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How do I become a paid carer?

People think about becoming a paid carer for many different reasons: 

  • You could be informally caring for someone at the moment, but not be able to carry on without getting paid
  • You could know someone locally who needs help, and if you were paid, you would be able to do this - meaning that the person who needed help would get it from someone they already knew and liked
  • You could be currently working for a provider or agency, and want to branch out to work on your own
  • You could be wanting to start the next big agency providing care across your region

Whatever your reasons for wanting to become a paid carer, there are some things that you need to think about and do to achieve your goal.


The first step will be seeing if this is an affordable choice. We'd all love to be able to work for nothing, but for most of us this simply is not an option. You need to know whether you will be able to pay the bills - the best place to start for a quick and easy calculation is with our Salary Wizard. This will help you look at the number of hours that you need or want to work, and the hourly rate you need to charge to meet your own needs. It can also give a suggestion of which company model may be more financially appropriate for your business.

Remember, when you're thinking about going it alone there are other things to consider: if you have a mortgage and you want to change mortgage provider you will need two years of accounts from your business to show you can afford the repayments - this isn't an issue for someone who is employed. Also, if you're on benefits currently and thinking about becoming a paid carer, then, as with any job, you'll need to look at how your benefits could be affected.

We also provide detailed guidance on what you need to think about in deciding what to charge, what costs you might have and how to budget. Go to the Document Store to find out more about this 

Company model

The next thing that you'll need to have a think about is which company model is most appropriate for you:

  • Being employed by the service user
  • Being a self-employed sole trader
  • Setting up a limited company
  • Forming some sort of partnership

If you're employed by the service user then it's pretty much the same as being employed by any other organisation. The only difference is that your employer may not be quite so experienced in recruiting and managing staff as large providers are. Have a look at our pages on being employed by the service user for more information.

The other three options need careful consideration, and often you'll need to seek professional advice. See our pages on company setup to get more information.

The decision is not entirely a matter of personal choice however. In particular if you only anticipate that you will be providing care and support to one customer then it could well be that HMRC will assume you are actually employed by that person and not self-employed, whatever you call yourself. 

Care Quality Commission registration

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.

Basically, if you provide personal care or other regulated activity, you need to be registered with CQC unless:

  • You are employed by the service user either directly, or by someone who has a lawful authority to make arrangements on their behalf
  • 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 the scope of registration click here.

If you have questions relating to registration, CQC's Enquiry Line phone number is 03000 616161 and you can contact them online here.


If you're considering anything other than being employed, you must make sure you have proper insurance in place. If you are a self-employed carer you are required by law to have public liability insurance, and can personally be held responsible for compensation claims. If you are employed directly by the service user, then it is their responsibility to make sure they have the proper insurances in place, however even then it may be sensible to protect yourself and get your own insurance.   We have written an article on the insurances needed which can be found here, this includes links to specific carer insurance policies by companies such as Surewise and Blue Badge


Whichever model you choose you will need to make sure that you have a suitable contract in place.  

If you are going to be employed by the service user, then you should make sure that you have a proper contract of employment to cover your employment rightsClick here to buy a template that you can customise to meet yours and your service user's needs.   

If you are going to be self-employed, then you will need to make sure that you provide a contract that details what you will do for your client and how you will do it.  

If you've done all of this, why not go and have a look at the tools that you'll need to provide care and support and how You're the Boss can help.

* This information was provided to You're the Boss via the CQC helpline.

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