What we do
Contractor Supermarket is a one-stop comparison site that helps UK based contractors find resources that help them manage their business more effectively.
We know that with the freedom of contracting work comes a great deal of personal responsibility. We’re here to keep you up-to-date and informed of the umbrella services available to you and your contracting business.
Many contractors find that outsourcing the more administrative aspects of their job to an umbrella agency allows them a new level of freedom and protection from common pitfalls such as chasing a client’s late payment or navigating the complexity of tax law.
Whether you’re looking for the best UK umbrella company for contractors, an effective pension scheme, payroll services, a loan, mortgage or accounting, we provide a detailed comparisons of top companies so you can determine which contractor services work best for you.
We use our industry expertise to answer frequently asked questions, decode industry jargon and troubleshoot common issues that affect contractors.
We’re independent, impartial and focused on helping contractors and freelancers find the right fit for their business needs.
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Frequently asked questions
Which umbrella company is the best?
Finding the best umbrella company can be an arduous task. There are so many umbrellas out there and not all of them have the most scrupulous business practices. It is possible to find the best umbrella company as long as you know the right questions to ask. Here’s a guide to identifying the best umbrella companies in the UK.
Consult your professional contacts for their opinions on the best UK umbrella company. An umbrella contractor will give you a much truer picture of an umbrella company’s practices than that company’s website.
Your workers rights
Is the company you’re considering compliant with Agency Worker Regulations (AWR)? This means you are entitled to at paid annual leave, discrimination rights and regular rest breaks. However, because of a piece of legislation called the Swedish Derogation Model, if an umbrella company pays you a wage when you’re between contracts, you waive your entitlement to a pay level to that of permanent employee working on any given contract. You should also receive a full contract of employment.
Umbrella company fees
All umbrella companies in the UK charge a weekly or monthly fee for their services. However, different companies have different fee structures and some charge extra for certain services like expenses processing. Avoid any company that tries to squeeze you in this way.
Umbrella PAYE practices mean that you don’t have to worry about paying your taxes and National Insurance as they’ve already been taken from your wages. Make sure that your chosen umbrella company has been independently assessed for compliance with HMRC rules so that you don’t receive any nasty surprises come the end of the tax year.
How will you be paid?
Traditionally, contractor umbrella companies used to pay their workers through BACS, which took 2-3 days. However, plenty of companies offer Faster Payment Transfers which hit your bank account on the same day, at no extra cost.
If you decide to leave the company, can you do so without exit penalties?
Clients often require contractors to have Professional Indemnity insurance – some umbrella companies provide this for their workers but if yours doesn’t, you’ll have to shoulder the expense yourself.