Self-Employed Caregiver

How to Become an Independent Caregiver

As you ponder how to become an independent caregiver or private in home care provider you might also be asking how to start a private home care business? The fact is, it is not as difficult as you might think. As long as you are motivated, caring, and ethical there is nothing that can stop you from creating a great caregiver service business and becoming a successful self-employed caregiver.

Why Do You Need Caregiver Certification as a Private Duty Caregiver?

One of the first questions that people ask when they are considering starting a business of any kind is, “where do I start?” If you are going to become an independent caregiver or private home care provider your first order of business is to become a nationally certified caregiver with the American Caregiver Association, the national certifying and accrediting organization for caregivers. And, the largest caregiver certifying organization around the globe.

But why should you obtain caregiver certification? Because it does several things for you. First, when you are ready to start recruiting clients, one of the first questions that family will ask is whether or not you are a certified caregiver. A client, their family, or another person overseeing the care of a family member or friend, is likely to be skeptical about your qualifications and abilities to perform the duties required if you lack caregiver certification.

Secondly, when you are in the role of an independent caregiver, family, friends, and other loved ones want peace of mind knowing that whoever is caring for their loved one will be providing the best quality care that they deserve. This starts with the assurance that you are a nationally certified caregiver.

Third, without national caregiver certification you lack credibility, and a client or their family is unlikely to hire you. The fact is, there is an expectation that you have some training or education to do what you are doing. Otherwise, they would not be looking to hire you in the first place. So, do not put yourself in a negative position right off the start as an independent caregiver by failing to obtain national caregiver certification with the American Caregiver Association, the leader in certifying private home care providers.

Forth, your certification gains you entry into the National Caregiver Registry. The National Caregiver Registry is what prospective clients will check when wanting to verify your credentialing with the American Caregiver Association.

What Caregivers Courses Should I take as a Private Home Care Provider? Choose one of these two options:

Caregiver Business Bundle ($179)

Caregiver Business Bundle

Caregiver Business Bundle includes:

  • National Caregiver Certification Course
  • Start Your Own Caregiver Service Business Guide
  • Caregiver Identification card
  • DBA (Doing Business As) Membership with the American Caregiver Association
  • National Caregiver Registry status as a private home care provider
  • 120 hours of in-class credit for the National Caregiver Certification Course

Platinum Plus Caregiver Certification Bundle ($499)

Platinum Plus Caregiver Certification Bundle

Platinum Plus Caregiver Certification Bundle Includes:

  • National Caregiver Certification Course (120 hours of in-class credit )
  • Advanced National Caregiver Certification Course (200 hours of in-class credit)
  • National Assisted Living Manager Certification Course (80 hours of in-class credit)
  • Certificate of Caregiver Ethics Level 1 Course (20 hours of in-class credit)
  • Certificate of Caregiver Personal Development Level 1 Course (20 hours of in-class credit)
  • Certificate of Caregiver Leadership Level 1 Course (20 hours of in-class credit)
  • Start Your Own Caregiver Service Business Guide
  • DBA (Doing Business As) Membership with the American Caregiver Association
  • Caregiver Identification card
  • National Caregiver Registry status as a private home care provider
  • Fulfills All Course Requirements for [Master Caregiver Certification]

Time for Caregiver Business Action Steps!

A key to your success as a private home care provider or independent caregiver is providing you with a series of Action Steps to guide you in achieving your goal of starting your own caregiver business and becoming a private home care provider. Action Steps are intended to get you both focused and motivated. This is where real life-changing value happens. Don’t sit back and expect things to just 'happen'. Make your time count on this earth. Without further ado, let us dig into the first of several Action Steps.

Action Step 1: Choose your caregiver certification bundle above (Caregiver Business Bundle or Platinum Plus Caregiver Certification Bundle)

Action Step 2: Get CPR and First Aide Certification either through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. CPR and First Aide certification typically costs between $50-$70. You will need to check on the going rates are in your area.

Action Step 3: Get a tuberculosis, or TB test. You should be able to obtain a TB test from your primary care physician for somewhere between $20-$30.

The good news with these costs is that you should be able to deduct them as business expenses, but as always, check with your accountant or tax preparer to make sure that these costs can be deducted.

How Much Should You Charge as a Private Duty Caregiver?

While you can charge whatever you want as a independent caregiver, we recommend the following as a starting point. Monday through Friday look to charge $15-$20 per hour for a two-hour minimum. On the weekends, consider charging $20-$30 per hour for a two-hour minimum.

What Types of Services Should You Offer as Self-employed Caregiver?

Here (see below) is a short list of some of the typical services that you will be providing as a independent caregiver. Please note that whatever services that you decide to offer as a non-medical caregiver be sure to have these listed in your portfolio, a topic that we will discuss below.

Assisting with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) including, but not limited to the following:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Combing Hair
  • Brushing Teeth
  • Showering
  • Cooking
  • General Cleaning
  • Doing Laundry
  • Running Errands
  • Assisting with Doctor’s visits
  • Assisting with recreational activities
  • Other duties as agreed to between you, your client and/or their family

Build a Website for Your Non-Medical Caregiver Business

Before you go off and start a website, you are going to need a domain name first. A domain name is simply a business name for your website, like “www.kathyscaregiverservices.com.” Domain names are cheap to buy, and they are not difficult to integrate with your website.

Once you have purchased your domain name, then you need to buy and build your website. It doesn’t make any sense to buy a domain name, then not put it to use. After you have purchased your domain name and start to build your website you will need to consider what content you will want on your website. Here is a short list of things that you will want to have on your website:

  • Mission and Vision
  • Services provided by your company
  • How to contact your company (address, telephone, etc.)
  • Some images of yourself performing services for your clients
  • What makes your company better than everyone else?
  • What you charge for your services
  • Testimonials of clients that you have provided services for in the past

Important: 

Be sure to add a link back to our website (www.americancaregiverassociation.org) from your website, as clients will want to know where you were certified, and may want to verify your independent caregiver credentialing with us in the National Caregiver Registry, as well as your DBA (Doing Business As) membership which is included in both the Caregiver Business Bundle and the Platinum Plus Bundle.

This brings us to your next three Action Steps

Action Step 4: Decide how much you want to charge your clients

Action Step 5: Decide what caregiver services you will provide

Action Step 6: Buy your domain name and build a website for your caregiver business

What About Advertising Your Private Duty Caregiver Business?

Having a website is of no use if no one can find you on the Internet. A website is like have a physical store with an address where people can find you. Today, there are so many ways to promote your business. Internet, social media, and more traditional marketing open up a whole world of possibilities to get your business noticed (i.e., brochures, word of mouth, websites, door-to-door, Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, YouTube, etc.).

If you are truly serious at all about starting your own caregiver business, then you will want to consider setting a little money aside each month for advertising. It does not have to be much at first. You can start out with a budget of $20-$30 a month, then look to increase your budget as you start to generate more revenue. Without question, Google dominates when it comes to online advertising for your business. If you don't have a Google Ads account, they are easy to get. Simply conduct a search for Google Ads and follow the steps from there.

Should you Obtain a Business License When You start a Caregiver Business?

In the case of providing care for your mother, father, or other loved one, it is typically not required of you to obtain a business license. However, when you venture off to start your own caregiver business you will want to consider what types of protections you want as a business owner, as well as meeting local or state requirements, if any.

When you obtain a license for your caregiver business it provides you with instant credibility and legitimacy for your new business. The types of business licenses vary across the U.S. depending on where you reside, so you will want to check with your local city or county division of licensing to ascertain what type of license you need for your business, if any.

Should You Establish a Corporation for Your Private Duty Caregiver Business? 

After you have obtained your business license, if required, you will want to look into obtaining bonding, insurance and consider getting an LLC (Limited Liability Company) for your business, or perhaps an “S-Corp.” You will want to call around to local insurance companies and inquire about what type of insurance and bonding that you can obtain as a caregiver service business.

At the same time, you should look to contact a “CPA”, or Certified Public Accountant about setting up your LLC or S-Corp because of the protections and tax benefits that it offers you as an entrepreneur. Many CPAs provide a free initial consultation, so don’t be afraid of the cost to seek sound advice from a CPA.

Building Your Caregiver Portfolio

As an independent caregiver or in-home care provider one thing that you will want to do along with everything else mentioned thus far will be the creation of a portfolio. To start putting this together buy a 1-2 inch three-ring binder. Place tabs in the binder to separate the different sections of your portfolio.

The first tab of your portfolio should include your mission statement and your goals as a caregiver provider. The second tab should include your resume and references. The third tab should include your certifications and training information such as your caregiver certificate that you obtain through the American Caregiver Association.

The fourth tab should include the types of services that you provide and the rates that you charge for your services as an independent caregiver. You may choose to add additional tabs as you feel the need. Be sure to keep it simple and do not overwhelm your prospective clients and their families with information. Give them the basics and re-assure them of your qualifications as you present your portfolio to them.

You can take some creative license when it comes to the design and cover of your portfolio, but whatever you do be sure to keep it on a professional level. Your portfolio is not just about providing information and credentials, your portfolio tells others that you are serious about your role as an independent caregiver. Likewise, it tells others that you have taken the time and ‘care’ putting your portfolio together and that you take pride in what you do.

Do Business the Right Way as a Private Home Care Provider

As you look to start your caregiver business you have to think about how you want to present yourself. That is, are you a professional? Are you genuinely concerned about presenting yourself to others in a way that they find respectful and would like to emulate? These are the types of questions that you should be asking yourself as you consider your decision to start your caregiver business.

Keep in mind that the words you use when you speak with others tell them about your background, education and even your experience. Likewise, how you act, behave, and carry yourself tell those around you what your general disposition is, and to a large extent, your overall character.

Remember, no one ‘cares’ for your caregiver business like you do, but you must show this in real time when you speak with others, and through your actions, that you are who you say you are. And you must present yourself in a consistent way that demonstrates a sincere respect and appreciation for the opportunity to serve and care for others.

This means making sure that you do not skip the basics of business. For example, make sure you say, “please” and “thank you”, and “yes sir”, and “no sir”, when you speak to others in person or over the phone. When you answer your phone make sure that you have a pre-planned professional greeting such as “Hi, ABC Caregiver Services, this is Carol, may I help you?” Any staff you hire should also be trained to conduct themselves in the same manner as you would if you were answering the phone or speaking with them in person.

Lastly, and most importantly, operate your business within the framework of a strong moral code. Always do the right thing and follow the rule of law. These are basic but essential tenets of doing business the right way that will help to establish your company as a credible and honest organization. Finally, it is important to point out that 'organizations' do not have ethics; people do. Your business is about you, and who you are. And this will be born out in how you operate your business and ultimately, how successful you are as an independent caregiver.

This brings us to your final four Action Steps

Action Step 7: Advertise your private duty caregiver business

Action Step 8: Obtain a business license for your caregiver business, if required

Action Step 9: Establish a corporation for your private duty caregiver business

Action Step 10: Build your caregiver portfolio

Your Experience as a Caregiver Counts

Beyond presenting yourself as a professional and doing business the right way, there is the more personal nature of your background, which can be used as tool to sell yourself and your services. More particularly, we mean to say that you should not discount your life experience because it has 'selling' value for you as you seek to recruit clients and grow your caregiver business.

If you are old enough to have been through a few things in your life, then put that experience to good use. Try to think back and recall what you learned during your lifetime and apply it. If you remember something you learned about business from your parents, grandparents, or someone else, attempt to recall how they applied it, how they handled a particular situation, or dealt with a problem.

If you think it might be useful to you in your caregiver business, take the 'good stuff' from what you remember and use it to your advantage in a positive way in your private duty caregiver business. No doubt, starting your own business can be intimidating, stressful and challenging to say the least, but there is really no need to put yourself through this. You have what it takes. Now, stick to the basics, and see it through.

In the end, if you stick with the basics of business, you will do fine. Don’t forget to draw on your life experiences, and experience as a caregiver. Be friendly, personable, and courteous. Be yourself, but be nice and be the caring, compassionate caregiver that we know you are. Always remember that what you do matters. It matters to you, your family, those you care for and their families.

Both starting and owning a caregiver business is a challenge, but a challenge that we are confident you can handle and be successful at. This is what we desire for you, and this is why we put these Action Steps together. Once you start on the path to owning your own caregiver business, stick with it and don't give up on your dreams because we believe in you, and we know YOU CAN DO IT. Now, go out there and do it! Good luck.

Review Your Action Steps Here

Action Step 1: Choose your caregiver certification bundle (Caregiver Business Bundle.  Or, the Platinum Plus Caregiver Certification Bundle). And complete the course/s in that bundle.

Action Step 2: Get CPR and First Aide Certification

Action Step 3: Get a TB test through your primary care provider or other health care facility.

Action Step 4: Decide how much you want to charge your clients. $15-$20 for a two-hour minimum on weekdays and $20-$30 on weekends

Action Step 5: Decide what caregiver services you will provide.

Action Step 6: Buy your domain name and build a website for your caregiver business

Action Step 7: Advertising your caregiver business. Social media, Google Ads, etc.

Action Step 8: Obtain a business license for your caregiver business, if required

Action Step 9: Establish a corporation for your caregiver business. Either and LLC or and S-Corp.

Action Step 10: Build your caregiver portfolio. Use three-ring binder with tabs for each section (e.g., services offered, your rates, certifications, resume, etc.)   

Questions? Chat with us right here on our website, email us, or call us. We are always happy to help.