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Is now a good time to become a self-employed paid carer?

Posted on 10/06/2017

Social care has been hitting the headlines for the last few months, and often not in the best of ways. With a shortfall in funding, as well as uncertainty in the wake of the General Election and Brexit, the future of our social care is far from secure.

It’s not surprising that many people may be hesitant about entering the sector for the first time, or setting up their own care business as a self-employed paid carer. However, with funding cuts affecting most local authorities, they do not have the capacity to help every person that needs it. The criteria for whether a person receives funded social care usually only covers those with a ‘serious need’, which means that those who only need a little help day to day will most likely have to pay for services themselves.

The council support team can help self-payers to find local services, but these can sometimes be limited to certain companies, agencies or businesses, and costs can be high. With the ageing population only increasing year on year, the amount of people need some form of help and support at home without council support is set to rise.

This means that there is a still a requirement and market for small care businesses offering local services at competitive prices. If you are thinking of becoming a self-employed paid carer, now could be a good time to enter the industry.

There are a few things that you need to think about to ensure that your new venture is a success and helps to fill this essential gap. First is to set your prices competitively. Research what other services there are in your area, in particular the ones that the local authority work with, and see what they offer. You can compare their hourly rate, but also consider other factors like what services they specifically provide and how long they spend with their clients. Some agencies have fast appointments and a high turnover of staff, whereas some service users may prefer to pay slightly more for a personalised service with someone they will see every time and who can spend more time with them.

The next step is marketing your services. Using your research above, you should tailor your adverts (on social media, on leaflets, or on cards in local shops and churches, for example) to explain what you can offer that sets you apart from the competition. Be clear about what you do offer, any qualifications, your prices and special skills or areas of expertise.

While it might seem a scary prospect to enter into an industry that is in so much turmoil, but it’s a very good time for those offering private services to help fill the gaps left by the state social care system.

Further reading

Marketing advice for paid carers:

How to become a self-employed paid carer:

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