Common Mistakes Made by New Contractors

Common Mistakes

Becoming a contractor after being in permanent, full-time employment can be a daunting step to take, so the last thing you want is someone telling you that you might be doing it wrong. But so many new contractors make the same initial mistakes as each other that you can learn and (hopefully) avoid making them yourself.

At Kingsbridge, we speak to contractors all the time so we’ve pulled together some of the top mistakes they wish they hadn’t made when they were new to the game.

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Bomb Scare at Old Trafford

Old Trafford Bomb Scare

Our customers often ask us why they need a certain type of insurance cover, and we’ve always found that the best way to explain is by giving them examples. As you may already know, here at Kingsbridge we provide a single, easy to manage package of insurance containing all the cover a modern day contractor or freelancer needs (specifically Professional Indemnity, Public Liability, Employers’ Liability, Directors’ and Officers’ Liability, and Personal Accident cover). One of the most commonly claimed on parts of our policy is Professional Indemnity (also know as PI).

If you’ve been keeping half an eye on the back pages recently, you’ll  know what happened at Old Trafford last weekend. To cap off an already abject season, Manchester United’s match against Bournemouth was called off just before kick-off due to the discovery of a ‘suspect package’ in the stadium. Unfortunately, said suspect package wasn’t the long-absent free-flowing, attacking football that the club are famous for, but rather a fake bomb mistakenly left behind and attached to wiring in the toilets after a terror exercise in the stadium the previous week.

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Common Questions Answered

Frequently Asked Questions

At Kingsbridge, we often get asked certain questions time and time again. We don’t mind of course – that’s why we’re here. In fact, we thought it might be a good idea to put some of those questions up on the blog so you’ve always got the answers to hand when you need them.

Does the client not cover my insurances?

As you are not a permanent employee of the end client you would not be covered under their insurances unless specifically stated otherwise in your contract. If you make a mistake or damage something the end client is the most likely party to make a claim against you. In addition as a limited company you are your own entity and are not supposed to be under the supervision or control of the end client. Having your own insurance is a key IR35 indicator as it demonstrates you are a bonafide company and fiscally responsible for your own risk.

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How to avoid and deal with late payments

Avoiding Late Payment

It’s one of the horrors of being a contractor: you do the work, submit your invoice, wait the required period and then no payment materialises. Often, a late payment can be an honest mistake but sometimes, sadly, clients or companies may hold out on you so you need to make sure you are protected. We’ve gathered our years of experience working with contractors to put together this guide on avoiding and dealing with late payments.

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How to get work as a contractor

How To Find Work as a Contractor

When you first move to become a contractor, the idea that you might be sitting there with nothing to do and no income is, quite frankly, terrifying. Of course, once you’ve been self-employed for a while, you’ll have word-of-mouth and referrals behind you, which will see offers of work coming directly to you. This blog, however, will give you some tips and ideas on how to find work as a new contractor, besides the more traditional job boards.

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Tax Changes for Contractors

Contractor Tax Changes

With all the political machinations currently taking place, it’s easy to forget that the new tax year begins today. As of midnight on 6th April a number of new policies took effect, including several that’ll have an impact on contractors and independent professionals. Although the most recent Budget still looms rather large in the proverbial rear-view mirror, these changes relate to the Budget that took place in July last year.

First and foremost, the tax rules surrounding dividends are now changing. The first £5,000 of dividend income earned by shareholders will be completely free of tax, with any amounts over that initial marker being taxed at 7.5% (for any income falling within the basic rate band). Beyond that, higher rate and additional rate earnings will also be subject to higher tax levels of 32.5% and 38.1% respectively. Although this will likely affect the take-home pay of many contractors, it could be by as little as 2% to 4% (see this article on ContractorUK for a more detailed breakdown).

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Compliance and the Modern Day Contractor

Contractor Compliance

We recently wrote the below blog post for our good friends at Jonathan Lee Recruitment. You can read more excellent material over on their blog. Read on below:

Contractors and the self-employed have been in the news more than usual over the last year. Whether it was the Autumn Statement, the Draft Finance Bill, or last month’s Self-Employment Review, it’s fair to say that the importance of contractors to the British economy is firmly on the agenda.

Figures released last year indicated that the number of individuals entering the contractor community has grown dramatically over the last 8 years. There are now close to 2 million independent professionals working in the UK – an increase of over 35% since 2008.

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Four Reasons To Become A Contractor

Reasons To Become A Contractor

More and more people working in what one might term ‘traditional’ employment are moving into the freelance and contracting sectors. As Julie Deane’s recent Self-Employment Review made clear, the number of people currently self-employed in the UK has reached unprecedented levels, not only making a crucial economic impact but also ensuring that the sustained growth of recent years continues on an upward trajectory. It’s true, in many ways, that there’s never been a better time to make the switch and plough your own furrow – leave the office, leave your routines, perhaps even leave your comfort zone. Contractors are well and truly making their own mark on the economic landscape. Read on below to see just a few of the reasons why you should consider following the self-employment path.

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The Self-Assessment Deadline – Tips For Contractors

Self-Assessment Deadline

The beginning of the year can be a stressful time for everyone, with new resolutions to keep to, the return to work after Christmas excess, and the cold days of winter. For contractors, there’s also the added burden of the self-assessment deadline looming large at the end of January (the 31st to be exact). We can’t ever promise to make doing your tax returns any more fun (although we find a glass or two of wine tends to help), but we can give you some tips to help the process go more smoothly for this year and the years beyond. We know your time is at a premium so we’ll get on with our guide without any further fuss:

Make sure you submit your tax return on time

It might sound like a given, but you’d be surprised at the number of horror stories we’ve heard about contractors leaving things too late and not making the deadline (which, to remind you again, is 11:59pm on 31st January). If your tax return arrives after this point you’ll pick up a £100 fine. So check those internet connections, make sure you know where all your paperwork is, and give yourself more time than you think you’ll need.

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