Self Employment UK

Monday, March 19th, 2012 - Self Employment UK

Self Employment UK

So, you decide like many in this tough employment market, to go into Self Employment UK.

If you look at the various employment statistics, one of the reasons that the unemployed rate is not climbing as quickly as it could (should?), is that a growing numbers are choosing self employment in the UK.

Having registered with HMRC, and set your rate at a level on which you can survive/which is market defined, all your troubles are over, right? Probably not!

What many underestimate is the cost of marketing their services, and secondly the time it takes to learn that skill. Thirdly, they assume that much like working for a company or organisation, that self employment UK will be much like a smooth conveyor belt of remunerated opportunity. Sorry, back to that marketing problem, again!

What most with experience of this change in their lives will tell you, is that it takes at least six months to complete the transition from employed person to self employed UK. Then appear new challenges, such as this one, a case of client conflict….

Self Employed UK: Client conflict?

John asks: Having been self employed for the past 18months, I am being harassed by solicitor’s employed by a previous client. They are upset that I declined to work for them any more, and consequently went to work for one of their competitors. They are also directly threatening my new client. As it was my first client, and some one that I had known for a long time, all contracts are verbal and there is no documentation to state who is responsible for what and for how long. What are my liabilities?

In answer: You probably need some legal advice, not least with regards to creating a standard set of terms and conditions of engagement. But with regards your old client:

  1. Were you self-employed or an employee? You may think one thing, but now in conflict your ex-client may use another tactic to gain their solution
  2. Did you have a contract (written or verbal)? There is always a contract (some where)
  3. How long was it before you stopped working for the old company, and started working for the new
  4. Was there any (written or verbal) agreement about termination or exclusivity?

Nominally: self employed UK and no written contract means that there was no agreement; employed even under verbal agreement (there is a default contract of employment T&C’s under employment law) then you would be expected to keep confidences for a reasonable period.

If you are confident that you were self employed, then your former clients dual legal actions against both your and their competitor suggest that it is an issue of commercial information or copyright issues. I would suggest that you write them a simple letter – assuming none of the above – and simply state that you are confused by their pursuit due to your self-employed status while working with them, can not presently see the problem, and hence ask for clarification. That should tell you where the problem is, and what you need to do to resolve the situation.

Good Luck!

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