Becoming a fulltime makeup artist and earning a living… how difficult is it?
Many thanks for the lovely messages on part 1 of this article, I’m glad to hear I kind of nailed it. In part 2 I want to dig deeper into the different ways and the administration part of being a freelance makeup artist. Many seem to think you just get a VAT number and you start…. there’s way more to it! Let me point out that I’m based in Belgium, and this article is about regulations in Belgium, for other countries it will be different!
Getting started as a makeup artist in Belgium, how to?
There are 3 major ways to get started as an independant/freelance makeup artist:
- as a second job (bijberoep)
- via an (interim) agency
- fulltime independant/freelance
When I started out in 2008 I started doing makeup as a second job. In order to be able to do this the law requires you to work as an employee for a company (in dienst) for at least 19 hours weekly. (When you’re a teacher in a school this is less, around 12 hours) You will have to start up your company and get a VAT number which will cost around 90 Euros for the startup of your company and around 70 Euros for the VAT number. What is the advantage of doing makeup as a second job? You have to pay way less social security (around 90 euros is the minimum every 3 months) and if your yearly income is not higher then 1.531,99 euro you don’t even have to pay it. As for VAT, if your yearly income is not higher then 25.000 Euros you are not VAT obliged. Downside to that, you will have to pay the VAT on the costs yourself. You don’t have to get extra insurances (health insurance, pension plan), as the company you work for will provide that, which saves a huge amount of money. Professional costs such as makeup products can be deducted. Actually, it is an extra income on top of your income as an employee.
On the downside, working as a makeup artist on top of your regular job will make your taxes rise as you will get taxed on both incomes together. Also, this second job comes on top of your primary job which means you won’t have much time for your private life, at least, if you work a lot! The social insurance you’ll have to pay are so called called ‘solidarity payments’ and won’t count for the pension you receive as an independent.
If you work via an agency (interim) you don’t have to worry about the administration, nor do you have to pay for the startup of your company. The reason for this is that you don’t own your own company, but the agency is sort of an in between person. They will send invoices for you and will pay your social security, VAT. They will take care of a small part of your pension, your holiday money and 13th month. Of course they won’t do that for free, 8-11 % of commission on what you earn will be taken. On top, you pay per job approx 50% on taxes. The money you get in your account is your netto. You will receive your taxes form yearly, as everyone, but you probably won’t have to pay extra taxes. On the other side, as the agency provides you ‘day contracts’ you could claim unemployment on the days you don’t work.
When you’re a fulltime independant/freelancer, like myself, you have to take care of everything yourself. Of course you can hire an accountant (which I highly recommend but make sure to choose a good match) but you wil have to keep an eye on everything. After starting up your company you have to take care of the following: your branding, all the necessary insurances, a retirement saving plan, hospitality plan and guaranteed income plan. Obviously, all of this comes with a price tag. You will have to make and send out your invoices (and send reminders as clients don’t tend to pay on time) and have to keep your administration on point. Every three months you will have to pay social insurance, which in the fulltime case is a minimum of approx 780 Euros but let me assure you, if you make a normal living out from doing makeup, that’s not enough and you will get a nice surprise after a year…last year I had to pay over 5000 Euros on top… To give you an idea, I pay around 1800 Euros every three months. I can go on and on, but what it roughly comes to is that for every 100 Euros you receive, you can best put 55 Euros in a savings account. Plus, don’t forget that the 21% VAT is not for you… As a makeup artist you don’t have a lot of costs. When you have a creative accountant he can fix a litttle more here and there but be careful, the golden days are long over and if you don’t want to get another big surprise when you get a tax control, I would suggest you follow the rules.
to be continued…
Pictures by: Pieter De Smedt-Jans – Pauline Leclère & Axelle Degrave