A contractor’s guide to comparing umbrella companies

As a contractor in the UK, linking up with an umbrella company may be one of the smartest moves you’ll ever make. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of options out there, it can feel like a minefield. Thankfully, finding the perfect solution for your needs needn’t be nearly as difficult as you may first fear.

There are many metrics which can be used to analyse the credentials of any given umbrella company, and this can make the whole process feel overwhelming. In reality, though, there are only two main issues to consider – the cost, and the level of customer care.

Find an umbrella company that satisfies those two elements, and you’ll be just fine.

Judging umbrella companies on the cost

Umbrella companies need to make their money and will inevitably charge you for their services. However, given that this whole process relates to your career, it’s imperative that you avoid being taken for a ride.

On average, umbrella companies charge in the region of £30 per week for processing the timesheets. Others will work on a commission, taking a % of your invoice amount. For the sake of stability, as well as financial returns, it’s probably better to stick with a fixed rate fee. Knowing whether the company wants to charge you on a Gross or Net basis is vital too, with the former being preferred.

Some umbrella companies will charge a joining fee too. While this may not seem overly significant in the grand scheme of things, you should always factor it into your calculations. Ultimately, the best decision is a financially suitable decision.

Judging umbrella companies on the customer care

Customer care is something of a subjective metric, but there’s no doubt that you should be looking for an umbrella company that takes responsibility to actively provide you with the very best service. Anything less could leave you in some very stressful situations.

First and foremost, you want to join an umbrella company that responds quickly to your calls and emails. Meanwhile, they should be willing to help you with the technology used to send off timesheets and process expenses. If they offer same day payment processing via CHAPS, this can be seen as a positive factor. On a separate note, it’s imperative that they comply with the latest tax regulations. Otherwise, you could be put in a very vulnerable situation.

Another top tip when conducting your research is to find out what other contractors think about the company. Recommendations and testimonials can go a long way to either building your trust or help you avoid a nightmare. This is far more significant than reading the clever marketing lines that all umbrella companies spout.

The final verdict

Are there other ways to judge an umbrella company? Of course. Ultimately, though, the one that provides you with an easy service at the best price is the one that should be considered to be the greatest option at your disposal.

Sign-up processes are usually very simple too. There’s nothing to stop you getting started today.

If you are a contractor and need to compare umbrella companies then get started here