How does an umbrella company work?

To put it simply, SmartCash Umbrella has two primary functions:

  • To act as an employer for contractors
  • To provide an efficient and accurate PAYE payroll service for contractors, while ensuring those who are eligible to claim employment expenses remain compliant.

This is the business activity Smart Cash Umbrella will carry out as an employer. The only income we receive is that which is brought in by our employees, and covers all the costs related to our role as the employer.

What happens at Smart Cash Umbrella?


  • Simply fill out the quick registration form. If you would prefer to register by telephone, please give our client liaison team a call on 0203 865 8237
  • Once you’ve signed up, you’ll need to provide us with Proof of ID, your Proof of address and P45. We will then get in touch with your agency to request a copy of your contract.
  • You become our employee under an overarching contract, with a view to carrying out a succession of assignments for various agencies/clients during the course of that employment.
  • To enable you to work for an end client, we enter into a contract with them, or an agency.
  • You carry out your contracted duties at the temporary workplace.
  • You upload your timesheets to our web portal, and we’ll invoice your agency.
  • The agency or end client will pay us a rate – the contract rate – to cover payments for the work you have completed. This will also include all the costs related to your employment such as employer’s NICs and holiday entitlement. This rate is higher than if you were paid PAYE directly by the agency / end client, to cover these additional costs.
  • On the day the agency releases the funds, we will process the payment and make deductions for Income Tax, NICs, and our margin.
  • The process is now completed! You’ll receive a text or email when your payment is on its way.

Is Smart Cash Umbrella right for me?

Some agencies may have a Preferred Supplier List (PSL) that contains umbrella companies they usually work with. When you sign a contract with an agency, their terms may state that you can only use the umbrella companies on their PSL. However, this is not the case, you should be free to use an umbrella company of your choice. Many agencies allow contractors to use umbrella companies that are not on their PSL, so it’s always worth asking the question.

Joining us is a piece of cake. Once you’ve chosen to work with us, we’ll give your agency a quick call to introduce ourselves – if we’re not already working with them.

Are there any dangers using an umbrella company?

No, but we recommend you do your research thoroughly and choose an organisation that is 100% compliant. Please don’t be lured by promises of a 90% take home pay rate, as these companies may be operating a non-compliant scheme.