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Tips for Sole Traders

Tips for Sole Traders

Setting up in business as a sole trader is the simplest way to start out on your own. Once you have made the decision to start up as a sole trader, it is pretty simple to start trading. You will need to register your business with HMRC – have a look at the information on the .gov.uk website for more information on this. You do need to make sure you register as self employed with HMRC as soon as you start trading – if you fail to do so within three months, you could be liable to pay a penalty.

Decide on your trading name

As a sole trader you can use your own name or set up a company name. If you opt for a company name, remember that you must also show your own name on any business stationery. If you will be wanting to set up a website for your business it is worth looking at the availability of domains when you think about your trading name. To see if a domain name is available and to find out some costs of registering a domain name you can search online at GoDaddy

Get organised…

When you are operating as a sole trader, you have to be pretty organised and learn to manage your time effectively, especially when you start out as you are likely to be managing multiple tasks. If you will be invoicing clients, keep good records of time spent in a diary rather than trying to remember. This will make the task of invoicing quicker and simpler.

Get on with your invoices

Don’t fall into the trap of not sending out your invoices promptly. Ideally, you want to send out your invoices as soon as you can after completion of the job. There are a number of online invoicing and accounting apps now which even allow you to send invoices from your phone so there is no excuse not to get them out in good time. After all – if you don’t send your invoices out, you won’t get paid!

Make sure you have sole trader insurance

As a Sole trader, whether you are a tradesman or operating some other kind of business, you will need to make sure that you have appropriate insurance cover. A good policy for a tradesman or sole trader will need to include liability over – both personal and public liability as well as perhaps employers liability if that is appropriate (despite how it sounds - being a sole trader does not preclude you from employing people). Other cover which may be appropriate would be for personal accident, equipment – owned or hired, vehicles, premises and stock. With insurance of this type there is not generally a one size fits all solution so a bespoke approach is best.

Get online

It is difficult to operate in business in the 21st century without a website. As a sole trader or tradesman, you will likely spend most of your time out and about working. It is vital therefore to make sure you have a way of being able to get new leads coming in when you are not on the end of the telephone, as well as being able to communicate what it is you offer your customer. A website is like a 24 hour shop window which keeps working even when you are not.

If you are currently set up as a sole trader or about to start, get in touch with us for help and advice regarding your insurance - here at GM we specialise in business insurance and have a wide range of products available. We can build a bespoke tradesman or sole trader policy which covers those risks which are relevant to you and your business model.

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