Christmas as a contractor or freelancer can be a time of mixed emotions. Yes, it’s a relief to have some downtime and spend a few days with loved ones. But as clients go quiet on us, paid jobs dry up until January and offices and sites across the UK close for the Christmas period, it can also provoke anxiety. Perhaps you’ve been canny this year and scheduled in some ongoing work to tide you over the quiet spell. Or perhaps you are planning on switching off the computer, sending the phone to voicemail and taking some well-deserved time off to scoff mince pies and wear novelty jumpers. But if not, how can contractors and freelancers make the Christmas period a productive one? Here we take a look at some jobs you can do to make best use of this time.
Dear Father Christmas,
We contractors and freelancers have been very good this year. We’ve finished all our jobs to the highest standard, completed our tax returns on time and still managed to see the kids and keep on top of the housework.
So, this year, all we really want for Christmas is…
Kingsbridge had an interesting and very jolly new client call up this week, looking for cover for his present manufacturing and delivery business based in the Arctic Circle. The client works on a contract basis for approximately 75 million parents across the world. The majority of his deliveries are scheduled for December 25th, so this is an extremely busy time of the year for him. He asked us to quickly assess his insurance needs – here are our recommendations.
This client is world-renowned and his reputation is first class. However, with over 600 million presents to deliver, there is always a chance that an unforeseen error might mean a child receives the wrong present on Christmas morning. We advised that he protect himself with a sufficient level of professional indemnity insurance to cover damages arising from such an incident.
We’ve had a busy few months at Kingsbridge HQ. September to December is very much awards season in the business world. Having made it to the very final stage of both APSCo Affiliate of the Year and Business of the Year at the Gloucestershire Business Awards only to be pipped at the post on the evening, we were delighted to win Independent Broker of the Year at the Insurance Times Awards last night.
Seen as the most prestigious event in the insurance industry calendar, the ITA’s welcomed all of the industry’s biggest players to the InterContinental at the O2 in London to celebrate a year’s worth of outstanding achievement. To win such a highly-regarded award in the company of our peers (and host Jimmy Carr) was an honour and one that was well-deserved in light of the continued growth and success of the business.
The judges gave the following rationale for the victory: “To grow fast as an independent broker you need to focus your expertise. The winner has done just that, working with recruiters to identify contractors who are under-insured, building relationships with over 400 recruitment firms across the UK, and rapidly growing turnover to £12m and profit to £5m.”
We’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our customers, to our business partners, and to our staff for the continued hard work they put into making Kingsbridge what it is today.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to celebrate!
Why getting insurance is a bit like getting your flu jab
Flu season is upon us, and once again the NHS is hard at work convincing us to get our flu jab. The flu jab is offered for free to over 65s, people with certain medical conditions, pregnant women and children aged 2-10, and people outside these groups can pay to have the jab privately to get protected. As newspaper after newspaper publishes articles urging us to get vaccinated, we started to think about how getting your flu jab is a bit like organising insurance for your business: in your head, it seems like a big, scary, unnecessary expense and a pain to organise, but in reality, it is over quickly, easy to arrange, cheaper than you imagine and protects you from a far worse alternative.
65 is the new 35, and many of us are finding that we’re not quite ready to stop working when we hit retirement age. There are, of course, valid financial reasons for deciding to work longer. Many of us are expecting to live longer, and so being able to keep ourselves in a comfortable lifestyle for longer is an attractive prospect.
But more than that, work is a source of fulfilment to many people. It keeps us social and active both mentally and physically.
Having worked hard all our lives, when we hit retirement, most of us aren’t exactly aching to keep doing full-time, 9-5 hours in stressful jobs. A survey by Merrill Lynch found that only 5% of those at retirement age wanted to work full time, while 33% said they wanted to balance work and leisure.
Released yesterday (15th November), a report from the National Audit Office has stated that the BBC required some freelancers to operate through personal service companies (PSCs.)
Investigation into the BBC’s engagement with personal service companies reveals that the BBC has paid nearly £700 million into personal service companies set up by its presenters and other workers over the past few years.
The findings further emphasise the shambolic nature of the off-payroll IR35 rules as they currently stand. The legislation, in its current format, lets down contractors and freelancers as well as the public sector bodies which seek to engage their skills.
With the private sector rollout currently scheduled for April 2020, it would be sensible for the government to iron out the cumbersome barriers to correct IR35 implementation as soon as possible. If this doesn’t happen, the transition is likely to be mired in difficulty.
November can be a dark and miserable month, but it’s also the month of Diwali, the festival of light celebrated by more than a billion Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the globe. Alongside the beautiful lanterns, the teachings of Diwali hold all sorts of wisdom for contractors and freelancers.
Another year, another Budget. In recent times, contractors and the self-employed have become used to watching the Chancellor’s pronouncements from behind the sofa. It would be an understatement to say that the last few announcements weren’t particularly kind to the contracting community, so it was understandable if many approached this October’s Budget with trepidation.
Amid much rumour and speculation, there was uncertainty as to how the self-employed would fare this time around. Although many in the community were hoping that proposed private sector IR35 reform would be abandoned, in truth it was never likely to be an option.
Despite a plethora of evidence to the contrary, in recent months the government has gone to some lengths to praise the success of IR35 reform in the public sector. The real question was a simpler one: would similar reforms apply to the private sector from April 2019 or April 2020?
It’s the spookiest time of the year: ghosts and ghouls around every corner; jack o’ lanterns glowing; annoying children ringing the doorbell every 10 minutes asking for sweets. But it’s not zombies and witches that we’re afraid of. Here are the top 5 things that give contractors nightmares this Halloween…
1. Non-paying clients
You sent the invoice straightaway. You clearly outlined your payment period. You sent a polite chaser email. And yet, somehow, still, no money has appeared in your account. The dwindling balance sends a shiver down your spine! Yes, the non-paying client is the most terrifying spectre a contractor can encounter. They look just like normal clients…until the full moon comes out and the balance is due, then they show their true colours.