The decision between a limited company and an Umbrella Company can often be a very difficult one so if you do finally decide to join an umbrella company, it is vital that you choose the right one. To do so, it is equally important that you think about what you want from the umbrella company and what questions you want answering before you sign up with any company. It is no different to any other service offered to small businesses or contractors/freelancers in which it is vital to learn as much as you can do about the provider and the service they are offering.
One of the leading ways of doing this is through personal recommendations from other contractors but despite getting easy with the progress of the internet, reliable reviews can still be quite hard to find. Another obvious but frequently overlooked way of finding more about a comparisoncontractor is simply to ask them the things that concern you. Here are a few examples of information you may need to find out about a umbrella company service provider:
1. Fees. he marketing of fees by different umbrella companies varies considerably. Contractors can expect to pay between £25-£30 per week for a top quality service while some umbrella companies charge on a percentage bases but will usually be prepared to negotiate if you are on a particularly high rate. Which payment would suit your estimated income?
2. Payment Speed. The most frequent problem for contractors with their umbrella companies is that the speed of processing and quality of service is less than they had expected. It is advisable to clarify the following in advance with your provider. How quickly will they send an invoice to the client following submission of your timesheet? How quickly will payment be sent to you when they receive the clients payment for your services? Some companies now even provide a service or speed guaranteed or your money back.
3. Age. How long has the scheme been going? Time is usually a good sign that a company is reliable but find out more about their history and how many contractors it currently has.
4. Personal Service. Does the umbrella company provide you with your own account manager who will be on call to deal with you? What time restrictions (if any) are there on that? Do they offer any service guarantees?
5. Insurance. Does the company offer you business insurance, for example professional indemnity insurance? This is a vital part of working for yourself so it is important to make sure you know whethery they offer it and at what (if any) extra cost is involved in this.
6. Additional benefits. There are a lot of companies offering an umbrella company service so don’t afraid to be cheeky. What are they offering for you to go with them? Some companies offer private healthcare provisions, legal support, vouchers etc.
7. Technology. Many umbrella companies now offer an online system which can make life a lot easier for contractors. Does this one? What else can you do on their online software? Can you submit paperwork and invoices? Timesheets?