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srbenson
16th October 2003, 13:00
Umbrella company questions

I'm just canvassing opinions on umbrella solutions -- Orange Genie or Parasol IT are two that seem most likely, but neither have responded to my enquiries - not very encouraging!

Mainly I want to here opinions from people who have used the services, but I also have a couple of other questions:

1. is it just for contracts that fail IR35?

2. Prosperity4 mentioned an allowance of £21 per day allowed if day exceeds 10 hours including travel.
£5 if over 5 hours. Is this correct?

3. Are there any hidden elements like termination fees?

4. Are all contractors on their books covered by indemnity/liability insurance?

Are there any other questions I should ask.

John Galt
16th October 2003, 13:19
I use Contractor Umbrella and they have never given me any problems. :) It doesn't just have to be for IR35 failures.
I would worry about any company who told me the Inland Revenue were going to give me money just to go to work - which of us doesn't work 10 hours a day - sounds like complete crap to me.

Rest of it depends on the company themselves - happy hunting

CraigRider
17th October 2003, 08:49
Don't use Prosperity 4.

freshblue
17th October 2003, 11:09
I've used Parasol for the last two or so years now and they have been good.

itallhelps
17th October 2003, 19:29
so srbenson what have you decided to do

srbenson
20th October 2003, 09:09
Well, Prosperity4 charge 6%; ParasolT didn't respond to my enquiries, so I think it'll be Orange Genie, who did repond promptly and ask my questions, and cap costs at 2.5% of 40/hour..

I'm not interested in the foreign currency loophole approach, seems too risky

PS Most of them use the same expenses calculations -- if you're more than 5.1 miles from work and the day is more than 10.5 hrs including travel. Seems valid.

WWW ITDoctors co uk
20th October 2003, 10:31
srbenson

Why have you decided to use an umbrella company as opposed to the limited company/accountancy route?

srbenson
20th October 2003, 13:15
I've had one for several years, lots of pain, compounded by G**nt -- just closing it, revealing more f**kups. And the contract fails IR35 AFAICT (first one for me in quite some time).

planetit
20th October 2003, 13:49
What’s that you say? Your limited company was fecked up by Giant?

As a (former) fellow sufferer you have my sympathies, but it doesn’t have to be like that. There are good accountants around.

WWW ITDoctors co uk
20th October 2003, 13:59
Fair enough - I know how frustrating a bad Accountant can be and the one you mention seems to figure high on the expensive and useless scale, according to others on this forum.

I have been in a similar situation to you albeit with a different accountant but it's amazing what difference a change to an immeasurably better and cheaper Accountant can make. I currently spend less than 15 mins a month on my accounts and have no causes for concern.

Limited Company/Accountant is still the best way to go, even if you are caught by IR35 - check out some previous threads on this subject.

As regards IR35 - Is your Agency/Contractor contract IR35 friendly with a substitution clause, mention of a project, etc?

Talk to my Accountant

John Galt
20th October 2003, 14:12
Before you start thinking how great the expense allowances are - check the Inland Revenue website for some impartial advice. Beware IR bearing gifts - it doesn't happen.

TEEDASHARK
21st October 2003, 09:41
1. is it just for contracts that fail IR35?
1. No definitely not, depends upon your own personal circumstances, ie hourly rate, length of contract, expense dispensation of umbrella company.

2. Prosperity4 mentioned an allowance of £21 per day allowed if day exceeds 10 hours including travel.
£5 if over 5 hours. Is this correct?
2. Correct as of 2 months ago.

3. Are there any hidden elements like termination fees?
3. Depends on who you go with. Prosperity 4 will nail you for £200 if you leave before 12 months contracting via them.

4. Are all contractors on their books covered by indemnity/liability insurance?
4. Depends on the umbrella company, some do some don't.

Ive contracted through a total of 6 umbrella companies in the last 2 years.

1. First Option - Expensive and no expense dispensation.

2. Manager Umbrella - Extremely inefficient.

3. Executive solutions - Brilliant, not operating anymore..

4. Giant Strongbox - Inefficient.

5. Prosperity 4 - Ridiculously expensive, unreliable, unbelievably inefficient. I was chasing them up every week.

6. Orange Genie - Brilliant and currently using.

All views here are from my personal experience and are all facts.

Defamatory remark removed. Constructive criticisms welcomed only please

Judgejools
21st October 2003, 12:29
Look at this

www.shout99.com/contracto...834&n=1300 (http://www.shout99.com/contractors/showarticle.pl?id=13834&n=1300)

hope it helps

antagoneyes
21st October 2003, 16:27
Looks good but.....

Shout99 = Andy White, Susie hughes, Kevin Miller, etc = contractor ripoff services incorporated from the PCG, now kicked out.

They only operate to make money so beware!!

planetit
21st October 2003, 16:44
Fancy someone operating a business in order to make money! It shouldn’t be allowed.

Judgejools
21st October 2003, 17:08
Why beware of them making money...? They do make money out of the services they promote... O course they do! :eek
When you get something for "free" you will get exactly what you are paying for....
If the FO35 pack keeps you outside IR35 and you save, say £1000 per month, would you not use it just because Shout99 would make a couple of tenners profit?

WWW ITDoctors co uk
22nd October 2003, 08:30
Fancy someone operating a business in order to make money! It shouldn’t be allowed.

You're right walking away from a so-called altruistic organization with between 1 - 2 million of contractor's money is to be admired really:lol

Bet you wish you'd thought of the idea Planetit ?

contractor007
15th November 2003, 02:31
Know couple of friends working through Orange Genie they say they are brilliant. Prosperity4 . nahhhhhhhhhh. Rip off. They charge 6%, yes you can claim £21 subsistence allowance, not a big deal. You can do the same with others. Prosperity4's contract says that they'll expect to make a mininum of £1500 from you whether your contract lasts one week or one year.

They only commit to pay you a minimum wage around £4.20 per hour, in their contract. Check out their Salary and Benefits clause. Make sure you read their Schedule Two and in particular a section on Deductions.

Conclusion: Please Don't PROSPERITY4 LTD.......

TEEDASHARK
17th November 2003, 10:01
Contractor007

Could nt agree more with you mate. They can charge you £200 for leaving them, believe me they will. Still using Orange genie and well pleased.



Defamatory remarks removed. Constructive views only please.

www 1staccountancy biz
17th November 2003, 10:11
Teedashark.....take it you're a "former" client of theirs!? :eek

TEEDASHARK
18th November 2003, 10:53
Yep I'm a former client of there's so I'm speaking from experience.

Labour and IR35 Suck
29th November 2003, 13:50
I've used Parasol for a couple of months and had no problems.

They pay quickly.

Things I dont like are:

They are not a real umbrella company they actually pay you PAYE and not dividends so the only benefits you get are that you can claim travel expenses. (this is not a too much of a problem for me because the pay rate on my current contract is the pits so I'm not likely to earn enough for tax and NI to be a issue)

Entering your daily travel expenses is slow and tedious.

I'd suggest you go else where and find a real umbrella company.

Signed: Poor and soon to be much poorer as being investigated by the IR

maxwell
29th November 2003, 14:35
Look at this

www.shout99.com/contracto...834&n=1300

hope it helps

It costs £104.50 to purchase a tax investigation insurance scheme from Shout99. For £100 you can join the PCG and get comparable insurance thrown in for no extra charge. With PCG membership you also get

- Access to outside IR35 standard contracts
- Access to the PCG-Atsco Contract with Atsco agencies
- Free legal advice helpline
- Free tax helpline
- An online IR35 questionairre
- Discounted contract reviews
- Free IR35 manuals
- Discounted PI insurance
- A range of discounted services including home office insurance, hotels and travel, business software, training and office space

In addition to this, the PCG membership fees support a not-for-profit organisation (unlike Shout99) which represents contractors' interests by lobbying government, the Inland Revenue and others to improve the lot of its members. For example, PCG money has recently been used to pay for the Roger Tilbury case at the Special Commissioners - where the Inland Revenue were soundly defeated.

Why on Earth anybody would want to give £104.50 to Shout99 for tax investigation insurance while the PCG exists is beyond me.

fiddleabout
30th November 2003, 11:58
> Signed: Poor and soon to be much poorer as being investigated by the IR

So have you been fiddling the books or are you referring to an IR35 problem? If IR35 why do you consider yourself caught (and if you do why wasn't it decared)?

An IR investigation does not necessarily mean you will be getting hammered for unpaid taxes - obviously it can but it is not a certainty.

rooney
30th November 2003, 22:36
Re: "They are not a real umbrella company they actually pay you PAYE and not dividends so the only benefits you get are that you can claim travel expenses."

The majority of umbrella companies now operate in this manner. In addition some of the large agencies are now not allowing the use of composite umbrellas who I presume you think are the real ones.

wheeles
11th December 2003, 16:33
I have been a victim of both Giant and Dignatio and if there is one lesson to be learnt by these experiences it is:

Get a good local accountant and operate as a limited company. Any middleman you let handle your affairs and finances is likely to be more inclined to fill their own pockets rather than yours.

WWW ITDoctors co uk
11th December 2003, 17:25
Unfortunately there are far too many distrusting contractors who fail to take good advice or don't look for that advice in the first place.
The best way to learn is from the mistakes of others.

Mordac
12th December 2003, 03:01
I have been a victim of both Giant and Dignatio

Ouch and double ouch...:\

nicktheripper
2nd October 2007, 23:32
I was contracting and used http://www.orangegenie.com and found them to be very good at the time. I am now back in full time work again. Would recommend them...

Hevra
8th October 2007, 16:10
You sir are a necromancer and I claim my 5 corpses.

Hevra

LordF
8th October 2007, 18:58
It costs £104.50 to purchase a tax investigation insurance scheme from Shout99. For £100 you can join the PCG and get comparable insurance thrown in for no extra charge. With PCG membership you also get

- Access to outside IR35 standard contracts
- Access to the PCG-Atsco Contract with Atsco agencies
- Free legal advice helpline
- Free tax helpline
- An online IR35 questionairre
- Discounted contract reviews
- Free IR35 manuals
- Discounted PI insurance
- A range of discounted services including home office insurance, hotels and travel, business software, training and office space

In addition to this, the PCG membership fees support a not-for-profit organisation (unlike Shout99) which represents contractors' interests by lobbying government, the Inland Revenue and others to improve the lot of its members. For example, PCG money has recently been used to pay for the Roger Tilbury case at the Special Commissioners - where the Inland Revenue were soundly defeated.

Why on Earth anybody would want to give £104.50 to Shout99 for tax investigation insurance while the PCG exists is beyond me.

You will find that most insurance policies for tax investigation will NOT cover you if you are in an umbrella scheme, but will cover you if you have your own limited company. As far as I know.

DiscoStu
8th October 2007, 19:45
Wow, this thread's four years old! :eek

ikina8
24th July 2009, 10:23
Very old thread, for an age old problem it seems. Ive been reviewing this again recently and it seems your own Ltd Co in most instances out weighs umbrella Co's.

After hunting around I recently had an unpleasant Tarpon experience.

Definitely don't recommend them!

TykeMerc
24th July 2009, 16:48
Very old thread, for an age old problem it seems. Ive been reviewing this again recently and it seems your own Ltd Co in most instances out weighs umbrella Co's.

After hunting around I recently had an unpleasant Tarpon experience.

Definitely don't recommend them!

Well Tarpon are P3 reincarnated and P3 went bust owing a lot of contractors an awful lot of money.

MyCo Ltd is arguably more tax efficient than a proper Umbrella in most instances, but there are perfectly valid and sensible reasons that some people chose to use an Umbrella. It's a classic case of making an informed choice.

PhilAtBFCA
27th July 2009, 12:26
ikina8

Always nice to see an old thread reincarnated. Some subjects just live on and on :-)

But you may find this video and spreadsheet useful, you can work out Umbrella net income , Ltd Co Inside and Outside Ir35 and also parterships and direct with the agency. There is also some information about why it may not necessarily be only a financial considerayion, there are other factors to take into account.

here is the link (http://www.bfca.eu/blog/?page_id=1949).

Phil

doboyle
7th September 2009, 13:51
I have always recieved good service from Parasol to be fair.

I would strongly advise not using Bedouin as they are the most incompetent and rude company I have ever dealt with! not paying my wages on 2 occasions due to them 'forgetting' to invoice my agency. And on top of this when they did remember to pay me, instead of the 84% i was quoted i recieved 64% of my wage!!! still awaiting the refund....

NotAllThere
8th September 2009, 08:27
:rollin:

watford
11th September 2009, 11:26
Well Tarpon are P3 reincarnated and P3 went bust owing a lot of contractors an awful lot of money.

MyCo Ltd is arguably more tax efficient than a proper Umbrella in most instances, but there are perfectly valid and sensible reasons that some people chose to use an Umbrella. It's a classic case of making an informed choice.

Well I was P4 and it definitely wasn't brilliant , they took their money in the form of fees up front the sum was £1500 ,when i was told at the time they would done over the course of the year, and moved to parasol before P4 went and changed their name to tarpon who in my case were great and I now have a Limited Company of my own .

Svalbaard
16th September 2009, 12:30
Contractor umbrella are really good. No fuss, simple web interface and excellent response times to queries.

Only down side is that their fees do not include professional indemnity insurance which in addition bumps up the monthly costs to around £100.

It's horses for courses as to whether you go Ltd or go with an umbrella. In my case it's all about time, which is why I go with an umbrella. And it's certainly not cheaper to run a 1 man Ltd company band.

Epiphone
16th September 2009, 12:49
I have always recieved good service from Parasol to be fair.

I would strongly advise not using Bedouin as they are the most incompetent and rude company I have ever dealt with! not paying my wages on 2 occasions due to them 'forgetting' to invoice my agency. And on top of this when they did remember to pay me, instead of the 84% i was quoted i recieved 64% of my wage!!! still awaiting the refund....

Parasol must be great to work for. Say Hi to Rob Crossland won't you.

PhilAtBFCA
17th September 2009, 10:43
And it's certainly not cheaper to run a 1 man Ltd company band.

Hi,

Certainly not ?

Umbrella = £1200 a year according to your figures incl PI.

Ltd Co= From £540 a year + say £400 cost of PI = £940

Both of these before tax deductions.

You will earn more inside and outside of IR35 in a Limited Co if you are VAT registered.

Certainly not ?

But dont just go Ltd for the money, you really do need to want to run your own business, IMHO.

Phil

mglover
28th January 2010, 21:32
Hi All

Springboard Umbrella announced yesterday that it is offering it's full umbrella service for free.
www.springboardumbrella.co.uk

Hex
29th January 2010, 13:02
So how do they make their money? I'd be very very suspicious of someone offering me a service like this for nothing unless I understood what they were getting from me that allowed them to do it free.

ADRIANL
29th January 2010, 13:20
It's a free market, and anyone can offer whatever service they like and contractors are free to take up any service, at their own risk. However, for what its worth, my observations are:
1. To the extent that this company can only operate at a loss it will necessarily be effectively insolvent- (even if supposedly supported by other reserves). On that basis it would not get accreditation from the AEMC or other reputable umbrella regulators due its inherent riskiness.
2. The company is a subsidiary of a recruitment agency - maybe enough said - and therefore you can see an angle.
3. Also as a subsidiary it will be easy to "let the company go" if it runs into trouble without affecting its supposedly profitable holding company.
4. Maybe recruiters should stick to recruiting and let professional accountants deal with tax and accounting.