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Call: 03308 288 202  Or  Email us


Candidate Advice

How to become a private carer


A private carer is a care worker who provides care services on a self-employed basis. That means a private carer is not employed by a private care company, a care home or the government. There are many advantages to setting up as a private carer but there are also many things to take into account that you might not have previously thought of.

Advantages of becoming a private carer

You set your own hours: working for yourself as a private carer means you have the flexibility to set your own hours of work. For example, if you don’t enjoy night-time shifts, you can advertise yourself as a day-time carer. You might want to be a private live-in carer but not work weekends or you might prefer a part-time role that gives you freedom for other things in your life. 

You command your own wage: freelance rates for private carers will vary and will depend on your experience and also how established you are. You will also get to keep more of your wage than if you were working for an agency, but remember you won’t get any of the agency benefits such as pension, sick pay and holiday pay.

You control who you work with: as a private carer, you are in charge! That means you get to choose who you want to work with. When you are a carer, you spend a lot of time in the company of other people giving personal care so it is important that you get on with each other.  If you don’t, you have the power to move on and find new clients who are better matched to your skills and personality. 

You can focus on your strengths: when you are your own boss, it gives you the freedom to take your career in whatever direction you want. If you prefer working with the elderly or children, for example, you can start to build up these types of clients. Eventually, you will gain a reputation as something of a specialist in those fields and thus start to attract more clients and command higher rates of pay.

Steps to setting up as a private carer

The first step to setting yourself up as a private carer is to decide whether you want to operate as a sole trader or as a limited company. As a limited company, you will need to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and then undergo regular CQC inspections and fulfill other legal obligations. As a sole trader, there is still plenty of paperwork and preparation to undertake but it’s not quite on the same scale, and once done, you’re good to go! Here’s how:

1. Acquire the right paperwork

The legal requirements of setting up as a private carer are the most important to ensure that you and your clients are covered in the case of unforeseen eventualities. This will mean:

  • Registering with HMRC so you can make your tax payments through your Self-Assessment Tax Return; 
  • Obtaining a DBS certificate which is an enhanced background check from the disclosure and barring service, essential if you want to work with children, the elderly or vulnerable adults;
  • Taking out relevant insurances such as public liability, employed carer and business car insurances; 
  • Drawing up contracts which both you and your clients will sign, clearly defining the service you will provide, including hours, pay, responsibilities and cancellation of services;
  • Having procedures in place, showing processes for complaints, risk assessments, duty of care and safeguarding.

2. Get clients

Attracting potential clients is going to take up a great deal of your time. You may be lucky enough to have a few referrals to start your business with, but you will also need to spend a proportion of your time looking for new clients. Once you are established, word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. You could also register with care providers, post care jobs on social media and job sites and register with your local authority for any openings.

3. Stay relevant

Once you have established a working schedule with clients, it can be easy to take your eye off your own personal development. It is important to keep up-to-date on care industry news and standards, and also to keep your training relevant. Gaining further qualifications in care will enhance your offering and give you a sense of authority and expertise in the field of care work. 

At Safehands, we offer live-in supported care for those who need it. If you are thinking about becoming a private carer, talk to us first for tips on what it takes to work in care. We also have a number of care support roles that are flexible and could be just what you’re looking for – with the bonus that we take care of all the paperwork for you!


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