Advice for contractors looking to make their lives easier

Advice for contractors looking to make their lives easier

If you’re a contractor or freelancer in the UK, you’ll know that the hard work doesn’t stop when you hang up your coat on a Friday afternoon. There are so many things that you need to take into consideration, and the more successful you become, the harder you have to work. Though we can’t remove work from your life (if only!) we can offer some advice on making your working life easier – reducing the frustrations and friction points you often face.

Don’t do your own accounts

If you’ve spent 50 hours working for a client during the week, the last thing you want to do is spend an hour or two every weekend working on your bookkeeping. Rather than hiring an accountant or forming a limited company, we recommend looking for the best umbrella company in your niche and working via them instead. You’ll effectively become an employee – your clients will pay your umbrella firm, and they’ll pay you after tax and national insurance.

Work with an agency

Another common concern amongst contractors is finding their next job. Again, if you’re working flat-out for an organization and your contract comes to an end, you can be left out of pocket and out of work for several weeks. An agency, on the other hand, that specializes in your niche, will be able to identify new opportunities and put your forward for higher-paying roles. Sure, they take a commission from the client meaning you’ll earn less per hour during your contract, but it offers you reassurance that you’ll still have work after a project wraps up.

Swot up on IR35

The UK government’s decision to roll out IR35 changes was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but new legislation will be introduced in April 2021. Make sure you understand your rights as a contractor and speak to an accountant or umbrella firm if you need advice. The changes will affect medium and large-sized businesses – not businesses with fewer than 50 employees and an annual turnover of less than £10 million. You might decide to change the types of clients you work with accordingly to ensure you’re not negatively impacted.

Get an expenses app

If you’re allowed expenses as a contractor, we recommend downloading an expense tracker app or creating a folder on your phone so you can log expenses as you go. Whether it’s a trip to McDonald’s for a morning coffee or parts you need to work on a construction site, it is vital that you know how much you’ve spent performing your duties – and have evidence that you can show to your boss so you can recoup your losses. Take pictures of receipts and save invoices to your phone – these can all be forwarded to their accountant for processing.

Any other tips you think that we should add to this list? Let us know on social media and check back soon for more advice on making your life easier as a UK freelancer/contractor.

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