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Become a self-employed paid carer in 2015

Posted on 29/12/2014

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s that time of year when we look back at the things we have achieved and spend some time thinking about how we’d like to move forward. The New Year is a great time to put plans in action, so if you have been considering about setting up as a self-employed paid carer, then why not take the plunge and make this the year that you put your plan in action?

It can be daunting thinking about going it alone and running your own business, which is what puts many people off trying. When you make the first step, however, you will be on the right road to success.

Before you do anything else, you will need to register as self-employed. You will also need to register for self-assessment to pay your taxes, and arrange to pay your National Insurance contributions. There is some good advice here:

Once this is in place, the first thing that you need to do is spend some time coming up with a business plan, which will detail all of your future goals, the services that you want to offer and how you are going to make the business a success.

Find out more about business plans

The next thing that you need to do is make sure that you have all the policies and procedures in place to actually run your business, such as forms for risk assessment, support planning, timekeeping, record keeping and more. You will also need to do some budget planning and figuring out what your hourly rate is, bearing in mind that you need to factor in the time you will spend on admin and travelling. You won’t get holiday or sick pay either, so make sure that you consider this when setting your costs too.

Risk assessment form

Budget template and making your care business pay

Timesheet and invoicing tool

Record keeping for paid carers

Before you start working with clients, there are a couple of formalities that you should set up. For one, make sure that you are properly insured. You will need Public Liability Insurance, and some companies offer dedicated insurance packages for care workers.

What insurance do I need to work as a paid carer?

You should also get a DBS check done. This gives potential clients peace of mind. You can’t get a check done on yourself, so you need to go through a third party.

Get a DBS check with You’re the Boss

When you have the basics of your business set up, then you can start to think about attracting some clients to work with. That means that you will need to get tot grip with some marketing. That doesn’t have to be complex, but the key is to be targeted. Know exactly what kind of client you are aiming at and make sure that your marketing is in the right place, offering the right services.

Template leaflet for marketing

You should meet with potential clients and see if they are right for you and the services that you offer. This is to the benefit of both yourself and the client, as you need to form a good relationship to be able to provide the best care. There are other things that you need to talk through with them, such as what will happen if you are ill or on holiday – will they have someone that they can call in when needed? If you are a self-employed carer then you can’t ask someone else to do your job for you, so you are not responsible for providing cover in these situations.

It pays to have a contract in place with your clients, so that it is clear exactly what you are being engaged to do and if there is anything that you are not willing or able to do, so that it isn’t an issue in the future. You can also outline things like when you are available, what happens if you are ill and your hourly rate. You should find out how you are being paid as well. You may have to invoice the client and they will pay you directly from their own money, or they may receive money from their Local Authority. If they get their money as a direct payment, then you will still deal directly with the client; however, if the LA will be paying, then you will need to check who you need to send your invoice to.

Contract for self-employed carers

While this might seem like a lot to work through, it does pay off in the end. There are lots of benefits to being self-employed, the key things being that you are in control of your own work, your money and your time, which makes it easy to fit into your life.

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