By Using Smart co-op For The Self-Employed, Freelancers Can Obtain German Health Insurance.

Do you want to use the German healthcare system, streamline your administrative responsibilities, and concentrate on your business as a freelancer or self-employed resident of Germany? Look no farther than our collaborators at Smart, the cooperative that can assist you in staying organized and saving time.



The cooperative (or “Genossenschaft” in German), headquartered in Berlin since 2014, has developed a radically new way to work as a freelancer. They allow you to focus on growing your business while they support in the background, regulate your income and provide a way to gain access to the public healthcare system in Germany, a common problem faced by many Feather customers.



In a nutshell, Smart allows freelancers to handle their professional activities within the structure of a shared company, co-owned by all members. Members hand over administrative tasks to the cooperative: Smart invoices the member’s clients, receives the payments and sends payment reminders if the clients don’t pay on time.

That means that Smart members don’t have to register their own freelance activity with the tax office – invoices are sent with Smart’s tax number instead. Currently, Smart can invoice any type of service that doesn’t require a professional license. Most Smart members work in the fields of business consultancy, teaching, coaching, project management and software development.



Members receive a regular monthly salary as conventional cooperative employees based on the typical income handled by Smart. One job contract combines several projects, ensuring a consistent income. This may be beneficial, for instance, when looking for an apartment. Smart accelerates the payment for confirmed freelancing in the EU; participants are already paid while working on the project.



As employees of the cooperative, employed members automatically get access to public health insurance – no matter how they were insured previously. To be able to get public health insurance through a Smart employment contract, members need to have enough projects to generate a gross salary higher than 520 Euro per month (the current Mini-Job threshold).

In addition, employed members also contribute to the German national pension insurance and have unemployment, long-term care, accident, and professional liability insurance. All costs of the employment contract are paid out of the member’s budget. Members can also have their professional expenses and travel costs reimbursed out of their budget.



Smart takes a 9% cut from each invoice processed by the cooperative. Smart’s profits are all re-invested into making the cooperative better. Members can vote at assemblies to determine the future of the cooperative and how profits are used.

Using Smart can also make sense for those only working as a freelancer on the side such as people who already have full-time employment or who are insured through the Künstlersozialkasse. Since Smart eliminates the need to register a freelance activity at the tax office, it’s a great solution for people who only want to freelance on the side – employment via Smart is also possible through a Mini-Job in this case.

Smart offers its members:

  • Full social insurance package through an employment contract, including access to public health insurance.
  • It allows freelancers to focus on their work without having to worry about administrative tasks: Smart takes care of invoicing, payment processing, and tax obligations, which can be a big relief for many freelancers.
  • Access to a community of like-minded freelancers and networking opportunities.
  • Membership in a future-oriented new business model that allows members to actively participate.


You must already have a valid residence permit that allows you to work for any employer in Germany if you are a non-EU citizen and wish to work for Smart. This applies to people with residency permits for temporary protection or as family members, as well as permanent residents, students, and UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

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