Hiring workers for design and build projects

I would like to sure up my understanding of hiring people so i am doing the right thing and also which might be the best option for me.

Thoughts on the various options for hiring. I mainly do hard landscape design/build projects but also do one offs such as fencing, turfing etc. I currently have an order book with a lead time of about 4 months and quoting all the time so there is plenty of work for a crew of 3 or maybe even 4 of us. I'm interested to know peoples thoughts on the best methods of hiring workers to enable me to get he work done. Currently have one sole trader who does his own work too and also one who says he is CIS and says i don't need to make any deductions for him.

PAYE - I've always been advised to avoid PAYE by people who have gone this route and also by my tax accountant. One trader told me that every mon and fri someone would be off sick!

Self employed/sole trader - I've always used colleagues who were sole traders in there own right but now in a new location this option is not so straight forward as i don't have the contacts at present. I do like this option the best as its the most straight forward for me requiring them to just invoice me and i pay the invoice.

CIS - Anyone used this scheme for hard landscape projects. I only serve private domestic clients. Been looking into it and can't seem to figure out for sure if i can even run the scheme on domestic build projects. From what i have read there is going to be paperwork and fines if i get it wrong.

To add - i also know of a firm, albeit a Ltd firm who pay their self employed through a third party company. No idea how that works but could be interesting to understand more about it

I'm looking for the simplest legit method to hire and pay people.

Any advice gratefully received.

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  • PRO
    It is not up to a subbie to tell you if you have to deduct tax or not under the CIS, it is up to you to ask HMRC.

    However it gets complicated

    Then it gets even more complicated, I do work for a housing association contractor, who doesn't stop tax on payments to me as the work is outside of the CIS scheme.

    To quote HMRC:

    Repair of systems
    The legislation regarding building service systems only refers to their installation. Therefore, repairs to any of these systems are outside the scope of CIS. Soldering a leaking pipe or patching a leaking boiler, replacing a defective tap, rewiring a single defective circuit, replacing a burned-out ventilation fan motor, replacing a broken wash basin, fixing a leaking radiator or replacing standard radiator valves with thermostatic valves, are all plainly repairs to a part of the overall building system.

    Even where the repaired/replaced item may represent a significant component part of the overall system, such as a central heating boiler, its replacement does not constitute ‘the installation of a system of heating’ and therefore will not fall within CIS.

    Repairs/replacements to building service systems will be caught, if they are carried out as part of a mixed contract of works, for example, a payment under a single contract to repair both a broken gutter (normally excluded) and replace broken roof tiles will all be caught under the scheme.

    That's clear as mud, isn't!

    All the payments I receive from the contractor are made by bank transfers, so every payment is clearly identified and accounted for.

    Construction Industry Scheme: a guide for contractors and subcontractors (CIS 340) - GOV.UK
  • PRO
    Skimming through the HMRC website I cannot see a clear answer regarding the CIS and hard landscaping for private customers who are home owners and the like. I guess you need to phone HMRC and ask, best of luck on that!

    How about zero hour contracts and PAYE?

  • PRO

    I'd find a good guy and keep him. Bite the bullet and pay him PAYE. Sick pay is only paid from the fourth day of absence. If your guys are paid hourly, the low rate they would get for sick pay means that pulling a sickie will hurt them in the pocket.

    I was faced with the same dilemma as you, and I'm glad I went down the PAYE route. Mine are on zero hours contracts but there's give and take on both sides and there's always a full weeks work for them because they graft. Be prepared to hire and fire on during a probationary period.

    From what you've told us of the work you do, it sounds like you could really use a labourer who grafts to work alongside you on site. People like this tend to want to switch off at the end of the day, so you're unlikely to find them 'self-employed'. PAYE is the only foolproof 'legit' way to employ a labourer, unless they are CIS. A 'bona fide' subcontractor would work under their own directions, with their own tools. A labourer using your tools and doing what you tell them should be PAYE. Yes, many argue the toss and 'provide some tools' but you're asking for the simplest legit method.

    My accountant does my payroll for £20 a month, so all I have to do is tell her the hours, pay my guys and pay HMRC via online banking.

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