More and more of us are turning to freelancing to take control of our finances and reduce our reliance on other people and companies. In fact, entrepreneurship around the world is at an all-time high, fueled by technology and the changing job market. But as a freelancer, you’ll know that you work harder than the average worker, managing everything from marketing to accounting. To help, we’ve rounded up top tips on saving time and money as a freelancer…
Work with your clients direct to avoid service cuts
Many freelancers find clients through portals like Fiverr, PeoplePerHour and UpWork, and though these are useful for connecting you with clients, they’re expensive. Such apps and websites take anywhere from 10% to 30% of your earnings, which is unfair to freelancers and makes it harder for you to make a profit on each project. Where possible, take those projects away from job websites to email and Zoom calls; you’ll save yourself a fortune!
Ask for payment via Bank Transfer rather than PayPal
Sick of paying ludicrous amounts in fees and exchange rates? Ask your clients to pay you directly rather than through portals like PayPal. Even a 50-pence fee can add up over a few months, costing you hundreds of pounds per year that you could be holding onto. Save it!
Consider becoming “employed” for time savings
If you’re working as a contractor under an agency, you might want to consider the benefits of working with an umbrella contracting company. Doing so means you’ll become an employee of someone else’s organization, and all tax and National Insurance will be deducted before you are paid. It means you don’t need an accountant or bookkeeper – as long as you hand over a timesheet at the end of each week, you’ll be paid hassle-free as if you were their staff.
Make sure you keep track of all of your expenses
Something else to bear in mind is expenses and keeping a clear track of everything you spend to deliver the services you do. That might be your lunch money when meeting clients face to face, the software you use for your preconstruction, or uniforms when you’re on-site. Keep an expense diary and remember to include it when you’re filling in an annual tax return and self-assessment. You could alternatively give your expense sheet to your client to reimburse you, but remember that they’ll need proof – receipts, invoices, etc – to pay you.
Know when it’s time to incorporate a company instead
Although most freelancers and contractors operate as self-employed, there will come a time when your business grows and you need to incorporate a company instead. Should you need to register for VAT, for example, having a company makes it easier to keep track of your payments – and allows you to take on permanent members of staff who can help you grow your business. Speak to an accountant for advice on the best possible action plans.
There you have it – some top tips for freelancers in the UK. Let us know what you think of these and check back soon for more advice from the freelancing experts on our website.