A Guide to Becoming a Contract Vehicle Technician or MOT Tester

Considering making the first move towards becoming a contractor with Autotech Recruit? Take a read of this first… The whole process is easier than you think. Our team will walk you through each stage of the registration process and we’re always on hand to answer any questions you have.

WHY BECOME A FREELANCER?

By 2020, the expectation is that almost half of the entire working population will be self employed and contracting - also known as freelancing - is rapidly becoming a popular career choice for car mechanics and MOT testers.

Different people have different reasons for considering contracting (freelancing) over a permanent job. Each case is very personal but we find that the most common reasons are:

  • The financial benefits you can see once you start contracting (our top contractors are proven to be earning up to £45,000 a year)
  • You want more flexibility to spend time with family or for your hobbies
  • You are unhappy where you currently work and would like to feel more appreciated for your skills
  • You want to be self-employed but would like someone else to take the pressure off by finding work for you
  • You are at a stage in your career when you want something different or to work part-time
  • You want to broaden your experience within different work environments and brands
  • You want to benefit from training opportunities that contracting brings

Whatever the reason, we take your career seriously, so we’ll always be honest and upfront about the pros and cons of freelancing. Like anything in life, it’s not always for everyone, but we’re here to talk you through all the options and find the right path for you. Taking that first step into contracting, especially if you are leaving a permanent position, might be daunting, but once you’ve made that move, and see how much it benefits you, you’ll wish you did it years ago.

ADVANTAGES

Click on a relevant button to read more about each advantage:

CHALLENGES

Click on a relevant button to read more about each challenge:

Are you interested? Click here to apply.

If you have any further questions, you may find the answers below or call us on 01234 240503 for an informal chat.

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO BECOMING A FREELANCE VEHICLE TECHNICIAN OR MOT TESTER

STEP 1: DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Have a good read through our website and take a look at the open contract jobs. You will start to notice the areas where we advertise the most, which is where the volume of our work is. But don’t worry if you don’t live in or near one of these areas, as we cover the whole of the UK and are growing every year. Currently, we have over 500 clients and this number is growing every week.

We work with manufacturers, dealerships, independents, fast-fits, councils and government bodies, so your assignments could be very varied.

We would advise that if you’re moving out of a permanent role into freelancing, it’s a good idea to research the market first. Maybe even just give us a call to have a chat about your options.

LOCATION: How flexible are you? The more you flexible you are about where you’re willing to work, the more opportunities (and money) we will be able to offer. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel far; the more work we get in and around your area, the less you will need to travel.

There are always options of travelling a little further and possibly staying over in accommodation or maybe you have family or friends living in different areas which you could travel to and stay over. Or perhaps you have a caravan and are happy to take it to local campsites and stay over. Whichever way, we’re happy to work around it and we have current contractors that do it all and if you are an MOT Tester, you can offset fuel expenses against your tax.

DEMAND: Look at the job boards and social media. How many new opportunities are being posted each week/month for your skills in the locations you are looking to work? This will give you a good idea of how in demand your skills are. But trust us, demand for Vehicle Technicians and MOT Testers is high and we anticipate that this will only continue - this year alone, we have been signing up around 10 new clients each week!

MONEY: Talk to us about the current market rates for someone with your skillset and experience to get an idea of how this could affect your financial situation. We have a radius map we use to determine hourly pay rates for certain distances travelled, which your Resource Consultant can talk you through.

STEP 2: CHOOSE HOW TO BE PAID

We have two ways in which you can be paid for work through Autotech Recruit - via an umbrella company or via your own limited business. Our Resource Consultants will completely support you through any route you take.

You don’t need to have a limited company or already be registered with an umbrella company prior to looking/securing a contract opportunity. You just need to have an idea of which model is best for you so you can quickly put your plan into action when you are offered a contract.

The two options are:

LIMITED COMPANY: This is where you set up your own limited company, if you’ve not already got one in place. There are a number of organisations that offer support in setting up limited companies who can do everything for you for a small fee. If this is of interest, our Resource Consultants can advise the companies we recommend using, it is a very easy process.

Alternatively, you may prefer to setup your limited company yourself. You can do this quite quickly and easily at Companies House and there is plenty of advice online on how to do this. In addition to setting up your limited company, you would also need to open up a business bank account, put insurance in place such as Public Liability, and your accountant would advise you as to whether you should become VAT registered or not.

UMBRELLA COMPANY: If you don’t want to set up and run your own limited company or are only looking to contract for the short term, then you may decide to choose this model. Our Resource Consultants can advise which umbrella company we use and how they can support you.

Essentially, your umbrella company takes care of all the accountancy, taxation and administration matters for you and pays you a net salary after deducting Employers NI (which you will pay being a contractor), National Insurance contributions and income tax on all your earnings.

They will also administer your expenses as long as you have receipts for everything, including fuel, if this expense applies to you (non-receipted expenses will not be accepted).

It doesn’t cost anything to speak with these companies and they are able to give you advice on the various options available so you can choose what’s right for you. A lot of these sites also have rate calculators, where you can put in your expected day rate and see how much you take home after any deductions.

STEP 3: MAKING THE TRANSITION

During your transition, your Resource Consultant will complete a registration for you by collecting various documents from you i.e. passport and driving licence. The registration process can be  completed the same day if you can quickly provide the required documentation and we could have you out working the very next day.

Once your registration is complete, your Area Consultant will then get in contact and welcome you to Autotech Recruit. We will be with you every step of the way, from resigning from your current position to actively securing new contracts for you.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

If you’re currently permanent, the first thing you’ll need to do is hand in your notice and in some cases, you might have to give us a copy of this notice also.

What will we do?

We will undertake any relevant vetting for the specific client (references, criminal background check, etc.). We will keep in touch throughout the period from accepting the contract/resigning to starting your contract. We will provide you with first day details and also call you on your 1st day, 1st week and 1st month to make sure you’re settling in well and address any queries you may have.

We will keep regular contact throughout your contract and actively work to extend your contract and secure future assignments for you.

IMPORTANT LEGISLATION

IR35 legislation is used to determine whether you are considered a ‘deemed employee’ for tax purposes. Your IR35 status for each contract will either be ‘inside IR35’ or ‘outside IR35’ and depends on your contract and working arrangements with each of your clients.

If you are inside (caught by IR35) then you are forced to take all your income as salary only.

If you are outside (not caught by IR35) then you will be able to take advantage of a salary plus dividends route, reducing the amount of tax and NI you pay from your gross earnings.

Please click here for further information on the regulations.

Autotech Recruit strongly advise that if you are planning on providing services via your own limited company you consult with an independent advisor as to your IR35 status. It’s our understanding that the contract wording only forms part of the IR35 assessment and other circumstances must also be taken into consideration.

STEP 4: ACCEPTING A CONTRACT

What do you do once you’re all registered and get offered a contract?

Don’t panic. Your Autotech Recruit Area Consultant is always on hand to be able to help or answer any questions. Once you speak with them initially, they will offer you the work, discuss travel and pay rates and once you accept, a confirmation will be emailed to you, which will have all the details you need for the job you will be doing. On this email will be a copy of your timesheet. It is imperative that after every job you do, that you correctly fill in a timesheet, get it signed off by the branch manager and send this in to Autotech Recruit. This timesheet is essentially your pay cheque, without it, you will not be paid for the week.

Then it’s all down to you. You will be representing Autotech Recruit but more importantly, representing yourself, when attending a job. Obviously, we do expect you to turn up, and on time, if you have accepted a contract but things happen and if this is the case, you must let your Area Consultant know asap.

Also, you may have to work somewhere which requires some items of uniform, in which case we will post this out to you.

STEP 5: YOUR FIRST PAY

On the Friday at the end of the second week you work with us, you will receive your first hard earned payment from us. We pay every Friday and it will be transferred into your account via our payroll administrator, whether you are going through an umbrella company or you are a limited business.

If you are paid via an umbrella company, we will call you to talk you through the detail of your first week's payslip, so you fully understand your pay and any deductions. You must get all receipted expenses in to your umbrella company to ensure you get the most from your pay.

If you are a limited business, you will need to submit an invoice to our payroll administrator and you will be paid the full amount you have earned, the rest is down to you.

And then you will begin another week! As long as you have regularly kept your Area Consultant up to date with your availability, you will be booked way in advance of the next job starting, so you know where you will be working week in week out.

FREELANCER'S GLOSSARY

ASSIGNMENT: This is the job you are assigned to. If you were offered work in a dealership for a week, this would be your assignment for the week. It literally means the job you are assigned to at any one point.

REGISTRATION: The first step in your registration with Autotech Recruit is when you apply for contract work through our website, by email or on a job board. To complete your registration with us you must speak to a Resource Consultant, submit your documents and be ready to be assigned work.

UMBRELLA COMPANY: Another word for umbrella companies (and it's nothing to do with rain) is payment companies. These are legitimate companies that look after your payroll because Autotech Recruit do not process payroll internally. If you choose to go the limited business route, you will also be paid via an umbrella company, but with no deductions.

LIMITED BUSINESS: This is your own business, which you will work under and be paid via.

A limited business is legally separate from the people who run it, has separate finances from your personal ones and can keep any profits it makes after paying tax. You will be responsible for paying your taxes and submitting expenses yourself, however you may choose to employ an accountant to do all this for you.

RESOURCE CONSULTANT: This is a team member at Autotech Recruit that you will speak to initially when contacting us. They will talk you through how everything works and walk you through the registration process. They will be there to support you and give you all the information you need, whilst also answering any queries you may have. Once you are fully set up and ready to work, your Resource Consultant will assign you an Area Consultant, who will be your point of contact from then on.

AREA CONSULTANT: This is a team member at Autotech Recruit who looks after you, other contractors and the clients in the area in which you live. The Area Consultant will be your main contact throughout working with Autotech Recruit. They will ascertain your availability on a regular basis, allocate you work and be there to support you through any issues you may have.

Are you interested? Click here to apply. If you have any further questions, call us on 01234 240503 for an informal chat.