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Old 07-08-2016, 08:50 PM
 
4 posts, read 2,398 times
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Hello everyone, I have lurked on the caregiving forum for awhile but this is my first post! I will be a junior this fall and I am studying Gerontology and Business Management. In May 2015, I started working for a senior care agency in my hometown as an in-home caregiver (doing everything from personal care, housekeeping, transportation, meals, etc). I work as a caregiver during the summer and winter break, as well as other various weekends I am home from school (I go to college out of state). This varied schedule means I work as a "substitute" caregiver - so I am basically working with a new client every day. I have loved the job, met so many interesting people, and learned a LOT about the needs of older adults.

I want to set up an independent caregiving gig for when I return to school this fall. I'm not trying to start my own company or anything, but I would love to have one or two clients that I visit once or twice a week. I'm picturing someone who needs help with running errands or doing chores, as opposed to someone with extensive personal care needs or mobility issues (mainly because I'm not going to have backup to call if things get tough!) I'm thinking of writing up a flyer, meeting with someone at the senior center, and seeing if they would have any ideas of someone who needs my services. I currently make $9/hour at the agency and I think I would charge $10/hour on my own. I'm not trying to get rich, just some pocket money for groceries and such. Also, I am not licensed so I don't think I could charge that much (Please let me know if you think differently). I realize I could advertise on somewhere like care.com, but I've got a lot of contacts in my college town and I think I can make use of them.

So my main questions:
Do you think this seems feasible for a college student?
Are there liability issues I should be concerned with? Would I need any kind of extra insurance?
Do you think my agency could get upset that I'm doing this kind of work on the side (even though it is in a different state with completely different clients)?
Do you have any suggestions on how to best set it up, collect payments, what to charge, etc?


In my mind, I'm trying to not make it too complicated - for example, if an elderly neighbor called me and said they would pay me to help them organize their closet for two hours, I wouldn't be concerned about liability or insurance or anything; I would just go help them! But for some reason, this feels different.

Thanks for any advice you have. I have learned a lot from reading through the threads here. Also, if you have any questions about home care, let me know and I will try my best to answer them.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:15 PM
 
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Some states require you be bonded (a type of insurance). If you are getting paid as a caregiver and are transporting clients you need to tell your auto insurer and be prepared to pay more.

If you do any hands-on care, I recommend liability insurance.

The above, along with getting clients, billing, and dealing with other significant people in the clients life, is why many just stick with working for an agency.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:33 PM
 
4,753 posts, read 4,035,285 times
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---This might belong in the business forum.

Since you will have the demands of a student, I agree you should work for an agency. Maybe they have temp positions that could work with your schedule. It seems make better sense to let an agency deal with everything.

If you insist on starting you own business, you need get an attorney and a CPA to properly set up your business. They will suggest the best way to do this legally & tax and liability wise. That may be setting up your own limited liability company (LLC). You may need be licensed and bonded in your state as well as pass a background security check.

You will need at a minimum a million dollar liability umbrella policy, errors and omissions insurance, likely a workers comp account (depending on your state) since you will be an independent contractor, and also then how much to put aside in a separate bank account from every paycheck for federal income tax, state income tax, and social security....since you will be self employed.

The accountant will set up your bookkeeping system or suggest to you what software product to use. And tell you what type of business deductions you will be eligible for and what type of receipts, mileage logs, records, etc you will need keep to support those claims at year end...for the accountant to use when preparing your taxes.
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Old 07-09-2016, 05:01 AM
 
3,752 posts, read 9,608,178 times
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My stepmother works as a housekeeper/companion for $25 an hour in her small town. She is in high demand and sets her hours around her daughter's needs. She got her first job when she moved there when she met someone at a grocery store who ended up being an attorney that could not find anyone for his parents.

Word of mouth can be good to find the few people that need your help. Maybe talking to some local people or ministers. They often know who really needs help and might be a good fit.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:20 AM
 
4 posts, read 2,398 times
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Thanks everyone for all the replies. I agree that working for an agency would be simpler, but I want to continue being employed by my hometown agency and I don't think I can work for two at once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post

If you insist on starting you own business, you need get an attorney and a CPA to properly set up your business. They will suggest the best way to do this legally & tax and liability wise. That may be setting up your own limited liability company (LLC). You may need be licensed and bonded in your state as well as pass a background security check.

You will need at a minimum a million dollar liability umbrella policy, errors and omissions insurance, likely a workers comp account (depending on your state) since you will be an independent contractor, and also then how much to put aside in a separate bank account from every paycheck for federal income tax, state income tax, and social security....since you will be self employed.

The accountant will set up your bookkeeping system or suggest to you what software product to use. And tell you what type of business deductions you will be eligible for and what type of receipts, mileage logs, records, etc you will need keep to support those claims at year end...for the accountant to use when preparing your taxes.
Historyfan, I appreciate all the detailed information about starting this kind of business. I do still have a question that if you or someone else could answer I would appreciate it (and I'm honestly not trying to be snarky or inflammatory!) I have friends at school who babysit, housesit, or watch people's pets for a few hours a week, and none of them run an LLC, have insurance, or use a bookkeeping system. If I were babysitting for a few hours a week, I would just show up, take care of the kids, and collect my cash at the end. I'm trying to do the same thing here but just with an older clientele. I realize that some older adults are more frail and have more health problems than a toddler, but there is a risk in caring for little kids too. Could someone explain why there is such a difference in views?

I think no matter what, keeping track of all the hours and money is a good idea. I am not trying to evade paying my taxes.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:25 AM
 
4 posts, read 2,398 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
My stepmother works as a housekeeper/companion for $25 an hour in her small town. She is in high demand and sets her hours around her daughter's needs. She got her first job when she moved there when she met someone at a grocery store who ended up being an attorney that could not find anyone for his parents.

Word of mouth can be good to find the few people that need your help. Maybe talking to some local people or ministers. They often know who really needs help and might be a good fit.
Thanks Anna for your ideas. As far as your stepmother goes, how does she operate her business? Do you know if she is licensed/insured/the different steps that HistoryFan recommended? About how many hours a week does she work?
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:40 AM
 
3,752 posts, read 9,608,178 times
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She is independent and probably does not do anything to protect herself or anyone else. No license, insurance or bonding. But she does not have anything, will never have much, and I am not even sure any is reported on taxes. She only works part time and takes off when she needs to. Don't know much specifics except what she has told me on the phone.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Leaving fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada
3,860 posts, read 6,875,725 times
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I don't have any advice, I just wanted to say good luck to you. It takes a special person to do what you are wanting to do, and you have the potential to help many people. I hope it all goes well.
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:01 AM
 
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You can probably get qualified as a PTA or OTA with a minor. Have you considered adding these to your qualifications? The more things you can do, the more you'll stay employed. The drawback of anything that gets into the medical area as opposed to just personal care is that you'll have to carry liability insurance. It also means you'll have to work under or in a coordinated fashion with other home health providers, such as a nurse or a PT/OT. That'll make it hard to work alone. You'll need to work for an agency or as a free-lance for different agencies.
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:04 AM
 
4,753 posts, read 4,035,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythm21 View Post
Thanks everyone for all the replies. I agree that working for an agency would be simpler, but I want to continue being employed by my hometown agency and I don't think I can work for two at once.



Historyfan, I appreciate all the detailed information about starting this kind of business. I do still have a question that if you or someone else could answer I would appreciate it (and I'm honestly not trying to be snarky or inflammatory!) I have friends at school who babysit, housesit, or watch people's pets for a few hours a week, and none of them run an LLC, have insurance, or use a bookkeeping system. If I were babysitting for a few hours a week, I would just show up, take care of the kids, and collect my cash at the end. I'm trying to do the same thing here but just with an older clientele. I realize that some older adults are more frail and have more health problems than a toddler, but there is a risk in caring for little kids too. Could someone explain why there is such a difference in views?

I think no matter what, keeping track of all the hours and money is a good idea. I am not trying to evade paying my taxes.

No offense taken.

You said you wanted start a business. That was bare bones how-to. This is going to be your career field, correct? You then have way more to lose than an illegal immigrant working under the table taking care of Mrs. Smith..

Do you receive any federal aid of any sort for college, student loan etc ? If so, working under the table will be considered fraud. Someone could report you. A 1099 would do it.

Babysitting v childcare provider....casual under the table v business. Casual no taxes paid versus business
all taxes paid.

Who is going to be paying for your services?
Any monies provided by state or federal programs for care will have to meet qualifications for claim to be accepted...licensed, bonded, insured, etc.
Private pay (family or caree) will issue you a 1099 for any money they pay you, unless they are fools. 1099 is a report to IRS.

Elder abuse is rampant. Elderly are vulnerable. Eldetly have assets. Laws have been put into place to try to protect them. People steal identities, personal items, wiggle their way into wills, POAs etc. any family member vetting you will know this and want legal assurances.

Elderly fall, get hurt, die....someone will want that investigated to determine if you are negligent. Mrs Smith falls breaks her hip, you get sued fir not providing proper assistance. You are putting yourself out there as caregiver, so you are not litigation proof. You walk across livingroom and trip on rug & break your ankle...now house owner does not wish be liable for your medical costs...so they'll make sure before you work there you have your own coverage while on the job (workers compensation insurance).

For example, if you helpfully hand your charge his pill bottle, you are dispensing medication. Something goes wrong and family sues you...you think no big deal, I'm broke. Wrong. You just lost your future career in geriatrics. When you have insurance, your insurance company will litigate on your behalf because they don't wish pay out. if not, you are on your own in court room.
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