We’re very grateful to Lucy Buxton, a care professional with 32 years of experience working in social care and the NHS, for this insightful and honest guest blog post.
Lucy Buxton – Self employment in care
Lucy started her career as a care assistant before training as a nurse. In more recent years she has expanded her skills and now spends her time working as an NLP trainer (Neuro-linguistic programming), coach, and trainer of hypnotherapy. Lucy also also loves to help businesses build great values-driven cultures, with the purpose of having a happy staff team and even better outcomes for those cared for! Lucy can be contacted through either Linkedin or via email – [email protected].uk
A career path in care and coaching

If I knew back then what I know now, would I have made different decisions along the way?No, probably not.

Do I pinch myself every day to see if my daily reality is real? Yup!

I promise you I never thought that I would end up working for myself. When I trained as a nurse, I just saw myself caring for folk as a nurse for the rest of my working days, a bit like my Gran did. Yet it wasn’t to be.

Now, what if this is the same for someone that works in care and isn’t a nurse, someone that is a carer?So, can carers work for themselves? Absolutely yes! Is it different to working for a provider?  And again, yes!

Do I think that how things are now will change over the coming years for self-employed carers? Yes, of course. One of the only things in life that we know is certain is change.

How being a self-employed carer works

Let’s chat for a minute about how being a self-employed carer works. Ultimately you can set up a business and seek registration with the relevant regulatory or if you don’t want to set up a business where you earn more than you need and you don’t employ other people you can be a self-employed carer.

The direction you choose is up to you. One is regulated, and one is not.

Is either better than the other I hear you say. Well no because they are different and not directly comparable.

When working as a self-employed carer the contract you have is with the individual directly. Not with the local authority or the NHS. You can only work with the individual or their family directly. It’s an unregulated role which means you cannot be commissioned by a statutory body to provide care.

You do have to run as a business so that means that you need insurance, be registered with the Information Commissioners’ office, and manage your finances like a business. You can claim the level of pay for mileage that the government stipulates and you will have to complete a tax return. Now which type of tax return you complete depends on whether you are self-employed or set up as a Limited company in which case you would need an accountant and a registered address. Even if you are self-employed you will have to look at systems for receiving money and paying money out. You would benefit from having a separate business account so that money transactions are clean.

You would also benefit from having some references and an enhanced DBS. If you have recently had one done, pay for the update service.

A lot of these questions can be answered by understanding why you would want to work for yourself. For me, working for myself wasn’t a choice. I had no choice. At the time of setting up my business, my Mom had just passed away and my daughter was very poorly in hospital. I needed flexibility and freedom, I didn’t need a boss nagging me about what was needed for their business. I needed to focus on myself and my family whilst earning an income.

Advantages and disadvantages of being a self-employed carer

So ask yourself what are the benefits and what are the disadvantages. There are lots for both, I promise.

Keeping yourself and your client safe is paramount and it will be one of the things that are key when people make recommendations. So you need to ensure that you are trained effectively and are competent as there will be no one checking in on you.

What about documentation? Do you need to write stuff down? Well ideally yes because you are being paid to do a job and you need to evidence what you have done. You still could find yourself in the middle of a safeguarding investigation if something goes wrong, even worse one that has police involvement.

That’s where PocketCarer can help. Using a platform where you can document the care you provide; one that is reflective of good practice and one where you can go back and check over what happened a week ago for example would be very advantageous.

If you love being a carer and are someone that still wants to provide care yet does not want to be employed directly through another business, then being a self-employed carer may be a solution.

Keep tuned for more insights into being a self-employed carer.

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