Flexibility and better take-home pay

It pays to be Ship Shape


We make it easy to work self-employed, maximise your pay, enjoy more flexibility AND comply with HMRC rules.

Ship Shape self-employed workers enjoy lower National Insurance contributions and can offset expenses such as food, travel and clothing.

Depending on your tax status Ship Shape will make gross payments to you with no tax deductions, or payments net of tax as required under CIS for construction workers.

As the experts, we can advise if you can contract in this way – ask your agency to get in touch with us!

Why get into Ship Shape?

As well as some of the lowest fees on the market, we offer some unique additional benefits.

Four weeks free
at each new job

Make Ship Shape your personal payroll, take us with you when you change jobs, and we’ll give you 4 weeks free – saving you up to £120.


We passed HMRC reviews in 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2018. We have also been audited and approved by industry experts including tax accountants Saffrey Champness and legal counsel Brabners.


Our Accident Insurance offers £300 a week income support and great peace of mind!

Company Mobile

Free Vodafone SIM to use in your current handset, providing unlimited minutes, unlimited SMS and 5GB of data each month.


A personal online account to easily manage your payroll.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I call if I have any queries or problems?2019-05-23T15:13:09+01:00

Please contact Ship Shape’s trained Consultants on 020 7706 5260.

Do you deduct my National Insurance Contributions?2019-05-23T15:12:54+01:00

No. National Insurance contributions (NICs) are not taken from your income. You need to organise payment of these separately by setting up a small weekly direct debit with the NI contributions office.

Can Ship Shape Pay contract with any agency or company to provide my services?2019-06-13T14:28:00+01:00

Yes. Simply provide us with details of the company or agency. There are no additional charges when changing to a new company or agency.

Will I receive holiday pay?2019-05-23T15:12:30+01:00

No. You are only entitled to holiday pay as an employee or worker. As you are not an employee of the company you will not qualify for sick pay/maternity pay/paternity pay from us.

When will I receive payment?2019-06-13T14:28:29+01:00

We pay you cleared funds through the BACS system into your bank account two days after receiving cleared funds pertaining to your work.

Can I work through a Limited Company?2019-05-23T15:12:02+01:00

Ship Shape does not promote or facilitate Limited Companies, in accordance with the MSC legislation. However, we will subcontract to workers who present themselves for payment having already set-up a Limited Company, who are clearly in business of their own account for the purposes of employment status, who clearly understand and run their own company, have a company bank account, and their own accountant.

How do I avoid a pay decrease?2019-05-23T15:11:48+01:00

As an alternative to direct fulltime employment and a significant pay decrease, you may be able to work genuinely in business on your own account and subcontract to Ship Shape. This allows you to continue working wherever you choose, eliminates the risk of charges by the HMRC and structures your pay to maximise your take home income

Why work as self employed as opposed to full time employment?2019-05-23T15:11:30+01:00

Working as self employed compared to full time employment significantly lowers workers taxes and increases their take-home pay. However, under UK law if you work under conditions and terms that resemble those of fulltime employment, the HMRC may declare your position as “deemed employment”. In this case you and your employer or agency may be held liable for significant taxes and penalties.

Am I responsible for paying my own tax and National Insurance contributions?2019-05-23T15:11:13+01:00

If you’re self-employed, you are responsible for paying your own tax and National Insurance contributions. You’ll need to keep business records and details of your income so you can fill in an annual Self Assessment tax return. You may also need to register for VAT.

Why do I have to prove my self-employed status on every project?2019-05-23T15:10:57+01:00

Self-employment checklists are project specific, and there is thus a possibility that the circumstances of a particular project may determine that you, the subcontractor, are unable to work on a self-employed basis. In this case, we are in a position to provide an alternative contracting solution through our Umbrella product. Once this specific project is completed and you move onto the next project, then another self-employment checklist is completed.

Do I need to complete a self assessment tax return?2019-05-23T15:10:34+01:00

This will depend on your personal circumstances and you should contact us to discuss this.

What is a self assessment tax return?2019-05-23T15:10:18+01:00

A self assessment tax return is designed to bring together an individual’s taxable income and gains during a tax year (from 6th April one year to 5th April the next) for the purpose of calculating the correct tax liability for that year.

Do I need to register as self employed?2019-05-23T15:06:52+01:00

If you are intending to work as self employed you must register as such with the HMRC. Visit their website for more information and registration:

Can I claim expenses that I incur whilst working as self employed?2019-05-23T15:07:30+01:00

Yes. You can claim all expenses that you incur whilst going about your work and these can be offset against your tax liability.

What is the CIS scheme?2019-05-23T15:07:57+01:00

The CIS Scheme is the Construction Industry Scheme, which sets out the rules for how payments to subcontractors for construction work must be handled by contractors in the construction industry.

How do I get more information about The CIS scheme?2019-05-23T15:13:39+01:00

The CIS scheme is maintained by HM Revenue & Customs, and you can access more information on it by visiting their website at:

What if I hold a net or gross status?2019-05-23T15:09:41+01:00

Subcontractors must hold a valid net or gross status. If you have this, we will verify your details with HM Revenue & Customs as quickly as possible, so that we can pay you as and when we engage your services.

How do I register for CIS status?2019-05-23T15:10:01+01:00

You must register for CIS Status through HM Revenue & Customs. This can be done online (see Q1 above) or by calling HM Revenue & Customs CIS Helpline on 0845 366 7899 (open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, seven days a week).

Get started with Ship Shape Pay

    Or give us a call on 020 7706 5200

    Referral bonus

    We offer generous referral bonuses including:

    bonus paid where your new agency/employer decide to use Ship Shape Pay as a preferred supplier
    bonus for each new friend you introduce (up to £500 bonus).
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