If you have an interest in caring for others and would enjoy the freedom of flexible working hours and choosing your own clients, you may enjoy the benefits of a career as a self-employed carer.
With the ageing population of the UK only expected to rise, now is a great time to start a new career in care. Despite this growing demand, there are many practical and legal considerations you must take into account before becoming a self-employed carer.
In this guide, we will walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a self-employed carer so that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
What is a self-employed carer?
A self-employed or ‘private’ carer is a trained care worker that provides practical assistance, companionship and support to people with varying care needs. Unlike some professional carers that work for fully-managed care providers like The Good Care Group, self-employed carers are hired and paid directly by their clients.
The day-to-day duties of a self-employed carer involve a wide variety of tasks including providing sensitive personal care, meal planning and cooking, light household duties, pet care and managing medication.
Self-employed carers can provide live-in or hourly care. With live-in care, the carer moves directly into the client’s home to provide them with the assistance they need. With hourly care, the carer visits their client’s home throughout the week on an as-needed basis.
The advantages of self-employed care work
Set your own schedule
By becoming a self-employed carer, you will enjoy flexibility and control over your working patterns. You can choose the days and hours you work without being restricted by company policies. If you prefer to take a break one day or not work on Saturdays, you can negotiate these terms directly with your client.
Choose your own clients
Self-employment offers you the opportunity to choose the clients you work with based on your own preferences and interests. You may also decide to specialise in a certain area allowing you to work with clients you feel you can support the most.
Set your own rates
As a self-employed carer, you are free to set your own rates. You can also adapt your rates to specific situations such as if a client requires complex care, if you are caring for a couple or if you will be working during holidays. This means you will also be required to manage your own business costs such as transportation and legal fees.
The disadvantages of self-employed care work
You will be required to do your own paperwork
Being a self-employed home carer means you won’t have anyone to remind you to update your training, file your taxes or renew your Disclosure Barring Service (DBS). You will have to stay on top of your own paperwork including paying your own national insurance, carer insurance and business expenses. You may need to hire a professional to handle the taxation and legal aspects of your business.
Lack of employment benefits
As a self-employed carer, you will not have an employer to help contribute to your pension. You also won’t get sick pay, holiday pay or any other employee benefit. This means you will need to take care of your own investments and research the best schemes.
You will need a contract
Since you will need to negotiate with clients yourself, you will need to draw up a contract. Your contract will govern your working relationship with your clients, so it is important to get it right. Once a contract is signed, it is quite difficult to have it amended, so it is recommended that you get a professional to draw one up for you. You may also need different contracts for each client depending on the circumstances.
Lack of support system
Care work can be challenging at times and as a self-employed carer, you may lack the support system a fully-managed care service can provide. At The Good Care Group, we provide all of our carers with an extensive support system including 24/7 access to your care management team and a confidential phone line. Without such important support systems in place, you may find yourself becoming overwhelmed.
No training to keep on top of your skills
Working for yourself means that you will be required to ensure all of your skills are up to date and are in keeping with any changes to legislation or best practice. You may find that you have to turn down new clients because you don;t have the necessary skills or experience to support a particular health condition. Whereas working for a fully-managed provider like The Good Care Group would mean bespoke training for a range of conditions, delivered by a team of in-house experts. We also provide our carers with the opportunity to complete professional qualifications such as the Care Certificate, NVQs and further education.
How to become a self-employed carer
Make sure you have the right qualifications
If you are new to care work, you may want to undertake some qualifications. While there are no legal requirements to have certain qualifications to become a carer, they will demonstrate that you have a certain level of practical knowledge and skill.
There are care certificates, diplomas and NVQs available that you can take at levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. You can also choose to undertake an apprenticeship to gain some on-the-job training before going self-employed.
Consider the legalities
It is good advice to seek professional legal help before going self-employed as there are many legalities to consider.
To become a self-employed carer, you’ll first need to consider a legal structure for your new business. This means deciding whether you’ll be a sole trader or a limited company.
You must then declare yourself as self-employed to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). You’ll then be able to make your tax payments through a Self-Assessment Tax Return.
As a self-employed carer, you will be required to have Public Liability Insurance. It is designed to protect you in case your client suffers any damages or losses as a result of your work in their home. You may also want to speak to a professional about the benefits of Business Equipment Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Draw up a contract
If possible, it is best to enlist a solicitor to help you draw up a contract. This contract should clearly define the working relationship between you and your client including hours, rate, duties, holiday pay and cancellation of services.
Other documented policies and procedures you should consider putting in place include a risk assessment record, a complaints procedure and a duty of care and safeguarding policy.
Join our award-winning team
While becoming self-employed has its advantages, nothing compares to the dedicated support you will receive as a live-in carer with The Good Care Group.
As a fully-managed service provider, we handle all aspects of finding and managing your clients. Since we employ all of our carers directly, you will avoid the hassles of becoming your own employer and all of the financial and legal obligations that brings.
As part of our team, you’ll be welcomed into a community of caring people dedicated to providing you with everything you need to perform your role to the highest standard. You’ll have 24/7 access to your care management team, a confidential phone line and the compassionate support of an Admiral Nurse should you ever need it.
If you join our award-winning team, we’ll provide you with:
A competitive salary offered with merit-based pay progression. Your salary will be reviewed after six months and annually thereafter
Transparent pay bands, rewarding individual experience, skills, training and qualifications
Holiday pay, pension and bank holiday enhancements
Free DBS for England and free PVG if working in Scotland
Ongoing training and development opportunities, including Level 2 diploma in Working in Care Services and a Level 3 award in Awareness of Dementia
Referral scheme – up to £500 per referral
All UK travel expenses paid whilst in placement
Family discount on TGCG services (5%) plus 50% reduction on the initial fee
Peer-to-peer support for all carers joining us as part of our Buddy Scheme
Employee Assistance Programme offering confidential advice and support
If you already have professional experience in a care home, hospital or home care environment, we would love to hear from you. We are always recruiting dedicated and experienced carers for our home care jobs across England and Scotland.
Our jobs application process can be completed in a few easy steps and you may hear back from us in as little as 24 hours. You can apply here.
CALL NOW TO SPEAK TO OUR RECRUITMENT TEAM
If you’re passionate about providing the very best care, we think there’s nowhere better than The Good Care Group.