How does it work?

You can use subcontractors long term without using a payroll company guaranteed


By having a contract in place that reflects the true working relationship between you and your subcontractors so they can never be misinterpreted as employees.

Sounds simple. And it is. When you know how to do it.

If you’d like to understand the ins and outs of it all, it’s covered in our book (get your free copy here).

But if you want the short version, it’s all about creating a contract that outlines exactly how you work with your contractors
and the reasons why. If HMRC ever questions how you work with subcontractors, you can prove there is a legitimate
business reason for working that way.

You can do it yourself (our book shows you how), but it isn’t a quick job. So, if you’d rather spend your time managing your
business, let us take care of it. We make it simple.

Our Process

Step One

Understanding how you work

This part might feel a bit like the Spanish Inquisition, but it won’t feel half as uncomfortable as it would if HMRC were asking the questions.

It’s important we understand exactly how you work with your subcontractors so we can cover you from every angle.

Don’t panic. You aren’t expected to justify why you work that way – that’s our job. All you need to do is be completely honest with us.

Step Two

Making the commitment

Provided we can find legitimate business reasons why you work with subcontractors the way you do, we’ll offer you our insurance-backed HardHats employment status guarantee.

This is where we’ll need a commitment from you, but we’re not talking about marriage or blood sacrifice.

You’ll pay a one-off contract fee per subcontractor, and then we’ll go away and do the hard work of putting together your contract.

Step Three

Presenting the contract

This is where we show you exactly how you are covered, so if HMRC does ever come knocking, you’ll feel completely confident that you’re compliant.

Then you set up a DD for a small monthly fee and give details for all your subbies. Don’t worry – we don’t need their blood types or shoe sizes – just a name and email address or mobile number.

Once we have that, our fancy software will send them a link via email or text so they can view the contract and sign it electronically. No need for you to traipse around all your sites getting signatures. We do it all for you.

Step Four

Peace of mind

That’s it. You now have peace of mind that you are completely compliant when working with your subbies. Of course, you still have to pay them (and probably treat them to the occasional pint), but when it comes to their employment status, you’re covered.

And, if you take on any additional subcontractors within the twelve months, we’ll cover them too with no additional fee – just let us know their details so we can send them a contract.

Plus, you can use our software as a digital filing cabinet. Add bank details, training certificates, public liability insurance and other documents for each of your subbies. It’s your very own subcontractor management tool at no extra cost.

Step Five

12 month review

At the end of the twelve months, we’ll do a quick review to check you’re still working with your subcontractors in the same way.

If you have dropped some of your subbies or taken on some new ones, your monthly fee will be adjusted, and job done – you’re covered for another twelve months.

Told you it was simple, didn’t we?

Why Choose HardHats?


  • You don’t have to employ your subcontractors
  • You keep control of your payroll (and your cashflow)
  • You can work with subbies as long as you want
  • You can work with subbies however you want
  • Your subbies keep all their hard-earned pay
  • You are fully compliant if HMRC come calling

We are the only company to offer an insurance backed self-employed subcontractor guarantee specifically for construction companies. In other words, we’re so confident in our contracts that if HMRC ever reclassify your subcontractors as employees, we’ll pay any associated costs.


Still not convinced it’s as easy as it sounds? We get it. You’ve probably heard all kinds of conflicting information. So, we’ve put together these frequently asked questions to help you understand a bit more about how we do what we do.

Why are HardHats the only company offering this solution?

Because we’re the only ones with the balls to do it. We’re not reinventing the wheel – we’re using the same solution payroll companies use to protect themselves, but we’re using it to protect you instead.

Can I just buy a contract template from you?

No. Your contract has to be bespoke to ensure it accurately reflects the way you work with subbies. An off-the-shelf contract won’t give you the cover you need, and we wouldn’t be able to offer our insurance-backed guarantee on it.

How is the contract insured?

We work with an international insurance company called Markel who specialise in ‘hard-to-place’ risks that the standard insurers generally steer clear of. They have a history of successful self-employment cases against HMRC and underwrite all HardHats contracts before issuing the guarantee.

Can I just create my own contract?

Yes. We even explain how in our free book. But be warned, it isn’t a five-minute job. And your DIY contract wouldn’t have the insurance-backed guarantee that we can offer, meaning if HMRC ever did find an issue with it, you’d have to deal with the enquiry and the costs yourself.

Where can I get more information?

Easy. Book a call with us. We promise there’s no hard sell. If it turns out you’re fine as you are and don’t need our solution, we’ll tell you.

How to use subcontractors long term - book cover image

Grab your FREE copy of our book

“How To Use Subcontractors Long-Term & Keep HMRC Happy – Without Using A Payroll Company”

*we'll even pay the postage!

Grab your FREE copy of our book

How to use subcontractors long term - book cover image

*we'll even pay the postage!