The UK Government’s response to SEO agencies vs. SEO freelancers in the face of COVID-19
Posted by Simon Schnieders on March 23, 2020
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on March the 20th that the government would take the extraordinary measure of paying up to 80% of furloughed employees’ wages. That’s up to a total of £2,500 per month, for an initial three months from the 1st of March.
Freelancers however were left disappointed not to have been included in the proposal.
Currently, government advice is for freelancers out of work to claim Universal Credit, which equates to £94 per week, a far smaller amount than can be claimed by employers for staff.
With small businesses shutting down across the country, many of the industry’s SEO freelancer workers are either out of employment or with drastically reduced client workloads.
However two schemes that will benefit both freelancers and agencies are;
- The ‘Time to Pay Scheme’ where all VAT liabilities from the 20th of March until the end of June can be deferred without application. You’ll have until the end of the tax year (March 2021), to pay any liabilities that become due during this time
- The ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ which makes loans of up to £5m for a maximum term of six years to help businesses struggling with their cashflow https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/for-businesses-and-advisors/
Further things SEO freelancers and agencies can do;
- Tighten your credit controls and reciprocally pay your suppliers early or on time (treat others as you expect to be treated)
- For agencies, speak to your landlord about a rent free period, monthly payments if you’re paying quarterly in advance or deferred rental payments
- Extend your overdraft facility
- Take on debt where you can afford to. If the debt needs to be secured with your property, look at taking out ‘Personal Guarantee Insurance’
- Look into invoice factoring/financing
- Talk to customers about invoice discounting for advance payments
- Cut out any extraneous costs. Write down any major costs on a sheet of paper and challenge yourself with ‘if I stopped this will it really have a material difference on my business?’ You can always start them up again when the sun comes out (and it will)
Tips via Twitter;
- Natalie Mott suggests speaking to your accountant to see if there’s anything you can claw back from your expected tax return now
- Maret Reutelingsperger’s tips include offering to stagger payments for projects, it might help your clients with their cashflow
– If you are a freelancer through a Limited company, ask your accountant about trivial benefits
– Work out expenses for mileage/home office
We have it on good advice that the Government is going to do more for the freelance community and announcements will happen this week (w/b 23rd of March). In the meantime Blue Array urges anyone who is worried about their financial prospects to contact their local MP immediately and outline why the current government financial package is not good enough.
https://www.writetothem.com/ provides an easy way to locate and submit a letter to your MP.