What do you do if you’ve got a quality service, or skill, that you as an individual would like sell to others? Well you establish a company, of course!
But it’s not that simple now, is it?
Business owners will know that managing a company can be as much work as selling the service itself: everything from setting up the company to hiring an accountant seems like a lot of work when you’re not sure that a little freelancing will even pay for itself. Many who spot an opportunity for freelancing may get scared off, especially if they need to quickly jump on an opportunity.
However since two years ago Finnish start-up company Ukko.fi has been offering a way to greatly facilitate this problem. The company works as an automated invoice manager for those without a company to bill to. In other word the Ukko.fi platform manages the payment related paperwork that it receives from registered users in exchange of a 5% cut of what the user earned. The system allows for all types of professionals to work freely and as irregularly as they want, without the need of a trade name, or worry about filling taxation forms after a work gig for that matter. Registering is easy and free, and there are only few restrictions when it comes to the field of expertise provided (some healthcare services for example).
And the service works really well, at least if we’re to look at the numbers given to us by the company. Currently, according to Ukko.fi’s marketing manage Olli Kopakkala, Ukko.fi has over 11,000 active users (a number which is also proudly displayed on the front page of their website), and more than €13,5 million worth of billings were processed through the company last year alone, with the processed sums increasing from €500,000 from January of 2014 to €1,6 million by December. And looking at their current stats for the year it seems the curve isn’t showing sings of slowing down. But then again the aims aren’t exactly modest either: Kopakkala tells us that the current aim at Ukko.fi will be to reach a €40 million turnover, along with 30 000 users, by the end of this year.
There are some alternatives out there, such as the freelance tax-cards that are aimed at short-term workers. But that doesn’t mean the paperwork isn’t longer necessary. In fact, it’s the employer who ends up doing it, which when in comes to a short-term employment might not seem to be worth their trouble. Ukko.fi offers a rather effortless way for individuals to act as entrepreneurs, which might be worth giving a try if one isn’t entirely sure whether establishing a company is yet profitable.
So who uses Ukko.fi? Is there are a pattern in the type of profession that uses their platform?
According to Kopakkala it isn’t to pinpoint any field of work Ukko.fi is popular amongst.
“We have so many users that the job titles vary from pathologist to laughter yoga instructors. The most popular Job titles are still traditional freelance-jobs like photographers, graphic designers, journalists, dj’s, musicians etc. [But] we also have a growing number of consultants and construct workers.”
“One thing that isn’t mentioned on our website is that our system is 90% automated. All the billing, tax-payments, insurance-payments etc. are automated processes. We have only one person who handles all the manual work for our 11,000 users”, Kopakkala adds.
With short-term job popularity on the rise, which may or may not be good (depending on point of view), it’s good to at least see there are new ways to go around the complicated processes of managing payment-related documentation.