As living conditions and standards of healthcare improve, it’s no secret that we’re getting older. The United Nations reports that the proportion of older people is growing in almost every country’s population. Demand for care services is growing as a result - including those delivered in the comfort of people’s own homes.
Care professionals have been thrust in the spotlight this year as the UK continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. If you feel as if you could help out and even launch your own home care agency, there are several important considerations along the way.
Below we outline key points to think about before joining the care industry.
Your business plan
Home care agencies can provide a range of care services to clients in their homes, from nursing to personal care, housekeeping, cooking and social activities. Deciding how you plan to operate is the first step and will determine the staff and qualifications you go after.
Research what care is available in your local area to help you gauge demand and identify gaps and opportunities.
Experience and qualifications
Home care agencies require a qualified registered manager to ensure they comply with regulations. Alongside this, your care staff will need qualifications specific to your care setting, including common inductions standards (CIS) training.
All care services are rightfully scrutinised, so you’ll also need to register with the relevant regulator - the Care Quality Commission oversees providers in England – and prove that you’re capable and professional.
Key costs and requirements
There are a range of start-up costs to factor in with home care agencies, including insurance, equipment, staff salaries and training, and marketing costs. Extra outgoings might include care provider software and the purchase of a minibus for client transport.
You may need to raise external finance if you’re lacking on savings. You could save on office rental costs by managing your agency remotely, however.
It’s often said that a business is only as good as its people – and that’s particularly true for home care agencies.
Think about the type of professionals you’re looking for and where you might attract them. You may want to consider apprentices alongside other local candidates.
All potential staff will need to undergo DBS checks, CIS training and induction training. It may seem like a burden at first - but hiring and training carers properly will be crucial to your long-term success.
With a strong foundation in place, all that’s left is to find some people to care for!
You can do this both privately and through local authorities. Finding work through your council may be simpler at first - but could also pay and scale poorly in the long run.
Attracting private sector clients will require marketing through digital and traditional channels, including leaflet drops in key areas, to get your name out there.
With more knowledge of what’s involved, could starting a home care agency be a good career option for you?