Freelancing and self-employment contribute to approximately 14 percent of the employment market in Singapore. This means that it is not difficult to be a freelancer in Singapore provided that you possess the required skills. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) categorizes freelancing as a form of self-employment. If you are not a Singaporean citizen or resident, you have to obtain an employment pass or a work permit for you to be allowed to work there. Luckily, you can apply for the e pass online and have it processed within a very short time. Freelancing means that you are your own boss, and as such, you have the luxury of managing your time—provided that the work gets done. When you are a freelancer in Singapore, do not expect benefits like annual leave or medical benefits, although some companies do offer these benefits to their long-term freelancers.
Do you need to set up a company?
While there is no freelancing law that directs one to set up a company, it is important to have one. If you have a company, it implies that you are providing a business-to-business service, and thus invoicing will be a more legitimate process. When you set up a company, you can even work with those companies who conduct their business with only registered suppliers and those who have a high audit process. While there are some cases of deferred payments for freelancers for a period of up to two years, the National Trade Union Congress of Singapore is delving into the possibilities of streamlining the freelance industry to eliminate such cases.
Day rates or hourly rates?
Almost every freelancer is paid by hourly rates, while a few are paid by project basis. In Singapore, a daily rate has been found to be the most ideal. However, you have to bear in mind that the rates will be highly dependent on how much your services or skills are in demand, and also the amount of experience you possess. If you have better skills, it means that you will be charging more and that your client will have high expectations of you. Sometimes charging may differ depending on the nature of the project or the company you are dealing with. It is recommended to come up with a rates range for the level of service you will be providing, bearing in mind that the nature of the projects you handle varies from time to time.
How do you get paid?
Most of the companies in Singapore pay after every 30 days. You will be required to submit an invoice to the client for the work you have already done or upon completion of a project. You should also ensure that you provide them with the right information regarding how payment should be credited to you, be it by check or bank transfer. If the kind of work you will be doing makes you incur additional expenses, like transportation, you should first talk with your client to be in agreement before commencing any work.
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