Limited vs Umbrella?

Limited vs Umbrella?

How to choose?

Contracting for the first time can be an exciting new career path, if a little daunting. It can open up new opportunities, income streams and will help broaden your experience and expertise within your sector.

Unlike permanent employment, contracting can provide you the flexibility of choosing the path you want to take easily and quickly. However, we would recommend you need to take some time to consider your options and ensure you are set up with HMRC compliantly.

Limited Company

Setting up a limited company will make you a director and shareholder of the company. It requires you to submit various documents to Companies House and HMRC each year, whilst ensuring you are set up with a business bank account and that basic record keeping is undertaken.

Typically, you pay yourself via a combination of salary, dividends and expenses but must ensure you only take what is available from the company. Whatever you do take, you may be taxed personally on it.

However, running a limited company can be rewarding as it gives you complete freedom to chose your contracts, the times you want to work and in most circumstances, provides the highest take-home pay.

A limited company is not always beneficial as it will depend on factors such as; length of contract, your rate of pay, the industry and whether IR35 is a factor.

View our limited company accountancy packages.


Setting up and working through an Umbrella company is by far the simplest option if you want to get paid quickly or if a limited company is not an option.

You will need to register with an Umbrella company and once set up, you will be an employee of the company.

As your employer, the Umbrella company will handle all tax and National Insurance deductions and ensure you operate compliantly. You do not need to worry about IR35, nor have to think about setting up a business bank account.

As an employee of the Umbrella company, you’ll have full employment rights and numerous employee benefits, and as all of your income is paid on a Pay As You Earn (“PAYE”) basis, there’s no further requirement for you to submit tax returns, assuming you have no other sources of income.

Though employment through an Umbrella company may not be as tax efficient as working through your own limited company (circumstances depending), Umbrella employment can be the most suitable solution if you’re looking for as little administration and responsibility as possible, as it allows you to enjoy the flexibility of contracting and potentially undertaking various roles, all under one continuous employment and without having to run your own company.

View our Umbrella services

Enjoy the best of both

IR35 may mean you want the ability to switch between contracting through your limited company and using an Umbrella.

With our IR35 Switch, you can do this.  Seamlessly switch between the two (for one simple fixed fee) and we’ll manage your tax and compliance, keeping things ultra straight-forward for you.

Limited vs Umbrella?

New to contracting?

Find out more about getting started as a contractor.  What’s involved? How do you calculate your take-home pay?  How do you pay tax and National Insurance?  What is an Umbrella?  How do you run a limited company?

Get the answers to all your questions and let us help you Start out Strong

Start out Strong