Employment Status

Are you a contractor? If you work for someone else, it is important to know whether you are working for that person in an employed capacity or in a self-employed capacity as an independent contractor.

Your employment status will determine the charge to tax on income from your employment or self-employment. It will also determine the class of NICs, which are to be paid.

Umbrella Companies employ you for tax purposes and complete central returns for all their contractors. It's less hassle and more flexible for you but take home pay is typically less than that the limited company option.

The best option for you depends on your plans, 'one off' contract or 'contractor for life'? [Read More...]

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Passing Your Contractor Interview

Interview Success

Successful candidates understand exactly what the client is looking for. Before you meet your client, understand what they want;

  1. Why do they need someone with your skills set?
  2. Do you have the matching skills to the client's requirements?
  3. Do you understand what the client wants and where they want to be with your help?

Desk Top Research

Do your homework and research the client's industry. Having got this far you must have something the client needs for this role - but don't make assumptions.

Turn up on time (never be late) and make sure you remember the name of the person you are meeting. Dress smartly, even if you usually work in casual clothes make the effort and wear a suitand tie.

One mistake could ruin your chances - the client will judge you on first impressions, make yours count.

Do you know what the client wants?

The client knows he will be working with you on a daily basis. He wants to like you and know that you will support him. He'll wonder if you're the type to be claiming all the glory or whether you'll make him look good.

Stress your particular skills; demonstrate how you have what is required. Do you have any other relevant skills? Make sure you get that in as appropriate.

Backand Forth

Also, don't forget it's a two-way process. Assess your client. Do you like their personality and style? Are you meant to use your initiative or to follow strict guidelines? Will you gel with other members of the team?

Find out why they are looking for the specific skills you have.

  1. Has the client worked with contractors before?
  2. Are you replacing another contractor or are you increasing the headcount?
  3. Do you have unique skills that no one else in the company has?
  4. Are you expected to educate and train a permanent member of staff?

Unless you understand their motive you won't be able to answer the questions in the best way.

Question Time

Asking questions shows you are keen and prepared. It also demonstrates initiative and shows the client you are motivated. Prepare your questions in advance and write them down.

  • If during the interview you forget your questions it's perfectly acceptable to take out the piece of paper - in fact it reinforces the impression you are the type to prepare carefully and thoroughly.

Ask questions so that you can parade your skills. Discuss subjects which you are knowledgeable about and which you can talk in detail and autoratitively. You want the client to know you are qualified for the role and maybe even know a bit more than is required.

Questions Leading to the Client Talking are Good

At the end of the interview aim to leave the client thinking that you have an exact understanding of the issues and the contract role.

  1. You have the right experience for the assignment
  2. You are motivated to do the best possible job
  3. You will fit in seamlessly with other members of the team

Look smart, tell the truth and emphasise your ability. Let the client know that the role interests you and that you're the one who can complete the task in the most efficient way.

Let them know your work will result in your client being that much better at widget making.

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HMRC Compliance

It's the basics... Compliance with Tax, VAT, PAYE and fiscal arrangements is mandatory for contractors regardless of whether you use an umbrella company or your own limited company.

Incredible then that there are still rogue umbrella companies and limited company accountants who expose their contractors to fraud. Umbrella Compare provides THE solution, we thoroughly vet all umbrella companies and limited company accountants that we list [Read more...].

Umbrella Compare provides a holistic overview of contracting with the aim of helping new and old contractors find the right payroll solutions. Contracting should be about focusing on the contract, not payroll, accounting, HMRC and bureaucracy.