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A domiciliary care agency startup is an excellent option for care professionals who want to expand their business and support more people at home.
However, learning how to set up a domiciliary care service and manage teams of workers can be a daunting task!
You may have several questions including:
- How will I find new clients and advertise my agency services?
- What goes into a great domiciliary care business plan?
- Do I have the resources to carry out pre-employment checks on new applicants?
- What registrations and accreditations do I need to get started?
Don’t worry - we'll answer all of those questions here!
The key to remember is that domiciliary care agency startups are in a great position.
Demand for home-based care is growing rapidly as more people recognise the value of quality support and wish to remain comfortably independent in their properties.
With an ageing population, greater awareness of mental and physical health, and a massive demand for professional care services, there's never been a better time to start setting up a domiciliary care business.
So, let's get to work with a checklist of everything you need to know to get your care agency up and running.
Creating a rock solid domiciliary care agency business plan
We'll start at the beginning - with the plan.
Nothing extraordinary happens without thorough research, and if you have a plan, you can work methodically through each of the steps.
Checklists might not be the most exciting part of building your domiciliary care agency startup, but they’re vital tools to ensure you have all of your ducks in a row.
A business plan is crucial because you'll need it to clarify what services your agency will deliver, what care staff you need to recruit, and how you will manage the finances.
Your domiciliary care agency business plan needs to include:
- The home care services your agency will offer. That could include companionship, nursing, personal care, emergency support, housekeeping, and help with meals
- When you have pinpointed your services, that will lead your recruitment strategy. The next step is to think about the logistics - will you offer around the clock 24/7 home care, eight-hour shifts, regular visits, or another format?
- How will you protect the rights and welfare of your clients? The best way to do so is to ensure you have clear policy and guidelines for your agency staff to follow, along with appropriate training
Policies cover things like reporting mistakes, recording medications, respecting clients' dignity, and ensuring good communications with your clients.
The business plan sets the groundwork for the growth of your agency. Once you've scoped out the nature of the business and what staff you need to employ, you can get to work on the financials (more on that shortly!).
A business plan is critical since you need to be prepared for Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections and assessments.
Regulations for setting up a domiciliary care business
Once you've got a business plan in place, don't worry if anything needs to change! Businesses grow and evolve, so you can always expand your services or recruit more specialist staff at a later date.
What you will need to do before you throw the doors open is to ensure you are compliant with all the regulations.
Here are the highlights of the essential points:
- You need a registered manager responsible for everyday agency business and compliance. They must hold a QCF Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care
- The owner runs most domiciliary care agency startups, but you can employ a manager to do this for you. There are older qualifications, such as the Registered Managers Award (RMA), which aren't available anymore but are accepted by the CQC
- Care staff must have a Care Certificate - if you intend to deliver care yourself, you must also have completed this training
Along with staff training requirements, you'll need to register with the CQC if in England, The Care Inspectorate if in Scotland, or the CSSIW if in Wales.
That registration is a legal requirement of the Health and Social Care Act.
Although it takes a bit of time to complete a CQC registration, it does mean that you demonstrate your agency has the right qualifications, experience and management to deliver outstanding care.
The practicalities of how to set up a domiciliary care service
So we've covered registrations, business plans, training and policies - but there are other practicalities to think of before your brand new domiciliary care agency startup is ready to go!
You will need legal insurance, with most home care agencies opting for:
- Employer's liability cover
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Public liability policies
- Medical malpractice cover
- Insurance against treatments liability
Most industry insurance providers offer packages for care agencies, so you won't need a raft of different policies to be fully covered.
Next up, you will need some equipment, and make sure this is added to your budget for outgoings such as:
- CQC registration fees
- Insurance cover
- Staff wages
- Advertising costs
- Software for care agencies
- Training for you or your staff
- Renting office space (if not working from home)
Equipment usually means a lockable safe for care records since these contain confidential information. Alternatively, you can use care agency software to manage all your documents.
Agency staff need care uniforms, although you can ask them to supply their own. If so, you will need to decide what the uniform consists of, identify local suppliers, and produce photographic ID badges.
PPE is also essential, so you'll need to budget for gloves, aprons, and any other protective clothing your agency staff require.
Financing your domiciliary care business plan
Finally, we need to talk about money and cash flow. There are a vast range of ways to provide a capital injection to cover the initial training, registrations and recruitment costs, such as:
- Startup business loans
- Personal investments through savings
- Business lending
When you have a budget, you'll need to publicise your agency on two fronts - finding staff and finding clients.
Great quality care workers are vital, so you'll need to decide what pay you are offering, the minimum qualification requirements, and which portals or platforms to advertise vacancies on.
Finding clients is also possible in several ways - depending on whether you're advertising to private clients or bidding for care agency contracts through your local authority.
Bear in mind that private clients tend to pay far better rates, and you can advertise by:
- Creating a website and having a social media presence
- Physical marketing through posters and leaflets
- Opting for traditional local advertising in the press or magazines
- Referral marketing, by establishing a relationship with local healthcare services which can recommend your agency for people looking for home care
Once you've got your advertising underway, it's time to take a breather, take stock, and get back to that domiciliary care agency business plan to figure out your next move!Contact Us
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