With hundreds of PAYE umbrella companies operating in the UK, it may seem impossible to choose between providers. However, there are a number of web-based resources dedicated to providing umbrella company reviews and ratings.
Perhaps one of the most useful and objective ways to help choose the best umbrella scheme is via recommendation from colleagues, although this isn’t always possible, especially if you are new to contract employment.
Umbrella company review sites
Over the past few years, a number of online umbrella comparison sites have emerged, providing ratings and comments on the leading umbrella schemes. Unfortunately, as with many mainstream comparison sites, ‘reviews’ and ‘ratings’ can be manipulated by eager service providers, and others, attempting to skew results in their favour. Interestingly enough, most of the top slots in the rankings are coincidentally occupied by companies who also advertise on such sites.
If you do take the ratings with a pinch of salt, the following comparison sites do still provide useful information on hundreds of schemes, including details of fees, benefits, as well as contact details.
- Freelance Supermarket is possibly the most widely used. Click on the ‘league tables’ at the top menu to access details including location, compliance information, benefits, and any audits the company has undergone in recent years.
- Contractor Supermarket has also been around for several years. If you can get past the design which seems to have time-warped back to 1999, you can access a ‘Top 100 UK umbrella company rankings’ which provide useful data.
- Another site, Umbrella Detective, has been a good source of information in the past, but is currently being redesigned, according to the home page.
Other sources for useful umbrella information
The leading contractor forums at Contractor UK are probably the best source of objective information on the UK’s umbrella offerings, as they contain honest (good and bad) reviews of all the leading companies. The forum is well moderated, so it is virtually impossible for umbrella company employees to post false positive posts without being spotted at once! The Accounting & Legal board is the one to go to.
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- ClearSky Accounting - specialist support for contractors
- Visit Hiscox for Professional Indemnity and Business Liability Insurance
- Contractor Finance - up to £30,000, when you need it
- InTouch Contractor Accountants - Personal Online Accounting
- Join PCG - Free impartial start-up advice for contractors.
- Visit Qdos Consulting for tax investigation cover and IR35 insurance.
- 90% Pay Retention for Contractors - Helix Management Ltd