Top Tips for Comparing Umbrella Companies

What to look out for when comparing Umbrella Companies

Because of their growing popularity, hundreds of umbrella companies have popped up in recent times.

Although it’s great to have choice, this can also make it difficult and often confusing for contractors to find the best umbrella company for them. After all, no two umbrella companies are the same.

To find the perfect match for your contracting needs, there are certain factors to take into consideration.

In this guide, Umbrella Supermarket outline our top tips for comparing umbrella companies in 2021, so you can find the best fit for you.

Use an umbrella calculator

The best way to compare umbrella companies is by using our umbrella company calculator.

By simply entering a few key details, such as your day rate and preferences, our award-winning calculator will generate a list of the umbrella companies best suited to you.

Now, you will be able to compare umbrella companies based on the following:


In return for their services, every umbrella company will charge fees.

However, fees vary from one company to the other and therefore it is always necessary to compare the company’s fees to ensure you get a fair deal.

When comparing umbrella fees it is important to look at how the company charges their fees. Companies can charge fees as either:

  • Fixed fees: this is a set fee which is taken from the contractor’s pay either monthly or weekly.
  • Percentage fees: this is where the umbrella company takes a percentage of a contractor’s pay. This is dependent on how much they earn, so as their earnings increase, so do the fees.

Many contractors understandably prefer the fixed fee option. After all, paying a percentage fee means paying more for the same level of services if you begin to earn more.

Another thing to look out for when comparing umbrella company fees are smaller, one-off fees companies can sometimes charge. These include things like joining fees, exit fees and fees for processing expenses. Although they are often small one-time fees, they still need to be accounted for.


Another key factor to account for when comparing umbrella companies is the level of insurance they offer.

As your employer, an umbrella company is required to provide employers’ liability insurance to protect the contractor financially if they fall ill or are injured at work. However, some contractors may require further levels of cover depending on the contract at hand.

It’s always useful to find out whether the company offers public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance. These are typically a requirement laid out in the contract, however as they are not a legal requirement, it’s always useful to check whether the company offers them as part of their services. Otherwise you may have to bear the cost yourself.

Some contractors require other types of insurance depending on their industry and role, so it’s always best to check whether the company can cater to your needs.

Payment terms

Payment terms are a significant factor to take into consideration when choosing an umbrella company, and there are many important questions surrounding the issue.

Every contractor wants to know exactly when they will get paid and umbrella companies provide different payment options from daily, weekly, fortnightly to monthly. Clearly, different contractors will have different preferences, so it’s important to find a company that caters to your needs.

Another factor to take into consideration is how easy it is to get paid.

Every contractor knows the importance of getting paid on time which is why it is important to avoid companies that force you to jump through loopholes to submit timesheets. Additionally, it is important to look out for any indications of payments being delayed, such as requirements for timesheets to be signed off.

Finally, always look out for any red flags.

Steer clear from umbrella companies who claim to offer you a more ‘tax efficient’ way of working. This this is not possible due to the fact that every umbrella contractor pays tax through the PAYE system.

Some companies will offer to split the contractor’s salary into 2 or more payments, with just one payment going through the PAYE system, pay via a capital advance agreement or make payments through an offshore structure in order for you to pay less tax.

This will in fact do the contractor more harm in the long run as you are liable for your own tax responsibilities.


The final factor to look at when comparing umbrella companies is their reputation.

No contractor wants to work with a company with a poor reputation, which is why spending time researching companies and looking at reviews is key.

Though a simple online search you can find out important credentials such as how long the company has been operating, the number of contractors they have worked with, what reviews they have received, if they have any history of working with contractors in your sector and if they have any other accreditations that can boost trust.

Find the best umbrella company for your needs with the help of Umbrella Supermarket

Now you know exactly what to look out for when comparing umbrella companies, why not try out our handy umbrella calculator to find the perfect company for you? Using Umbrella Supermarket’s award winning comparison tool, we will generate a list of the best companies catered to your specific needs in just 2 minuets.

If you’re ready to see what our umbrella calculator can do for you in 2021, simply start by entering a few key details and we will do the rest. Thousands of contractors are moving to umbrella companies, are you?

Would you like more information on Top Tips for Comparing Umbrella Companies?

Explore More Resources

Decision Making

Is PAYE Better Than Umbrella?

If you are considering contracting you will need to decide on PAYE or umbrella.

It can be a difficult decision to make and contractors will inevitably be questioning which option will be the best for them.

To help every contractor get on the right track for them, in this guide Umbrella Supermarket looks at PAYE vs umbrella, outlining the key differences and how this will impact you.

using an umbrella company

Why Should Contractors use an Umbrella Company?

There are many reasons that contractors across the UK opt to work under an umbrella company.

Umbrella companies offer an easy way to contract and remove the need for the contractors to worry about the burdens of admin, finances, tax and IR35, all things that limited company contractors have to deal with.

For this reason, many contractors will be weighing up their options and questioning whether it is worth using an umbrella company in 2021. To help make the decision that little bit easier, Umbrella Supermarket has put together this guide on the pros and cons of using an umbrella company.


umbrella company fees

Does an Umbrella Company Charge Fees?

Any contractor that is considering operating through an umbrella company in 2021 will need to understand Umbrella Company fees - from why an umbrella company charges fees, how they are paid to how much the contractor will pay.

In this guide, Umbrella Supermarket answers those all-important questions to help every contractor know exactly where they stand when it comes to umbrella company fees.


What makes a good umbrella company

What Makes a Good Umbrella Company?

If you’ve made the decision to contract through an umbrella company in 2021, you will next need to find an umbrella company that’s right for you.

After all, there are lots of umbrella companies out there, so how do you know which one to choose?

To help you find the best umbrella company for you, in this guide Umbrella Supermarket outlines what makes a good umbrella company, so you can rest assured you’re making the right move.

umbrella company pensions

Guide to Umbrella Company Pensions

One of the many advantages to operating through an umbrella company for contractors is that they become an employee of their chosen provider.

In turn, this means that the contractor will be automatically enrolled onto the umbrella company’s workplace pension scheme.

To help contractors find out more about umbrella company pensions Umbrella Supermarket has put together this handy guide.


using an umbrella company

Beginner’s Guide to Using an Umbrella Company

If you are considering contracting through an umbrella company you will naturally have questions and queries over how they work.

After all, making the move to umbrella can be a big step for contractors. To help, in this guide Umbrella Supermarket explains how to get started with an umbrella company and share our top tips for using one in 2021.


PAYE and Umbrella

Guide to PAYE vs. Umbrella

PAYE or umbrella is a question asked by every contractor. Which one you opt for will have a big impact on your contracting career and lifestyle. So, it's important to make the right decision for you.

To help makes things a little bit easier, Umbrella Supermarket has put together this guide on PAYE or umbrella, outlining the key differences between each, to help you make the best and most informed decision for you.

Holiday Pay for Umbrella Contractors

Complete Guide to Holiday Pay for Umbrella Contractors

One of the many benefits to working through an umbrella company is that you will receive holiday pay as well as a range of other statutory benefits including sick pay, maternity and paternity pay.

To find out more about umbrella company holiday pay, and how to calculate how much you will be entitled to, Umbrella Supermarket has put together this handy guide.

umbrella company

When Shouldn’t You Use an Umbrella Company?

Contractors must make several decisions throughout their contracting careers. One big decision contractors have to make is how they will operate.

One way that contractors can work is through an umbrella company.

Umbrella companies have become an increasingly popular way to contract in the past few years, offering many benefits to the contractor. But, how do you know whether this option is right for you?

To help every contractor make the right decision for them, in this guide, Umbrella Supermarket explains when not to use an umbrella company.


The truth about HMRC approved Umbrella Companies

There are tons of benefits to using an umbrella company, which is why they have become such a popular option for contractors in recent years.

After all, an umbrella company takes away the stress and hassle of operating through a limited company whilst offering contractors a range of advantages, such as statutory rights, paying them a salary, deducting correct tax levels and National Insurance, and taking care of tasks like expense processing and invoicing.

However, as more and more contractors opt to use the services of an umbrella company, more providers have started to claim that they are HMRC approved.

To bust the myths around HMRC approved umbrella companies and get straight to the facts, in today's guide Umbrella Supermarket look at whether HMRC approved umbrella companies really exist, so you know exactly where you stand.

umbrella company costs

How Much are Umbrella Company Costs?

If you're considering making the leap to contracting, you will understandably want to know how much you will have to pay in umbrella company costs. After all, this amount comes directly out of the contractor’s pocket, so it’s important to be clued up on how much you should expect to pay.

To help contractors, in this guide Umbrella Supermarket answer the all-important question of how umbrella companies cost in 2021.