Becoming a self-employed carer can be rewarding. However, it’s important to consider all the benefits and risks before making the decision. A self-employed carer can also save money by avoiding the costs associated with hiring an employee. These include National Insurance, tax, holiday pay and a background check. This saves clients money and gives the carer more flexibility. Self-employment Becoming self employed as a carer is a great way to be your own boss and control your working hours. You can choose your clients, work with them to design a schedule that suits you and even set your own rates which can be very attractive for carers who have been chronically underpaid in the traditional agency model. However, it’s important to take the right precautions before becoming self-employed. One of these is to ensure you have the appropriate insurance cover, including public liability, for your business. Another consideration is whether to register as a sole trader or limited company. Both options have their own pros and cons. If you’re unsure about which to choose, we recommend getting in touch with your accountant for more advice. Lastly, make sure you have the right tools in place to manage your business. For example, using a client-management system like PocketCarer can help you keep on top of your scheduling and record-keeping. Working with your own clients When you work as a self employed carer, you have the opportunity to choose which clients you work with. This is unlike agency employees, who are typically assigned clients by an agency. This can be beneficial for your career as a carer, as you will have more control over the type of work you do and will not be limited by a client’s care needs. To ensure that you can attract clients, it is a good idea to invest in some of the recognised care industry qualifications that are available. These include diplomas and NVQs. You may also want to consider obtaining an enhanced DBS certificate, which will prove that you have no criminal record and can work with vulnerable people. Word of mouth is a great way to find clients, as is getting involved in your local community. If you are considering setting up your own limited company, you may need to register with the CQC. Setting your own rates For caregivers who want to give clients the care and attention they deserve, working as a self-employed carer can be a rewarding career choice. However, establishing your own business can be difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, there are ways to make the process easier and more effective. One of the biggest advantages of being a self employed carer is that you can set your own rates. Unlike care agencies, you can charge whatever you feel is fair to your clients. This also means you won’t lose money to agency fees. You can advertise your services online or in the local community. Word of mouth and recommendations are also a great way to attract new clients. In addition, it’s advisable to get professional insurance cover such as public liability insurance. Managing your own business If you’re a self employed carer in the UK, you’ll need to make sure that your business is properly structured. This includes setting up your business, obtaining appropriate insurance and choosing a contract structure for each new client. In addition, you should carry out an enhanced DBS check (previously called a CRB check) to demonstrate your suitability for working in someone’s home. You can also take out employers’ liability insurance to protect your business in case of an accident while working in a client’s home. Although self-employment has many benefits, it is also a risky career choice. Carers who operate on their own won’t receive holiday pay, a company pension scheme, PAYE tax or representation and may have to spend money on additional training to keep up with their skills. If you’re worried about the financial risks of becoming self-employed, it might be better to work with an introductory service that matches clients with carers.