Freelancing as a student
- Gerdine Annaars
- How to
- 12 Sept 2021
- Edited 1 Jan 2023
- 3 min
Are you a student and want to earn extra money alongside your studies? You could do this by getting a part-time job, or you could start your own business. Online platforms offer opportunities for freelancers to immediately start work in the hospitality industry, logistics, care, or delivery services. If this sounds interesting to you, prepare well to avoid any unwelcome surprises. Find out what you need to do if you want to be a freelancer as a student.
Working as a freelancer via an online platform
Many students find work via online platforms. These offer a means to earn income when it suits you. The online platform is the mediator between you and the clients. Before you sign up, it is wise to check out exactly how the platform works and what its terms and conditions are.
Am I allowed to work as an entrepreneur?
Foreign students in the Netherlands who have a valid student visa or residence permit can start a business alongside their studies. You do not need additional documents or visa from the IND. Nor do you need a work permit (TWV, 'tewerkstellingsvergunning' in Dutch) from the Employee Insurance Agency UWV. You only need a TWV if you work in paid employment. There is no legal limit to the number of hours you spend on your business.
Read tips for student entrepreneurs.
What makes you an entrepreneur?
Signing up for a platform may cause you to come up against unfamiliar issues. For example, having a KVK number may be a requirement for joining the platform. In other words, know you must do to start your own business. What exactly does this mean? According to the legal definition, you are an entrepreneur when you provide goods or services to third parties independently and intend to make a profit. In practice, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what a business is. Both The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK and the Tax Administration have several criteria to determine this.
How does an online platform for students work?
Working with a platform is a flexible way to make money, making it easier to combine study and work. The platform brings together supply and demand, putting you in contact with clients. The jobs offered are often in hospitality, care, delivery services, or logistics. Check the available jobs via an app or website. You decide when you want to work and what you want to do. You do not do so as an employee, but as an independent entrepreneur.
Did you know? Many platforms use a rating system. Clients assess your work. These ratings are included in your profile. Make sure your profile is an attractive one. It is your calling-card!
Making money via a platform
Do you want to join a student platform? Then you must follow the platform’s rules. Make sure you know how the platform works and what the conditions for joining are. For example, you see a request for serving staff at a cool event on the other side of the country. The platform often expects you to make your own travel arrangements and pay the travel costs yourself. You may also have to provide a suitable outfit yourself.
Tip: before you join, find out which insurances are covered by the platform, and which ones you need to take care of yourself. Some clients will only hire someone who has taken out business liability insurance. This insurance covers damages caused by you while working. For example: an expensive machine breaks down, because you handle it wrong. Having proper insurance prevents difficulties for you and the client.
As a platform worker, you receive an hourly fee. In some cases, you may negotiate this fee yourself. You are usually paid by the platform, not the clients. The platform will send an invoice to the client and handle the administrative side of things. Make sure you know what the platform does, and what you have to do.
Tip: do not forget that you have to pay income tax on the money you earn.
Check the consequences for your student financing
Earning money on the side may affect your student financing. Are you a university or hbo (higher professional training) student? And do you receive student financing from the Dutch Education Executive Agency (DUO)? In that case, it makes no difference how much you earn. Do you still receive financing under the old student financing system (if you started your studies before 2015)? Or do you receive a grant, loan or travel compensation for secondary vocational education (mbo)? Then there is a maximum of what you may earn on the side (€15,282.77 in 2022). DUO checks your income each year. If you earn too much, you will be informed how much you have to repay.
Tip: are you in the last year of your study? Your income from your business will not count as earnings on the side of your student financing. That is, on condition that you get your diploma that year. This only applies to students who are entrepreneurs for income tax purposes. Check with the Tax Administration which rules apply to your specific situation.
Register as an entrepreneur with KVK
Do you want to register with KVK? Choose a legal structure first. Most starting entrepreneurs opt for the legal structure sole proprietorship ('eenmanszaak' in Dutch). You can start a sole proprietorship quickly and easily. One downside is that you are personally liable for any financial problems your business may incur. So, research the risks carefully and take out insurances against the risks you cannot cover yourself.
Make an appointment at a KVK office to register and receive your KVK number. You can do so online, choosing the time, date, and place that suits you. Before your appointment, fill out the online registration form. Bring a valid ID, and your bank card to pay the registration fee. You receive your KVK number during the appointment. KVK then sends your details to the Tax Administration, so you do not have to register with them separately. The Tax Administration will send you your VAT-ID and your VAT number.