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Umbrella Company Guides

What is an umbrella company?

An umbrella company is a company that contractors can choose to work through as an alternative to setting up their own limited company business.

The umbrella company acts as their employer, and as the intermediary between the contractor and their recruitment agency or end client.

They handle all the administration and payroll, so it means you don’t have to deal with any of the administrative tasks or responsibilities that come with running a limited company like accounting and taxes.

The umbrella company will invoice your agency or end client, get paid for the work that you do, and pay you through PAYE, deducting costs like national insurance contributions and tax.

female umbrella company contractor

Why work through an umbrella company?

Contractors may choose to work through an umbrella company for a number of reasons.

They are beneficial for when you are first starting out as a contractor, as it is more straightforward than setting up and running a limited company, which can be a little confusing when you first set out.

Similarly if you are only planning to contract for a short amount of time. An umbrella company is the simpler option; you don’t want to go through the process of setting a limited company only to have to dissolve it in the future.

You might also choose to work through an umbrella company if you are working on a contract which is inside IR35, as the tax benefits of working through a limited company in this scenario can be reduced and the administration increased. You may even find that in some cases your recruitment agency or end client specify that they will only work with you through an umbrella company now due to IR35 reform.

Find out more about working through an umbrella company in the guides below, on the government website, or check out our list of trusted umbrella companies here.

A contracting career does not necessarily mean flying entirely solo.  For many, an umbrella company represents the ideal balance between the independence of the contractor and the convenience of the employee.

Typical pricing structures, average fees, extra costs and red flags for umbrella companies. 

Find out what an umbrella company can offer and whether it's for you or not. 

Understand what an umbrella company is and the process of working one.  

How comparing umbrella companies can fetch you the best deal, and what to look out for. 

What should contractors be looking for from an umbrella company?

Knowing the pros and cons of operating under an umbrella company can help you to make an informed decision as to the best business model for your contracting career.

Myths about umbrellas are still being peddled, by their critics and impersonators.

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