Why do we only feature 10 umbrella companies and not all of them?

Why do we only feature 10 umbrella companies and not all of them?

We’ve recently received a comment from a reader who was curious why we only feature 10 umbrella companies on our website and not all of them. The comment also labelled umbrellacompanies.org.uk as a “pretty worthless site”, and the reader questioned the integrity of the umbrella company sector. We wanted to write a short article in response to this comment and explain our website’s purpose. 

What comment are we responding to?

Here’s the comment from a reader that we wanted to respond publicly to.

For those on mobile devices, the comment reads:

“Why do you only feature ten umbrella companies and not all of them? Pretty worthless site. Clearly these ten just pay you to feature. No wonder the whole sector stinks.”

Please keep reading and we’ll address the issues raised in the comment.

What does umbrellacompanies.org.uk set out to achieve?

Founded in 2010, the umbrellacompanies.org.uk website has set out to provide dependable information for the UK’s temporary workforce. Here’s some more information about the site and what we are trying to achieve.

Umbrella companies have experienced unprecedented demand since changes to off-payroll in the public sector (2017) and private sector (2021). Hundreds of thousands of temporary workers have opted to use an umbrella company for their payroll – many of whom had never used an umbrella company before.

For those new to umbrella companies – there is a lot of information to take on board. This is why umbrellacompanies.org.uk was created – to provide helpful information to the UK’s temporary workforce. There are a few great sites out there, but we couldn’t find one dedicated to umbrella companies.

Our site is full of information about umbrella companies, including how they work, the importance of choosing a compliant umbrella company, the dangers of tax avoidance schemes, and more. There is also guest content from some of the UK’s leading umbrella companies, and we’re always trying to encourage more umbrella companies to contribute.

The team behind umbrellacompanies.org.uk don’t claim to be experts. However, we’re here to try and help the UK’s contingent workforce, and we hope the website provides our readers with valuable information.

We’re not telling our readers what to do – quite the opposite. Throughout the site, we make it clear that a lot of due diligence is required before committing to the services of an umbrella company. However, we’ve created loads of content designed to make choosing an umbrella company easy, including:

We also try our best to explain complex legislation and accusations of malpractice within the sector. For example, we have written about the accrued holiday pay scandal, mini umbrella companies, IR35, pensions, and more. Sure, there are plenty of benefits of using umbrella companies, but we write about the negatives too because we certainly don’t want to put wool over our readers eyes.

Working with our readers

Our team is actively responding to emails and enquiries received from readers of the site. Recently, we were contacted by a contractor who wanted to run a payroll arrangement by us to see if we thought it was legitimate. The email made fascinating reading, and we believed that the arrangement was a tax avoidance scheme.

Not only did we reply to the contractor with our thoughts, we also published a blog to educate other temporary workers about the scheme – An umbrellacompanies.org.uk reader shares new non-compliant umbrella company arrangement with us.

If you have any questions about umbrella companies, please send us an email and we’ll reply as quickly as possible (info@umbrellacompanies.org.uk).

FCSA and Professional Passport accredited umbrella companies

As we mention on almost every page on our site – it’s imperative that contractors, freelancers and temporary workers use compliant umbrella companies.

Non-compliant umbrella companies should be avoided at all costs because tax avoidance schemes and disguised remuneration schemes are evil, and could land you in serious trouble with the government.

The comment that we received from a disgruntled reader accused us of only featuring 10 umbrella companies on our website. This is far from the case. Sure, we have a top 10 umbrella companies list, but we have spent many hours creating reliable and up to date comparison tables too.

Have you seen the following?

We can’t tell our readers which umbrella company to use, but we can make a hearty recommendation. We strongly advise that you only engage FCSA or Professional Passport accredited umbrella companies. We believe that these professional bodies are doing a fantastic job self-regulating the umbrella company marketplace.

Our articles and pages are always linking to the FCSA and Professional Passport websites. They’re a great source of reliable information about umbrella companies.

Top 10 umbrella companies

There are over 500 umbrella companies in the UK. Most of these are compliant, but some have given the industry a bad name by acting unethically.

We don’t see the point in having a feature called “the top 450 umbrella companies” or similar – because it doesn’t make life easier for our readers, and it would take us forever to keep the list updated! Instead, we’ve chosen 10 umbrella companies that we believe set a great example in the sector and have included them in our top 10 umbrella companies.

Every one of our top 10 umbrella companies is accredited by the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), or Professional Passport.

Being labelled a “pretty worthless site” hurts…

This seemed a little harsh. The umbrellacompanies.org.uk website has been put together to try and help temporary workers make better decisions regarding their PAYE payroll.

We’re all for compliance, and throughout the site, we reiterate the importance of choosing a compliant umbrella company. We also constantly outline the risks of engaging with non-compliant providers and tax avoidance schemes. We also stress the importance of conducting thorough due diligence before committing to the services of an umbrella company.

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll see that we’re always sharing posts from industry stakeholders and accredited umbrella companies. We’re here to educate, and we recommend following us now.

“No wonder the whole sector stinks”

The umbrella company sector most certainly does not stink. However, some umbrella companies have given the industry a bad name by acting non-compliantly.

We’ve done our best to report on these companies and provide useful guidance to temporary workers interested in using an umbrella company.

Here are some examples of blogs we’ve recently published to try and educate our audience:

Regulating the umbrella company sector

The government doesn’t regulate the umbrella company marketplace, and many stakeholders (including the Trades Union Congress) have called for this to change.

We understand the concerns that supply chain members have about non-compliant umbrella companies. We also agree that regulation by the government could be the answer. We’ve written some articles about the subject of regulating the umbrella company sector:

We’re here to help

There is a lot of content on our site, and we’ve done our best to cover all of the important topics surrounding umbrella companies – whether positive, or negative. However, we’re always open to suggestions. If you would like an article to be written on a specific topic, please send our team an email (info@umbrellacompanies.org.uk).

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