It is vital that you get watertight documents for your Business – for your clients, freelancers, employees and so on.
There are Organisations that provide this as a custom service. You can purchase customisable templates as well.
I use a mixture of both. Because employing someone requires a lot of bases to cover I use a personal service, but for one-off Contracts I use Law Depot for documents. Check out their website. Hundreds of documents, waivers and contracts, drawn up by professionals such as:
Affiliate schemes are definitely NOT Multi Level Marketing (MLM) or Pyramid schemes. MLM and/or Pyramid schemes allow you to sell a product, usually cheap and cheerful at a large mark-up, but your main income supposedly comes from you recruiting others to sell for you and you taking a commission from each of their sales….and anyone below them that they recruit. Or so they say. There is plenty written online but it’s all negative from anyone not involved. In order to hit targets, you have to hit on friends and relatives to buy or to become resellers. Pretty soon your friends / relatives get tired of you and drift away or refuse to return calls. In turn you are being pressured from above as they have targets (and commission from your sales), too. Think what the cost of the product to make is, if lots of layers of people are taking a cut from the sale. Avoid.
An Affiliate scheme is a method of you getting commission on product or Service sales without actually having to hold stock, create services or deal with sales and returns.
Quite simply, you place an advert for a product or service on your website (e.g. a First Aid Kit). A special link, if clicked takes you to the retailer’s website and if it results in a sale, you get a commission. That’s it. Once your total commission reaches a certain threshold you get paid directly.
There are nuances, such as dealing with returned products (you get your commission paid after a delay, otherwise it would be too easy to defraud by buying and returning something, then pocketing the commission) and you need to sell a lot of First Aid kits (or a few high ticket items) to build up meaningful commission, but otherwise, once the links are set up, you have no involvement in the sale. Zero effort.
How it works
You work through an intermediary – an Affiliate provider. They sign up retail Organisations and also Organisations with websites that could hold adverts (“Publishers”). They sit in the middle and make sure everyone plays fairly (for a small commission, obv. That’s how they are funded. It is not many layers of organisations, each taking their cut however)
You apply to an Advertiser and, if they approve your website you can then place a lump of code on your website and it’s Live. Some Advertisers will approve websites automatically, some go through a manual process to make sure you fit in with their Brand and ethos.
Suggested Affiliate Schemes with Retailers that might be relevant to a First Aid Training website. There are many out there, some big, small niche, general purpose. Here are ones that I have used at some point.
Virtual College, Learning 24/7, EdPlace – all offer online Health, Safety and First Aid courses with decent commission
Vivomed – sports physiotherapy supply company (inc. First Aid kits)
Commission Junction (now CJ) – Large, American bias to it and the advertisers. Quite a strict approval process and you do need to be earning regularly to stay a member
Health based supplies, Medifast, MediTac Kits
Law Depot – sell lots of legal document templates, covering all aspects of Business Law. See this page for examples
ProTrainings – A Trade body that, if you use for certifying your courses, also has a system for you to advertise online First Aid and H&S courses on your website. Generous commission rates.
Hints and tips
Don’t go too mad. Setting up takes a while so make sure that it works for you. The advertisers list can be difficult to find sometimes but if you can find it, take a look for appropriate advertisers before Applying.
Some Affiliate Schemes charge to process your Application. Not huge amounts and I guess it greatly reduces the ones that just sign up for the sake of it.
If you don’t sell reasonably regularly you may get booted off a scheme. They (obviously) like active publishers. See first point
You need regular visitors to your website or a way of promoting them to your learners / those that Booked you. It’s all about traffic. See first point again
You get out what you put in. Yes you can make a lot but only by regular promotion, such as Newsletters, SM updates etc.
When you are setting out as a First Aid Trainer, one question that you should ask is what format should I trade under. Whilst it is possible to swap between different types, they are often different legal entities and therefore Bank Accounts and insurance policies will need to change. Anyone that has changed Bank Accounts will know how much of a hassle this is.
If you have Registered with a Business and complete a ‘New Supplier’ form then you will have to do that all over again. Better to consider all the possibilities before you start.
None of this is to be construed as Financial advice, obviously. If you want help drawing up Legal Forms, Law Depot do a good line in Business documents and Contracts.
Individual (Sole Trader)
You trade as yourself. You can give yourself a Trading name e.g. Andy Crowhurst t/a (trading as) ‘ACrow Training Services’ but you and the Business are the same. You file your income and Profit on your Annual Self-Assessment form, pay any Tax and National Insurance that is due and keep the balance. This is the simplest way of trading.
It is cheap to set up
It is simple to stop trading – you can literally just stop once you have settled all bills etc.
You are liable. As you and the Business are the same, any claims made against the Business are also against you. The worst-case scenario is that you could lose everything.
Not so many tax breaks as a Limited Company
You need to be diligent in separating personal and Business income and expenditure.
It can be seen as riskier by a prospective Supplier or Client
It won’t work if there is more than one of you.
Partnership (with one or more others)
You trade with one or more other people, splitting the Business as you agree. It is vital to take advice and make sure Contracts are drawn up that cover the Partnership and what happens should someone wish to (or be forced to) leave.
Cheaper than a Limited Company to set up and less onerous
More tax efficient than a Sole Trader
Business information is more private than a Limited Company
You are jointly and severally liable. This means that you are all on the hook for everyone’s debts and if one Partner does a bunk, the Creditors can come after you and your home.
Raising finance is a team effort as the Partnership does not exist on its own.
Even if you leave, you could still be liable further down the line
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
A LLP is a legal entity in its own right and the liabilities of the partners are (unsurprisingly) limited. It is a halfway hours between a Partnership and a Limited Company
Partners’ liabilities are limited
More flexible than a limited Company
More onerous reporting than a Partnership (e.g. Accounts must be filed at Companies House)
A Limited Company is a Legal entity owned by one or more shareholders. It has more onerous reporting requirements than any of the above, but also has advantages
Separate legal entity. Shareholders’ liabilities are literally limited to the amount that they paid for the shares (which could be £1) and, unless they are negligent, Directors have limited liability if the Business runs into problems
Generous tax breaks and allowances compared to other entities
More respected when it comes to signing up new suppliers and clients
Easier to raise money
More onerous reporting requirements
More complicated to close
There are other formats such as Community Interest Companies, Charities, different versions of Limited Companies and so on…
You need to decide what is best for you and do seek Professional advice if you are not sure. Mistakes at this stage can be costly down the line.
The Pareto principle states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes
Mr Pareto and Mr Juran
Many businesses overextend themselves by either taking on too much or by spreading their skills too thinly. They end up being run ragged and nobody ends up happy. Here are my top 5 guidelines to running a successful Business
Stick to what you know
It is OK to say ‘no’
It is OK to withdraw gracefully from a sector
It is OK to let a Client go
You can charge more than you think you can
Stick to what you know
Sure, every Business needs to expand over time and there are plenty of examples of successful Businesses going into radically different sectors – the Virgin Group is a good example.
If anyone has read any of Richard Branson’s books, however, you can see that it has not always been successful – he has been close to bankruptcy at times – and not always plain sailing. For every Richard Branson, there are plenty of others that have tried – and failed. Survivor bias means that you only get to hear of the successes. Those that didn’t make it tend not to write about it.
I recommend that you start with a core offering and, once that is established, look at what you can add on. Take First Aid Training for example. From a core workplace (BLS, EFAW, FAW) you can move to Paediatric, then Outdoor as a route. From there you could look at Pet First Aid.
All these are easily achievable with your core skills plus a bolt-on course and a few more training items.
If you then choose to deliver Mental Health First Aid or First Aid for Children or even take the logical step across to providing Event First Aid cover then you are suddenly looking at a big step up in training and a new range of equipment. Setting all that up and getting qualified & equipped will take your mind off the core ball.
Alan Sugar bought Tottenham Hotspur as he had an interest in football. Whilst he did eventually sell it at a profit, it took a lot of his time in turning it around and merely running it, enough that Amstrad missed out on the tech boom that was happening at the time.
“The way I see it” – Alan Sugar
It is OK to say ‘no’
When you are starting up, it is easy to say ‘yes’ to each and every First Aid training request that comes along, never quite sure when the next one will be along. Better to deliver a marginally profitable, or even a loss-making course than have nothing on that day.
Whoa. Take a step back. Have a think. “Will this course actually progress the Business”? If it won’t, then should you really be doing it?
Here’s an example. You get asked to run a First Aid taster to a local Club or Organisation. “Just a couple of hours one evening. We can’t pay much but you can help yourself to the Pot Luck supper and we’ll get you a drink or two”. Great, free food and a cushy evening making new contacts as well as giving something back to the community. Apart from that last item, which is not unreasonable and very worthwhile, the rest will not help you develop your Business. It is pretty unlikely that any meaningful work will come of it, you will spend half a day on it (preparation, travel x2, post-course cleaning and repacking) and either it will come hot on the heels of another course that day (so you will be tired) or you have sacrificed a day’s income to fit it in.
Learning to say ‘no’ gracefully is a big Business skill to learn, but developing and expanding your Business is as much about saying ‘no’ as it is saying ‘yes’.
It is OK to withdraw gracefully from a sector
Cutting and running is always an option. Not everything works out, but at least you tried. Hopefully when you go into something you have prepared, run a SWOT analysis, trialled it etc, but many factors outside of your control can affect what happens. I tried Pet First Aid, got the qualifications, bought all the kit, advertised it and had a go. Despite us being a Nation of pet lovers there just weren’t the numbers to support it. Perhaps I hadn’t researched enough, or pushed it enough but I did work out that it was distracting from my core Business. When my pet First Aid teaching qualification came up for renewal, that was the trigger to get out, sell the kit and move on (or in my case, back to my core).
Sometimes external events come from left field
Tanks of fish nibbling at feet was all the rage not so long ago – eating dead skin cells and generally providing a form of beauty therapy. I saw a fish pedicure Business set up in my local Shopping Centre. Within two weeks of it opening, a report came out stating that people having the treatment were in line for a bacterial infection from the fish via the smallest of cuts. This killed the whole Business overnight. Rough, but that can happen. The Business had no option but to close. To do otherwise would have been ruinous.
It’s OK to let a client go
This comes down to the Pareto Principle mentioned at the beginning. We’ve all had that ‘client from hell’. The one with the impossible deadlines at short notice. They are picky, late payers and always wanting this or that. You will find:
80% of your Business comes from 20% of your Clients
80% of your problems come from 20% of your Clients
If you are spending a lot of time dealing with awkward clients, stop. Drop them, move on. Replace them with a client that could be in that first list instead. Over time you will improve your Client base, reduce your admin time and increase your cashflow. Your Mental Health will improve as you are no longer getting late night “last minute” requests for courses, or having to chase every single invoice every single time, or bundling in freebies just to keep them sweet. Just (nicely) let them go.
You can charge more than you think you can
Most start-ups want to undercut competitors to get going – and undercut by a long way, thinking they need to do this to get the Business. Whilst there is a cost element to some decisions (purchasing commodities such as printer paper or baked beans), a lot of Business is won, lost and retained for non-financial reasons.
If you are running a First Aid course for a dozen employees, that day is costing the Business (say) £8-900 in salaries, £100 in room rental, opportunity cost with having the employees unavailable, PAYE, NI and other extras anyway. Let’s say £1500 as a minimum. Will they really care whether you are charging £300, £400 or £500? Probably not in the grand scheme. Will they care that the Booking and Certification process was hassle-free and that the employees thought it a worthwhile day? Absolutely, and they will come back to you next time.
On the other hand if you charged £300 last time and now you are getting realistic with a bump up to £500 for the course will they care, will they notice? Almost certainly. That’s the problem with going in too low to start with.
You can also price yourself too low as well. If you were looking to Book a Hotel and you found one for £15 a night where other similar ones were charging £40-50 would you not stop to wonder what was wrong with that Hotel? There must be a reason why it is that cheap – and it’s probably not good news.
Go for it. Be bold with your pricing. Your skills are worth it. Would you rather work 3 days a week at £500 a day or 5 days a week at £300 a day?
People are buying a Service from you. You do not need to charge less because you have fewer overheads than a large Corporation. If they get the result that they want, they will be happy to pay £xxx for that and won’t care that less of it is swallowed up with admin than your big competitor.
PE – a colleague’s advice to me when I set up my first Business
Whatever form your Business takes you need to keep records of your transactions and be able to file them at the end of the Year with the Inland Revenue. If you are self-employed the Year End will probably be 5th April in line with the Tax Year. If you have formed a Limited Company it will (usually) be 1 year from the end of the month of formation – which also makes the first set of Accounts filed more complicated as two sets need to be filed – one partial year and one complete year, with everything prorated.
I have tried a few packages in my time, so here are a few unbiased comments about packages.
Spreadsheets – Excel (Windows) / Open Office Calc (Windows / Linux / OSX) / Numbers (Mac OS)
Pretty much everyone starts here as it’s the obvious (and free, since most people will have a spreadsheet tool of some sort) place. There are plenty of free and paid-for templates for managing your Accounts and, of course, you can create your own. Literally all you need is a sheet with income, outgoings and Bank Balances then you can go. It does, however, get more complicated especially when you get to year end and you are trying to reconcile everything. When I started out I used one. I was also VAT registered from day 1 and it took two weeks to reconcile my first VAT return. It got quicker, but honestly the cost saving in not subscribing to a commercial package was far, far outweighed by my time in managing the spreadsheet. Spreadsheets have nasty habits of hiding errors and throwing hissy fits if you try and insert or delete cells and rows.
Unless your Business is really simple (and I mean a couple of transactions a week at most), don’t bother.
Standalone Accounts Packages
After my spreadsheet I bought a standalone copy of a popular package (Sage) following a recommendation by my Accountant. This was in the 1990s and the User Experience has improved since then but it was really hard work for a non-accountant. This was followed by another Brand, Quickbooks. Still standalone, but easier to use. I ran with that for about 15 years, well past its use by date but I was familiar with it.
I now use a variety of cloud-based packages. You can still get standalone, downloadable packages that run on your computer of choice, but I wouldn’t recommend them. Lack of versatility, irregular updates and inability to access remotely are some of the reasons. A cloud-based package is really the only solution. You are always working with the latest version, you can connect to it from anywhere in the world and can grant access to others, such as team members or a third-party Accountant.
There are quite a few of these, each with advantages and disadvantages. Most have a limited functionality trial trying to draw you in. They work on the basis that if you have gone to the effort of typing data in you will be reluctant to sacrifice that effort. Don’t be taken in. Yes, it is an effort to duplicate but if you are not comfortable with a package don’t be afraid to abandon it. You have to use it for the next few years and need to have it work for you, not fight it. I’ve chopped and changed several times.
Making Tax Digital (MTD). This is coming. It is already here if you are Registered for VAT. You have to file your VAT returns digitally from now onwards – and that will come to Corporate Accounts at some point I am sure. Make sure that whatever package you use, it supports MTD. The only exception is if you use an Accountant and they can use their system instead.
Here is a potted review of some of the better known packages out there. All opinions are my own and features and prices correct as of June 2022.
Brief summary. I am in the process of moving all my Accounts to Quickfile as it is great value and uncomplicated.
X Payroll is an add-on, not available with the starter package
Very clean product. I have been using it for a couple of Businesses without issue. The only reason that I have changed for one Business is that at the transaction volume of the Business, the free version of Quickfile is better value for money. No other negatives.
✓ £ – starter package Free – up to 1000 Ledger entries per rolling 12 months, £45 + vat / year after that
✓ no limit to free trial as long as ledger entries stay under 1000 on a rolling 12 month basis
✓ No invoice limit (subject to above)
✓ Supports online VAT submission. Super simple to use once set up
X Payroll is not supported, but it integrates with The Payroll Site (£6.50 + vat / month)
X Sometimes you have to fill in fields where they could be left blank and the error message is not clear when this happens
I have moved two businesses to Quickfile, one because it was from a packages that did not support Making Tax Digital and I needed to submit VAT returns online. The other because Quickfile does all I need, but for free at the level of transactions being carried out compared to a monthly subscription.
This has been my ‘go to’ package for about 7 years, however as a standalone version. As packages are now online and Making Tax Digital requires online access I was forced to upgrade and Quickfile was my personal choice compared to the online version of Quickbooks.
✓ £ – starter package £12 + vat / month
✓ £ – 3 month 90% off trial – starter package £1.20 + vat / month for 3 months. £12 + vat / month after that
Now that you have decided to teach First Aid you will need to work out what sort of lifestyle you want.
This broadly splits into three categories, which can all overlap.
Freelance First Aid Trainer
You offer your services on an ad hoc basis to one or more Training Companies. You will be expected to have your own maintained equipment although the Training Company will usually supply paperwork, First Aid manuals and manage the Certification. You will turn up on time, deliver the course using supplied materials and return completed (and unused) paperwork.
You will send an invoice through and (eventually) get paid. You will be expected to manage your own pay and tax.
Employed First Aid Trainer
You will work (usually exclusively) for a Training Company, delivering courses as they dictate. These may be in-house or on a client site. You will be paid a salary that includes PAYE, National Insurance and paid leave.
You run your own First Aid Training Company and are responsible for finding and Booking clients for courses. You may just work on your own or you may have a mixture of employees and freelancers delivering courses for you.
Pros and cons
You get to choose where and when you work. If you want to take time off you can.
You get to choose who you work with. There are good and bad employers and clients out there.
You will earn a higher rate than if you were employed. You will earn even more if you pick up work in your own right.
If you don’t work, you don’t earn. There is no sick pay nor holiday pay
You (generally) need to fund your own equipment and maintain it
During a downturn (e.g. COVID) freelancers will be the first to be laid off
To increase the number of courses you can deliver (and maximise your earnings) you will need to achieve and maintain a range of qualifications. Versatile freelancers are more useful
Regular income, even if there is no training work for you
PAYE and NI, Pension, Sick pay, Holiday pay
Support structure of a Business, so you can focus on training
Equipment provided, possible vehicle.
Social side of being part of an organisation
No choice (mostly) in planning your day. You are told what to deliver and when
If off-site you may have an early start and/or late finish
Trainer salaries are reasonable but not overly generous – low £20Ks before tax
Holidays may have to be prearranged and you might not get what you want
You can design your Company around your specific skills (and bring in employees / freelancers with different skills if needed)
You have total freedom about the hours and locations that you work
All the profit is attributable to you (or shared if you co-own). You should earn more than being a freelancer
If you have employees or freelancers then you are earning every time they work
Owning a Ltd Company can be a positive when tendering for Contracts
Option of registering for VAT which allows you to claim back VAT on a number of items
It can be more tax efficient
Higher legal and compliance requirements with tougher fines for non-compliance
If you hit the VAT threshold you will need to register and manage your VAT. Some clients (e.g. individuals) may be put off by the additional VAT cost of a course that they cannot claim back
You need to find your own clients and manage them, so invoicing, chasing payments, negotiating Contracts etc.
You need to provide your own equipment (and that of any employees)
Harder to shut down a Business if you stop training – although you can hibernate it or pivot it into another avenue.
These are a list of suggested Business tools that may help you run your First Aid Training Business. The trick is to automate as much as possible, especially with public courses where many tasks need completing as well as learner management.
Microsoft Office – the most common Office suite out there – Word Processing, spreadsheets and Powerpoint applications
Either of these will give you Word Processing, Spreadsheets and Presentation capability. These are pretty much the minimum essentials for running a Business.
Xero. One of the bigger ones and packages start from £12 / month
Most people, myself included, start with a spreadsheet to manage Course Bookings, finances, client enquiries etc. I’m sure that with enough effort, a spreadsheet could be made that is reliable and flexible for your purposes, however I am not convinced. As soon as you get any level of complexity it is very hard to keep a spreadsheet updated. I strongly recommend a dedicated financial package for Accounting, a dedicated CRM (Customer Relationship Module) for managing (prospective) clients and specialist software for Booking courses.
Whilst there are plenty that you should try, here are a couple of recommendations to streamline things.
Telephone Answering Service
We use Answer.co.uk. If I’m teaching and a call comes in, it diverts to them and a real human takes a message. About £1 a call and if it leads to a Booking rather than someone Booking elsewhere, that is a very cheap Lead Generation method.
We use eReceptionist and also Invoco for our virtual numbers. Both have banks of numbers to call from and we are happy with either. Use the one that has a suitable memorable number in your area
01628 56 99 22 and 01491 22 55 22 are ours and both are ‘nice’.
There are dedicated Course Management tools out there. This is my original workflow based on using a spreadsheet with all courses listed and invoicing each person for the Booking
Create a course
Insert new line for course into course List spreadsheet
Take life into hands when sorting courses by status or date or any other criterion
List courses manually on a web page. Maintain list across multiple websites
Accept Booking requests by email. Create and send out invoice.
Bank cheque payments (trip into Town)
Accept that I will get no-shows from people that Book a place but never pay
Manually update Bookings, including closing when courses become full or cancelled
It takes about an hour to set up a bunch of courses then probably about 15 minutes per person to Book them in and deal with payment. For a course of (say) 10 people that is about 3 hours overall per course. Ignoring the stop/start nature that is a minimum of £30 cost per course. Realistically, because of interventions, a lot higher.
Create a course
Duplicate an existing course if similar on Airtable, otherwise create from scratch. Airtable automatically inserts it into the correct chronological row
Duplicate an existing course if one exists, otherwise create from scratch. All websites have code that pulls the course information directly from the Ticket Tailor website so as soon as course goes Live it appears across all websites automatically.
Ticket Tailor automatically takes Bookings and Credit / Debit payment off someone Booking one or more places. Money automatically appears in Bank Account via Stripe. No intervention required. 4 Minutes gets notification email.
We manually send out instructions and directions. Not automated that but it’s a 30 second rubberstamp task
We also manually update Airtable with learner names as this will be used in 3 years’ time to remind them to renew
New timelapse: About half an hour to set the courses up and about 1-2 minutes per Booking to send out instructions. No-shows are not a problem as they have already paid. No need to manually pay in cheques or chase late payers. No payment, no Booking.
Cost? £5 to set up the courses and £1 per Booking for Ticket Tailor and Stripe fees. My time freed up for more profitable work.
An event ticketing platform. Similar to Eventbrite (which I have tried) but is a bit more user-friendly and fees are much lower. recently it has introduced add-ons, so now anyone buying a place on a First Aid course is offered a chance to purchase (say) a a First Aid kit for collection at the course.
Stripe is a payment Processor. It integrates with a large number of Applications (such as Ticket Tailor) to handle the payment side. It automatically Credits your nominated Bank Account – initially after 7 days, but this gets reduced to 3 after a trial period and can be shortened to same day (for an additional fee)
A cross between a spreadsheet and a database. Build around user friendliness and flexibility, it is a tool that you must check out. My course platform is built around it and I wouldn’t be without it. As part of the premium package on this website I can get you set up on this to manage your courses. It is soooo versatile and makes creating, updating and generating Views and Reports a doddle.
Click here to sign up for a Free Account and give it a try
My next step may be to work out a way of automatically sending out Booking confirmations and maps to remove that step.
Miscellaneous Office items / software needed
PC / Laptop
I’ve bitten the bullet and got a Laserjet as I’m fed up of unclogging inkjets if I don’t use them for a while. If you plan on printing your own Certificates a decent one plus decent card is a must
Landline or virtual landline
Having a mobile number as your main contact screams ‘small business / one person band’. Giving out a virtual 01 / 02 number that is on permanent redirect to your mobile looks so much more professional. Couple that with….
… virtual assistant. When I’m teaching I can’t be answering the ‘phone. I have a service where unanswered calls are diverted to a real human answering service who will take a message then email and text me the message so I can call them back. Again this gives the impression of a larger Organisation. We use Answer.co.uk and can highly recommend it
VAT is Value Added Tax. It is a sales tax charged by VAT registered traders on the value of the goods or services supplied to their customers. The amount charged varies. Some of the main categories are:
“VAT exempt” where no VAT is charged e.g. postage stamps, insurance
“Outside the Scope of VAT” where it does not fall into the UK VAT net e.g. statutory fees such as the Congestion Charge
“Zero rated” It is chargeable but currently that rate is 0% e.g. books, leaflets
“VAT Chargeable”. This means that VAT will be charged. The amount charged will vary depending on what is provided – between 5% and the (current) standard 20%
If you register for VAT you will have to charge it to your clients for Training but you can also claim back a lot (not all) of any VAT that you are charged by your suppliers. If you are not Registered you cannot claim it back.
Should I register?
I can’t answer that. If your turnover hits the threshold (currently about £85,000) in any rolling 12 month period you have to Register. If it doesn’t, you can choose whether or not to Register. If you make a lot of VAT chargeable purchases and your clients are mainly Corporates then it may make sense to. The Corporates won’t care as they can claim back what you charge, but you can claim back the VAT on any purchases you make.
If you are teaching mainly individuals, they almost certainly won’t be Registered for VAT themselves and so won’t be able to claim the VAT that you charge back. That will put you at a 20% price disadvantage to non-registered Training Companies.
If you are a Freelance Trainer and are earning less than the threshold you are probably better off not registering as a lot of Businesses that you Freelance for will probably not be Registered so, again, you will cost them 20% more compared to a non-registered Freelancer.
Find out more information on the Government website here:
If you do Register you will have to submit Digital VAT Returns every quarter. You need special Software to do this so there may be a cost or your Accounts package may support it. Failing that if you use an Accountant they can do it for you (again, this may be at an additional cost or might be part of your package).
We use Quickfile which is a doddle to submit Returns once set up and the basic package is free.
I will say, from experience that once it is set up (and it is not that difficult), then as long as you use a reasonable Accounting package (rather than, say, Excel) managing VAT returns is very simple nowadays. I started in 1997 when it was all paper-based and much more of a faff. My first VAT Return took 2 weeks to reconcile (I was using a spreadsheet I created from scratch) before I could submit it! Now it takes about 10 minutes a Quarter to compile, check and file a return.
Registering is optional – unless you hit the threshold
If you are B2B, registration won’t make much difference to your Clients. If you are B2C then it will adversely affect your pricing by about 20% because you have to add 20% VAT to each invoice.
You need to submit digitally and will need a compatible Software package to do this
You will need a Government Gateway Account (AKA ‘VAT online’ Account). Not difficult to set up but does take a couple of weeks, so plan ahead.