Working as a student via an online platform

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

As a platform worker, you work at times that suit you. This way, you can easily combine study and work. An online platform brings supply and demand together. This is how you come into contact with clients. These are often delivery jobs, work in healthcare, catering or logistics. You usually sign up for jobs via an app. You decide when you want to work and what you will do.

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 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 what 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.

Ratings

Many online 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.

Business risks

As a zzp'er or freelancer, you run risks. For example, if you break a machine or cause damage with your delivery bike. As an entrepreneur, you have to pay for this yourself and it can cost you a lot of money. So cover yourself against these risks.

Find out which insurances are covered by the platform, and which ones you need to take care of yourself. Check what the insurance policies cover (what exactly are you insured for?) and how high the deductible is (what amount do you always have to pay yourself?). Then decide which risks you will arrange your own insurance for.

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. And if something goes wrong, you do have to pay for it with the money you worked hard for.

Payment

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.

Tax and benefits

The hourly wage on a platform often seems high. But remember that you still have to pay tax and a contribution to the Health Insurance Act on these amounts. The platform does not do this for you. So you have to put money aside yourself. Calculate approximately how much tax you will have to pay so there are no surprises. This video tutorial shows you how to file your tax return in 3 minutes.

Student financing

As of 2024, the amount of money you earn in your own business will have no consequences for your student financing. The cap on earnings will be abolished (in Dutch).

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.