Which Umbrella is the best for peace of mind? (LOAN??) Which Umbrella is the best for peace of mind? (LOAN??)
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  1. #1

    Nervous Newbie

    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Default Which Umbrella is the best for peace of mind? (LOAN??)

    Hi all,

    I want to start with one Umbrella and I read many things very confused about them.

    Some Umbrellas offered me 81.5% of my gross payroll and another ones the 74%.

    Some Umbrellas add in the Payroll the extrange concept of LOAN...Is it possible they required me this amount in the future? I am very afraid about this.

    Thanks a lot to everybody.

    Best Regards.

  2. #2


    Join Date
    Jun 2011


    A big welcomo to CUK by the way ...

    First of all, different umbrellas promising you a much higher percentage of take home pay are probably best avoided. Feel free to read past threads here and some horror stories from some contractors who have been left without payment. Avoid dodgy loan plans like the plague

    Second, you will pay the same tax and NI regardless of umbrella. That is not something for the umbrella to determine, that is HMRC.

    Third, some may say you can claim for this and that, such as food, mileage, clothing, etc. However some like to take the mick and rope you in by "maximising" your claims. Honest ones state that you can claim for what you need to do the job but they require most, if not all receipts. This is the best thing to do (keep your receipts) as some people do get audited. If you have a massive amount of claims without evidence, it isn't the umbrella company in for the high-jump, it's you.

    Fourth, what matters is the rate they take and their service. Some may take a lower rate, but be absolutely awful. Don't make it all about the price.

    I went through a big long list a while back, after a bad experience with Paramount Solutions. They ended up being so bad, I had to do my own tax return as they screwed everything up. Whenever I used to call them, I would hear the Coronation Street daytime replays in the background, bad omen!

    I went with Gabem as they were the best out of an approved list for one agency but given the choice I would go with Excellium. Excellium were great when I called them. The guy was really nice and helpful. From what I could discern, they had competitive rates on the lower end. They offered admin like picture messaging/emailing receipts from a mobile without quibbling and responded instantly to my enquiries, unlike taking hours like some others.

    It is up to you to decide what is important, but for me, umbrellas that:
    - Have an NGN and no local number, are an automatic no. When I am out in the field, calling an 0800/0870/0845 number from my mobile costs a fortune.
    - Another personal dislike is ones with bad service. If they can't muster enthusiasm, email you instantly or do their best to find the answer to complex questions before you sign up, imagine how they will treat you once you do.
    - Ones that bend over backwards to help me and seem to care about their clients, get a thumbs up from me.

    Trust your instincts and make them work for you. You pay them to absolve you of the hassle of a LTD company, otherwise what's the point of using an umbrella?

    You may find there are a few umbrella representatives on here who might help with any complex questions.

  3. #3

    Umbrella Queen

    LisaContractorUmbrella's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006


    As Wim121 says, umbrella companies operate PAYE which means that, other than the consideration for their margin, your deductions will be exactly the same for every company. Income tax is worked out as a percentage of your earnings (from 20% - 50% depending on income) and this is applied on amounts over your tax free allowance which is dependent on your tax code; this year the standard code is 810L which means that you can earn up to £8109 per annum before income tax is applied. National insurance contributions are also calculated as a percentage on amounts over a fixed threshold.

    You may be entitled to claim certain expenses but what is allowable is determined by HMR&C and not by your umbrella company so, what you can claim through one should be the same as you could claim through any other. You can only claim for costs that you actually incur regardless of what may be stated on an umbrella company dispensation (which is granted by HMR&C and is purely an accounting tool that means the umbrella company will not have to complete thousands of form P11d's for HMR&C at the end of the financial year).

    As well as umbrella companies there are lots and lots of other payroll companies that operate in a variety of ways; you will find schemes through Google that will guarantee 90% take home pay. However, these schemes are all widely acknowledged as being high risk and therefore you should make sure that you are fully aware of all the potential tax liabilities before embarking on such a scheme.

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