If as a wedding vendor you’re self-employed, you might be feeling a little concerned about your finances right now. Particularly if you’ve had to cancel or postpone a fair amount of bookings for over the next few weeks or months.
In fact, feeling a little concerned might be an understatement. If you’re stressed or worried about how your business is going to survive, we hear you. Your feelings are valid. But there is hope.
What options are available right now?
The Government finally announced it’s plans to support the self-employed, so read more on what that involves and if you’re eligible here.
But what if you’re not eligible? Or if you can’t wait until June for the support to kick in? What other measures are available that you can take advantage of, right now? We’ve broken it down for you.
(Note: The below applies to England. Other countries in the UK may have slightly different options available.)
A really great option here if you have a premises! You could be eligible for a cash grant of £10,000 to £25,000, available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with properties (depending on the rateable value of your property.) Your local authority will write to you to let you know if you’re eligible. You could also be eligible if you already receive Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief or Tapered Relief.
Scrapping the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit
For people who are self-employed, Universal Credit is calculated based on both their expected earnings and their actual earnings. This means that the amount you receive can vary. Scrapping this will provide a steadier income for the self-employed during the coming weeks and months.
Time To Pay Service
If you have a tax bill which has not been deferred by the Government at this time, you (or your accountant) can negotiate a Time To Pay (TTP) arrangement. This will allow you to pay in installments, usually over 12 months. A great way to free up some funds.
Restaurants, Pubs and Other Food Service Venues
If your business operates as a food provider, such as a restaurant or similar, you can apply for a temporary license to change the ‘use’ of your business and provide takeaway services. This means you could create an alternative source of revenue, to keep your business going.
Self-employed Tax Bills
All tax bills for self-employed people are being deferred until January 2021. This means any finances you might have saved or put to one side you can now use to help you keep afloat during the next couple of months.
12 Month Business Rates Holiday
If your business has a premisise and you’re operating as a shop, restaurant, cafe, drinking establishment, cinema or live music venue (for assembly and leisure), hotel, or guest and boarding premises (including self-catering accommodation), your local council will automatically reissue your Council Tax bill with the adjusted charges. So, you can cross any financial worries there off you’re list!
Statutory Sick Pay
This is being offered under Universal Credit for the self employed. Available from day 1 of self-isolation for individuals rather than day 4 or day 8, as was previously. This amounts to £94.25 per week.
Business interruption loan
Sadly, this is not available for the self-employed. Traditional businesses can still access this interest free loan, so it’s best to chat with your current banking provider on this as they will have the best guidance for you. Self-employed people are still eligible for other loans or extension of credit lines (ie. overdrafts and credit cards), but these won’t necessarily be subsidised by the government and may have high interest rates. A possible option in an emergency, but not ideal for a long-term solution.
There are a few other support options and additional schemese available to everyone, that you can take advantage of. These include:
- Mortgage holidays: Speak with your bank or mortgage provider directly about this. This option is also available for landlords whose tenants are facing financial difficulty, so if you’re renting speak with your landlord about this.
- No Evictions: Landlords can’t evict people for at least 3 months.
- VAT Relief: For people or businesses that are VAT registered, VAT will be deferred for the next quarter. VAT rebates will continue to be issued as planned.
For more information on these and other measures the government is providing, check out the info here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-fr-those-affected-by-covid-19
Additionally, try to liaise with your couples about the bookings you’ve had to postpone. See if you can gently negotiate a new payment plan, that suits the both of you. Perhaps half of any outstanding balances can be paid on the original payment date, and half can be postponed to closer to the new wedding date?
Our top tip when dealing with your couples is to be kind and understanding. This is stressful for you and heartbreaking for them. But if we work together, we can help and support each other through these challenging times.