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Our frequently asked questions: Becoming a paid carer

Posted on 25/06/2014

We handle a lot of enquiries from people who are interested in becoming a paid carer, or going self-employed as a paid carer. We have put together a list of the most common questions that we get asked here, along with some advice.

If there is anything you want to know that isn't covered here, or you want further information on any of these topics, then please get in touch.

What are my options for being a paid carer?

There are three key ways that you can become a paid carer. The first is to work for a provider or an agency, and this is how many people will start out. The advantage is that you are employed, you have a boss, you have all your employment rights covered and you don't have to find your own clients. Make sure that the contract you are hired on suits you; some care providers use zero-hours contracts, which may not be right for your situation.

The next option is to be employed directly by the service user. This is good if you have a neighbour, for example, that you want to help out on a formal basis (ie, get paid for it). If you are not planning on taking on any other clients, then being employed by the client is a good option. You have your normal employment rights and your client will be responsible for paying you, setting out your duties in a contract and you will usually have set hours.

Finally, you can work for yourself. You might be working on your own with multiple clients, or you might be setting up your own business and hiring staff. Either way, there are pros and cons to being your own boss. You get a lot more control over your clients, your earnings and the hours you work. However, you are also responsible for your own taxes, providing policies, procedures and materials, and you don't get sick pay or holidays.

What training do I need to become a paid carer?

There is currently no legal requirement that you have any training qualifications before becoming a paid carer, however You're The Boss would definitely recommend you do get training before providing care – it leads to better and safer working for all concerned and, if you’re advertising your services, is more likely to encourage people to hire you. Additionally, training qualifications may also help reduce any insurance premiums that are offered.

It is recommended good practice that you do have some basic training, and this can be accessed in a number of ways including face-to-face training and via online resources. One online service that provides training is My Learning Cloud ( It provides a number of courses that you can do in your own time that are certified as counting towards formal qualifications that you may wish to gain in the future.

One course that is worth looking at is The Care Certificate. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) state that all staff should receive a comprehensive induction that takes account of recognised standards within the sector and is relevant to their workplace and their role. The relevant induction in this context means The Care Certificate. 

There are number of courses that you may find useful to take, so have a look on the website.

If you are interested in a more formal qualification, then take a look at the Skills for Care website, which lists the adult social care vocational qualifications available.

Do I need to register with CQC?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates, inspects and reviews all adult social care services in the public, private and voluntary sectors in England. There are some very strict rules over who must register with CQC to be allowed to provide services. If you provide personal care or other regulated activity, you need to be registered with CQC unless: you are employed by the service user directly; you are a self-employed sole trader, and you have no responsibility for supplying a substitute at anytime (ie, if you are on holiday, off sick, etc).

For more information on whether you need to register with CQC or not click here.

How do I get a DBS check if I am self employed?

A DBS (formerly known as CRB) check searches a person's details against criminal records and other sources, including the Police National Computer. The check may reveal convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings. You should consider getting a DBS check (and registering with the Update Service) to show to your clients to give them peace of mind. You cannot get a DBS check on yourself, so you must go through an organisation. You're the Boss can provide you with a DBS check. Click here to find out more.

How do I attract more clients as a self-employed paid carer?

If you have decided to go self-employed, then marketing becomes a primiary concern. If you don't have any clients, then you aren't making any money. We have some advice on marketing for paid carers on the website, as well as a template leaflet that you can customise and use in our Document Store.

How do I become a self-employed paid carer?

Whether you are just starting out, looking to change careers, or moving from employment to self-employment, there are a few steps that you have to take to become a self-employed paid carer. To make it easy to get started and see what is involved, we have put together the top 10 things you need to do to become a self-employed paid carer.

Am I employed or self-employed?

It is important to note that whether you are employed or self-employed is not a matter of choice. It is something that is regulated and you will be one or the other based on a set of criteria. It is important that you make the right choice, or you could end up with HMRC on your tail. Find out more about whether you are employed or self-employed here.

What policies and procedures should I have as a paid carer?

When you are setting up a care business, either as a self-employed sole trader or a larger enterprise, then you will need to be organised and make sure that you have all the right documents and records in place. For a start, you will need the correct policies and procedures. You will also need to know what records you need to keep and how. We offer many of the things that you will need in our Document Store.

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