Archive for the
‘Contractor’ Category

There are many routes one can take if they want to have the flexibility of how they work. One of those ways is the path of the freelancer or contractor. These are the ones that can go from contract to contract or company to company and can have a more flexible lifestyle. For example, they can take time off between working arrangements or continue to work as much as they can handle.

Even as a contractor, there are some options that you need to consider. Once you go down that route, there are a lot of items that you need to handle, much akin to running your own operations or business.

You need to take a lot of administrative work and fees if you choose to become a solo operation. You may even consider incorporating in some capacity as a way to protect yourself, but then everything has to be handled by you. Your taxes, payroll, insurance, deductions, and pretty much everything else will need to be taken by yourself.

The other alternative to working as a contractor is to also partner up with an umbrella company. This term is a company that will handle all the administrative hassle and should set you up on a PAYE (Pay As You Earn) scheme.

There’s no need for an accountant ever, as everything is handled by the umbrella company you are working with. Just take a mental note that you want to save everything still because if the tax authorities have any questions, they will always default to going to the contractor and not to the umbrella company.

The liability of everything still falls onto the contractor with everything, and the umbrella company is there only as that support for administrative issues.

How do I pick the right umbrella company?

There are multiple umbrella company options out there, and it’s essential to compare umbrella companies. Take your time with it, as having a complete umbrella companies comparison will help arm you with exactly what you need to have.

You want to see all the various options, what the fees cover, and how much administrative hassle they do really take off your hands. Having an umbrella company may be the right option for you. Still, without comparing umbrella-type companies, you may find yourself in a situation that may have more headaches than benefits in the long run.

Doing a proper umbrella company compare task can also take a long time, as there are a lot of companies that will be going into your umbrella companies comparison.

You have to contact each one individually and then start listing down their benefits versus their fees and trying to see in your matrix which one was the right one for you when you finished, and there’s no longer a need to compare the umbrella companies. So, again, this is something that can take weeks to even a few months, depending on how long the process can take.

Another factor to factor in is that you may not know all the questions that need to be asked in your umbrella companies comparison. You may look at one set of benefits and completely miss out on other benefits.

You may not even take the time to compare umbrella companies and pick one quickly after spending so much time with just the first few companies. After all, you’re a contractor, and you want to have a focus on your current contracted position.

No one wants to be investing that much time on administrative tasks and also find someone to take care of those administrative tasks. The initial work starts to pile up and appears as a secondary job that doesn’t technically even pay. Sometimes the process can drag on for longer than the contract work itself.

Where can I go for assistance?

At Comparison Contractor, we handle all the heavy lifting and research into finding the right umbrella company for you. Our focus is to build out an umbrella company compare system that helps to facilitate your search for your next umbrella company.

We extensively review the changing parameters in the industry and add that to our recommendation when you reach out to us for umbrella companies comparison. The industry is constantly changing, and as it changes, we help only compare the umbrella companies that are also evolving correctly.

That means recommending those companies that are IR35 compliant, so you don’t have to spend money on additional insurance while at the same time also showcasing a variety of umbrella companies that offer a fixed payment schema.

There are some umbrella companies out there that we try to minimise in our umbrella companies comparison. They charge their fee on an ever-increasing scale, regardless of your contracts or pay increase. This element can be disheartening and detrimental as you start to see your pay go down while working on a long-term contract.

You can always come back and report to us if there’s an umbrella company that’s offering one plan but then switches out to a different type of plan, as our goal and mission is always to offer up the best types of umbrella companies for the job.

You can efficiently utilise our system and consultants to visualise your pay statement, depending on the selection of your umbrella company. Then, when you answer a few simple questions, we’ll reach out to you to offer our unbiased selection.

We’ve done all the work to compare umbrella companies for you, and you don’t have to handle the tedious task of making your own personal umbrella companies comparison.

Is an umbrella company right for me?

If you’re just starting out with your contractor career and lifestyle, it’s an excellent decision initially. It allows for you, as a contractor, to focus on working your best for each client, as well as put your energy into finding more clients.

All the paperwork to keep you compliant with HMRC is handed over, and you just need to keep your receipts with you. In addition, working with an umbrella company will allow you to be taxed better as an employee, as you submit your timesheets to the umbrella company, instead of having to create tedious invoices that have their own sets of rules and standards.

You should always consider and weigh your options, but you won’t have to make the umbrella companies comparison while you think of which direction to take. Even if you aren’t fully set on which route you want to take, it would still benefit you to work with professionals in the area that compare umbrella companies for you. This way, you can have a snapshot directly in front of you to make the most informed decision possible.

There are a significant number of benefits to working with an umbrella company. Still, without that proper umbrella company compare exercise being done, it’s possible to find umbrella companies that may not be as honest or can be a bit unscrupulous in their offering.

The benefit of the lack of information out there at times is that it would benefit you to work with someone who has vetted the major players in the industry for you.

Find and compare the best UK umbrella companies today and maximise your take home pay by visiting:


What do you do with your free time between contracts? At Comparison Contractor, we think downtime between contracts is the perfect opportunity to invest in your professional development. We all know that employers value staff who keep their skills and knowledge current. In today’s competitive workplace, Ir35 contracting usually means that your CV is up against a large volume of competing applicants. Stand out from the crowd with fresh training at the top of your CV. 

Professional Associations

Training doesn’t have to be expensive. If you are a member of a professional association or union, be sure to sign up to their newsletter for details of training seminars, podcasts and networking events. 

Free Open University Courses

Don’t miss the free training courses on offer from the Open University. From management skills to technology and book-keeping courses, there’s something for everyone. Choose from 1,000 free online courses across 8 different subject areas. All courses are available to start straight away.

Below are just a few of the free courses that we think are ideal for contractors.

Introduction to Bookkeeping and Accounting

Learn about the essential numerical skills required for accounting and bookkeeping. This free course, Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting, explains the fundamental rules of double-entry bookkeeping and how they are used to produce the balance sheet and the profit and loss account.

Level 1: Introductory, 8 hours study

MSE’s Academy of Money

The Open University joined forces with MoneySavingExpert (MSE) to produce this course to give you the skills and knowledge to master your finances. The course was written by The OU, with MSE providing support and guidance. Packed with videos, audios, quizzes and activities, the course covers all the key aspects of personal finance in six sessions of study that each take around two hours to complete.

Level 1: Introductory, 12 hours study

Managing and Managing People

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand what is meant by management and managerial effectiveness
  • identify the roles which are fulfilled while working as a manager
  • identify managerial activities that contribute to managerial effectiveness
  • identify a cause of stress in managerial life from a range covering mismatches between capabilities and role, player-manager tension and everyday stressors
  • understand time pressures and the need for time management.

Level 3: Advanced, 8 hours study

Understanding Operations Management

Operations management is one of the central functions of all organisations. This free course will provide you with a basic framework for understanding this function, whether producing goods or services or in the private, public or voluntary sectors.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define ‘operations’ and ‘operations management’
  • identify the roles and responsibilities of operations managers in different organisational contexts
  • apply the ‘transformation model’ to identify the inputs, transformation processes and outputs of an organisation
  • identify operational and administrative processes
  • describe the boundaries of an operations system, and recognise its interfaces with other functional areas within the organisation and with its external environment.

Level 3: Advanced, 4 hours study

Strategic View Performance

Strategic management and planning are no longer the preserve of senior executives. This free course looks at three different approaches to strategy before analysing the direction that strategic management may take now that it has become an accumulation of small tactical decisions rather than a top-down process.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • explain the difference between a ‘markets approach’ and a ‘resource-based approach’ to strategy, and how they complement each other
  • explain what is meant by ‘the value chain’, and how it applies to an organisation
  • explain what is meant by ‘emergent strategy’ and why intended and actual strategy may differ
  • contribute more effectively to developing and implementing strategy in the organisation.

Level 3: Advanced, 4 hours study

Integrated Safety, Health and Environmental Management: An Introduction

Risk management involves many stakeholders and integrated management systems help to ensure that safety, quality, environmental and business risks are all managed correctly. The course also looks at emergency preparedness, that is, the management of emergencies and disasters.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define risk in the most appropriate way, and appreciate the need to prioritise risks
  • appreciate the costs of illness associated with workplace activities
  • describe in outline the development of models used to explain the cause of incidents and to promote prevention
  • recognise the multiple causes contributing to many incidents, and be able to represent them diagrammatically
  • illustrate the components of an integrated management system.

Level 3: Advanced, 15 hours study

Now that you’ve enrolled in an ideal short course, why not continue your search for the right contractor umbrella company to meet your needs? Head over to our take home pay calculator as a first step in your journey.


You may have visited our platform to find a contractor umbrella company, but we know that many people using our services are keen to tap into courses that help them develop their skills and expertise.

That’s why we have checked out the latest Open University free courses to give you a selection of what’s on offer. If you are in between contracts and would like to improve your knowledge in other disciplines, an Open University free online course may be just what you’re looking for. Ranging from Beginner Level 1 to Advanced Level 3, these courses can be started at any time and take between 4 and 24 study hours to complete. At the end you are awarded a Statement of Participation and some offer an additional Badge. A Badge demonstrates interest in a subject, evidence of professional development or a commitment to studies. They are awarded for completing all sections of a course and passing the assessments. You can download your Badge and Statement of Participation and add it to your LinkedIn profile and as a short course to your CV.


Here are just a few of the courses on offer.


COURSE 1: Forensic Psychology

Open University Level 1: Introductory, 24 hours study

After completing this course you will be able to:

  • understand the psychology of eyewitness testimony
  • develop skills in investigation
  • explore human cognition and discover the mistakes brains can make
  • discuss concepts of criminal investigation
  • consider the relationship between limitations of the human brain and miscarriages of justice.
  • Explore how your own mind works, and discover how the limitations of the human brain can lead to major miscarriages of justice.


COURSE 2: Introducing Healthcare Improvement

Open University Level 3: Advanced, 3 hours study

This short course explores quality improvement in healthcare settings.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define what is meant by quality improvement in healthcare
  • describe the different dimensions of quality improvement in healthcare.


COURSE 3: The Science of Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Open University Level 1: Introductory, 24 hours study

You’ll look at the science behind nutrition, covering aspects of biology, chemistry and physics as well as gaining insight into healthier eating.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate and understand how food is processed and then used in the body
  • apply knowledge to understand healthy eating advice and identify how it varies in different countries
  • make sense of food labels and perform basic calculations of energy in food
  • describe and know about food allergies and intolerances
  • describe and understand possible reasons for the current obesity epidemic.


COURSE 4: Public Health and Mental Health Promotion

Open University Level 2: Intermediate, 6 hours study

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of developments, strategies and the role of nurses in the delivery of public health policies
  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of a range of mental health models and approaches to inform practice
  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of partnership working with service users, carers and their families across a range of care models and philosophies used within mental health.


COURSE 5: Exploring the Psychological Aspects of Sport Injury

Open University Level 2: Intermediate, 24 hours study

Sport injury is relatively common among sport and exercise participants, and while the physical impact of injury is often easy to recognise, the psychological impact is not understood.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the psychological factors that may lead to a sport injury
  • recognise the role sport and exercise psychology intervention can play in the prevention of injury
  • evaluate psychological responses to sport injury
  • identify psychological interventions that can aid rehabilitation from injury.


COURSE 6: Designing Space for Dementia Care

Open University Level 1: Introduction, 8 hours study

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the ways in which society can disable people
  • discuss how the design of space can be an important aspect of caring for someone with dementia
  • identify the key features of design that mitigate the symptoms of dementia.


COURSE 7: Integrated Safety, Health and Environmental Management: An Introduction

Open University Level 3: Advanced, 15 hours study

Risk management involves many stakeholders and integrated management systems help to ensure that safety, quality, environmental and business risks are all managed correctly. The course also looks at emergency preparedness, that is, the management of emergencies and disasters.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • define risk in the most appropriate way, and appreciate the need to prioritise risks
  • appreciate the costs of illness associated with workplace activities
  • describe in outline the development of models used to explain the cause of incidents and to promote prevention
  • recognise the multiple causes contributing to many incidents, and be able to represent them diagrammatically
  • illustrate the components of an integrated management system.


Whenever you are ready to continue your search for the right contractor umbrella company to suit your needs, head over to our take home pay calculator as a first step in your research.




2020 is bringing contractors plenty of fresh challenges. Here at Comparison Contractor, we aim to connect you with umbrella companies that can make your work life easier. But unusual working conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic also bring an opportunity for self-improvement. Like you, the team at Comparison Contractor are always looking for ways to add new skills that can help us personally and professionally. As a team of avid readers, each year a multitude of books are published that help us make gains at home and in the office. We have reviewed the best of the best 2020 and think these books should be a part of your reading list as the year progresses.

The Non-Obvious Guide to Emotional Intelligence

Author: Kerry Goyette

This is a guide to connecting with your people, your customers, and the world around you. Goyette’s book shows how to build more effective relationships, develop better environments, and lead in a more purposeful manner.

What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

Author: Stephen Schwarzman

Autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders are always top of our reading list. If you are eager to learn how people navigated the business world to get where they are, then delve into the world of business leader autobiographies. In this book, Schwarzman outlines his path from student to CEO of Blackstone, one of the most successful investment firms in the world. This is particularly good read for those who are just starting out on their careers.

The Empathy Edge: Harnessing the Value of Compassion as an Engine for Success

Author: Maria Ross

Empathy is an absolute necessity for businesses, and this book is a great resource on the way it plays into the leadership, brand, and culture for companies of all sizes.

Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You for Greater Success

Author: Leonard Kim and Ryan Foland

Have you ever felt that it was important to look and act the part of the professional without really knowing what that meant? Kim and Foland show that it’s far more important to be human and connect with others through vulnerabilities. Essentially, this book is a guide about being successful by being yourself.

The Bezos Letters: 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon

Author: Steve Anderson

We all know that Amazon is one of the most successful companies in the world. Jeff Bezos, the man who built it, is of interest to entrepreneurs who want to make their companies similarly impactful. Anderson breaks down Bezos’ 14 principles of growth to show readers how they can take lessons from one of history’s most successful entrepreneurs and apply them to their own companies.

How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything So They Can Achieve Anything

Author: Erin Falconer

If you are a woman and feel you are juggling a lot of stuff in order to stay on top of your business goals, then this might be the book for you. It looks at the specific challenges women face in their professional lives. Falconer helps women to decide what matters and shows them how to build their own individualised productivity plan.

Once you’ve ordered a few books to inspire and help improve your work life, why not head over to our easy finder tool for umbrella companies.


We know that many contractors have been inconvenienced by the travel restrictions introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of whether you are a director of a limited company or working for a contractor umbrella company, we know that your income and ability to take up positions may have been impacted. At Comparison Contractor, we appreciate that many contractors are keen to travel to mainland Europe as soon as restrictions are lifted. While flights may take months to return to normal, ferry operators are hoping to resume services for passengers from mid-June. If you need to get to Ireland or mainland Europe quickly, travelling by ferry could be the most reliable option this summer.

Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries says: “There are still significant questions about the lifting of travel restrictions across each of the four countries we serve. We’re still planning on a resumption of more passenger services from mid-June, but I have a sense this resumption is likely to be staggered, rather than signalling a full return to services.”

Mr Mathieu continues: “We’re currently operating a skeleton service for commercial traffic only. These sailings are not entirely viable without support, but the transit of critical goods is essential to all governments. Passenger services will return soon with several adaptations to keep everyone safe.”

Key adaptations to passenger services are expected to include:

  • Mandatory masks to be worn in public areas by crew and passengers, both on board and in the ports
  • Intensified cleaning schedules
  • Widespread use of virucidal products
  • Passenger numbers to be scaled back to allow social distancing rules to be enforced
  • New catering solutions to replace buffets
  • Changes to the layout of stores and public areas

Customers are warned that the social distancing measures may result in boarding and disembarkation taking longer. There may also be changes to policies for foot passengers and cyclists. 

Flexible Bookings

Ferry operators are generally offering enhanced flexibility on new bookings with no cancellation penalties. Existing customers are being issued refund credit notes or refunds for crossings cancelled due to COVID-19.

Popular Routes

If you are used to flying, you might not be aware of the quantity of ferry routes from the UK. Portsmouth International ferry port provides a hub for those travelling to France, Spain, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. Plymouth and Newhaven also provide a gateway to France, Spain and the Channel Islands.

Dover, the world’s busiest port, operates from to Calais and Dunkirk, both of which provide excellent train links into mainland Europe. This channel crossing is generally the fastest, most frequent and cheapest route between Mainland Europe and the UK.

If you need to get to Holland or Germany, consider Harwich to the Hook of Holland, the most direct route. The service is operated by the Stena Line ‘Super ferries’ and operates twice daily, all year round (pre-COVID-19). There are daily overnight services from the north of England to Amsterdam from Newcastle and to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge from Hull.

If you’re travelling to Ireland, you can sail from Liverpool to Dublin and Belfast (around 8 hours). Crossings also go to Wales and Scotland and are faster. Routes include Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke to Dublin and Rosslare. Alternatively, you can sail from the Scottish ports of Cairnryan and Troon to Belfast and Larne in the North of Ireland.

Comparison Contractor finds the best umbrella company for your needs, but we appreciate that getting to the job may be a challenge right now! If you are in doubt about the safety of travelling to a new country, check out the government’s travel advice website for the latest updates.