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How to start a home care agency

Running a home care agency could see you start a rewarding new business while meeting the increasing need for adult social care.

As of 2022/3, approximately 1.52 million people opens in new window were working in the adult social care sector in England – more than those who work for the NHS in England.

There is a growing need for people to care for the ageing population opens in new window in the UK, especially within an industry with a high turnover of care staff and demand for social care being expected to increase further.

You may already be in the care industry or a related medical field, or perhaps you have no industry experience and will solely be involved in the business side – whatever your starting point, a home care start-up can be a rewarding choice.

Many home care agencies start on a small scale and grow as demand increases opens in new window – but you could also look into buying into an established franchise opens in new window if this interests you.

In an industry as highly regulated as social care, setting up an agency to provide this vital service requires attention to detail and dedication.

 

How do I create a business plan for my home care agency?

Every new business needs a solid business plan.

This document focuses on what your company does, how it works, what makes it different, and what will help it succeed.

The basics of a business plan for a home care agency might include your company structure, business objectives opens in new window, funding plans opens in new window, target market opens in new window, and what you plan to do if a major issue affects your business operations.

You could also include additional details like the services you plan to offer, such as domestic or at-home nursing care, and the hours your services will be available – for instance, will you provide 24-hour care or short, regular visits?

Read our guide on how to write a business plan opens in new window.

 

Which home care regulations and training do I need to comply with?

Because you will be caring for potentially vulnerable people, there are several regulations home care agencies must follow, and specific training is needed for staff.

Your home care agency will need a registered manager – someone who will handle the day-to-day running of your company – to ensure it follows regulations.

The registered manager doesn’t have to be the business owner, but you may need to take on this role until you hire someone for the position.

A registered home manager needs previous care experience and at least one qualification from a relevant care qualification pathway, such as a QCF Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care for adults opens in new window.

There are several pathways to becoming a qualified manager in the social care sector, including degrees in relevant fields, other diplomas, and vocational training.

Other social care or nursing qualifications are also necessary to prove you have a practical understanding of the work required.

Common induction standards (CIS) training is a must for anyone directly providing care.

This training covers many elements, from the basic principles of care and identifying signs of abuse to handling fire safety and risk management.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 opens in new window, you must register your home care agency and your registered manager with the Care Quality Commission opens in new window (CQC) before opening your business.

The CQC will conduct regular inspections opens in new window to ensure your business complies with regulations and create reports to monitor the quality of agency care.

The CQC registration process is lengthy and involves several steps, including a DBS check and references from previous employers.

You would also be required to provide a statement of purpose opens in new window to describe what you do, where you do it, and who your services are for.

Outside of England, you would need to register with the Care Inspectorate opens in new window (if based in Scotland) or the CIW opens in new window (if based in Wales).

Whilst we’ve included some of the regulations your care agency will need to comply with, this list is not exhaustive so it’s a good idea to seek specialist legal advice before setting up your care agency.

 

What insurance do I need to arrange for my home care agency?

Arranging insurance opens in new window for your home care agency could protect you and your employees from legal claims.

The types of insurance you would need for a home care agency typically include:

If you employ healthcare professionals, you may also need:

  • treatments liability insurance
  • medical malpractice cover.

Depending on your insurance provider, you may be able to find an insurance package tailored to home care agencies or a multi-insurance package with discounted premiums.#

Learn more about insurance with our beginner’s guide opens in new window.

 

How do I recruit and train staff for my home care agency?

Home care can be hugely rewarding work, but it can also be physically and emotionally demanding and requires specific training and knowledge, so hiring qualified staff opens in new window is essential.

Before deciding on new hires opens in new window, consider their previous experience, education, references from past employers and character references to ensure they would be a good fit.

Up-to-date training opens in new window for your home care employees will help them provide the best possible services and can help build loyalty to your business.

Ensuring your staff are trained can help you comply with the law, stay in line with changing industry regulations, and follow current safety guidelines.

 

What are the costs associated with starting a home care agency?

There are several costs you may need to factor into your budget for equipment if you are setting up a home care agency – these include:

 

How do I win contracts for my home care agency?

To win contracts and grow your home care agency, start by considering your target audience – will you aim to work with private clients, people referred through the local council, or both?

This could affect your service offerings, as private clients may want a personalised service, for example.

Building a positive reputation opens in new window will help ensure you win new contracts and grow your business.

To do this, you will need to provide high-quality services, maintain high standards, and stay up to date with training and industry regulations.

Having a professional website opens in new window for your home care agency could also help you win contracts – ensure that potential customers can easily find information about your services and contact details online.

As you would be providing personal service, sharing customer testimonials and referrals as part of your marketing strategy could have a big impact.

 

Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.

Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window  include:

Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.

 

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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