Hiring Private Vs. Agency

by Thomas Ryan VP @Home Healthcare

 

This blog will be pretty short. Don’t hire private!! Just joking!!

There are pluses and minuses to hiring either way when it comes to home care.  Yes if you hire an aide privately you may save some money on the front end.  The hourly cost is more negotiable, and it is a flat rate.  Compared to an agency which has other costs to factor in, such as liability insurance and payroll tax just to name a couple.  You may say that I am biased because I am an agency, which may be true.  I do however try to look at things from different points of view.  Home care is expensive, so I do understand why a family may choose the private way.  There are just a few things that family should know before making their decision.  A caregiver hired without an agency behind them is a risk.  Even when that caregiver worked for another family member or friend and come highly recommended.  Hey, you may luck out.  Or that person may rob you blind. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. If you do choose that route you must take into consideration that you only know this persons cell phone number and maybe an address.  If you do not verify this info, you basically have nothing  because these things can be changed easily and quickly.  What happens when that caregiver calls in sick?  Did they supply you with a back up person?  This may leave you helpless.  Also you have to take into consideration your homeowners insurance.  Does your policy cover someone who is working in your home?  Do you want to put that risk on yourself?  Accidents do happen, sometimes too often.  An agency should have liability insurance to cover such accidents.  And what about workman’s comp insurance?  If you aren’t insured for that you do not qualify.  They won’t even pay if you have an independent contractor working for you.  Must be W2.  Another issue is taxes.  Yes lovely taxes.  When paying that private caregiver are you writing a check?  Handing over cash?  These people are working for you, which makes you an employer.  Employers are supposed to be paying social security tax at least.  Do you think the employee is running to the tax man to give the government their cut.  The answer is probably not. I have even heard about people working off the books and then trying to collect unemployment when the job ends.  Then the family is questioned along with the caregiver, and we can assume what the end result of that is.   Owing Uncle Sam is never fun!

These are just a few things to think about when making the home care decision.  Agencies cost more up front because they try to cover all the bases for you.  It is important to take the stress away from the family, because that is the main reason they are calling you for help.



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