A Guide on how to set up as a Self-Employed PA

If you are looking to become a self-employed Personal Assistant (PA), there are a number of things that might be helpful to do. These include:

  1. Checking what a self-employed status really means, what your responsibilities will include and how this might affect the way you work
  2. Thinking about your ‘business plan’, in terms of who you are looking to be a PA for, what level of resources that people might have to contract with you (e.g. from their Local Authority, ILF Scotland, from benefits or funding the full cost of their support themselves)
  3. Thinking about the local level of need
  4. Being aware of local understanding and approaches to self-employed PAs, whether this will support your role or work against it
  5. What additional sources of information and support are available to you on an on-going basis (e.g. with business development)

At some point you need to decide if being self-employed is the right status for you.

Working out if you are self-employed or not

There are two areas to consider when trying to work out whether you would be self-employed or not. These relate to:

  • Employment status for tax purposes and
  • Employment status for work purposes

HMRC have outlined certain questions to help you decide if you are self-employed for tax purposes. If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, you are likely to be self-employed:

  • Can the PA hire someone to do the work for them, or take on helpers at their expense?
  • Can the PA decide where to provide the support needed, when to work, how to work and what to do?
  • Can the PA make a loss as well as a profit?
  • Does the PA agree to do a job for a fixed price regardless of how long the job may take?

If you cannot answer yes to any of the questions above, you are still likely to be self-employed if most of your answers to the following questions are yes:

  • Does the PA risk their own money?
  • Does the PA provide the main items of equipment (not the tools that many employees provide for themselves) needed to do the job?
  • Does the PA regularly work for a number of different people and require business set up in order to do so?
  • Does the PA have to correct unsatisfactory work in their own time and at their own expense?

Working for yourself

If you start working for yourself, you’re classed as a sole trader. This means you’re self-employed – even if you haven’t yet told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) yet.

Things you need to do to set up as a Self-employed PA:

  • Register with HMRC as self-employed on the HMRC website
  • You will then receive your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) as a self-employed worker
  • You need to develop your business plan
  • Secure the Insurances that you need, such as:
    • Professional indemnity
    • Public and product liability
    • Contents and stock
    • Business interruption
    • Cyber cover
    • Legal expenses
  • Create the contracts and relevant paperwork for your role as a PA. This might include entering into a contractor/consultancy agreement with your client i.e the person you provide care to

Consider that all relevant legal responsibilities are covered, such as:

  • Health and safety
  • Risk assessments
  • First Aid
  • Marketing and promoting your business (e.g. through leaflets, cards website etc)
  • Feedback from customers and review your business plan

Next steps

Take a look at the article, “Self-Employed PAs” and the other resources below.

Part of
Last Updated
03 November 2022
First Published
01 April 2022
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Please note that the information contained in this Handbook is provided for guidance purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Self Directed Support Scotland or any other contributing party.

The information does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal and professional advice from a lawyer about employment law matters, or an accountant/ tax specialist about taxation matters, and from HMRC and your insurers. You should not rely solely on the information in this Handbook. Support organisations listed in this Handbook can help you find appropriate sources of advice.