For many contractors, the service an umbrella company provides allows them to find a good balance between work and life. By removing the hassle of administration, freelancers can focus much more on their families and the quality of their work.
It is no surprise then, that more contractors are now enlisting the use of an umbrella company to help them manage their workload. After all, once you have registered with a firm it is really just a case of submitting your hours and expenses while they take care of the rest!
Umbrella companies are there to make a contractor’s life easier. However, choosing the right one for you is a little bit more complicated than using the service itself. At the end of the day, you will be trusting a company with money that you have worked hard for, so it stands to reason that there are a number of qualities that you should look for when making your decision.
1. Company reputation
What do other contractors say about the service? Does the company have a number of reputable testimonials for you to view? These are questions that you should ask when looking for a reputable umbrella company. Online forums for contractors are a good place to look for this information.
Asking other contractors in your network may also give you a good insight into which company to use.
2. How long have they been in operation?
It is not very wise to choose an umbrella company which has only been in operation for a short period of time. If you do, you run the risk of trusting your money to someone who may not be there tomorrow. Although not that common, fly-by-night operators do exist, so be wary!
Look for a long established firm with a history in the industry, this will also allow you to gather more information as more contractors are likely to have used their service in the past.
3. Is their service relevant to you?
It may sound obvious, but before you sign up with an umbrella company it is wise to check that the service will actually benefit you. While it’s true that most firms offer similar things, you should still ensure that they will in fact take care of important factors such as tax and national insurance contributions. By asking these questions early you may avoid certain headaches later.
4. Get an upfront breakdown
You should also ensure that the company provides you with a breakdown of all fees up front so that there are no costly hidden surprises further down the road! As well as this, you should ask for a fee schedule so that you know what payments are required and when they should be made.
Ask in advance about sign up and leaving fees. Most reputable companies will not ask for these, however, you should still check before hand.
Depending on your profession you may need a policy that covers you in the case of a workplace accident and it is wise to check that the umbrella company can provide one.
Cover you should ask for includes public liability, employers’ liability, and professional indemnity insurance cover.