Contractors, freelancers and the Bank Holiday season

Contractor Bank Holidays

If you had a “normal” nine-to-five, you’d be joyously gearing up now for the spring Bank Holiday “season”. Easter is rapidly approaching with Good Friday and Easter Monday as days off for most employees (we even know some people who get a half-day on the Thursday), followed by the Early May Bank Holiday on 1 May and the Spring Bank Holiday on 29 May. That’s four extra paid days off within roughly six weeks of each other.

However, you don’t have a “normal” nine-to-five. You’re a contractor or a freelancer, which means there are four days coming up where it seems you either have to work when everyone else is off (including your partner and kids), or take the time off and just not get paid.

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Be a greener contractor

Be A Greener Contractor

When you’re an employee, the company you work for usually takes responsibility for environmental commitments and policies, but as a contractor, you need to set your own green agenda if you want to do your bit for the planet.

Obviously, various clients will have their own green initiatives within their premises for you to adhere to, but what to do the rest of the time? We’ve put together some practical ideas you could implement if you want to be a green contractor.

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Improve your bookkeeping in 2017/2018

Contractor Bookkeeping

Most contractors will agree that bookkeeping is their least favourite part of the job. The one bonus of being an employee was that someone else sorted out expenses, tax, National Insurance and everything else but now the onus is firmly on you.

With the 2016/2017 tax year coming to an end it’s a little late to start improving your books this time around, but we’re here to help you be better for 2017/2018, since it’s just around the corner. Read on below for our tips on how to improve your bookkeeping (whatever your budget).

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Refresh your CV for 2017

Kingsbridge CV

The beginning of the year is always a good time to take a look at your CV and see if anything needs changing or updating. It’s a great way of starting as you mean to go on, as well as ensuring that your prospects for finding clients to work with in 2017 are top notch.

So, what do you need to do to give your CV a thorough once over? It’s actually less of a chore than you think, and can be a strong incentive to keep the document up to date throughout the year.

At Kingsbridge, we have a long history of working with contractors and agencies, so we’ve put together some steps you should take to tidy up your CV for the year ahead.

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Avoiding rail havoc: remote working

Remote Working

Whether you choose to drive or use public transport, one thing you can’t ignore is the havoc caused by engineering works and industrial action on the railways. If you normally use the train to get from A to B, then you really will be bearing the brunt of this as you join the incredibly slow rail replacement bus service, or you switch to an alternative mode of transport.

Rail problems have a habit of affecting contractors and freelancers (and everyone else, for that matter) even if you don’t normally catch the train, so what are the solutions? Well, the easiest way to tackle the problem is remote working. It’s not possible for everyone, of course, but if it’s a viable solution for you, then it’s worth considering.

So what are your options?

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Don’t forget the online self-assessment tax return deadline!

Self-Assessment Deadline

The deadline for your online self-assessment tax return is coming up fast – 31 January 2017 to be exact. If you have an accountant who handles this on your behalf, it’s likely to already be neatly in hand. But if, like a lot of contractors, you handle your tax return yourself, make sure you have it submitted on time.

What happens if I miss the deadline?

If you miss the 31 January 2017 deadline, you will ultimately have to pay more. This is the same if you submit your paper tax return before 31 January 2017, but after 31 October 2016 (the deadline for paper tax returns). If you have missed the paper deadline, make sure you complete an online tax return before 31 January to avoid a fine.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Contractors

New Year's Resolutions

Setting New Year’s resolutions can be a pain as we all feel like we’re competing with each other on Twitter as we resolve to get fit, cut out fast food, be more mindful and whatever else everyone is resolving to do in 2017. And, let’s face it, most of us ditch the resolutions by mid-January anyway.

Business resolutions, however, are something else entirely. Think of them as easy-to-achieve goals that will help make your life easier in 2017 and hopefully improve your business as well. But what can contractors set as their New Year’s resolutions? We have some ideas…

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Christmas as a contractor

Christmas as  Contractor

 

Unless you’ve specifically planned to take Christmas off, the festive period can leave some contractors feeling at a bit of a loose end. While to many it’s a happy time to spend with family and friends, to some it can be a time of financial worry where work just isn’t forthcoming because everyone else is off.

We’ve got some tips to help you get through the festive period with your sanity in tact!

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Contractor Insurance Checklist: Do you have the right limits?

Insurance Limits

One horror story we regularly hear from contractors is that they did have insurance but were, in fact, underinsured.

While this wasn’t an issue for them for a long time — and kept their monthly or yearly premiums down — it became a problem when a claim was made against them because of a mistake they made, and they didn’t have enough insurance to cover it. This resulted in them having to foot most of the bill themselves with a variety of consequences including using up their savings, selling their home, having to give up their business or, in some extreme cases, declaring bankruptcy.

So you should always make sure you have the right level of insurance with appropriate limits, lest you find yourself in a situation that results in financial difficulties.

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