Whether you’re a veteran contractor or a newbie, whether you’re in IT or engineering, you’ve almost certainly discovered by now that having contractor insurance is often a contractual obligation when it comes to clients and/or agencies. This means that before you sign on the dotted line, you must have insurance in place or else you could find yourself in breach of contract.
Despite all the political, social, and economic doom and gloom that wrapped around 2016 like a suffocating vine, Britain’s self-employed continued to rage against the dying of the light. Damian Hinds, the current Employment Minister, recently hailed “the resilience of the UK labour market”, citing the fact that Britain’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.8% – its lowest level in over a decade. Coupled with that, the Office of National Statistics’ employment report for July – September 2016 revealed that the number of self-employed rose to 4.79 million, an increase of 213,000 for the year. That figure now equates to over 15% of the total UK workforce.
Why mention the above? Because instead of the recognition and support they deserve, contractors, freelancers and the self-employed found themselves under sustained attack in the 2016 Autumn Statement.
At Kingsbridge, we regularly get asked what the difference is between public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance. A lot of people think they’re the same thing and wonder why both are included in our combined contractor insurance policy. The fact is, they’re different things and, as a contractor, you will more than likely need both. We’ve written this article to clearly lay out what the differences are.
Whether you set yourself up as a Limited Company or as a Sole Trader, looking after your financial records is vital to ensure you pay appropriate Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT, Corporation Tax, Student Loan Repayments or anything else that may be applicable to your situation. We’ve taken a look at what constitutes best practice so that you can make sure you pay the right amount and don’t face any repercussions for underpayment.
The UK contractor industry overall has seen a sustained period of growth over the last few years, with the number of contractors reaching never seen before levels, and making a huge economic impact. The reasons for this are well documented already, with key factors being people creating their own jobs after the economic crash, as well as people becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of a strong work-life balance.
But exactly who are the people and industries fueling this growth?
LinkedIn can be invaluable for contractors, particularly in terms of advertising your skills and services and being visible to hiring managers and recruiters in your sector. However, there’s more to LinkedIn than just uploading your CV, leaving it there and hoping somebody spots it. We’ve pulled together some top tips for making sure your profile is at the top of searches.
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.
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.
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.
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.