Working in the medical profession can be both challenging and rewarding. Many doctors and nurses find that working as a locum through their own limited company is the best and most rewarding way to operate.
Looking for more information about why becoming a locum doctor or nurse could be the ideal next step in your career? Read our guide to find out.
Advantages of being a locum and working through your own limited company
There are plenty of benefits of becoming a locum, including:
- Virtually guaranteed work due to the huge demand for medical professionals
- Freedom to work when and where you want
- Lucrative long or short-term locum opportunities from one-day to one-year
- Opportunities to expand your skills and experience
- Opportunities to try different places of work
- Higher rates of pay
- Overseas recruitment programmes
How much could I earn as a locum doctor or nurse?
If you are a locum working through your own limited company, your take home pay could be anywhere between 75% – 80% of your daily rate, for example:
£150 – £160
£225 – £240
£300 – £320
£450 – £480
Any accountant will tell you that working through your own limited company is the most tax-efficient way possible. However, you shouldn’t get a genuine limited UK company confused with some of the rather unusual and strange tax schemes currently being offered. Realistically if you live in the UK, work in the UK and get paid in the UK you’re going to have to pay tax in the UK. There are a host of alternatives but HM Revenue and Customs are clamping down on tax avoidance schemes so you’d do well to avoid them. Remember you and only you are liable for your taxes despite what anybody else tells you.
Considering becoming a locum through your own limited company?
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Are there any downsides to working through a limited company?
Working through your own limited company as a locum isn’t for everybody. Being a director of your own limited company does come with responsibility, find below a few things to consider, you’ll need to:
- Put aside an amount per month for tax bills
- Understand what type of taxes to pay and when they will need to be paid
- Learn about what expenses you can claim
- Open a business bank account
- Consider public liability insurance / professional indemnity insurance
However, locums and other medical professionals tell us that after the flood of initial questions, the administration side of working through your own limited company only requires 15 – 20 minutes for the month, providing that is you work with an experienced accountant. If you haven’t formed a limited company yet, it’s surprisingly simple.
So other than a bit of admin, what are the downsides? Well, surprisingly few:
- The odd old-fashioned comment about ‘You don’t know; you’re only the locum’ or ‘you’re not my doctor’, however, these are becoming less frequent due to the sheer volume and proliferation of locums
- Having to source your own work can sometimes be difficult. Agencies can help here and there’s no shortage of these!
- Pay envy from co-workers – this is something that has affected locums, consultants and contractors in every industry
Finding work as a locum
Due to the high demand for locums, it shouldn’t really be an issue sourcing work. But before registering with an agency, you might find the questions below helpful:
- What NHS Hospital do you regularly supply locum doctors to?
- What are your general guidelines on locum pay rates?
- What are your payment procedures?
- What compliance practises does your company follow?
- Does your agency have any references from clients and locum doctors regarding your services?
- Please, can you send me your company terms and condition?
- Do you offer a “preregistration form”? (This form is an agreement between the doctor and the recruitment agency detailing the doctor’s exact locum requirements).
We recommend dealing with only one agency (two maximum). Some people feel dealing with only one agency restricts their job options, however, this means you will build a strong relationship with them ensuring they are looking for the best possible positions for you.
Looking to find a contracting role?
Our free guide to finding a contract will help you secure your next role.
What’s in the guide?
- Finding the right contract – Agencies or job boards? We’ve got you covered.
- Seven secrets to optimising your income – From experience to presentation skills.
- CV’s, e-CV’s and CV databases – How to make sure your CV is picked up.
- Five tips when writing your CV – why it is important to keep it up-to-date.
When do I charge VAT for my services?
Most locum doctors do not need to charge VAT for their services, however, this does depend on your contract.
For example, if you are a locum doctor working for a hospital directly dealing with patients you would be exempt from VAT, basically, you would not have to charge VAT for your services, meaning your income is entirely yours, no deductions made.
However, if you are a locum doctor performing an HR/office/managerial advisor position, where you are not treating patients directly, you will need to charge the standard VAT rate for your service.
Other useful pages for locums
If you need any further help or advice, try these most popular links.