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View Full Version : Afternoon all - new person with questions



beardedfool
28th July 2011, 15:40
Hi,

Wanted to say hello as have spent the last 12 hours solidly reading through the forums and appreciate all the sharing of information on here.

My position is that I'm an fairly generalised, but mainly infrastructure, PM (sorry) and looking at contracting roles having been a permie. Been looking for a while and some possible work coming my way so I've been hitting every website I can find learning about setting up a Ltd and IR35 - should I be lucky enough to get something then I will, of course, get a decent IR35 accountant, join PCG, insure and get the contracts checked; I just need to get a little further down the line before I commit that money and will come back to you all to check I'm going for the right people.

Unsurprisingly I've a few questions that people may be able to give me some steer on though, if you'd be so kind. In return, I will attempt to spell correctly say thanks- good deal?

1) One possible contract: through what I thought was an agent. The 'agent' will only accept people through ltd, not umbrella. They've also made this clear that I am not allowed to let the client know that I'm a contractor and have to use the agents email, but provide my other items and work from home mainly. I'll obviously learn more when I see the contract and who it's between but I was worrying about the relationship between myself.co and the client for IR35 purposes. Strikes me that I may want to worry about the employment status of myself.co and the agent. Or is this common?

2) In the above case- are they really just avoiding paying PAYE and NI contributions by putting the potential responsibility onto me,co - again, is this common?

Sorry if there isn't enough to go on at the moment for the above, it's where I'm at.

3) PM role - Has anyone got any good links specific to the negotiation/ contract process for PMs - more specifically avoidance of IR35 by making sure I don't hit employment when a project isn't totally defined in length or scope, as I'll likely be doing that - I'll obviously keep looking and have seen some advice and the professional will help me, but I'm conscious to avoid any obvious pitfalls at this stage.

3) Travel time - If you're on a daily rate and working from home but will make making significant journeys to sites around the country on a regular basis (enough that I wouldn't necessarily want to absorb all the time into a normal working day). It wouldn't sit right with me to leave my house at the start of a normal working day, charging from that second, and have a few hours at the clients sites due to travel time but equally would like some money from the long days.
How would you go about adding up travel time to a daily rate; count the hours and invoice (perhaps less) in full days?
If the site necessitated an overnight stay I'd presume I'd charge the hotel to the client, but would you ever charge for that time as well? Probably wouldn't.
I presume the answer may just be to come to a sensible mutually beneficial agreement. I prefer gentlemen's agreements where possible but have seen them break down and feel I may be naive in this case.

4) 24 months in 'one location' - read with some shock the example of working for different firms in, for example, the city of london and Hector counting it as a permanent place of work. Most examples I've ready

That's it for now and thanks in advance - Sorry for length, will try to split down further questions but I wanted to give an overivew of where my lack of knowledge lies.

beardedfool
28th July 2011, 19:12
Apologies- didn't finish point 4

4) 24 months in 'one location' - read with some shock the example of working for different firms in, for example, the city of london and Hector counting it as a permanent place of work. Most examples I've read involve travelling to London from other places, or contracts in geographically separate areas (North vs South). Has anyone seen any evidence about roles in 2 areas of London when living in London, as can make some significant differences to journey times and certainly the route.

Again, sorry for the verbose nature of the post and the error- take from that what you will about my PM skills!

Zippy
28th July 2011, 22:05
Welcome :wave:

I can offer my opinions on some of your points, but I think the key is to discuss it with the client and agent.
1) I think the agent can do business with whoever they like, although I have yet to meet one that wouldn't deal with one of the big umbrella companies. Sounds a bit fishy - are you sure you've got the right end of the stick?
I've never met one who will deal with the self-empoyed (see 2).

2) If you are a ltd (or umbrella) the agent wouldn't be liable for tax and NI (as you wouldn't be for a plumber you engaged(. They could be liable if you were self-employed and did a bunk (which is why they won't allow it)

3) Travel time etc. This is where you need to discuss it with your client. Personally I wouldn't charge from the moment I left the house but if you are leaving at - say - 6am and getting home at midnight on a regular basis there should be some flexibilty to do a half day or two and charge for a full day to make up for it. When I was a (slightly) poorly paid permie and doing one-dayers to Europe they wouldn't expect me in before lunchtime the following day. Don't look like you are clock-watching though - the occasional long day is part of the "professional working day" thing.
4) Probably won't affect you if you are mostly working from home. The figure 60% seems to ring a bell but I could be wrong about that. If you have to be on the client site every day, then you must stop claiming expenses from the time you know you will be at the same location for > 24 months. A six month extension at 18 months means you stop claiming at that point.

I'm sure somebody else will be along with more information soon.

MarillionFan
29th July 2011, 07:02
1) Sounds like the agent is representing you as one of their 'consultants' or 'associates'. Sounds like the agent in question is more of an in-house agent for a consultancy, hence the request 'ie. we have loads of preferred suppliers on our list I'll send BeardedFool over, he's very good. While the truth is he doesn't know you from Adam. Hence the request. Go along with it if you're happy'

2) You're employed by your LTD. You pay your own taxes now.

3) All down to the contract and each are different. PCG review or questions in Legal/Accounting on here

4) Be reasonable with that. If you're at home, then yes it's a 30 second walk down the stairs. Doesn't compute the other way. If the request is an hour a way, then leave at 8am. If it's two hours away leave at 8am. You need to factor in some of that time as you would do. Remember if the contract said we want you at clientco for 9am you'd be leaving in your own time. Make sure that you get payment for travel agreed though if you are having to travel away from home and to multiple sites. The costs will soon add up. Agree that with the agent/but swallow some of the time.

4) No opinion

northernladuk
29th July 2011, 13:42
1) What MF says. Spring were putting people in Barclays as contractors but also putting them onsite as a managed service or crap rates but infact charging the client more. These people happened to be contractors as well so it looks like they were scraping the resource pool they had to offer a solution rather than a bod which I guess was good business sense but a bit cheeky from contractor point. Just to note if this was the case they did offer a one month paid 'bench' period after you came off client site but binned you after that. They wanted the extra money but not willing to invest in the downtime after. Does that sound like your setup.
I also cannot see how a client will never find out you are a contractor either. I would be very wary about this. You slip up, say you what you actually and the client get's pissed off, the agent get's pissed off and it's not really your fault. Don't let them write this in to your contract.

2) No they are just doing the above to get more money as a service providor I reckon.

3) You have two bullet points for 3).. You are indeed an experienced PM :D

3) I have to say 'if' 1) is true I am struggling to see how you can be outside IR35. The agent is directing you to be a permie and not admit your are a contractor so can't see how you can fulfill the pointers for IR35. They don't sound like they are going to honour and substitution, MOO or flexibility you need. I could be wrong but the signs don't look good at all. The term 'not allowed to let the client know that I'm a contractor' could be also be said 'look like a permie'.

3) You will have to understand what travelling is part of the contract i.e. is your temporary place of work a few different sites in which you may have to suffer it, or are they business trip to another site which you would expect them to comensate. Also the distances makes a difference. The devil is in the details so get them to layout exactly where the locations are and an expectation of time spent travelling and how compensation works. How flexible you are around that agreement is up to you.

4) The bottom line is you will spending most of time at home so 2 year rule isn't a problem I think. On the London thing, this has been hotly debated a number of times but in my opinion London is one geographical area and thats that. Westiminster to Canary Wharf is not a significant change. London to Brighton is. Lots of debate on here but the bottom line is you should be ok with so many client sites and WFH. Don't have to worry about that until you know you are going to be there for over 24 months either.

beardedfool
8th August 2011, 09:41
First off, sorry for the delay in getting back when you've all taken the time to answer- was out of the country. Thank you all for the replies- it's greatly appreciated.
I'll wait to hear more about the contract and come back in case it's of any use for anyone else but suspect I won't follow this one to the end; as Northernladuk says - it's going to be hard for me to represent myself as anything other than a contractor as it's my first contract so suspect I'll go for some that feels to me a little less 'dodgy' and clearer for IR35/

Definitely going to hang around this forum though as I still have a lot posts more to read. Off to learn how to number bullet points (or just count) now.

redgiant
8th August 2011, 10:13
First off, sorry for the delay in getting back when you've all taken the time to answer- was out of the country. Thank you all for the replies- it's greatly appreciated.
I'll wait to hear more about the contract and come back in case it's of any use for anyone else but suspect I won't follow this one to the end; as Northernladuk says - it's going to be hard for me to represent myself as anything other than a contractor as it's my first contract so suspect I'll go for some that feels to me a little less 'dodgy' and clearer for IR35/

Definitely going to hang around this forum though as I still have a lot posts more to read. Off to learn how to number bullet points (or just count) now.

Welcome to the forum! I was in a similar situation as you about 9 months ago and also working in a similar area (Infrastructure PM & PMO) I had the same questions. I've now just started my second contract through my LTD so all is going well.

RE: IR35 - I have had both my contracts reviewed by a third party and although is no guarantee that you won't get investigated it is reassuring to get an expert to look it over as contracts can be difficult to follow completely and know the legal implications on certain words. I've used the QDOS review service (up to 3 reviews per year) which is provided with my PL & PI insurance. I've had a good experience with them so far.

Best of luck sorting out your first contract...

kaiser78
9th August 2011, 07:38
Welcome and good luck firstly.

Re. point 3 and as mentioned earlier don't clock watch, the hours are the hours albeit within reason.

In my current role I have a 2.5hr round journey every day and so had negotiated 3 days a week at client site and 2 days working from home. It is all negotiable but don't come across as just wanting.