Written by Marco Carluchi, Director, Umbrella Check & Hoffman Carluchi Recruitment

I have seen the umbrella market shift and change over the last 15 years, with compliance being one of the main conversation points, and often even a sticking point. During my exposure to the market, I have learned that the key to remaining safe is remaining vigilant when selecting the umbrella company you want to work with.  Spotting non-compliant umbrella companies is not just about protecting your finances; it’s also about safeguarding your professional reputation.

Here are some key indicators to help you identify the red flags:

  • Lack of Transparency – Reputable umbrella companies are open about their fees, processes, and compliance with tax regulations. If a company seems vague or evasive about these aspects, proceed with caution.
  • Too Good to Be True Promises – Non-compliant companies often lure contractors with promises of unusually high take-home pay or tax avoidance schemes. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Unrealistic Expenses Claims – Some companies may encourage you to claim excessive expenses without proper documentation. This can lead to serious tax issues down the line.
  • Non-Standard Contracts – A compliant umbrella company should provide you with a clear and legally sound employment contract. Be wary of companies that offer questionable contracts or lack proper documentation.
  • Lack of Compliance Certifications – Check if the umbrella company is accredited. Accreditation demonstrates a commitment to compliance and best practices.
  • Poor Communication – Difficulty reaching the company’s representatives or a lack of responsiveness to your questions and concerns is a concerning sign. Reliable companies maintain open lines of communication.
  • Negative Reviews or Reports – Research the company online and seek feedback from fellow contractors. Negative reviews or reports of non-compliance should raise alarm bells.
  • Dodgy Tax Structures – Non-compliant companies may employ complex tax structures that are designed to minimize tax payments. These schemes can put you at risk of legal consequences.
  • Hidden Fees – Watch out for hidden fees or charges that are not clearly explained in your contract. Compliant companies should be transparent about their pricing.
  • Legal Threats or Pressure – Be cautious if the company resorts to intimidation tactics or pressures you to sign contracts quickly. Take the time to review any agreement thoroughly.

Your financial well-being and professional reputation are at stake when choosing an umbrella company. Do your due diligence, seek professional advice if necessary, and choose a company that prioritises compliance and transparency. Remember, a trustworthy umbrella company can be a valuable partner in your contracting journey.

For more information about Umbrella Check, you can contact Marco on Marco@umbrellacheck.org.uk