Using self employed staff for a cleaning agency

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Free Member
Jan 14, 2013
I am currently exploring the world of cleaning firms. It seems to me that some businesses recruit staff under employment laws and others exist as an agency, 'introducing' the client to the self employed person and taking an agency fee.

If one was to go down the route of being an agency, what, if any contract would you have with your self employed workers? Are there any general contracts to be found on line which would cover this?

Secondly, if (under the umberella of your agency) you wished to promote a green ethos ie using environmentally friendly products for cleans, can you ask (or sell to, or give to) your self employed workers to use these products when working for the customers you have introduced?
The idea of being self employed as a cleaner is that you are a business in yourself, for example, you supply your own cleaning products as a minimum, essentially, these would be subcontractors. If you were to start providing them with cleaning products, equipment, uniforms etc, then HMRC would start to question whether or not they should be working for you PAYE.

The other thing you should consider is that there have been some recent changes to this type of arrangement, whereby the parties invoicing and being invoiced is not necessarily straightforward [or at least I have heard talk of it from someone in this position] so you need HMRC advice before agreeing to anything. All the best with it!
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Business Member
Nov 8, 2012
While I agree with most of @Careervisa says, HMRC don't tend to advise on this kind of situation, in case they get the advice wrong and get sued or are prevented from fining the employer.

OP if you are purely acting as an agency you cannot control exactly how your contractors work, as that is one of the roles of an employer, however you can promote your agency as only using environment friendly products and you can have a contract with your sub-contractors that specifies they must comply with that particular part of your business model.

You MUST have a contract with your sub-contractors. Without one how will you stop them dealing direct with the client after the initial introduction and cutting you out of the deal completely.

I think that many agencies that supply contractor cleaners are actually employing those people but pretending that they are not to avoid having to comply with employment and tax laws. It is clear from the last budget that HMRC are beginning to target those type of evasions, and getting it wrong and being found out is expensive for you,
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Presumably to stem the use of cash in hand labour

In the first instance they will go after the individual, then will turn their attention on the 'employer'.

It's pretty easy to avoid.

Get sub-contractor contracts in place that will hold up to scrutiny that these people are genuinely self-employed.

Pay them on receipt of an invoice.

If they don't declare the income, that's their decision and it is them that will face the consequences of not doing so.
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