Our Story

Underneath the HardHats – who’s got your back?

You’re probably wondering why we’re the only company offering construction firms a self-employed subcontractor guarantee. We must be dodgy, right?

We’ll forgive you for thinking that. After all, they say if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. But that’s not the case with HardHats. Here’s a little bit of background to help you understand how and why we do what we do.

In the beginning…

I’m Ashley, and I make up one half of the HardHats team – I just haven’t worked out if I’m the beauty or the brains yet. Before HardHats, I spent a decade building a £100m a year payroll company, which provided the jumping-off point for HardHats.

Payroll companies are a lot like Marmite. I didn’t realise that at first – I genuinely thought what I was offering was the dog’s bollocks. But as time went by, it became apparent that for every firm happy to give up their payroll, there were five that didn’t like the idea.

Despite not wanting to hand over their payroll, those firms still had concerns that HMRC might try to reclassify their subcontractors as employees. As a payroll company, we told firms they couldn’t use subcontractors long-term. And yet, if they signed up with us, we could pay their subcontractors forever, and HMRC could never reclassify them as employees.

So why couldn’t I offer the ‘secret sauce’ that protected us from HMRC to the firms that didn’t want to use a payroll company?

Turns out I could. And so, in 2017, HardHats was born.

The HardHats Way…


I’d built a strong relationship with an international insurance company who
can offer an insurance policy that pays out should HMRC reclassify the
subcontractors as employees. If I could use that insurance policy to protect contractors, I’d have the perfect solution for firms who didn’t want to give up control of their payroll.

Essentially, that is the foundation of HardHats – it’s what underpins all our
contracts. It’s our ‘insurance-backed employment status guarantee’.
And we’re the first company in the UK to offer it to the construction industry.

Build it, and they will come…


And come they did. I was offering the missing piece that so many firms were looking for. A way to stay compliant without employing and without using a payroll company. In June 2020, Dan joined HardHats to help manage the growth I’d experienced over the first couple of years. Dan isn’t just a business partner. He’s a best mate and has been for over 20 years – I trust him like a brother.

Between us, we’ve built a strong reputation for delivering on our promises, and we continue to fight the good fight for hard-working contractors and subcontractors across the UK. So there you have it – the story so far. We saw a solution nobody else was tapping into and made it accessible to our clients. Nothing dodgy. No catch. Just doing things a different way. And we can do it for you too.

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!