Contractors who provide their services through intermediaries, such as their own limited companies, run the risk of unwittingly being caught by IR35 if they’re not careful. This can result in a substantial bill for extra tax from the taxman.

An essential task for any contractor is to avoid an IR35 investigation, below are a few steps you can take to avoid one, making sure IR35 will not apply to you.

Make sure your tax returns are completed correctly and on time, any errors and you could put yourself on HMRC’s radar and arouse inspector’s suspicions that you may be making further mistakes. Hiring an accountant to submit tax paperwork can significantly reduce your chance of being targeted for an investigation.

There’s no such thing as an IR35 proof contract, but paying for a contract review is essential when you get your contract, have it professionally reviewed by an expert who can identify any clauses that may be badly worded and could put you inside IR35 from the outset.

You should always operate under “Contract for services” arrangement, as a business to a business service provider through your limited company. If you are named within a contract it may compromise this business relationship and an overzealous HMRC inspector could interpret the working relationship as an employment contract of service.

Keep the client at arm’s length, avoid being on any organisation charts, having business cards, getting any benefits that are normally given to staff, don’t become part of the company furniture so try and avoid becoming part and parcel of the organization.

Hopefully, by following the above and adhering to the IR35 rules, you should avoid any costly bills from the taxman.

Tax Paperwork

Tax Paperwork

Key Management for Estate Agents

As an estate agent you are responsible for your client’s most important asset, their home. Keeping multiple sets of keys and having access for your staff can be a struggle. That’s where a property management key system is useful for your business as an estate agent. This will give organised access to all the property keys for you and your staff.

Only authorised personnel can access the key system to prevent duplicates being taken or the keys themselves from being taken.

Both mechanical and electronic systems are available to provide key management for estate agents. Mechanical systems use pegboards to check keys in and out of the key tracking system. Each authorised user is given a personalised access peg which is used to identify who has taken the keys from the tracking unit itself.

Electronic systems on the other hand are far more advanced as everything is tracked using unique passwords which are then submitted to logging software. RFID technology can be used to keep track of keys and items. Tags are used on the items which can then be tracked using RFID scanners situated throughout your business premises.

Electronic systems are unobtrusive and easy to use throughout the day. Everything is tracked into a log so any lost items can be identified straight away.

Estate agents often use other equipment such as laser measuring devices and damp testers. These can also be tracked using a management system like the key tracker.

Using these management systems gives confidence to your clients as it shows your business is organised and responsible with their assets.

Key Management for Estate Agents

Gloss Meters Importance

Are glossmeters important?


Glossmeters are instruments that are used for quality control for products in the manufacturing process. It is used to measure reflection on the surface of an object. Depending upon the type of object surface to be measured, there are different geometries available for measuring the intensity of gloss.

Gloss meters are used to measure the consistency of gloss on every product that is being manufactured and ensure that the same products of other batches are indifferent. If the quality drops then it might be that there is lack of protection on the surface of the object or the adhesion is poor. Cars, pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics, furniture and food industries are some of the manufacturing industries that use gloss meters for quality control of its products.

Gloss is a visual perception and appearance of an object. The gloss perception is produced when the object is evaluated when light is reflected on its surface. The appearance may be matte, metallic, lustrous or even shiny. The intensity of glossiness is based upon two main factors. These include the surface quality of the object and the other one being the reflection of light on its surface and the glossiness of an object changes with the amount of light reflected such as the same object will look glossier when exposed to high powered light, semi glossy in optimum lighting arrangement and less glossy in areas that are poorly lit. However, the amount of glossiness is influenced by a number of factors like the amount and type of coating applied, smoothness achieved during polishing and the quality of the substrate. Due to this, a gloss meter is used to measure the reflection of the gloss.

Manufacturing companies design their products in order to make it look more appealing in the eyes of their prospective customers. A satin black designer furniture item, glossy magazine covers or highly reflective car body panels are some of the examples. Over time, the gloss factor of the products start fading away making customers suspect about the quality of the product. This is why a gloss meter is used to ensure the product is up to industry standard.

Testers & Testing Instruments

friction & rub tester

There a multiple testers that can be used for measuring and lots on testing instruments out there on today’s market. Although mainly in this post we are mainly going to focus on three main testing implements. They are the friction tester, rub tester and ink rub tester. We will speak about each tester and give our expert opinion on them.

First of all is the friction tester. The friction tester is the most comprehensive measuring tool available on the market when it comes to measuring coefficient of friction. This applies to items such as plastic film, paper and cartons. This instrument can also be used to measure friction value of a flat surface such as leather. Friction testers often come with extras that are usually optional for there buyers. These extras help to measure peel strength of adhesives along with a lot more. You can find out more about our friction tester here.

Next is the rub tester. In fact here at oundle we believe the rub and abrasion tester and ink rub tester almost come hand in hand so we will discuss both at the same time. The ink rub tester aims to bring you the most convenience along with accurate  levels of respectability on any printed material. The main use of the ink tester is for scuff, marking and rub resistance of carton films and printed material.

The results this instrument produces allows it’s users to identify alternative solutions or formulations for the test products. There is optional attachments available for the ink rub tester and these attachments give the ink tester the ability the conduct tests under harsher conditions if needed.

To conclude both of these testers the friction tester and the ink rub tester are valuable and convenient for there uses. You can’t really compare one instrument against the other as they cover different areas of testing. They both are extremely accurate and are fit for the above purposes mentioned.

Industrial Magnets

There are a variety of magnets that classify for industrial use. Industrial magnets are high strength magnets that have certain characteristics that make them ideal for applications in the industrial industry. Different applications require different types of industrial magnets.


Types of industrial magnets

Permanent overband magnets:

The overband separators are effective units for continuous removal of tramp ferrous material from a product stream. This specific type of magnetic separator is used to protect, clean and separate materials on applications in the recycling and quarrying industries.

Permanent suspension magnets:

Suspension magnets are specially designed for the extraction of occasional tramp iron from a product stream being conveyed by a conveyor belt or vibratory feeder. The magnet is suspended above a conveyor with sling chains setting the magnet face at the correct angle for optimum extraction. An electro suspension magnet can be repositioned away from the conveyor and de-energised for cleaning.

Drum magnets:

Drum magnets are constructed with a 180 degree stationary magnet system. Material is fed onto the drum cover at the leading point of the magnet section. Magnetic materials will adhere to the drum cover as it revolves and will then be discharged behind the normal trajectory.

Tube and grid magnets:

Tube and grid magnets are often used for the removal of fine and general tramp iron to protect a product from metal contamination. They are manufactured from ferrite or rare earth magnetic tubes, depending on a customer’s application requirements.

They are most commonly installed into hoppers, chutes and ducts, magnetic tubes and grids and are often used for applications in the food processing and ceramics industry.

 Plate magnets:

Plate magnets are an inexpensive form of magnetic protection against occasional tramp iron contamination. The plate magnets can be used in a wide range of industries and are commonly installed within a chute or over a conveyor. Plate magnets are constructed from a magnetic stainless steel casing, which utilises projected magnetic stainless steel poles for enhanced field intensity.

Magnetic plates can be manufactured with either a strontium ferrite, or a high-intensity neodymium iron boron (rare earth) magnet system. The more powerful rare earth solution is advised for removing much finer iron particles from powders and foodstuffs.