The self-employed struggle: 5 ways to keep costs down
A report has claimed Britain's self-employed workforce is worse off than 20 years ago.
The average wage for a self-employed worker is now lower than it was in 1995, according to a report from The Resolution Foundation.
And while more people are now working for themselves - in fact, the number of self-employed people has increased by 45% since 2001 - they now take home £60 less per week on average.
So what's behind it?
The report from The Resolution Foundation blames the recession for the drop in profits, as well as the increase in lower paid jobs in the UK.
According to the report, almost five million UK workers consider themselves to be self-employed. This is a record high and it accounts for around one in seven workers.
Included in this group is hairdressers, taxi drivers, tutors and construction workers.
The report states at the average weekly wage for a self-employed worker was £240 in the 2014-2015 financial year.
This is a drop from around £300 a week during 1994-1995.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Britain's new generation of self-employed workers are not all the budding entrepreneurs ministers like to talk about.
"While some choose self-employment, many are forced into it because there is no alternative work. Self-employment today too often means low pay and fewer rights at work."
1. Check your bank account
ot just the balance - but instead, whether your bank account is working for you and your business. Many banks offer free business accounts for new and existing customers, so it's worth doing your homework.
Switching to a fee-free account could save you thousands a year - freeing funds up for more useful channels.
2. Shop around
It's not just your bank account that could benefit from a quick comparison. The chances are, if you haven't reviewed your current provider for a while, you could be paying too much for broadband, mobile phones, insurance and energy bills. We may be savvy shoppers when it comes to our home providers, but many self-employed workers don't take the time to cut costs for their business.
Price comparison websites are plentiful nowadays for just about every product on the market, so start researching and you'll soon be saving.
3. Go green
Company cars can be pricey. However, switching to a greener alternative could see you driving down costs considerably. Cars with the lowest emissions promise the highest BiK (benefit in kind) rate, so opting for an economic model could be economical for your budget, too.
Check out this article on the best company cars for 2016.
4. Invest in a good accountant
It's a reluctant expense, but paying for a good accountant can save you in the long run. Find someone you can trust, and you could be minimising your tax liability, discovering additional allowances you may be entitled to and avoiding HMRC fines.
5. Get some space
Working from home may seem economical, but it brings its own challenges. How to separate your personal and business life? Do you have a dedicated office space and sufficient storage for your equipment and files? Choosing the right office space can work in your financial favour when clients see the professional face of your business. Working from your garage may be free, but will it wow potential customers?
Business First offers competitive space for sole traders and start-ups, from individual workstations upwards, with options to upgrade your space as your business grows. Centres offer business tenants a host of extras, including manned receptions, gyms at selected centres, free parking, kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Find your nearest centre at https://www.businessfirst.co.uk/locations/