Expensive FCSA accredited Umbrella company Expensive FCSA accredited Umbrella company
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  1. #1

    Default Expensive FCSA accredited Umbrella company

    I have a new contract which pays a fairly modest day rate and I have found an Umbrella company that will charge £15 a week and pay holiday pay each time I'm paid............
    My agency is insisting I use an FCSA Umbrella and so far the ones I have spoken to are wanting almost £100 a month from me which is £40 more than the one I have chosen for exactly the same service.

    I've looked at the FCSA I thought it was something official like the FCA its not and £40 a month is a big difference to me.

    What can I do any advice?

    Thank you
    Last edited by The Prawn Sandwich; 26th August 2020 at 14:37.

  2. #2

    Double Godlike!

    ladymuck's Avatar
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    Sadly, the agency is not obligated to accept your choice of umbrella and can refuse to offer you a contract even if the client wants you. They will just make up something to the client about you no longer being available.

    They will claim that FCSA accreditation proves something or other but it doesn't really. There are perfectly legitimate umbrellas who are not members.

    Your options are limited but you can try to get your choice of umbrella accepted, or you can try and negotiate a lower fee with an FCSA member. Both are unlikely which means you're left with walking away from the contract or coughing up the ransom.

  3. #3

    Should post faster


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    Isn't it slightly less than £40:

    e.g. Orange genie 12 @ £100 /month = £1200 p.a.

    Your supplier 52 weeks @ £15 /week = £780 p.a.

    Diff: £420 p.a. /52 = £8 /week or £35 /month (12 equal months)

    If your figures are that tight, £8 / £35 might be important vs your "£40" estimate.


    Have you asked the Umbrella what their fees are for Weekly vs Monthly? (there will still be a payroll run for your time off)

    M

  4. #4

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    Default FCSA charges way too much

    I've been a contractor for many years and have come to the conclusion that using an FCSA accredited Umbrella Payroll costs way too much over time and doesn't benefit any of my contracting (pay) needs. All I can suggest is finding a trusted Umbrella that doesn't use this accreditation or just has a Fair Tax Mark and just let the agency know you work closely with them... And politely ask them to approve it on to their ASL (Approved Supplier List). A contractor led (good) agency would do this.

  5. #5

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    Default FCSA: the expensive way

    You're completely correct, the FCSA isn't the way to go. It's a very smart marketing tactic conjured up by 3 of the biggest umbrellas in the UK (Giant, Parasol and BrooksonOne, when they were just Brookson before the VAT Scandal). This is not to say that an FCSA umbrella won't provide a good service, but they'll do it at a throat-punch price because they're charging for that 'FCSA-quality' accreditation. I have worked alongside contractors who have never used FCSA because they actively detest it, and some who have used it because they've been put in a position like the one that kicked off this thread. Those who used FCSA umbrellas were almost always let down or just felt manipulated because they were paying too much for the service.

    My advice is: Stick by your umbrella - you've accrued rights with them and, given you trust them, a good relationship with your umbrella will really help the way you work and reduce payroll stress. Agencies will sign off your compliance eventually if you stand by your umbrella. If they don't, there are some fundamental issues with the way they are operating and treating their contractors. As of April 2021, when the off-payroll reforms come into the private sector, a lot more people will be using umbrellas (90% of contracting occurs in the private sector). The agencies that thrive and get good reputations won't be forcing you to use their preferred FCSA umbrellas.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jared Farr View Post
    You're completely correct, the FCSA isn't the way to go. It's a very smart marketing tactic conjured up by 3 of the biggest umbrellas in the UK (Giant, Parasol and BrooksonOne, when they were just Brookson before the VAT Scandal). This is not to say that an FCSA umbrella won't provide a good service, but they'll do it at a throat-punch price because they're charging for that 'FCSA-quality' accreditation. I have worked alongside contractors who have never used FCSA because they actively detest it, and some who have used it because they've been put in a position like the one that kicked off this thread. Those who used FCSA umbrellas were almost always let down or just felt manipulated because they were paying too much for the service.

    My advice is: Stick by your umbrella - you've accrued rights with them and, given you trust them, a good relationship with your umbrella will really help the way you work and reduce payroll stress. Agencies will sign off your compliance eventually if you stand by your umbrella. If they don't, there are some fundamental issues with the way they are operating and treating their contractors. As of April 2021, when the off-payroll reforms come into the private sector, a lot more people will be using umbrellas (90% of contracting occurs in the private sector). The agencies that thrive and get good reputations won't be forcing you to use their preferred FCSA umbrellas.
    Agencies have no legal requirement to accept an umbrella they haven't themselves approved - and why would they when it's impossible from the agency side of thing to tell if an umbrella is legitimate or not. Now it's likely that FCSA membership isn't the comfort blanket that the agency thinks it is but by insisting on FCSA membership they would have covered themselves were things to go seriously pearshaped and the agency ended up in court for using said umbrella.

    FCSA membership does provide agencies with a completely hassle free way of determining in 30 seconds if the umbrella is going to cause them problems or not. Visit FCSA website confirm umbrella is a member, take screenshot = due diligence complete.
    Last edited by madame SasGuru; 27th August 2020 at 16:33.

  7. #7

    Question What is really going on here?

    I have a legitimate concern about FCSA Umbrella costs and ask for advice in the forum and two of the people who replied are banned for questioning the practises of the FCSA.

    A quick google search suggested that FCSA accredited Umbrellas are involved in some pretty unscrupulous activity such as withholding holiday pay from contract workers and multi million pound VAT avoidance

    The whole thing stinks and I will have to pay around £400 a year more for the privilege.

  8. #8

    bored now

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Prawn Sandwich View Post
    I have a legitimate concern about FCSA Umbrella costs and ask for advice in the forum and two of the people who replied are banned for questioning the practises of the FCSA.

    A quick google search suggested that FCSA accredited Umbrellas are involved in some pretty unscrupulous activity such as withholding holiday pay from contract workers and multi million pound VAT avoidance

    The whole thing stinks and I will have to pay around £400 a year more for the privilege.
    But you don't have a legitimate concern - you just dislike the price of the umbrella companies your agency is willing to trust.

    And those posters didn't post accurate answers just inaccurate answers that you happen to like the look of.

    And while I don't like the FCSA (and I know they really, really don't like me) there is nothing anyone can do to force an agency to use an umbrella they don't want to work with. So being blunt, yep the rate may be low and £40 a month may be significant to you but it's better to be paid something rather than nothing and your other option is not working and getting paid nothing.
    merely at clientco for the entertainment

  9. #9

    Some things in Moderation

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Prawn Sandwich View Post
    I have a legitimate concern about FCSA Umbrella costs and ask for advice in the forum and two of the people who replied are banned for questioning the practises of the FCSA.
    Because they were sockies belonging to the same puppet master with an axe to grind.
    "I can put any old tat in my sig, put quotes around it and attribute to someone of whom I've heard, to make it sound true."
    - Voltaire/Benjamin Franklin/Anne Frank...

  10. #10

    bored now

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    It's a shame that the OP didn't look at the details of the FCSA members as Pendragon Consultancy • Accredited Member FCSA shows 1 who charges £12 a week (I only know as they are a banner advertiser on here). So there you are.

    And for most agency umbrellas the cost is due to the umbrella recovering the "marketing fees" required to be on an agency's PSL.
    merely at clientco for the entertainment

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