HOW TO START A DOMICILIARY CARE AGENCY IN THE UK

Jul 31, 2020
Staff shortages in health and social care led the sector to dominate a ranking of the top 10 fastest growing jobs in 2019. Skills for Care, a leading source of adult social care workforce intelligence, focuses that by 2035 there will be a massive 800,000 additional jobs will be required, bringing the total number of people working in care to 2.42 million workers.
 
This will increase the pressure already felt by home care agencies trying to fill roles, in a sector with approximately 122,000 vacancies at any one time.
Domiciliary care is a lucrative industry with growing demand from both private clients and local authorities across the UK. For care professionals that are passionate about delivering quality care, starting an independent care agency can be a rewarding and profitable venture.  
 
If you have been considering starting your own business, here are some of the things you need to know about how to start a care agency in the UK. 
 
What type of domiciliary care agency can you start? 
 
Identifying your business model is the first step in the process. If you have a clear direction for your business, it is easier to plan an effective and realistic strategy because you can focus on the right things.  
 
Some options you could consider are:
 
  • General home care – help with dressing and washing, meal prep and basic domestic chores etc. 
  • Medical home care – assistance with re-dressing wounds, checking blood pressure etc.
  • Live-in care 
  • Physiotherapy at home etc.
 
If you are unsure about which type of care you should offer, research the market. What are other local agencies providing – is there a gap you could fill? What is local demand like for home care services? 
 
Anyone providing care on behalf of your agency will also have to hold the relevant qualifications and have undergone the appropriate training. 
  
Becoming a registered provider  
 
Care agencies in England must register with the CQC for every regulated activity they will be providing. In Scotland, the equivalent body is The Care Inspectorate; in Wales, you need to register with The CIW; and in Northern Ireland, the regulator is RQIA.   
 
Things to consider before starting your own care agency
 
There are many things to consider when starting a care agency, but we have broken them down into five key areas:
 
1. Your business model and registration – as we have mentioned above, establishing a good business model and registering your business correctly are crucial steps in getting started. 
  
2. Compliance – systems need to be in place to ensure GDPR compliance as well as compliance with healthcare regulations, health and safety and other legislation. 
   
3. Logistics, systems, and processes – you will need the right equipment, software and policies and procedures to support effective operations. You will also need an office from which to run your business, and processes for recruitment, quality assurance and day-to-day administration. 
  
4. Marketing – having fantastic systems and a brilliant team is all well and good, but you won’t make any money if you don’t have any clients, so your marketing strategy needs to be effective. 
 
5. Contracts – while some clients will approach you directly, it makes good business sense to become an approved supplier with local authorities or tender portals. These can provide a regular source of contracts for your agency.
 
Although there is a lot to consider, you don’t have to manage it alone or do everything at once. If you spend time building a good business plan, it will help you work out what is required and how to manage the process. 
  
Help and support starting your healthcare business
  
We know it can be daunting starting a new business venture, but we’ve already helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to launch their care agencies, and we can help you too. Our services support you in dealing with a range of applications, to enable potential applicants to decide whether registration is the right course for their organisation.
 
Our Healthcare Business School provide you with everything needed to open a Health and Social care recruitment agency. We provide a full range of support services for our Clients, whether an existing or opening a social and health care agency, we are the experts in helping individuals open recruitment agencies from initial set up, to the final stages of successfully operating as a fully compliant recruitment agency 
 
The Healthcare Business School was created to give start-ups and scale-ups the tools, knowledge and confidence to succeed. Our online courses provide the basic information required to get started, while our Business in a Box packages provide you with all the necessary tools to ensure compliance from day one. 

If you need a little additional help and support, then our 1-2-1 coaching will give you access to a dedicated mentor who will guide you through the process of setting up your business.
 
If you’d like expert advice and guidance or would like to find out more about any of our services, get in touch and let us help you get your care agency off to a flying start.
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