Choosing care: Pick the right clients as a self-employed paid carer
You’ve decided to set up your own care business and work as a self-employed paid carer. You’ve registered with HMRC, got all your paperwork in order, starting marketing your services and now you have interested clients (and if you haven’t quite got to this stage, then take a look at our dedicated section on becoming a paid carer).
It’s tempting to take on everyone who wants your services, especially as you may have taken a great risk in going self-employed and need to start earning a living from your business. However, it’s important that you pick the right clients to work with, as this will be better for both them and your business in the long run.
We’ve put together a few points that you should bear in mind when picking your clients:
Discuss requirements in advance
After a potential client has contacted you to enquire about your services, arrange a good time to chat on the phone. This call should cover the basics of what exactly they are looking for, what services they would expect from you, what sort of hours they need, how flexible they would expect or need you to be and so on. You will also need to discuss your payment rates with them, to ensure that they know how much it would cost. Before you even meet them, this phone call makes sure that you are confident that you can deliver what they need and that they are happy with your terms of service.
Stick to your care services
You may get a lot of requests from people to offer services that are outside what you originally marketed your business to do. At this early stage, it is better to stick with your business plan. Only offer services that you are prepared and experienced in delivering. You want to build a good reputation and offer high-quality services. It can be tempting to go above and beyond, but you can always get extra training or add additional services further down the line as your business develops.
Meet in person
Arrange to meet the potential client in person. It might make them feel more comfortable if this initial meeting is done at a neutral location, such as a local coffee shop. This is so that they don’t feel like they are inviting a stranger into their home. You should also suggest that they bring along a friend or family member to listen in and take notes. They need to make the right decision to work with you as much as you do to work with them. You can go into more detail about the contract and the services, the hours and the pay. You can also show them your DBS certificate to give them peace of mind, and explain what insurances, training and qualifications you have. You should also run through your basic contract with them, and discuss any particulars that need to be added for either party. You should also discuss how they will pay you, including when you will invoice them (weekly, monthly, etc) and also whether they are paying you from their own money or a Personal Budget.
If you decide that you would like to work with a client and they have also chosen you as the right person for the job, then the next step is to arrange a home visit. You need to be able to see the place that you will be working in. Walk through the rooms that you will be working in and do a risk assessment. Find out where things are, including any medications you might need to administer. Also, make sure that you collect phone numbers for family, friends, their doctor and so on.
It is wise for the sake of both parties to agree to a trial period of, for example, three months. You can agree with your client that at the end of this trial period, either one of you can give notice on the contract if it is not working. Care is a very personal thing in its nature, so you have to feel comfortable working with your client as much as they need to be comfortable with you. If it’s not working out, it is better to end it on good terms and move on.
When you take on a new client, you should keep thorough records and ensure that your diary states their name and contact numbers, their address, when you are going to be there and for how long. For your own safety, make sure that someone knows how to access your diary and find out where you are working. A web-based calendar could work well for this.
If you have any further questions about choosing the right clients, or any aspect of setting up a new care business, then please Contact Us.