How to work as a Freelancer in the Netherlands?
I have a friend who studies in Germany, less fluent with German language but needs to read academic papers written in German. So he hired a long-term freelancer to help translate the paperwork. Today I want to tell you more and deeper about the idea of freelancer.
I am not sure if you are familiar with the word, actually a freelancer can not only be a translator, it can refer to a wider range of other jobs. The word "freelancer" is translated as ZZP'ers (zelfstandige zonder personeel) in Dutch, meaning a self-employed person with no employees. And why am I telling you about this? Because if you want to stay and work legally here in the Netherlands, except for highly skilled migrant (KM), don’t forget you can also become a freelancer!
What is a freelancer?
(zelfstandige zonder personeel)
ZZP'ers are self-employed foreigners or Dutch entrepreneurs, not limited to a particular long-term client or employer. In addition, ZZP'ers also have many benefits and welfare that contract-based employees do not have. Due to the fact that they can choose their client and the flexibility of working hours, ZZP‘ers become increasingly attractive.
More employers would prefer hiring freelancers instead of contract-based employees. From employers point of view, this kind of relationship is free from not only the limitations of a contract, but also that welfare that is obligated to provide to contract-based employees. As for ZZP'ers, they can choose their own working time and ideal clients, why not?
Some may say that, it seems safer to just work as a nine-to-fiver.
Well, then which group of people is a better fit for applying ZZP?
If you could:
- Find your own clients and maintain the partnership
- Easily organize and obtain resources without depending on a company
- Work alone most of the time
- Bear with the stress of "lack of work"
Then you could really consider applying for ZZP.
More things you need to know about ZZP
The flexibility of being a freelancer is no doubly attempting, you can create unlimited chances for your own job, but a freelancer needs to take care of many administrative issues, including:
- Resident permit
- Business registration
- Tax and btw
- Defining labor relationship with your client
- Insurance and pension
- Business plans and other issues
We already grasped the overall information about Dutch freelancers. What can we actually do as a freelancer?
As a matter of fact, one of the most common business structures among ZZP'ers is "eenmanszaak".
What is "eenmanszaak"
Eenmanszaak is usually mentioned as a sole proprietorship. This is a nice choice for those who wish to be self-employed but do not have a business patterner or substantive investor yet. I heard that applying for "eenmanszaak" can also get tax reduction in the first 3-5 years.
Financially, as an eenmanszaak, it is not requested to separate personal finance with business finance. As a result, one can use its personal bank account to deal with invoices. Besides, a sole proprietorship can hire employees to work.
More things you need to know about "eenmanszaak"
- Application: free (possibly a small amount of KvK fee)
- Funding requirements: none
- Management: by owner
- Responsibility: full responsibility by the individual
- Tax: btw/ income tax/ payroll tax (for employees)
- Tax reduction: yes, if meeting criteria
The data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) shows that the development of sole proprietorship is quite optimistic.
But of course, choosing ZZP and eenmanszaak can have some difficulties and struggles that non-freelancers can never experience
- Working in pajama alone and lonely. Although working from home is comfortable, as time goes by, it can also make you feel lonely. Seeing other people having fun with their colleagues, do you miss the time around people as well?
- Always finding Wi-fi. Although you can work anytime and anywhere, but it also requires an internet connection anytime and anywhere.
- Project "avalanche" or job "desert". Most of the time you cannot predict your working load in the near future. Freedom is traded by unpredictability and instability. It could be hard if you are asked to provide documentation to proof a stable income.
- Manage financial issues by yourself.
So, now you have more options when considering working in the Netherlands.