When you’re purchasing contractor insurance, you really are taking a leap of faith. You’re depending on that company to treat you fairly, to not hike up premiums, to help you if you need them to, and to not wriggle out of claims. For these reasons, you need to choose an insurer that’s trustworthy – not just in their own eyes, but in the eyes of their existing customers.
Being a freelancer is amazing. You work when you want, how you want, and for who you want. But there’s one little thing, one tiny, insignificant niggle that seems to bother most freelancers: getting paid on time.
A lot of clients are good and will pay when they’re meant to. There are even rumours of seemingly magical ones who pay (dare we say it?) early. However, there are far too many who let the payment due date slide by unacknowledged. For freelancers, this can make life incredibly difficult, but it can also be pretty soul destroying when instead of doing actual work, you’re chasing up clients again and again and getting nowhere.
This is bad enough no matter the time of year, but during the summer holidays it can be massively exacerbated by people being off work or working remotely more often. So, we’ve put together some suggestions on how to make sure you get paid between July and September, regardless of the summer hols.
There have been reports in recent weeks that some well-known financial service companies, including Morgan Stanley and HSBC, will cease to work with contractors outside IR35 rules once the reforms are rolled out the private sector on 6 April 2020. This is presumably so they do not have to go to the trouble of preparing for the reforms and ensuring the legislation is implemented.
This could result in contractors being issued with an ultimatum: become a permanent employee, operate through an umbrella company, or cease working with that client altogether.
Expenses can be the bane of a contractor or freelancer’s life. On the one hand, it’s great that you can claim certain things back to offset your taxes. On the other, it’s one more thing you need to keep track of.
What’s allowed? What isn’t? Are you claiming too much? Not enough?
It’s enough to send even the most conscientious contractor running for the hills. So, we’ve put together this quick guide to some of the most common queries, pointing you to the best resources.
IR35 reforms are set to hit the private sector in April 2020 and a lot of contractors are still none-the-wiser as to whether or not it will directly affect them. It can be hard to gauge because to know if it will affect you, you need to know if it will affect the businesses you work for.
We’ve pulled together a quick guide to help you understand if IR35 reforms will affect you or not. However, this is by no means exhaustive and we recommend chatting with your clients as well.
So, you were self-employed for a while, but then got lured back to the bright lights of regular employment.
Perhaps it was for a great career opportunity, perhaps it was for the guaranteed monthly salary, perhaps it was because you wanted to take advantage of a maternity or shared parental leave package, perhaps you were just sick and tired of doing your own admin.
Whatever the reason, you went back and spent some time as an employee and you’ve been enjoying it. Let’s face it, it’s quite nice not having to do your own taxes every year.
Lorraine Kelly. Christa Ackroyd. Eamonn Holmes. Robert Glenister. Kaye Adams. No, it’s not the latest Strictly line-up. The above TV stars are just the visible few of the potentially large number of well-known names who are likely to have been caught-up in HMRC’s ongoing IR35 crackdown.
As anyone with half on eye on the news will know, some have fared better than others. Lorraine Kelly, or rather ‘Lorraine Kelly’, avoided a substantial fine by claiming that her happy-go-lucky TV persona was just that – a brand, and not a reflection of the real person. Kay Adams was judged to be sufficiently detached from the BBC to be outside IR35. Ackroyd was not. Glenister lost due to a combination of a lack of understanding and flimsy, poorly prepared legal arguments. Holmes’ case is still going through the courts, with £2m of tax at stake.
One subject that has come up repeatedly in our recent blogs, especially those focusing on IR35 regulations, is the idea of a “substitution clause”. But what exactly is a substitution clause, and why do people keep urging you to have one?
Most contractors and freelancers operate as individuals, taking on projects themselves and seeing them through to completion. However, a substitution clause is a section within your contract that tells your clients of your right to provide an alternate person or persons to carry out the work that you have been contracted to do.
It can be useful if:
- you’re ill
- you have a family emergency or other issue
- you’re on holiday or abroad for another job but you have clients that need looking after
- you want to temporarily step back from work for some reason
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business” Steve Forbes, editor of Forbes business magazine
“Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO Amazon
You might think that brand identity is a concern only for big companies, or that, as a small business, you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on flashy marketing. But building a brand identity is all about communicating a consistent message about who you are and what you do, and it needn’t cost any money at all. This blog explores the basics of brand identity for contractors and freelancers and offers some simple principles for building a unified brand around your core asset: you!
As the quotes above tell us, branding isn’t a one-time marketing exercise. Rather, every encounter that a client or potential client has with your business should be considered part of your branding. Every interaction is an opportunity to build a positive relationship, and to communicate your story, values and benefits.
Everything is starting to feel a bit fresher and warmer. But sometimes the signs of spring can make going into the office every day feel like more of a slog. April is a great time to consider your position and decide whether you are ready for your next challenge. Many contractors held “normal” jobs for years before they decided to go it alone and take advantage of the freedom, flexibility, and financial advantages that can come with being self-employed. But how do you know when you’re ready to take the plunge, leave the 9-to-5 and take the reins of your own company? Here are five signs that it might be time for you to go self-employed:
Your reputation precedes you
If you are fighting off calls from headhunters, or if clients, customers or partners of your current employment keep trying to twist your arm into doing some extra bits for them “on the side”, then you should definitely consider giving contracting a go. Your expertise and experience are clearly visible to others and therefore should be easy to market, and you have a pre-existing group of potential clients to target for those precious first few contracts.