The contracting sector is continuing to grow in popularity and with the numerous benefits associated with being self-employed, it’s no surprise to see why.
The role of a doctor is without-a-doubt a rewarding one, but at the same time it can also be both demanding and exhausting with working long hours.
As a contractor, you are able to have more control over your career and therefore potentially have a much better work / life balance than a permanent worker.
Other advantages to being self-employed include:
- Having more freedom and flexibility compared to your permanent counterparts – this means working when you want, being able to choose where you work and taking holiday days as little or as often as you wish (although, just remember that you won’t get paid for this time off!)
- The majority of contractors can charge a daily or hourly rate much higher than a permanent employee in the same role. Of course, your individual skills and experience might mean your rates could be even higher.
- You are able to claim back expenses that are made for the running of your business, which can then reduce your tax bill at the end of the tax year.
- You will gain in terms of skills and experience by working with a number of clients in various environments.
Starting up as a locum doctor
Some people will decide to start up as an umbrella company contractor to begin with, to get a feel of the lifestyle without having as much responsibility, however, you won’t be eligible for as many expenses as a limited company contractor, as you are effectively seen as being an ‘employee’ of the umbrella with your take home pay being less.
Contracting through a limited company is the most tax efficient method of working and comes with a lot more benefits. As mentioned, you will be entitled to a much wider range of expenses, have more tax benefits and have complete control – it’s also not as risky as many people may think, as you are seen as being completely separate to the business, which means should the company face any genuine financial difficulty, you won’t be at risk of losing your personal assets.
A basic checklist to setting up as a limited company contractor:
- Naming and registering your company through Companies House.
- Appointing directors, a company secretary (not mandatory) and shareholders.
- Registering for Corporation Tax.
- Hiring an accountant, if you so wish, which can be a great help with regards to them offering guidance and advice, as well as being able to save you money and ensure important tax forms etc. are filled out correctly and on time.