What 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.

  • Recommendations

    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.

  • Tax

    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.

  • Exit Fees

    If you decide to leave the company, can you do so without exit penalties?

  • Insurance

    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.