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Freelance First Aid Trainer, employee or Business owner?

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.

Business owner

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

Employed Trainer


  • 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

Business owner


  • 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.
  • The Buck stops here!