registered with HMRC as self-employed, you’ll need to tie up some loose ends in order to be able to contract such as sourcing your own employers liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance and professional liability insurance. There are specialist providers of contractor insurance available such as Kingsbridge who can make finding an insurance policy quick and easy, however the price of your insurance will depend on your industry, role and day rate.

How to set up a limited company

Due to their tax advantages, a limited company is often the preferred route for contractors. To set one up, you firstly need to choose a name. This should reflect what you do as a business – rather than simply being arbitrary. It also needs to adhere to the rules set out by Companies House, including:

  • Not the same as, or too similar to, an existing company name – unless you have permission from, or a connection to, that company
  • Names cannot be offensive or contain any sensitive words without permission
  • The name must end in Limited or Ltd

Before registering a company name, it’s also worth considering your website. If you’re looking to create a website, now or in the future, you’ll want the domain name to match your business. Try to find a business name that is available as a domain.

Following this, your company needs to be incorporated. Incorporation is essentially just a case of filling out forms – either in paper or online – through Companies House. It costs £10-12 online or upwards of £40 for paper documents. Once your company is registered, it’s time to sort out insurance and a business bank account. 

Umbrella companies

Umbrella companies are the hassle-free alternative to working as a limited company. Essentially, they provide the freedom of working as a contractor with the ease of working as an employee.

Working through an umbrella company means you don’t have to take on all the administrative work that’s involved with running your own company – not to mention setting it up and you don’t need to register as self-employed.

When you sign up to an umbrella company, you will be classed as an employee of the umbrella. Unlike a conventional employer, however, they won’t tell you what to do, when to do it or even how to do it. In essence you’ll act as self-employed, but be employed for the purposes of tax.

You will be able to take on contracts with your clients as normal, but your umbrella will engage with them on your behalf. Instead of invoicing clients yourself or paying an accountant to do so, you fill out a timesheet and the umbrella company will invoice the client for your work. Your umbrella company will then chase the debt and once the funds are received, run a payroll for you and deduct the right amount of tax. You’ll even get a pay slip.

As an added benefit, by working through an umbrella you’ll also get all the perks usually enjoyed by employees such as holiday pay, sick pay and insurance. In particular, having professional liability and professional indemnity insurances provided by the umbrella will save you the hassle of having to source and pay for your own.

The downside

The downside of using an umbrella company is that you typically pay more tax than you would through your own limited company. On top of that, you’ll have to pay a fee to the umbrella company itself meaning you could take home less than an employee would on the same day rate.

Despite this, you will usually still take home more than you did as a permanent employee – even in the early stages of contracting because clients pay contractors more per day than they would an employee.

Finding the right umbrella company

Unlike setting up a limited company, getting started with an umbrella company is very simple. The only challenge is finding the right umbrella company for you. Umbrella companies vary in a range of ways, so it’s important to make the right choice before signing any contracts.

Every umbrella company will tax you at the same PAYE rate, but they don’t take the same amount as a fee. While it may be tempting to choose the umbrella company with the cheapest service fee, they might also offer different benefits with some benefits having an equivalent cash value that’s higher than the increased fees they are charging. In effect, to calculate your net take home, you need to look at both the after tax amount you receive and the cash equivalent of the benefits on offer.

It’s important then to compare umbrella companies and find out what pension scheme, sick pay, statutory leave and benefits are available – as this could make higher fees worth the cost.

Umbrella companies also differ in their payment structures. Some will pay you as and when they receive payment from your clients. On the other hand, some umbrella companies will collect all of your earnings and pay you on the same date each month – more like a standard employer. Which is better? It’s up to you. The monthly payment might make it easier to manage your finances. However, it could just be frustrating for some contractors.

As a contractor, you’re allowed to charge what you want for your services. Set it too low and you’ll be missing out on extra income. Set it too high and you’ll be pricing yourself out of work. So, how do you decide?

Look online and you’ll find countless magical equations for working out your daily rate. Some contractors even look at what others are charging to determine their own rate. However, in truth, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula.

As we know all too well at Umbrella Broker, every contractor’s situation is different. So, it’s important to consider everything from overheads and expenses to the time, effort and skills you’re putting into the job.

Read on as we look at 10 key considerations to help you calculate the perfect contractor daily rate…

  • Expenses

From your computer, phone and cost of internet access to travel expenses and marketing costs – everything you use to complete a job counts as an expense. If you’re working from home, these may not affect the price so much.

However, it’s important to factor them in when you’re working from an office as they will soon start to shrink your take home pay. As most of these costs are monthly, it’s best to work out what they cost on a daily basis and add them as a daily rate to different contracts depending on the length.

  • Pension and health insurance for contractors

As a contractor, you benefit from a higher rate of income. What you lose, however, are employment benefits like your pension and sick pay. It’s important to plan ahead and consider these while you’re working to avoid problems further down the line. Nobody wants to be left out of work and out of money after a serious injury.

The best way to prepare is by putting some money aside each month as a fund for illness or retirement. Factoring this into your daily rate will make it easier and ensure your current rate of income doesn’t suffer.

  • Outsourcing

Whether it’s specialist assistance or just some extra help, you may need to outsource some of your work to other contractors to get the job done. Outsourcing might also help when it comes to taking time off or could become a permanent part of your contract work if you find yourself taking on bigger jobs. In any case, it’s important to factor in the cost of outsourcing as it will significantly increase your daily rate.

  • Urgency

How quickly does your client need the job completing? If something is urgent, you will need to sacrifice your free time in the short term and potentially put other projects on the back-burner to meet their deadline. This comes at a cost, and clients will expect to pay more for the additional demand on you.

  • Value-add

How much impact will your work have? In some cases, your services could save your client from forking out – or even make them more money – in the future. If this is the case, you can justify charging more per day, especially if they wouldn’t be able to save or make that extra money without your work.

Calculating your day rate

Once you’ve considered your outgoings, expenses and additional value to the client, you can begin to work out your daily rate…

Market research

While you shouldn’t base your daily rate on your competition alone, it is useful to get a broad idea. Firstly, look on recruitment websites and job boards to see what other contractors are charging and clients are paying.

Following this, try asking your own contacts, trade bodies or even potential clients to help you determine how much people are willing to pay. Remember that the quality of work, location and level of competition can affect these figures.

  • Compare to permanent work

Almost every contracting role is available somewhere as a permanent job. And this can help you gauge the going rate for your services. Take the salary of an equivalent position – ideally one requiring your level of experience in a similar location – and add on a monetary equivalent for benefits like a pension scheme, health care and paid leave. This will give you a rough idea of your base salary over the course of the year.

  • Time

It’s all good and well charging £200 per day when you only earned £100 in permanent employment. But what if you’re working twice the hours? You need to estimate how many hours you’re going to work each day and factor that into your daily rate.

On top of this, it’s a good idea to factor in the amount you’ll be working over the course of the year. As a contractor, you won’t be working on contracts all year round and you’ll want to take holidays, but you still want to get to your desired salary. Estimate a timeframe to achieve this and use it to calculate your daily rate. If you expect to earn £50,000 from 200 days of chargeable work per year, you would need to charge £250 per day.

  • Underlying costs

As well as your expenses like a computer, workspace or mobile, you’ll have to fund outgoings like accountancy costs or umbrella fees as a contractor. It’s easy to forget about these and have them eat away at your income after clients have paid. Instead, try to estimate the cost of them over the course of the year and translate this to a daily rate.

  • Profit

Everything above should help you work out how much to charge for your contract as a base rate per day. But let’s not forget the profit. Contracting should allow you to make the most of your time and earn more than you would as a permanent employee. Add on around 10 – 20% to begin with… But be wary of pricing yourself out of contracts.

8 Key Steps to Start Using Umbrella Services

Umbrella companies bridge the gap between full time employment and self-employed contracting. They take care of payroll, provide regular payment terms and in some cases offer employment benefits like paid holidays and sick pay.

To sign up with an umbrella company online you’ll need to disclose some personal information along with signing a contract of employment, just like you would if you were accepting a job. Of course, working for an umbrella isn’t quite like any other means of employment but the paperwork you’ll fill out is very similar.

All of the applications on Umbrella Broker are hosted by Adobe Sign, a safe and secure way to sign your contract and pass your personal details onto the umbrella.

Umbrella Broker does not store the details you enter into these forms, they go directly to your new umbrella.

Examples of the information in an application include:

  • Your name and address
  • Your contract details
  • Your bank details (so they can pay you)

When you’ve completed your application, you chosen umbrella will hand hold you through a series of steps designed to ensure your payments run smoothly.

Read on as we look at umbrella companies and how the process works after applying.

1. Contacting your client or agency

Having applied, your umbrella company will contact your end client or recruitment agency. They do this to inform clients or agencies that they will be invoicing on your behalf. This is a key step for yourself, your client or agency and your umbrella company as it’s the main thing that will be changing for all parties. You no longer have to worry about invoicing or chasing up payments.

2. Verification

Your umbrella company also needs to verify your identity. As a company you work through, they may never meet you. But they still need to check you’re entitled to work in the UK, for instance. To do so, they usually need a copy of your official ID documentation.

This is also important because they need to cover you under their insurance. Umbrella companies typically provide public liability, professional indemnity and employers’ liability insurance for their employees. Again, this is a worry taken off your mind as it covers you against most damages, compensation or legal fees.

3. Engagement

To assist with set up, your agency or client will send an engagement pack to the umbrella company. This will include a schedule of your work and payment terms. Within this, your client or agency will also request details of your umbrella company’s insurance information and evidence of tax compliance, in some instances. Essentially, it’s a way of making sure you’re covered from day one.

4. Contract exchange

Your agency and umbrella company will exchange a contract for service. This outlines the agreement between the two companies and is separate from the contract you’ll sign with the umbrella company to become an employee.

5. Timesheet

Once the contracts are in place, your umbrella company will add you as an employee and walk you through the process of providing them with a timesheet. Your timesheet contains information about the hours you’ve worked each week for one or multiple clients, as well as any expenses you’re entitled to claim.

6. Invoicing

Once you submit your first timesheet, your umbrella company will raise an invoice for your work and send it to your recruitment agency or end client. The client or agency will pay your umbrella company, who will process the funds through pay as you earn (PAYE) tax either the same day or the day following payment.

7. Payment

The next step depends on the payment terms you have agreed with your umbrella company. They will either pay you weekly or monthly, with all the funds you have accumulated for that period – minus tax and national insurance. You will receive a net payment along with a payslip for your own records, as you would with a regular employer.

8. Tax payments

Finally, it’s up to the umbrella company to process the money deducted from your pay for income tax and national insurance. Once a month, they will send the correct amount to HMRC on your behalf.

Steps you should take

If you’re ready to choose an umbrella company, there are also some steps to take yourself to make sure you get the right umbrella services for you.

1. Background check

Find out as much as you can about the umbrella company’s background. Check their credit rating and how long the company has been trading. Both of these are good indicators of how much you can trust a company.

2. Check the fees

Umbrella companies charge contractors a fee for their services, which can vary depending on the provider. Find out whether you will be paying weekly or monthly – and how much you’re paying.

3. And what’s included…

The cheapest umbrella services aren’t always the best. Some umbrella companies will charge extra for things like processing your expenses, while others will include benefits like statutory leave and sick pay as part of their fee. Consider the monetary value of these benefits when you’re comparing umbrella companies.

4. Contracts

Your umbrella company acts as a full-time employer, so you want to make sure you’re covered with a full contract of employment. This is where your statutory rights and benefits will be outlined, so it’s essential to check over before signing anything. Look for payment terms – when and how you’ll be paid – along with the process or penalties should you want to leave.

5. Support

Another key element in your umbrella service is the support on offer. Firstly, what are the umbrella company’s opening hours? Do you have a contact for outside-of-hours support? Contracting is far from a 9 to 5 lifestyle, so you’ll want to be able to contact them whenever you need assistance.

Secondly, how are timesheets submitted? It may be useful if your umbrella company provides an online portal, making it easier to keep track of what you’ve submitted and do things when it suits you.

Umbrella comparison made easy

Umbrella Broker provides a quick and easy way for contractors to compare umbrella companies. We provide up to ten free umbrella quotes in under 2 minutes, so you don’t have to do the hard work.

Need any assistance? Feel free to get in touch with our team.

3 Key Statutory Pay Benefits Through an Umbrella Company

When you’re working through an umbrella company, you benefit from full employee status. It essentially bridges the gap between regular employment and contracting. And a key part of that is your statutory rights – including statutory payments.

Holiday pay, sick pay and maternity (or paternity) pay are all available through umbrella companies, which is why we – at Umbrella Broker – know all about them. Fortunately, we’re keen to share that knowledge. Keep reading to find out more about umbrella company statutory payments.

Umbrella company holiday pay

We’ll start with holiday pay because, let’s face it, it’s the one we’re all guaranteed to use. Pay-as-you-earn employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ worth of paid holiday every year. That includes umbrella company employees, whose income is processed through pay-as-you-earn, and translates to the following:

  • 5 days or more worked each week – 28 days’ holiday per year
  • 4 days a week – 22.4 days’ holiday
  • 3 days a week – 16.8 days’ holiday
  • 3 days a week – 16.8 days’ holiday
  • 3 days a week – 16.8 days’ holiday

This could be a calendar year or a year starting at the time your contract begins. Generally, you can choose when you take your holidays. However, your employer – in this case your umbrella company – may require you to take some at specific times like bank holidays.

As for how much, holiday pay is the same rate as your usual basic pay. This is the amount you receive from the umbrella company as your employer, not the daily rate you charge clients. So, if you earn £200 a day through your umbrella company, this is exactly what you’ll receive during your time off work.

As a contractor, it’s likely your hours will vary on different contracts or even just different days. In this case, your holiday pay will be calculated as an average based on the 12 weeks prior to your holiday. Let’s say you spent 4 weeks on £800 a week, 4 on £500 and 4 on £1,200, your holiday pay would be calculated as follows:

  • 4 x £800 = £3,200
  • 4 x £500 = £2,000
  • 4 x £1,250 = £5,000
  • £3,200 + £2,000 + £5,000 = £10,200
  • £10,200 ÷ 12 = £850 per week

Umbrella company maternity pay

Despite some common misconceptions, maternity pay is a statutory right regardless of how long you’ve worked for your employer, how much you earn or how many hours you work. The amount you’re entitled to is based on how much you earn and is calculated as follows:

  • First 6 weeks – you will receive 90% of your average weekly pay
  • Following 33 weeks – you will receive either 90% of your average pay or £145.18 a week (whichever is lowest)

That makes a total of 39 weeks paid maternity leave, which is subject to tax and national insurance contributions.

While the period of leave for holiday pay is self-explanatory, maternity pay and leave is a bit trickier. Understandably, you can’t receive maternity pay while you’re still working. However, you must also wait until you’re within 11 weeks of the due date before beginning maternity leave and maternity pay.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to take the full 39 weeks off work either. £145.18 a week simply isn’t enough income for some contractors. Instead, your maternity leave and maternity pay ends as soon as you go back to work.

As opposed to the 12-week average period for holiday pay, maternity pay for varied week-to-week income is calculated using an 8-week average. Specifically, it is based on the 8 weeks before the “qualifying week”, which is 15 weeks before the due date.

Umbrella company paternity pay

For male contractors, paternity leave is available following the birth of their child. They can take 1 or 2 weeks’ leave with £145.18 or 90% of their average weekly pay (whichever is lowest). Unlike maternity leave, this can’t start before the birth. Instead, the paternity leave and pay must end within 56 days of the birth.

Umbrella company sick pay

As with other types of statutory pay, statutory sick pay is available through umbrella companies because contractors are classed as full employees. It amounts to £92.05 per week and is available for up to 28 weeks. Once 56 days have passed since the initial sickness period has ended, employees are entitled to another 28-week maximum sickness period.

Sick pay requires 4 consecutive days of sickness off work in a row. This includes non-working days, so if you work Monday to Friday and you’re too ill to work from Friday to Monday, you are eligible for sick pay. However, sick pay will only be paid for the days you would have been in work, known as ‘qualifying days’. Also, the first three days of illness are not eligible for payment.

To claim sick pay from your umbrella company, contractors must tell them within 7 days or by their own specific deadline if it’s outlined in their contract. You will need a sick note (also known as a ‘fit note’ because they declare whether an employee is fit to work) if the absence is 7 or more consecutive days.

Other benefits of umbrella companies

As well as statutory pay for maternity, sickness and holidays, umbrella companies provide contractors with a pension scheme and access to childcare vouchers. But not all umbrella companies are the same. And it’s important to find the right fit for you.

Umbrella Broker helps contractors do exactly that with a fast, hassle-free online comparison tool. Compare up to ten umbrella companies in a matter of minutes to find the best employer for you. Any questions? Feel free to get in touch with our support team.

Marriage joins two people together in the eyes of the law. And with this comes several benefits, including the Marriage Allowance for tax. But who qualifies? And how much is it worth? Read on as Umbrella Broker explores the ins and outs of the marriage allowance for contractors.

What is the Marriage Allowance?

First introduced in April 2015, the Marriage Allowance is a tax benefit for married couples in the UK. In 2018, it has been extended to include couples in civil partnership too. Rather being an allowance in itself for married couples or civil partners, the Marriage Allowance enables you to transfer part of your tax-free personal allowance to your partner – and vice versa.

The personal allowance, currently at £11,850, is exempt from taxation for all UK individuals. But in some cases, you or your partner may earn less than this amount. With the Marriage Allowance, the lower earner in the marriage or civil partnership can transfer up to 10% of their tax-free income allowance to the higher earner.

From £11,850, that means you can transfer up to £1,190. At the 20% tax rate for £11,851 to £46,350, that’s up to £238 per year taken off your tax bill and added to your net income.

 

Contractor Marriage Allowance

Good news – contractors are eligible for the Marriage Allowance as long as they meet the criteria for other employees:

  • You need to be married or in a civil partnership
  • Your partner must earn less than £11,850 per year
  • You must be a basic rate taxpayer. In short, this means your annual pre-tax income must be between £11,851 and £46,350.

Contractors earning above £46,350 are categorized as higher rate taxpayers. Unfortunately, that means they aren’t eligible for the Marriage Allowance. The same is true for additional rate taxpayers, who are earning over £150,000 before tax.

Additionally, the 10% your partner transfers cannot take their total earnings to over the £11,850 tax-free allowance. So, if they have earned £11,000 and transfer you 10% of their allowance – which would be £1,190 – it would take their total earnings to £12,190. In this case, they would be taxed on the £340 which exceeds the tax-free allowance.

 

Contractors applying for the Marriage Allowance

If you and your partner are eligible for the marriage allowance, you won’t be automatically enrolled. Instead, the lower-earning partner needs to apply for the allowance. In fact, millions of couples don’t claim the allowance despite being eligible.

To complete the applications, you will require the following…

 

  • National Insurance numbers for both people
  • Proof of identity for both people – such as a passport, driving licence, P60, last 3 payslips or the last 4 digits of a bank account which is used to receive child benefits, tax credits or state pension payments.

If you have this information and you’re eligible, the application should be both quick and straightforward. Best of all, applications can be made online.

Another thing that’s important to note is what to do when your circumstances change. HMRC will continue to transfer the tax-free allowance between your partner’s allowance and yours. If you get divorced, dissolve your civil partnership or your partner dies, HMRC needs to know immediately or you will be forced to pay back any falsely claimed allowances at a later date.

 

Receiving the Marriage Allowance

To transfer the allowance, HMRC generally changes tax code for both people. This automatically increases your tax-free allowance and reduces that of your partner. Alternatively, for self-assessment tax returns, the changed tax code will reduce your self-assessment bill.

After applying, it can take up to 2 months for the allowance transfer to take place. Don’t worry though, claims will be backdated to the start of the current tax year automatically. Because the Marriage Allowance was introduced in 2015, claims can also be backdated for previous years.

From 2015-16, the first year of the Marriage Allowance, it was worth £212. It rose to £220 in 2016-17, and to £230 in 2017-18. So, if you ask HMRC to backdate your Marriage Allowance claim, you could be in for an extra £662 on top of this year’s allowance of £238.

 

Let an umbrella company help

Like any tax matters, the Marriage Allowance is simpler through an umbrella company. Rather than processing it as part of your self-assessment returns, your extra allowance will be processed by the umbrella company before sending you a net amount as take-home pay.

It’s contracting without the hassle. And with Umbrella Broker, you can find the right umbrella company for you in minutes. Contact us today for more information.

Contractor Childcare Vouchers vs Tax-Free Childcare

It’s not easy balancing contracting work with childcare. You can either cut back on work by looking after your children or lose some of your earnings paying out for childcare.

Childcare vouchers offer a practical solution, giving people tax relief on the money they put towards childcare. However, from October 2018, they will no longer be available to new applicants. Instead, people can claim through the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

So, how does it all work? Can contractors claim? And what is the best option for you? Read on for Umbrella Broker’s guide to contractor childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare.

What are childcare vouchers?

The Childcare Voucher scheme allows employees to take some of their wages as childcare vouchers, rather than money directly into their bank account. Why? By doing so, this part of their wage is exempt from tax and national insurance.

Employees can take up to £55 a week of their wages as childcare vouchers. This can be used to pay for approved childcare costs, including:

  • Registered childminders, nurseries or clubs
  • Childminders through an Ofsted-registered agency
  • A registered school
  • A care worker through a registered home care agency

Depending on the specific scheme, these vouchers may also be used on childcare assistance provided by your employer – such as an on-site staff nursery. Needless to say, these vouchers can only be used for your own child or stepchild who lives with you.

£55 per week amounts to £243 a month and over £2,800 over the course of a year. Considering exemptions for both tax (20%) and national insurance (13.8%), that provides a net benefit of over £1,000 for basic rate tax payers.

The amount you can claim is reduced slightly for higher and additional rate taxpayers:

  • Higher rate: £28 per week, £124 per month and £1484 per year
  • Additional rate: £22 per week, £97 per month and £1166 per year

Contractor childcare vouchers

Because they’re not classed as an employee, self-employed contractors cannot claim childcare vouchers. There are ways for contractors to get the benefits of tax-free childcare vouchers, however. Firstly, through their own limited company. Contractors operating as a limited company can pay childcare providers directly, which will reduce their corporation tax bill.

However, the easiest way is through a contracting umbrella. Because they add contractors as an employee, you can access the benefits of childcare vouchers with no extra admin on your part. The value of childcare vouchers is simply subtracted from your wage before it’s processed through pay-as-you-earn tax.

Things are changing

From 4th October 2018, new applicants can no longer join childcare voucher schemes. People already enrolled on a childcare vouchers scheme can continue to use it as long as they stay with the same employer and the employer continues to run the scheme.

Instead of childcare vouchers, new applications will need to go through Tax-Free Childcare to gain tax exemption on some childcare costs. Tax-Free Childcare works by reducing the cost of childcare to 80%. The government pays £2 for every £8 you pay towards childcare.

Essentially, for £300 worth of nursery costs, you would pay £240 and the government would contribute the remaining £60. So, the childcare costs are effectively tax-free for parents. This is available to the value of £500 every three months, per child.

Who is eligible for Tax-Free Childcare?

Tax-Free Childcare is meant to reduce the financial burden of childcare for working parents. It covers all the same registered childcare services as childcare vouchers but is only available for children aged 11 or under – or 16 and under with a disability.

You’re eligible if you and your partner (if you have one) are in work and earning at least the minimum wage for 16 hours a week or more. However, you won’t be eligible if either you or your partner has a taxable income over £100,000.

The main benefit with Tax-Free Childcare is that self-employed workers can use the system. Rather than employers deducting costs before processing wages, the childcare costs are processed through an online account, where the government contributes their 20% of the cost.

Comparing the two

As mentioned, existing users of childcare vouchers can continue to use them as long as their employer continues to use the scheme. However, once they start using Tax-Free Childcare, their childcare vouchers will be stopped. So, which is better for you?

Because childcare vouchers make your earnings exempt from both tax and national insurance – rather than just redeeming the tax value like Tax-Free Childcare – they are the best option for most parents. However, the limits on how much you can spend using childcare vouchers makes them unsuitable for parents with several children.

Tax-Free Childcare is the better option for any single parents spending over £4,650 on registered childcare or working couples spending over £9,300.

30 hours free

Another government scheme that goes hand in hand with Tax-Free Childcare is 30 Hours Free Childcare. This does what it says on the tin – gives 30 hours of free childcare to parents who are eligible. Fortunately, the eligibility criteria are the same as for the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

While all parents get 15 hours of free childcare for 3-4-year-old pre-school children, this scheme provides double that to those who are working over 16 hours a week.

Make contracting easier

Childcare is just one of the many considerations for contractors. On top of that, you have invoicing, tax and expenses to worry about, along with your actual work. Umbrella companies make things easier, processing your income and paying you a simple net sum each month

Umbrella Broker can help you find the right umbrella company. Our online comparison tool helps you compare different providers in a matter of minutes. Any questions? Contact our team who will be happy to assist.

Umbrella Company Pension Schemes – What You Need to Know

Pension schemes help employees put money aside for retirement directly from their wage. The problem for self-employed professionals is that they need to manage this themselves, either by setting up a pension scheme or saving money from their income.

Fortunately, umbrella companies class contractors as employees, giving them all the benefits of employment. That includes a pension scheme, which now requires contribution from the umbrella company too. Let’s take a closer look at the statutory pension schemes available through umbrella companies.

Auto-enrolment pensions

In 2012, the UK Government decided that workers weren’t saving enough for their retirement. People were relying too much on the State Pension, which had not received adequate funding to match the continuing rise in life expectancy and an ageing population.

To combat this, they introduced automatic enrolment. The new system, rolled out from 2012 to 2018, requires employers to automatically enrol eligible employees onto a workplace pension scheme. Employers are also responsible for deducting contributions from their pre-tax income and making a minimum statutory contribution to the employee’s savings.

In October 2012, this minimum contribution was set to 1 percent for employees, which was matched by employers, rising in 2018:

  • October 2012 to 5th April 2018: employers 1%, employees 1%
  • 6th April 2018 to 5th April 2019: employers 2%, employees 3%
  • 6th April 2019 onwards: employers 3%, employees 5%

However for anyone that doesn’t want to contribute to a pension once you’re enrolled you can still opt out.

Umbrella company pension scheme

Working through an umbrella company, contractors are classed as an employee. That means, yes, you are automatically enrolled onto the umbrella company’s pension scheme as long as you meet the following criteria:

  • Your work is primarily UK-based
  • You earn more than £10,000 per year
  • You’re between 22 and the state pension age.

Until 5th April 2019, 3% of your pre-tax salary will go directly into a pension fund, with the umbrella company contributing a further 2%. From 6th April 2019, 5% of your pre-tax salary will go into the same pension fund, with your umbrella company contributing a further 3%.

The benefits of an umbrella company pension

Some contractors may worry that this will eat away at their wages. Don’t. Pension contributions are made before your wages are taxed. That means anything that goes from your wage into your pension fund is tax-free rather than being taxed at 20% or even 40%. So, instead of receiving 60% of your income, you receive 100% via a pension fund.

Let’s say you earn over £46,351 per year, which puts you in the higher rate band of income tax. Anything you earn beyond that £46,351 per year (roughly £3,863 per month) is taxed at a rate of 40%. You get just £60 for every £100 of income. Why not put the full £100 straight into the pension fund instead?

That’s why many people, especially those in the higher rate band of income tax, choose to put more than the minimum into their pension fund. And this is entirely possible. Contractors can contribute up to £40,000 to their pension scheme per year, comprising tax-free income and employer contributions. Currently, there is a lifetime allowance of £1,030,000 which can be contributed before incurring any tax.

Using your funds

With the increased earnings of contracting, it’s common for contractors to retire early. Alternatively, you might simply want to get some of the money out for a holiday, new car or home improvement. The good news is: you don’t have to wait until the state pension age to access the pension funds you’ve built up through your umbrella company pension.

Once you’re 55 or over, you can access up to 25% of your pension pot as a tax-free lump sum. Anything beyond the 25% will be taxed as an addition to the rest of your income that tax year – either 20% over £11,850, 40% over £46,351 or £45% over £150,000, as things currently stand. That’s why most people choose to take their pension as regular income once they have retired, to minimise the amount of tax paid.

What about limited companies?

Contractors who operate as a limited company can still benefit from the tax relief of a pension scheme. However, as with most things relating to limited companies, this requires a lot more effort on their part. Firstly, they have to get the right balance between salary and dividend payments to increase the limit on their pension contributions.

Because employer contributions, such as pensions, count as a business expense, they are subject to tax relief. So, when you contribute to your pension scheme, as a director, the company could save money in corporation tax.

However, this has added complications because it needs to be fully compliant as an allowable expense. Any other employees, for example, should be given comparable packages to prove to HMRC that it is a genuine business expense.

On top of all that, using a limited company pension scheme means setting up and paying into the pension fund yourself. Along with all the other administrative work for limited company owners, it’s definitely worth seeking advice and assistant from a trusted accountant.

Get the right assistance

Whether you’re looking to compare umbrella companies or find the right accountant, you can make the right choice with Umbrella Broker. Our online comparison tool lets you assess multiple companies in a matter of minutes. It couldn’t be easier to take the hassle out of contracting. Contact us today for more information.

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  • An Introduction to Agency PSLs for Contractors

    If you’re a contractor working through an agency, chances are you’ve come across Preferred Supplier Lists (PSLs) in the past. In simple terms, a PSL is a pre-approved list of umbrella companies that an agency will work with. So, what exactly does it mean for you and your chosen umbrella company?

    PSLs can be confusing. Sometimes they are strict, yet other times they can be merely guidelines. Searching for answers doesn’t seem to help clarify the situation either. If you look up PSLs online, you’ll find that most of the information on them is there to help agencies and not contractors. Fortunately, Umbrella Broker is here to buck the trend. Read on as we take a closer look at PSLs, why they exist and how they could affect you.

    A brief introduction to PSLs

    A PSL – also known as an ASL (approved supplier list) – is something you’ll find at the majority of agencies nowadays. They’re an agencies way of controlling who their contractors use as an umbrella company.

    Some agencies use simply them as the name suggests – as a way to recommend their preferred umbrella suppliers to their contractors. Yet others are stricter and refuse to work with umbrella companies that aren’t on their PSL. Why? The reasons are mainly two-fold…

    Compliance

    Agencies will openly admit that they use PSLs to maintain compliance. Essentially, they want umbrella companies to be legally compliant, meeting all the same regulations as they do themselves. So, they make an ASL or PSL comprising of all the compliant umbrella companies they have either audited or belong to a trusted umbrella organisations such as the FCSA.

    They will complete regular audits of companies on their PSL to ensure they are always following the correct rules. That way, they can let contractors bill through these umbrella companies safe in the knowledge that there will be no future kick back to them should that contractor have chosen to be liberal with their tax payments

    Financial incentives

    Another reason, which some agencies are less open about, is the financial incentives given to agencies by the umbrella companies that are on their PSLs.

    Having a list of companies which you prefer or insist on contractors using will naturally provide more business for those companies. This limits the companies that contractors can use, or at least points them in a certain direction, helping those on the PSL sell more.

    In return for sending contractors their way, the favour is returned by the umbrella company in the form of commission payments, although these aren’t always strictly legal.

    The benefits of PSLs for contractors

    We’ve firmly established that PSLs are advantageous to agencies. But on top of that, they can also help contractors in a number of ways:

    1.    Trust

    Most agencies’ PSLs will only include companies with certain accreditations, such as:

    These organisations require certain standards from their members. Companies have to be compliant to gain accreditation. With that in mind, a good PSL provides you with a list of umbrella companies you can trust.

    2.    Specialists

    While some umbrella companies provide services across sectors, others specialise in specific industries. If you’re looking for the latter, a PSL could help. Agencies might only include umbrella companies that operate in and understand your sector.

    This will make things easier going forward, as they can assist with any industry-specific issues or regulations that come up.

    3.    Services

    Agencies will know what services and additional extras their clients require, from fundamental payroll and benefits to different kinds of insurance. Through a PSL, you could find that all companies provide these services – rather than having to search and filter through many that don’t.

    4.    Convenience

    Let’s face it, comparing umbrella companies can be stressful if you go it alone. Where do you start, with so many different providers, varying service levels and prices?

    A PSL gives you a list of recommended umbrella companies to choose from to narrow things down. Be wary, however, as they may just be companies who have agreed to pay the agency for this privilege.

    To make their services more attractive, PSL umbrella companies may even offer a discount to contractors operating through certain agencies.

    How to navigate a PSL

    A PSL could have several of the benefits listed above. However, it could have none. It’s important to ask agencies about their PSL or ASL so you know exactly where you stand. Find out whether they are accredited, industry specialists and what services they offer.

    Make sure you’re clear on whether the list is preferred or obligatory. If it’s just a recommended list of umbrella companies, there’s nothing stopping you looking elsewhere for a better deal and more comprehensive service.

    It’s also worth noting that agencies can’t legally take money for pushing contractors towards using a particular umbrella company. So, if you suspect this is happening, remember there’s no obligation to use those umbrella companies.

    Alternatives to a PSL

    Despite all the potential benefits of a PSL to contractors, it’s quite rare that they are fine-tuned and filtered in the contractors interests. Instead, they focus on the benefits to agencies, with compliance top of the list. While compliance also matters to contractors, you ideally want an umbrella company that ticks all the boxes and gives you the greatest financial benefit.

    Fortunately, there is a way to understand how each umbrella company benefits you financially. Using a reliable umbrella company comparison site, you can compare providers based on what’s important to you. Whether it’s the price, reviews and ratings, or additional benefits, you can find the perfect company for you without any obligation.

    How can we help?

    At Umbrella Broker, we make it easy for contractors to find the perfect umbrella company for their needs. We have a wide collection of handpicked, well-reviewed providers, ready for you to compare online. Using our fast comparison tool, you can compare the very best umbrella companies based on your specific details.

    See your take home pay, any taxes and the effect of any benefits. If you want to know more, simply click on the chosen provider for more information. Best of all, there’s no need to resubmit information if you want to see how a change in pay would impact your take-home pay or tax. It’s never been easier to choose the best umbrella company for you.

  • What Exactly is an Umbrella Company?

    Contracting is an exciting career change for professionals in all kinds of sectors. It provides more income, added freedom and extra flexibility in the way you work. Rather than providing your services to an employer, you sell them directly to a client who pays you much like another company.

    However, unlike another company, you don’t have to use the same invoicing and payment route. Contractors can choose between setting up a limited company and working through an umbrella company. Unlike the sometimes-overwhelming step of setting up a limited company, an umbrella company provides a simple and straightforward way to start your contracting career.

    Want to know more? Read on as Umbrella Broker looks at how umbrella companies work, how they compare to the alternatives and whether a contractor umbrella company is right for you.

    The basics of umbrella companies

    It’s understandable that some people are unfamiliar with umbrella companies. If you’re not a contractor, they’re not really something you will encounter. However, they’re actually one of the most common options for contractors because of how easy they make it to work for yourself.

    While limited companies need to be set up and run by contractors, umbrella companies simply hire contractors as pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) employees. You are added to the payroll of the umbrella company and pay a fee to them. For this fee, they take care of all your administrative and financial duties – like a permanent employer.

    They will provide statutory rights like insurance and paid leave. They’re also responsible for paying your taxes, so any money you receive is your take home pay. However, unlike a permanent employer, your umbrella company won’t set you work. You can take on contracts as normal, focus on work and leave the administrative work to them.

    How do umbrella companies work?

    When you’re employed by an umbrella company, you simply submit your timesheet to them after each contract. They will then invoice your client and chase payments, like a middle man working on your behalf. Once payment is received, the umbrella company will deduct and pay the right amount of tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) from your wage and transfer you the final sum.

    Should I use an umbrella company?

    Umbrella companies aren’t for everyone. The alternative – setting up your own limited company – provides higher income as a trade-off for more administrative work. With that in mind, umbrella companies are the ideal solution for contractors that don’t have the time to run their own business while also completing contract work.

    Unlike a limited company, there’s no need to keep track of different payments, create and send invoices or calculate your own tax and NICs. It also removes the burden of company accounts and VAT returns, so you have complete peace of mind and can focus on the job at hand for each contract you work on.

    You don’t have to kick back and relax though. The time and energy you save can be put towards more work or other projects. You could even spend the time on training to improve your skills and secure higher-paid contracts in future.

    Umbrella companies are also useful for people who are new to contracting. Many professionals use them as a transition between regular employment and running their own business. As you become more experienced and establish a bigger client network, it’s possible to switch to a limited company at a later date.

    It’s also the ideal route if you only plan to work in contracting for a temporary period as it’s easy to move in and out of an umbrella company – as opposed to setting up and dissolving a limited company. For that reason, many professionals use umbrella companies to try out contracting and see if it suits them.

    Umbrella company vs limited company

    Setting up a limited company, as mentioned, is the main alternative to working through an umbrella company. It’s the route that matches “be your own boss” to a tee. And it has significant financial benefits if you’re willing to put in the extra work.

    Limited companies are a more tax efficient option. Contractors name themselves as the company director and sole shareholder, taking a salary as dividends. There are other tax benefits too, with directors entitled to claim back tax on accountancy fees or office costs in some cases.

    Another benefit with limited companies is the removal of a service fee. As you’re running your own company and taking care of your own finances, there’s no need to pay a service fee from your income.

    However, with this role comes extra responsibility. Unlike an umbrella company, you’re solely responsible for your finances, tax and general administration. That means processing invoices, chasing payments and paying yourself through the company. It may even be worth hiring an accountant to assist with these responsibilities, which could take away some of the financial benefit.

    Making your choice

    To decide between an umbrella company and limited company, carefully consider how much time and effort you can commit to contracting. If you’re just starting out or, for whatever reason, you don’t have the time to take care of invoicing and tax, an umbrella company may be the best option.

    Alternatively, if you’re looking for the highest possible income and you’re prepared to commit the time and effort – a limited company might be suitable. Remember, a limited company is more of a commitment, while you can easily use an umbrella company for a short period to test things out.

  • Umbrella vs Limited Company: Which Is Right for Contractors?

    Umbrella companies are a great option for contractors who want to keep things simple. They take the administrative burden of invoicing, payroll and tax off your plate, giving you a final sum of ‘take home pay’ every month, or after each job.

    Eventually, however, many contractors make the switch from an umbrella company to becoming a limited company. Generally, it’s because of reduced taxation – and higher income as a result.

    But when is the right time to make the switch? And are you ready? Read on as Umbrella Broker takes a look at the transition from umbrella to limited company.

    The best fit for you

    Working for yourself isn’t a case of one size fits all. It’s important to find the best way of doing things, especially when you’re starting out. Most self-employed professionals begin as sole traders, which is the simplest way to effectively run a business – without any of the registration fees.

    As things become more complex, many contractors make the move to an umbrella company. These firms take on contractors as employees, taking payments and paying tax on their behalf while paying out income monthly or on a job-by-job basis. This is something of a hassle-free option for contractors.

    However, as business begins to grow and more opportunities arise, it may become more suitable to set up a limited company. This changes how you’re taxed and can increase your income as a result. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done, so it’s important not to dive in too soon.

    Introducing the umbrella company

    Umbrella companies are all about simplicity. Getting set up is refreshingly simple. You just need to sign a contract with an umbrella company, who will contract your services to other businesses. You don’t have to actually set up a company and there’s minimal administration going forward

    Day to day, umbrella companies take care of invoicing, payroll and taxation. In many cases, they even source contracts for you so you don’t need to market yourself and network. Sometimes, it’s necessary to find your own work and you may have to review your contract with the umbrella company occasionally. However, by and large, you can focus on your job and whatever you choose to do outside of work.

    Drawbacks of umbrella companies

    It’s not all advantageous though. This minimal responsibility is matched with a reduced level of control. Umbrella companies determine how you are paid and taxed for sick days, holidays and maternity or paternity leave.

    Using an umbrella company also means your tax is paid through pay as you earn (PAYE). This is the system used by permanent employees across the UK, and on the plus side it is a lot simpler as this is taken care of by the umbrella company. So, less admin time on the accounts. However, you can’t take advantages of any of the tax benefits that come with having a limited company.

    Finally, you will need to pay a small fee to work through an umbrella company. This is typically a fair amount, but it does mean your pay will be reduced to around the 70% mark when combined with tax deductions. In most cases, this will still be significantly better than what you would have earnt in permanent employment. And with a steady stream of contracts and less time hunting for new work, you can easily offset the fees.

    What about limited companies?

    Limited companies are a tax-efficient alternative for contractors, allowing them to maximise their take home pay. As a contractor, you become the director of your company, as well as the sole shareholder. This allows you to claim numerous extra expenses as well as drawing some of your funds out as a dividend, which is subject to far less tax than the PAYE rate.

    Needless to say, limited companies are financially beneficial for contractors. As mentioned, working through an umbrella company, you can expect to take home around 70% of your earnings. In contrast, a limited company will typically provide over 80% of your earnings as take-home pay.

    Limited company drawbacks

    There are some downsides to limited company ownership. First of all, you will need to set up the business. This requires choosing a name and submitting your details to Companies House either online or on paper. This small step is well worth it considering the financial benefit in the long term.

    When switching from umbrella to limited, you also have to once again take on the administrative burden of invoicing and taxation. You’re completely responsible for your finances – and that of your company – so you have to chase clients for payments and make sure everything is spot on for tax.

    Fortunately, accounting services can reduce the burden of these tasks, either by assisting or taking them on completely. You may find that the price of professional accounting assistance is more than covered by the financial benefit of running a limited company.

    Time to switch

    The extra control of a limited company versus working through an umbrella can be useful as a contractor. If things go wrong or you’re expecting a lack of work for the foreseeable future, it’s much easier to prepare your finances and adapt to the changing situation.

    If you’re working through an umbrella company and you’re ready to take on the challenges explained above, it’s time to start setting up your limited company. Be sure to inform any existing clients about your plans to set up as a limited company as well as any service providers or suppliers.

    Following this, set up a business bank account and inform HMRC of your changed status. You will need to register for corporation tax within 3 months of beginning to trade and register for VAT through your company. To pay yourself a director’s salary, you’ll also need to register as an employer with HMRC.

  • Are Umbrella Companies Exempt from IR35?

    Introducing IR35 (And How Umbrella Companies Can Help)

    With hefty fees for non-compliance, it’s essential for contractors to understand IR35 and umbrella companies. In short, IR35 legislation is used to distinguish between companies providing a service to clients and people who are essentially employed by those companies. But there are plenty of ins, outs and tricky points to be aware of, including the role of umbrella companies. Confused yet?

    Don’t be caught out. Read on for the Umbrella Broker guide to IR35, your status and how umbrella companies could help.

    A short history lesson in IR35

    The road to IR35 started in the 1980s, when HMRC introduced a rule making recruitment companies liable for any tax errors they made prior to paying contractors. It made working with self-employed contractors far riskier for recruitment companies, with many subsequently refusing to deal with them.

    To continue working with recruitment companies, contractors began setting themselves up as limited companies, for which recruitment companies held no liability. This also meant they could pay themselves in dividends, which are subject to lower rates of income tax and exempt from national insurance contributions.

    Understandably, this meant HMRC was taking significantly less tax from the market. The new system also enabled companies to effectively ‘hire’ limited companies without the usual responsibilities as an employer. To counter these issues, they introduced IR35 in 2000.

    What is IR35?

    Also known as the Intermediaries Legislation, IR35 aimed to establish a contractor’s true employment status. So, those who were operating through limited companies – known as ‘intermediary companies’ or ‘intermediaries’ – would still have to pay tax and national insurance under traditional employee rules.

    Since its introduction, it’s become hugely important for contractors to assess their status. Operating through an intermediary and paying less tax and national insurance may seem beneficial. However, any savings will likely have to be paid back. In most cases, this is further down the line when you don’t have anything close to the full amount readily available.

    Who is in and who is out?

    With that in mind, it’s important to determine whether you’re operating inside IR35 or outside of it. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to tell because IR35 has no set definition for a case which is inside or outside of the regulation. To assess your status, HMRC provides status tests online.

    The tests can be used by an agency placing a worker, an organisation hiring a worker, or a worker themselves who is providing a service. They cover several different aspects of the working engagement:

    • Responsibilities of the worker
    • Who decides what the worker needs to do
    • Who decides the terms of work – when and where it’s done
    • How the worker is paid
    • Whether the work engagement includes any expenses or benefits

    These criteria help determine who is in control of the worker. When there is a right to exercise control over a worker, they are likely to be classed as an employee. They also assess the right to employ other assistants or substitutes to perform the job. Employees are hired to do the job directly, themselves, while truly self-employed contractors may hire someone to do it for them if necessary.

    After taking the status tests, you can print your results as a way to demonstrate that you took reasonable care. These assessments need to be completed for each work assignment. If any of your working arrangements change, you will need to check again whether you’re inside or outside IR35.

    Why it’s worth checking

    As well as avoiding costs further down the line, there are a multitude of reasons to check the IR35 status of contracting work:

    • Comparing jobs – If you’re in a position to choose between two or more contracts, IR35 status could be a deciding factor. Jobs that are outside IR35 typically provide more income because of lower taxation.
    • Operating structure – Checking your IR35 status could provide better direction for your contracting work. If you’re operating inside IR35, for instance, it may be worth considering an umbrella company. On the other hand, if you’re operating outside IR35, it could be beneficial to set up a limited company.
    • Limited companies – If you’re already operating as a limited company, being inside IR35 will determine how you need to receive and pay tax on income.

    What about umbrella companies?

    A popular way to circumnavigate IR35 is by using an umbrella company. Umbrella companies employ contractors and work as an intermediary between them and their clients. This provides a balance between the ‘be your own boss’ benefits of contracting and the simplicity of being an employee.

    With an umbrella company, you are classed as an employee, with no need to worry about payroll, accounts and taxation. This means there is no need to determine your IR35 status time and time again. Contracting umbrella companies are fully tax-compliant, so you won’t be caught out by any charges in the future.

    Invoicing and chasing payments is also taken care of by umbrella companies, removing a stressful and time-consuming task for contractors. Essentially, they eliminate the cost and hassle of operating a limited company.

    Penalties and tax implications

    Under IR35, the traditional low salary & high dividend model – used by limited companies – is unavailable to contractors. And if you’re caught by IR35, regardless of whether you’re using a limited company or an umbrella company, you will need to process your full contract value through PAYE.

    This means that a Limited Company will be largely uneconomical as it adds an extra cost and administration burden when compared to an umbrella. In the event you fail to process your payments through PAYE, you could be subject to an IR35 fine of up to 100% of the unpaid taxes due. In short, getting your tax calculations right is paramount.

    Why an umbrella is the smart move

    Whether it’s IR35 penalties or increased taxation from being classed as an employee (even if you have a Limited company), IR35 can significantly impact the amount contractors take home each month. This means using an umbrella company is the smart way to ensure that throughout your contracting career it doesn’t matter whether you’re caught by IR35 or not.

  • Insurance For Contractors

    Insurance for contractors is of paramount importance, covering you against legal costs, unexpected damage and even cyber attacks. There are several kinds of contractor insurance available, so it’s a smart move to get familiar before choosing the right one for you.

    That’s where Umbrella Broker can help, with our review of the different types of cover available to contractors…

     

    Public liability insurance

    There are two kinds of liability insurance available for contractors. The first is public liability insurance, which covers any risk to the public and the resulting claims. This could be anything from your postman slipping when delivering to your site, falling debris from scaffolding causing injury or just somebody tripping over a loose cable while passing.

    It also includes your clients when they visit your premises, as well as any damage that may be caused by you or your employees when visiting a client’s site. Let’s say you knock over something expensive while you’re there – they won’t think twice about claiming for that damage.

    In short, public liability insurance is essential for anyone who deals with customers or clients face to face. The cost will depend on a number of factors, such as:

    • Your industry
    • How many employees and clients you have
    • Your location
    • Previous claims

     

    Employers’ liability insurance

    The other type of cover is employers’ liability insurance, which is a legal requirement for contractors with one or more employees. Here’s the difference: employers’ liability insurance protects you against costs from compensation should employees become injured or unwell from work.

    As soon as you take on any employees, you need to be covered for at least £5 million by employers’ liability insurance. Insurance must be provided by an authorised insurer and it includes any casual workers or short-term contracts. Fail to do so and you could face a fine of up to £2,500 per uninsured day.

     

    Professional indemnity insurance

    With professional indemnity insurance, you’re protected from any claims against your services, products or advice. So, if a client claims that your work is substandard or incomplete, your insurance will cover the cost of the legal defence and any expenses as well as any compensation should they succeed in claiming against you.

    Professional indemnity insurance is required for several professions – such as management consultancy, business consultancy and IT contractors – in order to secure contracts. Basically, clients want to know you’re covered, so they know they’re covered too.

    Even if you’re not legally obliged to take out professional indemnity insurance, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Legal fees and compensation can stack up and cost thousands just for one claim. They can be crippling if you have to fork out yourself, while the cost of insurance is completely manageable.

     

    Personal accident insurance

    As a contractor, there’s no sick pay to tide you by if a serious injury stops you working. Instead, you’ll be short of money or reliant on your own savings. That’s where personal accident insurance comes in. When you’re covered by personal accident insurance, you will receive an ongoing payment to cover the loss in profits while you’re out of work, or a lump sum if you suffer a permanent disability.

    Personal accident insurance can also be taken out for key employees. Again, if one of your employees is injured, it’s you that will need to cover their wage or sick pay. Statutory Sick Pay is £92.05 per week for up to 28 weeks and can no longer be reclaimed from the government. That’s over £350 per month, which could cause serious problems for some contractors if they need to cover it themselves.

    As well as temporary injuries, personal accident insurance can be taken out to cover death. A lump sum will be paid out for people who are covered by the policy. This could help relatives of the contractor, or the contractor themselves if one of their employees can no longer work.

     

    Contents insurance

    Insurance for your office contents protects you in case any office equipment or furniture is lost, stolen or damaged. This could be computers and office phones, furniture like desks and chairs or even important documents that are stored on your premises.

    You can even insure portable items, which aren’t stored permanently in your office. Fortunately, with the right flexible policy, you can get insurance for remote working too – so yourself or any employees will be insured when working at home.

     

    Buildings insurance

    Buildings insurance is useful for contractors who own their office. Unlike contents insurance, it covers fire and water damage to the office itself. Without it, a fire or leak could set you back thousands. However, it’s important to have contents insurance alongside buildings insurance, as no contents are covered by the latter.

     

    Cyber insurance

    Most contractors are reliant on digital tools in some way or another – whether it’s for communication, payment or just data storage. Needless to say, any data breaches, hacks or information loss can set you back and cost you big. That’s where cyber insurance comes in.

    Also known as cyber risk insurance, it covers you for the recovery process after any cyber damage or loss. This could include investigating what went wrong, notifying and compensating clients, and reimbursing monetary losses.

     

    Which type is right for you?

    Contractors’ insurance isn’t a case of “either-or”. Instead, it’s about deciding where the risk lies and which plans are required to cover you. Professional Indemnity and Public Liability are the two most common insurance types held by contractors – in addition to Employers’ Liability insurance because it’s required by law.

    However, Professional Indemnity insurance is required by some regulators and essential for members of some professional bodies. Because of this, both Professional Indemnity and Employers’ Liability insurance are provided as standard by umbrella companies.

    The other types of insurance – such as cover for contents, cyber attacks or personal accidents – are optional, but will provide that extra peace of mind.

     

    Make things easier

    If you’re looking for peace of mind with contracting work, Umbrella Broker can help. We help contractors find the right umbrella company and accountant, so there’s no need to worry about payroll and taxes.

    Need more information? Feel free to contact us today.

     

  • Umbrella Company Services – The Next Steps for Contractors

    8 Key Steps to Start Using Umbrella Services

    Umbrella companies bridge the gap between full time employment and self-employed contracting. They take care of payroll, provide regular payment terms and in some cases offer employment benefits like paid holidays and sick pay.

    To sign up with an umbrella company online you’ll need to disclose some personal information along with signing a contract of employment, just like you would if you were accepting a job. Of course, working for an umbrella isn’t quite like any other means of employment but the paperwork you’ll fill out is very similar.

    All of the applications on Umbrella Broker are hosted by Adobe Sign, a safe and secure way to sign your contract and pass your personal details onto the umbrella.

    Umbrella Broker does not store the details you enter into these forms, they go directly to your new umbrella.

    Examples of the information in an application include:

    • Your name and address
    • Your contract details
    • Your bank details (so they can pay you)

    When you’ve completed your application, you chosen umbrella will hand hold you through a series of steps designed to ensure your payments run smoothly.

    Read on as we look at umbrella companies and how the process works after applying.

    1. Contacting your client or agency

    Having applied, your umbrella company will contact your end client or recruitment agency. They do this to inform clients or agencies that they will be invoicing on your behalf. This is a key step for yourself, your client or agency and your umbrella company as it’s the main thing that will be changing for all parties. You no longer have to worry about invoicing or chasing up payments.

    2. Verification

    Your umbrella company also needs to verify your identity. As a company you work through, they may never meet you. But they still need to check you’re entitled to work in the UK, for instance. To do so, they usually need a copy of your official ID documentation.

    This is also important because they need to cover you under their insurance. Umbrella companies typically provide public liability, professional indemnity and employers’ liability insurance for their employees. Again, this is a worry taken off your mind as it covers you against most damages, compensation or legal fees.

    3. Engagement

    To assist with set up, your agency or client will send an engagement pack to the umbrella company. This will include a schedule of your work and payment terms. Within this, your client or agency will also request details of your umbrella company’s insurance information and evidence of tax compliance, in some instances. Essentially, it’s a way of making sure you’re covered from day one.

    4. Contract exchange

    Your agency and umbrella company will exchange a contract for service. This outlines the agreement between the two companies and is separate from the contract you’ll sign with the umbrella company to become an employee.

    5. Timesheet

    Once the contracts are in place, your umbrella company will add you as an employee and walk you through the process of providing them with a timesheet. Your timesheet contains information about the hours you’ve worked each week for one or multiple clients, as well as any expenses you’re entitled to claim.

    6. Invoicing

    Once you submit your first timesheet, your umbrella company will raise an invoice for your work and send it to your recruitment agency or end client. The client or agency will pay your umbrella company, who will process the funds through pay as you earn (PAYE) tax either the same day or the day following payment.

    7. Payment

    The next step depends on the payment terms you have agreed with your umbrella company. They will either pay you weekly or monthly, with all the funds you have accumulated for that period – minus tax and national insurance. You will receive a net payment along with a payslip for your own records, as you would with a regular employer.

    8. Tax payments

    Finally, it’s up to the umbrella company to process the money deducted from your pay for income tax and national insurance. Once a month, they will send the correct amount to HMRC on your behalf.

    Steps you should take

    If you’re ready to choose an umbrella company, there are also some steps to take yourself to make sure you get the right umbrella services for you.

    1. Background check

    Find out as much as you can about the umbrella company’s background. Check their credit rating and how long the company has been trading. Both of these are good indicators of how much you can trust a company.

    2. Check the fees

    Umbrella companies charge contractors a fee for their services, which can vary depending on the provider. Find out whether you will be paying weekly or monthly – and how much you’re paying.

    3. And what’s included…

    The cheapest umbrella services aren’t always the best. Some umbrella companies will charge extra for things like processing your expenses, while others will include benefits like statutory leave and sick pay as part of their fee. Consider the monetary value of these benefits when you’re comparing umbrella companies.

    4. Contracts

    Your umbrella company acts as a full-time employer, so you want to make sure you’re covered with a full contract of employment. This is where your statutory rights and benefits will be outlined, so it’s essential to check over before signing anything. Look for payment terms – when and how you’ll be paid – along with the process or penalties should you want to leave.

    5. Support

    Another key element in your umbrella service is the support on offer. Firstly, what are the umbrella company’s opening hours? Do you have a contact for outside-of-hours support? Contracting is far from a 9 to 5 lifestyle, so you’ll want to be able to contact them whenever you need assistance.

    Secondly, how are timesheets submitted? It may be useful if your umbrella company provides an online portal, making it easier to keep track of what you’ve submitted and do things when it suits you.

    Umbrella comparison made easy

    Umbrella Broker provides a quick and easy way for contractors to compare umbrella companies. We provide up to ten free umbrella quotes in under 2 minutes, so you don’t have to do the hard work.

    Need any assistance? Feel free to get in touch with our team.

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  • An Introduction to Agency PSLs for Contractors

    If you’re a contractor working through an agency, chances are you’ve come across Preferred Supplier Lists (PSLs) in the past. In simple terms, a PSL is a pre-approved list of umbrella companies that an agency will work with. So, what exactly does it mean for you and your chosen umbrella company?

    PSLs can be confusing. Sometimes they are strict, yet other times they can be merely guidelines. Searching for answers doesn’t seem to help clarify the situation either. If you look up PSLs online, you’ll find that most of the information on them is there to help agencies and not contractors. Fortunately, Umbrella Broker is here to buck the trend. Read on as we take a closer look at PSLs, why they exist and how they could affect you.

    A brief introduction to PSLs

    A PSL – also known as an ASL (approved supplier list) – is something you’ll find at the majority of agencies nowadays. They’re an agencies way of controlling who their contractors use as an umbrella company.

    Some agencies use simply them as the name suggests – as a way to recommend their preferred umbrella suppliers to their contractors. Yet others are stricter and refuse to work with umbrella companies that aren’t on their PSL. Why? The reasons are mainly two-fold…

    Compliance

    Agencies will openly admit that they use PSLs to maintain compliance. Essentially, they want umbrella companies to be legally compliant, meeting all the same regulations as they do themselves. So, they make an ASL or PSL comprising of all the compliant umbrella companies they have either audited or belong to a trusted umbrella organisations such as the FCSA.

    They will complete regular audits of companies on their PSL to ensure they are always following the correct rules. That way, they can let contractors bill through these umbrella companies safe in the knowledge that there will be no future kick back to them should that contractor have chosen to be liberal with their tax payments

    Financial incentives

    Another reason, which some agencies are less open about, is the financial incentives given to agencies by the umbrella companies that are on their PSLs.

    Having a list of companies which you prefer or insist on contractors using will naturally provide more business for those companies. This limits the companies that contractors can use, or at least points them in a certain direction, helping those on the PSL sell more.

    In return for sending contractors their way, the favour is returned by the umbrella company in the form of commission payments, although these aren’t always strictly legal.

    The benefits of PSLs for contractors

    We’ve firmly established that PSLs are advantageous to agencies. But on top of that, they can also help contractors in a number of ways:

    1.    Trust

    Most agencies’ PSLs will only include companies with certain accreditations, such as:

    These organisations require certain standards from their members. Companies have to be compliant to gain accreditation. With that in mind, a good PSL provides you with a list of umbrella companies you can trust.

    2.    Specialists

    While some umbrella companies provide services across sectors, others specialise in specific industries. If you’re looking for the latter, a PSL could help. Agencies might only include umbrella companies that operate in and understand your sector.

    This will make things easier going forward, as they can assist with any industry-specific issues or regulations that come up.

    3.    Services

    Agencies will know what services and additional extras their clients require, from fundamental payroll and benefits to different kinds of insurance. Through a PSL, you could find that all companies provide these services – rather than having to search and filter through many that don’t.

    4.    Convenience

    Let’s face it, comparing umbrella companies can be stressful if you go it alone. Where do you start, with so many different providers, varying service levels and prices?

    A PSL gives you a list of recommended umbrella companies to choose from to narrow things down. Be wary, however, as they may just be companies who have agreed to pay the agency for this privilege.

    To make their services more attractive, PSL umbrella companies may even offer a discount to contractors operating through certain agencies.

    How to navigate a PSL

    A PSL could have several of the benefits listed above. However, it could have none. It’s important to ask agencies about their PSL or ASL so you know exactly where you stand. Find out whether they are accredited, industry specialists and what services they offer.

    Make sure you’re clear on whether the list is preferred or obligatory. If it’s just a recommended list of umbrella companies, there’s nothing stopping you looking elsewhere for a better deal and more comprehensive service.

    It’s also worth noting that agencies can’t legally take money for pushing contractors towards using a particular umbrella company. So, if you suspect this is happening, remember there’s no obligation to use those umbrella companies.

    Alternatives to a PSL

    Despite all the potential benefits of a PSL to contractors, it’s quite rare that they are fine-tuned and filtered in the contractors interests. Instead, they focus on the benefits to agencies, with compliance top of the list. While compliance also matters to contractors, you ideally want an umbrella company that ticks all the boxes and gives you the greatest financial benefit.

    Fortunately, there is a way to understand how each umbrella company benefits you financially. Using a reliable umbrella company comparison site, you can compare providers based on what’s important to you. Whether it’s the price, reviews and ratings, or additional benefits, you can find the perfect company for you without any obligation.

    How can we help?

    At Umbrella Broker, we make it easy for contractors to find the perfect umbrella company for their needs. We have a wide collection of handpicked, well-reviewed providers, ready for you to compare online. Using our fast comparison tool, you can compare the very best umbrella companies based on your specific details.

    See your take home pay, any taxes and the effect of any benefits. If you want to know more, simply click on the chosen provider for more information. Best of all, there’s no need to resubmit information if you want to see how a change in pay would impact your take-home pay or tax. It’s never been easier to choose the best umbrella company for you.

  • What Exactly is an Umbrella Company?

    Contracting is an exciting career change for professionals in all kinds of sectors. It provides more income, added freedom and extra flexibility in the way you work. Rather than providing your services to an employer, you sell them directly to a client who pays you much like another company.

    However, unlike another company, you don’t have to use the same invoicing and payment route. Contractors can choose between setting up a limited company and working through an umbrella company. Unlike the sometimes-overwhelming step of setting up a limited company, an umbrella company provides a simple and straightforward way to start your contracting career.

    Want to know more? Read on as Umbrella Broker looks at how umbrella companies work, how they compare to the alternatives and whether a contractor umbrella company is right for you.

    The basics of umbrella companies

    It’s understandable that some people are unfamiliar with umbrella companies. If you’re not a contractor, they’re not really something you will encounter. However, they’re actually one of the most common options for contractors because of how easy they make it to work for yourself.

    While limited companies need to be set up and run by contractors, umbrella companies simply hire contractors as pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) employees. You are added to the payroll of the umbrella company and pay a fee to them. For this fee, they take care of all your administrative and financial duties – like a permanent employer.

    They will provide statutory rights like insurance and paid leave. They’re also responsible for paying your taxes, so any money you receive is your take home pay. However, unlike a permanent employer, your umbrella company won’t set you work. You can take on contracts as normal, focus on work and leave the administrative work to them.

    How do umbrella companies work?

    When you’re employed by an umbrella company, you simply submit your timesheet to them after each contract. They will then invoice your client and chase payments, like a middle man working on your behalf. Once payment is received, the umbrella company will deduct and pay the right amount of tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) from your wage and transfer you the final sum.

    Should I use an umbrella company?

    Umbrella companies aren’t for everyone. The alternative – setting up your own limited company – provides higher income as a trade-off for more administrative work. With that in mind, umbrella companies are the ideal solution for contractors that don’t have the time to run their own business while also completing contract work.

    Unlike a limited company, there’s no need to keep track of different payments, create and send invoices or calculate your own tax and NICs. It also removes the burden of company accounts and VAT returns, so you have complete peace of mind and can focus on the job at hand for each contract you work on.

    You don’t have to kick back and relax though. The time and energy you save can be put towards more work or other projects. You could even spend the time on training to improve your skills and secure higher-paid contracts in future.

    Umbrella companies are also useful for people who are new to contracting. Many professionals use them as a transition between regular employment and running their own business. As you become more experienced and establish a bigger client network, it’s possible to switch to a limited company at a later date.

    It’s also the ideal route if you only plan to work in contracting for a temporary period as it’s easy to move in and out of an umbrella company – as opposed to setting up and dissolving a limited company. For that reason, many professionals use umbrella companies to try out contracting and see if it suits them.

    Umbrella company vs limited company

    Setting up a limited company, as mentioned, is the main alternative to working through an umbrella company. It’s the route that matches “be your own boss” to a tee. And it has significant financial benefits if you’re willing to put in the extra work.

    Limited companies are a more tax efficient option. Contractors name themselves as the company director and sole shareholder, taking a salary as dividends. There are other tax benefits too, with directors entitled to claim back tax on accountancy fees or office costs in some cases.

    Another benefit with limited companies is the removal of a service fee. As you’re running your own company and taking care of your own finances, there’s no need to pay a service fee from your income.

    However, with this role comes extra responsibility. Unlike an umbrella company, you’re solely responsible for your finances, tax and general administration. That means processing invoices, chasing payments and paying yourself through the company. It may even be worth hiring an accountant to assist with these responsibilities, which could take away some of the financial benefit.

    Making your choice

    To decide between an umbrella company and limited company, carefully consider how much time and effort you can commit to contracting. If you’re just starting out or, for whatever reason, you don’t have the time to take care of invoicing and tax, an umbrella company may be the best option.

    Alternatively, if you’re looking for the highest possible income and you’re prepared to commit the time and effort – a limited company might be suitable. Remember, a limited company is more of a commitment, while you can easily use an umbrella company for a short period to test things out.

  • Umbrella vs Limited Company: Which Is Right for Contractors?

    Umbrella companies are a great option for contractors who want to keep things simple. They take the administrative burden of invoicing, payroll and tax off your plate, giving you a final sum of ‘take home pay’ every month, or after each job.

    Eventually, however, many contractors make the switch from an umbrella company to becoming a limited company. Generally, it’s because of reduced taxation – and higher income as a result.

    But when is the right time to make the switch? And are you ready? Read on as Umbrella Broker takes a look at the transition from umbrella to limited company.

    The best fit for you

    Working for yourself isn’t a case of one size fits all. It’s important to find the best way of doing things, especially when you’re starting out. Most self-employed professionals begin as sole traders, which is the simplest way to effectively run a business – without any of the registration fees.

    As things become more complex, many contractors make the move to an umbrella company. These firms take on contractors as employees, taking payments and paying tax on their behalf while paying out income monthly or on a job-by-job basis. This is something of a hassle-free option for contractors.

    However, as business begins to grow and more opportunities arise, it may become more suitable to set up a limited company. This changes how you’re taxed and can increase your income as a result. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done, so it’s important not to dive in too soon.

    Introducing the umbrella company

    Umbrella companies are all about simplicity. Getting set up is refreshingly simple. You just need to sign a contract with an umbrella company, who will contract your services to other businesses. You don’t have to actually set up a company and there’s minimal administration going forward

    Day to day, umbrella companies take care of invoicing, payroll and taxation. In many cases, they even source contracts for you so you don’t need to market yourself and network. Sometimes, it’s necessary to find your own work and you may have to review your contract with the umbrella company occasionally. However, by and large, you can focus on your job and whatever you choose to do outside of work.

    Drawbacks of umbrella companies

    It’s not all advantageous though. This minimal responsibility is matched with a reduced level of control. Umbrella companies determine how you are paid and taxed for sick days, holidays and maternity or paternity leave.

    Using an umbrella company also means your tax is paid through pay as you earn (PAYE). This is the system used by permanent employees across the UK, and on the plus side it is a lot simpler as this is taken care of by the umbrella company. So, less admin time on the accounts. However, you can’t take advantages of any of the tax benefits that come with having a limited company.

    Finally, you will need to pay a small fee to work through an umbrella company. This is typically a fair amount, but it does mean your pay will be reduced to around the 70% mark when combined with tax deductions. In most cases, this will still be significantly better than what you would have earnt in permanent employment. And with a steady stream of contracts and less time hunting for new work, you can easily offset the fees.

    What about limited companies?

    Limited companies are a tax-efficient alternative for contractors, allowing them to maximise their take home pay. As a contractor, you become the director of your company, as well as the sole shareholder. This allows you to claim numerous extra expenses as well as drawing some of your funds out as a dividend, which is subject to far less tax than the PAYE rate.

    Needless to say, limited companies are financially beneficial for contractors. As mentioned, working through an umbrella company, you can expect to take home around 70% of your earnings. In contrast, a limited company will typically provide over 80% of your earnings as take-home pay.

    Limited company drawbacks

    There are some downsides to limited company ownership. First of all, you will need to set up the business. This requires choosing a name and submitting your details to Companies House either online or on paper. This small step is well worth it considering the financial benefit in the long term.

    When switching from umbrella to limited, you also have to once again take on the administrative burden of invoicing and taxation. You’re completely responsible for your finances – and that of your company – so you have to chase clients for payments and make sure everything is spot on for tax.

    Fortunately, accounting services can reduce the burden of these tasks, either by assisting or taking them on completely. You may find that the price of professional accounting assistance is more than covered by the financial benefit of running a limited company.

    Time to switch

    The extra control of a limited company versus working through an umbrella can be useful as a contractor. If things go wrong or you’re expecting a lack of work for the foreseeable future, it’s much easier to prepare your finances and adapt to the changing situation.

    If you’re working through an umbrella company and you’re ready to take on the challenges explained above, it’s time to start setting up your limited company. Be sure to inform any existing clients about your plans to set up as a limited company as well as any service providers or suppliers.

    Following this, set up a business bank account and inform HMRC of your changed status. You will need to register for corporation tax within 3 months of beginning to trade and register for VAT through your company. To pay yourself a director’s salary, you’ll also need to register as an employer with HMRC.

  • Are Umbrella Companies Exempt from IR35?

    Introducing IR35 (And How Umbrella Companies Can Help)

    With hefty fees for non-compliance, it’s essential for contractors to understand IR35 and umbrella companies. In short, IR35 legislation is used to distinguish between companies providing a service to clients and people who are essentially employed by those companies. But there are plenty of ins, outs and tricky points to be aware of, including the role of umbrella companies. Confused yet?

    Don’t be caught out. Read on for the Umbrella Broker guide to IR35, your status and how umbrella companies could help.

    A short history lesson in IR35

    The road to IR35 started in the 1980s, when HMRC introduced a rule making recruitment companies liable for any tax errors they made prior to paying contractors. It made working with self-employed contractors far riskier for recruitment companies, with many subsequently refusing to deal with them.

    To continue working with recruitment companies, contractors began setting themselves up as limited companies, for which recruitment companies held no liability. This also meant they could pay themselves in dividends, which are subject to lower rates of income tax and exempt from national insurance contributions.

    Understandably, this meant HMRC was taking significantly less tax from the market. The new system also enabled companies to effectively ‘hire’ limited companies without the usual responsibilities as an employer. To counter these issues, they introduced IR35 in 2000.

    What is IR35?

    Also known as the Intermediaries Legislation, IR35 aimed to establish a contractor’s true employment status. So, those who were operating through limited companies – known as ‘intermediary companies’ or ‘intermediaries’ – would still have to pay tax and national insurance under traditional employee rules.

    Since its introduction, it’s become hugely important for contractors to assess their status. Operating through an intermediary and paying less tax and national insurance may seem beneficial. However, any savings will likely have to be paid back. In most cases, this is further down the line when you don’t have anything close to the full amount readily available.

    Who is in and who is out?

    With that in mind, it’s important to determine whether you’re operating inside IR35 or outside of it. Unfortunately, there is no clear way to tell because IR35 has no set definition for a case which is inside or outside of the regulation. To assess your status, HMRC provides status tests online.

    The tests can be used by an agency placing a worker, an organisation hiring a worker, or a worker themselves who is providing a service. They cover several different aspects of the working engagement:

    • Responsibilities of the worker
    • Who decides what the worker needs to do
    • Who decides the terms of work – when and where it’s done
    • How the worker is paid
    • Whether the work engagement includes any expenses or benefits

    These criteria help determine who is in control of the worker. When there is a right to exercise control over a worker, they are likely to be classed as an employee. They also assess the right to employ other assistants or substitutes to perform the job. Employees are hired to do the job directly, themselves, while truly self-employed contractors may hire someone to do it for them if necessary.

    After taking the status tests, you can print your results as a way to demonstrate that you took reasonable care. These assessments need to be completed for each work assignment. If any of your working arrangements change, you will need to check again whether you’re inside or outside IR35.

    Why it’s worth checking

    As well as avoiding costs further down the line, there are a multitude of reasons to check the IR35 status of contracting work:

    • Comparing jobs – If you’re in a position to choose between two or more contracts, IR35 status could be a deciding factor. Jobs that are outside IR35 typically provide more income because of lower taxation.
    • Operating structure – Checking your IR35 status could provide better direction for your contracting work. If you’re operating inside IR35, for instance, it may be worth considering an umbrella company. On the other hand, if you’re operating outside IR35, it could be beneficial to set up a limited company.
    • Limited companies – If you’re already operating as a limited company, being inside IR35 will determine how you need to receive and pay tax on income.

    What about umbrella companies?

    A popular way to circumnavigate IR35 is by using an umbrella company. Umbrella companies employ contractors and work as an intermediary between them and their clients. This provides a balance between the ‘be your own boss’ benefits of contracting and the simplicity of being an employee.

    With an umbrella company, you are classed as an employee, with no need to worry about payroll, accounts and taxation. This means there is no need to determine your IR35 status time and time again. Contracting umbrella companies are fully tax-compliant, so you won’t be caught out by any charges in the future.

    Invoicing and chasing payments is also taken care of by umbrella companies, removing a stressful and time-consuming task for contractors. Essentially, they eliminate the cost and hassle of operating a limited company.

    Penalties and tax implications

    Under IR35, the traditional low salary & high dividend model – used by limited companies – is unavailable to contractors. And if you’re caught by IR35, regardless of whether you’re using a limited company or an umbrella company, you will need to process your full contract value through PAYE.

    This means that a Limited Company will be largely uneconomical as it adds an extra cost and administration burden when compared to an umbrella. In the event you fail to process your payments through PAYE, you could be subject to an IR35 fine of up to 100% of the unpaid taxes due. In short, getting your tax calculations right is paramount.

    Why an umbrella is the smart move

    Whether it’s IR35 penalties or increased taxation from being classed as an employee (even if you have a Limited company), IR35 can significantly impact the amount contractors take home each month. This means using an umbrella company is the smart way to ensure that throughout your contracting career it doesn’t matter whether you’re caught by IR35 or not.

  • Insurance For Contractors

    Insurance for contractors is of paramount importance, covering you against legal costs, unexpected damage and even cyber attacks. There are several kinds of contractor insurance available, so it’s a smart move to get familiar before choosing the right one for you.

    That’s where Umbrella Broker can help, with our review of the different types of cover available to contractors…

     

    Public liability insurance

    There are two kinds of liability insurance available for contractors. The first is public liability insurance, which covers any risk to the public and the resulting claims. This could be anything from your postman slipping when delivering to your site, falling debris from scaffolding causing injury or just somebody tripping over a loose cable while passing.

    It also includes your clients when they visit your premises, as well as any damage that may be caused by you or your employees when visiting a client’s site. Let’s say you knock over something expensive while you’re there – they won’t think twice about claiming for that damage.

    In short, public liability insurance is essential for anyone who deals with customers or clients face to face. The cost will depend on a number of factors, such as:

    • Your industry
    • How many employees and clients you have
    • Your location
    • Previous claims

     

    Employers’ liability insurance

    The other type of cover is employers’ liability insurance, which is a legal requirement for contractors with one or more employees. Here’s the difference: employers’ liability insurance protects you against costs from compensation should employees become injured or unwell from work.

    As soon as you take on any employees, you need to be covered for at least £5 million by employers’ liability insurance. Insurance must be provided by an authorised insurer and it includes any casual workers or short-term contracts. Fail to do so and you could face a fine of up to £2,500 per uninsured day.

     

    Professional indemnity insurance

    With professional indemnity insurance, you’re protected from any claims against your services, products or advice. So, if a client claims that your work is substandard or incomplete, your insurance will cover the cost of the legal defence and any expenses as well as any compensation should they succeed in claiming against you.

    Professional indemnity insurance is required for several professions – such as management consultancy, business consultancy and IT contractors – in order to secure contracts. Basically, clients want to know you’re covered, so they know they’re covered too.

    Even if you’re not legally obliged to take out professional indemnity insurance, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Legal fees and compensation can stack up and cost thousands just for one claim. They can be crippling if you have to fork out yourself, while the cost of insurance is completely manageable.

     

    Personal accident insurance

    As a contractor, there’s no sick pay to tide you by if a serious injury stops you working. Instead, you’ll be short of money or reliant on your own savings. That’s where personal accident insurance comes in. When you’re covered by personal accident insurance, you will receive an ongoing payment to cover the loss in profits while you’re out of work, or a lump sum if you suffer a permanent disability.

    Personal accident insurance can also be taken out for key employees. Again, if one of your employees is injured, it’s you that will need to cover their wage or sick pay. Statutory Sick Pay is £92.05 per week for up to 28 weeks and can no longer be reclaimed from the government. That’s over £350 per month, which could cause serious problems for some contractors if they need to cover it themselves.

    As well as temporary injuries, personal accident insurance can be taken out to cover death. A lump sum will be paid out for people who are covered by the policy. This could help relatives of the contractor, or the contractor themselves if one of their employees can no longer work.

     

    Contents insurance

    Insurance for your office contents protects you in case any office equipment or furniture is lost, stolen or damaged. This could be computers and office phones, furniture like desks and chairs or even important documents that are stored on your premises.

    You can even insure portable items, which aren’t stored permanently in your office. Fortunately, with the right flexible policy, you can get insurance for remote working too – so yourself or any employees will be insured when working at home.

     

    Buildings insurance

    Buildings insurance is useful for contractors who own their office. Unlike contents insurance, it covers fire and water damage to the office itself. Without it, a fire or leak could set you back thousands. However, it’s important to have contents insurance alongside buildings insurance, as no contents are covered by the latter.

     

    Cyber insurance

    Most contractors are reliant on digital tools in some way or another – whether it’s for communication, payment or just data storage. Needless to say, any data breaches, hacks or information loss can set you back and cost you big. That’s where cyber insurance comes in.

    Also known as cyber risk insurance, it covers you for the recovery process after any cyber damage or loss. This could include investigating what went wrong, notifying and compensating clients, and reimbursing monetary losses.

     

    Which type is right for you?

    Contractors’ insurance isn’t a case of “either-or”. Instead, it’s about deciding where the risk lies and which plans are required to cover you. Professional Indemnity and Public Liability are the two most common insurance types held by contractors – in addition to Employers’ Liability insurance because it’s required by law.

    However, Professional Indemnity insurance is required by some regulators and essential for members of some professional bodies. Because of this, both Professional Indemnity and Employers’ Liability insurance are provided as standard by umbrella companies.

    The other types of insurance – such as cover for contents, cyber attacks or personal accidents – are optional, but will provide that extra peace of mind.

     

    Make things easier

    If you’re looking for peace of mind with contracting work, Umbrella Broker can help. We help contractors find the right umbrella company and accountant, so there’s no need to worry about payroll and taxes.

    Need more information? Feel free to contact us today.

     

  • Umbrella Company Services – The Next Steps for Contractors

    8 Key Steps to Start Using Umbrella Services

    Umbrella companies bridge the gap between full time employment and self-employed contracting. They take care of payroll, provide regular payment terms and in some cases offer employment benefits like paid holidays and sick pay.

    To sign up with an umbrella company online you’ll need to disclose some personal information along with signing a contract of employment, just like you would if you were accepting a job. Of course, working for an umbrella isn’t quite like any other means of employment but the paperwork you’ll fill out is very similar.

    All of the applications on Umbrella Broker are hosted by Adobe Sign, a safe and secure way to sign your contract and pass your personal details onto the umbrella.

    Umbrella Broker does not store the details you enter into these forms, they go directly to your new umbrella.

    Examples of the information in an application include:

    • Your name and address
    • Your contract details
    • Your bank details (so they can pay you)

    When you’ve completed your application, you chosen umbrella will hand hold you through a series of steps designed to ensure your payments run smoothly.

    Read on as we look at umbrella companies and how the process works after applying.

    1. Contacting your client or agency

    Having applied, your umbrella company will contact your end client or recruitment agency. They do this to inform clients or agencies that they will be invoicing on your behalf. This is a key step for yourself, your client or agency and your umbrella company as it’s the main thing that will be changing for all parties. You no longer have to worry about invoicing or chasing up payments.

    2. Verification

    Your umbrella company also needs to verify your identity. As a company you work through, they may never meet you. But they still need to check you’re entitled to work in the UK, for instance. To do so, they usually need a copy of your official ID documentation.

    This is also important because they need to cover you under their insurance. Umbrella companies typically provide public liability, professional indemnity and employers’ liability insurance for their employees. Again, this is a worry taken off your mind as it covers you against most damages, compensation or legal fees.

    3. Engagement

    To assist with set up, your agency or client will send an engagement pack to the umbrella company. This will include a schedule of your work and payment terms. Within this, your client or agency will also request details of your umbrella company’s insurance information and evidence of tax compliance, in some instances. Essentially, it’s a way of making sure you’re covered from day one.

    4. Contract exchange

    Your agency and umbrella company will exchange a contract for service. This outlines the agreement between the two companies and is separate from the contract you’ll sign with the umbrella company to become an employee.

    5. Timesheet

    Once the contracts are in place, your umbrella company will add you as an employee and walk you through the process of providing them with a timesheet. Your timesheet contains information about the hours you’ve worked each week for one or multiple clients, as well as any expenses you’re entitled to claim.

    6. Invoicing

    Once you submit your first timesheet, your umbrella company will raise an invoice for your work and send it to your recruitment agency or end client. The client or agency will pay your umbrella company, who will process the funds through pay as you earn (PAYE) tax either the same day or the day following payment.

    7. Payment

    The next step depends on the payment terms you have agreed with your umbrella company. They will either pay you weekly or monthly, with all the funds you have accumulated for that period – minus tax and national insurance. You will receive a net payment along with a payslip for your own records, as you would with a regular employer.

    8. Tax payments

    Finally, it’s up to the umbrella company to process the money deducted from your pay for income tax and national insurance. Once a month, they will send the correct amount to HMRC on your behalf.

    Steps you should take

    If you’re ready to choose an umbrella company, there are also some steps to take yourself to make sure you get the right umbrella services for you.

    1. Background check

    Find out as much as you can about the umbrella company’s background. Check their credit rating and how long the company has been trading. Both of these are good indicators of how much you can trust a company.

    2. Check the fees

    Umbrella companies charge contractors a fee for their services, which can vary depending on the provider. Find out whether you will be paying weekly or monthly – and how much you’re paying.

    3. And what’s included…

    The cheapest umbrella services aren’t always the best. Some umbrella companies will charge extra for things like processing your expenses, while others will include benefits like statutory leave and sick pay as part of their fee. Consider the monetary value of these benefits when you’re comparing umbrella companies.

    4. Contracts

    Your umbrella company acts as a full-time employer, so you want to make sure you’re covered with a full contract of employment. This is where your statutory rights and benefits will be outlined, so it’s essential to check over before signing anything. Look for payment terms – when and how you’ll be paid – along with the process or penalties should you want to leave.

    5. Support

    Another key element in your umbrella service is the support on offer. Firstly, what are the umbrella company’s opening hours? Do you have a contact for outside-of-hours support? Contracting is far from a 9 to 5 lifestyle, so you’ll want to be able to contact them whenever you need assistance.

    Secondly, how are timesheets submitted? It may be useful if your umbrella company provides an online portal, making it easier to keep track of what you’ve submitted and do things when it suits you.

    Umbrella comparison made easy

    Umbrella Broker provides a quick and easy way for contractors to compare umbrella companies. We provide up to ten free umbrella quotes in under 2 minutes, so you don’t have to do the hard work.

    Need any assistance? Feel free to get in touch with our team.