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Making the change from employed to self-employed as a paid carer

Posted on 27/08/2015

If you’ve been working in the care industry for a while, it might have crossed your mind to consider going self-employed and offer care services in your local area, rather than through an employer.

Working for yourself is a popular option for many people. You have the flexibility to determine what hours you want to work, which is great if you have other commitments, such as the school run. You can also control the amount that you earn, rather than being paid a set wage by an employer. You get to pick and choose the clients who you want to work with and the type of work that you want to do.

There are, of course, the downsides too, which you need to consider before making a definite decision. Without having an employer, you will need to keep on top of your finances, HMRC responsibilities and costs. You will need to allow for things like holidays and sickness, where you will no longer be paid. You will need policies, contracts and insurance, a DBS check, and you will need to be confident that you can find clients to get your business started.

Read more about the pros and cons of working for yourself

If you are sure that you want to leave your current employer and go self-employed, then there are a few things that you will need to think about. It is worth doing some planning while you are still employed, so that you don’t go from having a steady wage to having no income.

You should first come up with a business plan. This should detail everything from exactly what kind of services you want to offer, the area that you want to work in and what kind of clients you want to attract.

Next, you need to think about how much you are going to charge. By already working for an employer, you probably have a good idea of what a client pays and how much you receive as a wage. You will get the full amount from a client, but you will need to account for the time to takes to travel, doing your admin work and taking holidays. We have a detailed guide in the Document Store looking at how to set your costs and plan your budget.  You will also need to ensure that you are competitive, so take a look at similar services in your area.

You can start to get your paperwork in place early on too, and this includes things like a contract that you will use with your clients, policies on safeguarding and risk assessment, for example. We sell all of these documents for you to customise and to make it even easier, we have a Complete Self-Employed Paid Carer Bundle, with everything for one price.

Make sure that you have the correct insurance in place before you take on any clients and get a DBS check to show them for peace of mind.  

Finally, think about how you are going to find clients for your new business. You might have met some people through your current employer who would like you to work for them, but you should check your employment contract carefully, as there may be a clause restricting you from doing so. Otherwise, think about marketing your services in local facilities like day care centres, churches and doctor surgeries. A simple leaflet can be very effective. Also consider a basic web page, which might appeal to the families of those looking for care.

You can do a lot of the above before handing in your notice. Once you have your first client, you will need to ensure that you register with HMRC as self-employed and sign up for Self Assessment for your taxes and National Insurance. You can do this yourself to start off with, as it is quite straightforward, but you might want to consider an accountant as your business grows.

Hopefully this has given you an insight into making the switch to self-employment. There is further information in our blog post, How to become a self-employed paid carer. If you have questions that have not been answered, then do please get in touch

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