Budget 2018: What does the IR35 reform mean for property contractors?

Budget 2018 brings with it an expansion of the IR35. The legislation existed in the public sector but has now been extended to the private sector. In essence, any medium to large company that relies on contracted individuals to fulfil work on their behalf, could now be hit with additional cost.

If the way in which the contracted individual works is deemed to be similar to that of an employee, the individual will need to pay more tax and NI. Up until now, they have been paying less.

These additional costs put the talent pool into question. It is highly likely that skilled contractors will find work elsewhere to avoid the drop in their earnings. When resourcing is already considered a challenge, this could prove even more of a challenge than the increase in NI payments.

This theory is already backed up by research of those already affected by IR35. 80% of respondents to a Contractor UK survey believe that IR35 has a very negative impact on the UK, and other studies suggest that it has in fact led to a drop in the value and availability of public sector contracts.

One would expect a very similar view will be taken by private sector contractors, so the question is, how can property contractors protect themselves from the impact IR35 will have?

Ultimately, the answer needs to provide the foundations for financial stability, whilst also building a reputation that will attract, and retain, contractors and employees.

At the core of these foundations needs to be comprehensive audit trails that provide operational visibility, combined with highly-efficient processes. Managing your service delivery through service management contractor software will provide this but, if you are considering such software, there are three critical aspects you should have in place to help ease the pressures IR35 will put on your business.

3 essential requirements when selecting a field service management software solution

1. Intuitive UX

With a potentially reduced team, you need to ensure you’re operating as efficiently as possible and are achieving those efficiencies in a manner that is simple and easy for your team to follow.

Whatever system you switch to, the processes your team need to follow should be more intuitive or simpler than the process they followed before. This applies whether they are an operative using the software on their mobile device to record job details, or are a member of the office team working from their desktop to schedule jobs. Whatever their role in the organisation, if you can make their tasks easier to complete, their satisfaction will remain high. And in a time when recruitment could prove difficult, a positive workforce willing to vocalise their satisfaction could be the perfect advert when you need to recruit.

The faster you’re able to deal with any issues, the better your customer satisfaction will be, which is directly impacted by your system’s ease of use.

As the principal contractor, it’s important to be in control of what your external network can see, whilst also having visibility of their activities. For subcontractors, who will often be familiar with multiple systems, the system you use should be intuitive, enabling the entire team to uphold high efficiency standards. The efficiency gains afforded by this ultimately allow you to save in the long run and become more stable as an organisation.

2. Total visibility

Your system of choice should give you direct access to the information you need, on demand. Without knowledge of every element of your service delivery you cannot get the insight necessary to react quickly to issues or to improve your service and efficiency.

But visibility goes beyond your in-house staff. Consider your customers and sub-contractors as well. Customers expect prompt monthly KPI reports and subcontractors want to work efficiently. With the right service management system, you can automatically schedule KPI reports and give your sub-contractors access to a portal. Within this portal they will be able to access all relevant job information, whilst also updating the system as they complete a job. This simplicity and immediacy will appeal to your subcontractors, and your customers will subsequently benefit from a consistently good customer experience, whilst you reduce your administration burden.

Ultimately, visibility brings consistency and transparency for all stakeholders. Two factors, that in any period of uncertainty, are essential if you are to continue realising efficiencies and exceeding customer expectations.

3. Limitless flexibility

To match the demands of a constantly evolving industry, your software should be able to mould to your needs, allowing you to scale when necessary and constantly refine your business processes. This keeps your customers satisfied and your organisation desirable as a place of work for your employees, which again means greater stability.

There is nothing more frustrating than having to pay and/or wait for a change to take place before you can operate more efficiently. With control of your system, whether creating new custom reports and forms or improving workflows, you can easily realise efficiency gains, even for projects that require greater assets and resource.

When you combine the three critical elements above into one highly intuitive, adaptable system that delivers visibility across your business, you have a solution that will support you every step of the way, whilst also giving you a key differentiator against competitors who do not have such strong foundations in place.

At Oneserve, we have worked with a number of contractors to help them improve efficiencies and meet KPIs with unprecedented results. Take a look at our case studies to learn more about what we have helped our client partners to achieve.

To discover the true power of Oneserve’s self-service field service management software, book a free demo today.