When Shouldn’t You Use an Umbrella Company?

When an Umbrella Company isn’t right for you

What is an Umbrella Company and how does it work?


An umbrella company employs a contractor, therefore acting as an intermediatory between the contractor and client.

As the contractor’s employer, the umbrella company takes on a range of roles and responsibilities on the contractor’s behalf.

Firstly, the umbrella company pays the contractor a salary. The umbrella company collects the fee directly from the client and will then process it through the PAYE system, meaning the contractor’s tax and National Insurance obligations are taken care of. This means that the contractor isn’t faced with having to file for self-assessment which can often be time consuming and complex.

This also means that there’s no need for the contractor to invoice the client and chase any late payments, as this is all taken care of for them.

What’s more, as an employee of the umbrella company, the contractor also receives statutory rights, including holiday pay, sick pay, maternity and paternity pay and a workplace pension.

This is seen as a welcome benefit by many umbrella contractors as it means should they wish to take a break, or unexpectedly become ill, they will still get paid. Find out more about statutory payments for contractors in our handy guide.

An umbrella company will also deal with tasks such as paperwork, admin and things like processing expenses. This means that the contractor is free to get on with the contract at hand, while the business side of being a contractor is taken care of by the company.

For these reasons, the umbrella company route is considered an easy and hassle-free way of contracting by thousands.

However, there are other options when it comes to contracting, mainly contracting as a self-employed contractor. In this case, the contractor must set up their own limited company which they will then contract through.

Why not use an Umbrella Company?


Some contractors might choose the limited company route over using an umbrella company.

Here, the contractor is responsible for finding their own contract work, negotiating the terms and fee with the client directly, chasing payments from the client, filing for self-assessment and calculating what they owe in tax and National Insurance.

As well as these tasks, the contractor must also take on the roles and responsibilities that come with running their own company, including paperwork and admin.

The benefits to the limited company route are that the contractor has complete freedom over their contracting career and finances, which is why some contractors might consider taking this route over the umbrella company route.

However, it is worth considering that running a limited company whilst also taking on a contracting role can be time intensive and energy consuming.

After all, tasks like filing for self-assessment can be tricky and complex, so many limited company contractors will use the services of an accountant, which comes at an additional cost to the contractor. The self-employed contractor also gets paid their fee before tax and National Insurance are deducted from it, meaning they have to plan carefully to ensure they set aside enough to cover their tax bill.

A limited company contractor also has to set aside time to deal with running a business, including doing their own book keeping, paperwork and admin. Again, this can take up the contractor’s precious time and energy which could be focused elsewhere.

Another consideration worth noting is that self-employed contractors do not receive the statutory benefits that an umbrella company contractor does. This means that if they wish to take a holiday, or indeed they unexpectedly fall ill and have to take a break from the contract, they will not get paid and will not receive statutory pay, meaning these costs must be covered from the contractor’s own pocket.

What about IR35?


Every contractor will have heard about infamous IR35 legislation. This was the piece of legislation that was set up to stop contractors from claiming to be self-employed and therefore enjoying the tax benefits of this, yet that actually worked more like employees.

The great news for umbrella company contractors is that they are exempt from IR35. After all, they are employed by the umbrella company, meaning the legislation doesn’t apply to them.

However, the same can’t be said for limited company contractors.

In 2017, reforms were made to the legislation which made it the responsibility of the client, rather than the contractor themselves, to establish the contractor’s IR35 status within the public sector. This lead to thousands of contractors being wrongly classified as inside IR35 and paying a lot more in tax than they should be.

In April this year, these same rules were extended to the private sector, leading to thousands of limited company contractors being badly impacted. For this reason, many have now switched, or are considering switching to umbrella.

If this is the case, Umbrella Supermarket are here to help with the next steps.

Umbrella Supermarket are here to help


If you’ve decided umbrella is the right option for you, it’s time to find the best umbrella company out there for you. That’s where we can help.

Simply use our handy umbrella calculator and we will show you a list of the best suited umbrella providers for your needs, based on your contractor rates and preferences. We will even show you how much you will get paid with each, showing you what your payslip will look like with each provider.

Ready to make the move to umbrella today?

Would you like more information on When Shouldn’t You Use an Umbrella Company??

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.


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.


Choose Between PAYE or Umbrella

How to Choose Between PAYE or Umbrella

Every contractor faces the decision between PAYE or umbrella, but how do you know which is the best option for you?

After all, PAYE and umbrella both have key differences, meaning contractors should do their research to find the best path for them.

Thankfully, Umbrella Supermarket is here to help. In this guide, we take a look at PAYE vs. umbrella, explaining what you should know before making the all-important decision.