How to start your own
Company Set Up
Register your agency as a legal entity.
Register for tax and GDPR
Full branding – domain name + logo + website and professional emails + stationery.
Office Space Set Up
Instead of renting we may recommend creating an office at home in the short term.
The CQC will require evidence of permission to use your home for business purposes.
Social Media – we create Facebook, Google My Business profiles and keep them active – two posts every week for the first 6 months.
We sign you on www.homecare.co.uk and other sites to ensure you are visible and can be found when people search for care providers.
Write your Business Plan
This may seem challenging but writing a business plan will help you cover every aspect of running your business – from people management to marketing to financial forecasts – helping you to plan accurately for the future and pre-empt any obstacles.
We help you determine the type of care you envision your home care agency will provide. We focus on personal care provided during short visits, day long or 24-hour care. Of utmost importance will be your (and your staff) experience, skills and qualifications to meet the demand and needs of clients in your catchment area.
Banking & Finance
You will need a business bank account to separate your personal and business expenses and income.
You can borrow up to £25,000 from the Start Up Loan Company to fund your care agency.
Your agency must first be registered with the regulator to provide personal care services in clients homes. This is a legal requirement under the Health and Social Care Act for both your agency and your registered manager.
The CQC registration process may take 4 to 6 months long. You will have the opportunity to prove that you are suitably qualified, with enough experience, and passionate about providing home care of exceptional standards.
What you will need to do:
- Apply for a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check. This check aims to prove you are legally able to work with vulnerable adults. Without passing your DBS check, you cannot legally set up a care agency. All co-founders and the registered manager are required to undergo a DBS check.
- Supply references from previous employers
- Give a reference from your GP which states that you’re healthy and fit enough to provide care for others.
- Complete the appropriate CQC registration form.
- Apply to be named registered manager (or have your intended registered manager fill in an application to be named so).
- Create a statement of purpose that covers every aspect of your business in detail – including the services you wish to provide, your objectives for your agency, and your contact details.
You will need to pay an annual registration fee Calculation – Your registration fee = £239 + (number of service users × 45.77).
Your Registered Manager
The law requires that your care agency has as a registered manager – the individual who will manage the day-to-day running of the agency and oversee its activity, ensuring it complies with regulations.
If experienced and qualified, and for purposes of CQC registration, the owner can initially act as registered manager. Considering it’s great responsibility, we advise recruiting a senior staff member immediately or at a later stage.
The role of a Registered Manager requires minimum five years’ experience in the social care sector and qualifications including either:
- A QCF Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care (either a pathway in Management of Adult Services or Management of Adult Residential Services),
- A Registered Manager’s Award (RMA), or
- An NVQ Level 4 in Leadership and Management for Care Services
The latter two are no longer offered but are still recognised and accepted by the CQC as valid qualifications.
These qualifications will need to be supplemented by others such as nursing or health and social care qualification, which must show the role holder has practical understanding of your specific care setting.
All care staff must have completed the Common Inductions Standards (CIS) training.
Forms & Policies
Business documentation and recording is essential for compliance and efficient, smooth operations. Forms are important in recruitment, administration, risk assessment, care management etc.
The CQC will require these for inspections especially during the initial interview assessment.
Systems & Tools
We help set up robust systems and tools to sustain efficient and consistent productivity and efficiency. This will involve developing manuals and automated electronic systems with good standards covering the recruitment process, invoicing, accounting, payroll, customer relationship, rota management, care management etc.
Your business will provide regulated services which come with significant risk. We ensure your operations comply with legal requirements including employment, data protection, health & safety and COVID-19.
Your care staff will be responsible for your clients’ wellbeing – coming into close contact with them and administering medications and treatments. Your care business will need to be insured against any costly legal claims that could come your way.
We help you to get cover from an insurance provider who offers a package:
- Public liability insurance
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Employers’ liability insurance
The CQC may accept a Letter of Intent from an insurance company.
Accreditation & Memberships
As part of growing your business, we recommend joining forums and relevant bodies in the sector such as the UKHCA, Dementia Alliance, Dignity Champion and ISO Quality Management.
We help manage cash flow to avoid unnecessary expenditure and financial commitments. We are experienced enough to advise on paying; the annual CQC registration fee, staff salaries including mileage, staff training. We advise on the effectiveness of promotional materials and on whether to buy or rent care agency software.
Equipment & IT
The focus will be on securing confidential care records. You should ensure your business operates from a room (whether in your home or in an office space) that can be locked tight.
You will need to invest in Computers & other hardware, Broadband, Cloud Computing, Phone system.
Uniforms, ID Badges & PPE
You may consider supplying care uniforms for your staff with photographic ID badges. These are important for identification when visiting clients’ homes and carrying out care services.
To comply with Covid 19 rules, you must provide your staff with protective clothing such as aprons and disposable gloves.
Home Care Software
Investing in home care scheduling software is critical for the smooth running of your care agency. The aim is to automate administrative, paperwork-heavy tasks that might otherwise take hours to complete. A good system package should have accounting and invoicing, and HR functions.
Software package should enable you to:
- Plan and record staff shifts and appointment in a digital
- Hold records of both staff and client details
- Ask staff to check in and out of visits to enable monitoring activity at client homes.
We recommend using a cloud-based software system that enables you and your staff to access the portal remotely using any device – from office computers to personal smartphones.
Attracting Care Workers
You will need to hire qualified, trustworthy, friendly, and reliable care workers. We help you develop a targeted recruitment strategy that will focus on advertising online i.e., on your website, listings social media profiles and job boards such as Indeed.
It is a legal requirement that all staff undertake a DBS check to be able to work with vulnerable children and adults. If new to care they must complete the CIS training and gain a Care Certificate within twelve weeks of engagement.
Staff induction is essential to ensure new carers are aware of their jobs and responsibilities to themselves, the client, and the company. The process will include shadowing for practice and confidence building.
We focus on securing private clients but will advise working with local authorities to develop credibility. We help with the tender application and management process.
Your marketing strategy will blend both traditional and digital approaches to attract business to your agency. Ultimately your excellent service will be promoted through word of mouth by your clients who will have received exceptional care services.