How can you find umbrella company reviews?

Before you choose an umbrella company, chances are you will seek out useful pointers and recommendations before signing on the dotted line.

So, how do you find umbrella company reviews in the first place?

Pretty much all umbrella-related information is online, but unfortunately, the reliability of much online content is questionable.

Be cautious when reading online umbrella company reviews

  • Positive umbrella company reviews are easy to find, but site owners are often forced to remove or edit ‘negative’ comments posted about umbrella company providers. The same applies to all types of services – accountants, agencies, etc.
  • Many umbrella companies are now fairly web-savvy, employing web marketing companies to ‘spread the word’. This includes posting reviews and information wherever they can, not all of it objective in nature.
  • Most amusingly, perhaps, you will often find the top 5 slots or so on comparison sites to be populated with those particular site’s sponsors. In fact, within weeks of advertising, comparison engine sponsors will miraculously become rated No.1!

Good sources of online reviews

You can find several ‘umbrella company review’ sites with a simple Google search.

We don’t necessarily suggest that you interpret online umbrella company league tables too literally, as rankings appear to vary wildly between comparison sites.

Even the most visited review sites (e.g. Trip Advisor) find it notoriously hard to filter out bogus reviews or votes.

However, the background information on competing umbrella suppliers can prove very useful in the overall process of choosing an umbrella scheme.

Here are some web resources you may find helpful…

Contractor UK Umbrella Forum

Long-established bulletin board for contractors.

You can gain very good feedback about the leading umbrella providers here.

‘Fake’ comments are unlikely to last long, given the ferocity of the community admins who clamp down firmly on ads masquerading as useful information.


This site could be a useful way to compare payroll companies, even though fake “good” reviews may be included. Providers often encourage happy clients to post reviews, which may skew the results.

However, relative scores may provide a general measure of how umbrella companies are viewed.

Here are some specific links to some of the leading umbrella companies: – 4.7

Paystream – 4.7

Parasol – 4.7

Umbrella Company UK – 4.5

Brookson One – 4.4


This is a good source of general information for contractors – including feedback on umbrella and accountancy providers.

Here is a good example thread.


A surprisingly good source of user-generated information on a wide number of topics, including umbrella companies.

See these search results.

Umbrella comparison sites – a big problem

A far more troubling problem arises from the massive growth in the number of umbrella comparison sites. The sort where you type in your personal details, and the site promises to send you a ‘quote’.

Some of the comparison sites may be legitimate, but many are not. They are fronts for illegitimate umbrella schemes – typically based offshore, and offering staggering net take-home pay rates.

Whatever you do, only sign up with a UK-based PAYE umbrella company.

Make sure they are accredited with either the FCSA and/or Professional Passport, such as the established brands that feature on this site.

The way forward – choosing the best umbrella

As we’ve mentioned in our popular tips on choosing the best umbrella company, the best umbrella company reviews you can get are from other IT contractors.

Unlike recruitment agencies who may receive kickbacks for recommending umbrella companies, current contractors typically provide no-nonsense advice on selecting an umbrella provider.

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Last updated: 24th February 2024