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Girl Friday for the elderly

(22 Posts)
Patchworkrainbow123 Sun 12-Feb-17 11:50:37

I currently work very long hours for little reward in the care industry. I am desperate to work for myself and have been for a number of years. My biggest problem is finding something I am passionate about. I feel like a bit of a jack of all trades but unfortunately a master of none.

There are a few ideas im floating about, can I have your honest feedback on these please and if you think any/either are viable

1. Girl Friday but especially focused on the elderly. I live in an area that has a large elderly population and am thinking of those who dont have family or family are a distance away. Im thinking about things like providing services such as shopping, cleaning, help with internet/IT, arranging workmen, gift services, washing/ironing, driving to appointments etc

2. Providing alternative therapies especially aimed at those with MH issues. Im thinking things like stress management , relaxation (massage, reflexology) meditation.

Can I have your thoughts please? I do have some capital to invest in training etc. I am not looking to make big financial gain but for something that I will find rewarding. bring work/life balance and keep me ticking by financially.

OP’s posts: |
OneWithTheForce Sun 12-Feb-17 11:55:54

I think it will be a growing market with our ageing population. The only concern I would have is that elderly people mightn't be able to fund a personal service like that.

dudsville Sun 12-Feb-17 12:02:18

I would like this kind of thing but don't need it yet. Would you need some kind of license to say you're safe to work with vulnerable people?

DeterminedToChange Sun 12-Feb-17 12:05:43

How much do you think people could afford to pay? Unless you're in an area where pensioners are particularly wealthy, I think most would struggle to pay much.

Kiwi32 Sun 12-Feb-17 12:06:30

I would say your first idea would have lowest start up costs. There are already a lot of people offering alternative therapies and you would have to invest time and money to train. You could easily do it as an add on in a few years if/when other aspects of the business have become established. It's a great idea though and there's definitely a need.

Patchworkrainbow123 Sun 12-Feb-17 12:23:06

Thanks everyone

I think I would probably charge about £10 per hour. . From doing my current job I can see that there is definitely a market for this especially in todays society where families are spread all over the country.

I have had CRB checks working with my current job. I think my biggest stumbling block is having the confidence to do it and make the leap. Can a serious introvert run a business like this?

OP’s posts: |
Twoevils Sun 12-Feb-17 12:28:06

There's a group of mums around here who have set up something very similar and they seem to be taking on new people all the time. I think their going rate is £10ph and it's often paid by families who are not close enough to do enough personal visits. They do personal care, cleaning, cooking, housework, shopping, paperwork and just companionship. They do seem to really enjoy it, but I know they go above and beyond all the time and given the demographic of their clients they have to cope with loss on a frequent basis.

Acornantics Sun 12-Feb-17 12:28:18

I think the idea is great. I have a grandparent in their 90s, lives alone but near their retired daughter, who helps out as much as the grandparent needs.
However, if the daughter wants to go on holiday, who looks after/out for the elderly grandparent?

We would happily pay for someone to pop in every day for a couple of weeks, check they're okay and help out if needed.

senua Sun 12-Feb-17 12:34:29

For Option 1, I think you also need to list what you won't do, because you will suffer from mission creep.

BakeOffBiscuits Sun 12-Feb-17 12:47:39

There was a report last week that many older people are very lonely so it's a fab idea.

As long as you're CBR checked and have references etc, I think you'd be really successful.

BackforGood Sun 12-Feb-17 12:55:38

I think Option 1 would be a really strong idea. I know loads of people that want support like that. I have two friends who started as cleaners that have sort of accidentally morphed into that sort of service for some of their housebound clients. They both charge £10 per hour and - by word of mouth - could have loads more work than they have time for.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Sun 12-Feb-17 13:16:21

There's a franchise that's been set up for this exact thing; someone from our local area came to a networking group I'm in last week That's not to say you can't go it alone. But if you were keen on having support and infrastructure already in place, it might be worth investigating. They

loveisagirlnameddaisy Sun 12-Feb-17 13:16:35

Grr! Called Driving Miss Daisy.

Patchworkrainbow123 Sun 12-Feb-17 15:39:30

Thanks everyone. I'm really encouraged by the positive feedback! Think I will contact a business advice centre and see where to go from here to make my idea reality. I have absolutely no clue how to even begin but hopefully they will show me the way.

OP’s posts: |
Wondermoomin Sun 12-Feb-17 16:03:56

Option 1 is a really good idea. I think you might need to consider increasing your hourly rate though - I'm not sure how viable it is at £10 an hour. You'd have to factor in insurance costs (public liability as well as motor); mileage expenses; travel time; ongoing training and certification as required; advertising/leaflets etc; any equipment or materials you'd be expected to supply (e.g. disposable aprons and gloves?); plus an element to represent paid holiday for yourself (being self employed it's not like you have an annual paid leave entitlement from an employer but I would suggest you use the official percentage of 12.07% of your desired hourly pay rate).

E.g. The living wage is about to go up to £7.50/hr. Self employed are not 'entitled' to it but let's say you want to be earning at least £1/hr above that as you have to find your own clients so you carry more financial risk than if you were employed - therefore you'd expect to be better recompensed.

So you're aiming to earn £8.50/hr. Say for an hour's visit you estimate 15 minutes travel time so that's another £2.12. Multiply out by the holiday accrual number so you can afford to take time off
£8.50 + £2.12 = £10.62
x 1.1207 = £11.90

You'd need to add on mileage to cover the cost of using your car - say for example
5 miles @ 45p/mile = £2.25

Then you might find that all your overheads such as insurance, training, equipment etc mean you have to add an extra £1.50 per visit.

£11.90 + £2.25 + £1.50 = £15.65

Now these are just illustrative numbers and you'll have to do your own calculations but I would be very careful that you don't end up financially much worse off doing this than you would be if you stayed employed. You'll also be responsible for keeping records, doing admin, filing tax returns etc (you might want to pay someone to do this) - so be very wary of charging as low as £10/hr. Bear in mind also that the government's target for the living wage is £9/hr by 2020 so people in employment should see their earnings rise, and presumably you'd want to keep up with that.

I wouldn't recommend the franchise route. Some of them can be good, but they suck up an awful lot of your money, making it harder to run a profitable business, and you don't always get value for money. In this sector, I wouldn't say there's a franchise brand that is well enough known to justify franchise fees.

Good luck with it if you do decide to go ahead! Tap into all the advice you can get locally from any enterprise schemes / council / library / job centre etc - or ask them for signposting to such services.

BoboChic Sun 12-Feb-17 16:07:24

I think that many elderly people need a Girl Friday but I would be worried about their willingness to pay properly for the service. I have seen some of my nearest and dearest (and some less dear) relatives seriously underestimate how much they were asking if their relatives and neighbours in terms of Girl Friday support.

Patchworkrainbow123 Sun 12-Feb-17 18:06:10

Gosh I have an awful lot to think about! Think I'm going to make an appointment to see my local business gateway. I would so love to make this a reality!

OP’s posts: |
BoboChic Sun 12-Feb-17 18:12:58

Accompanying elderly people to hospital appointments is something they (or their relatives) are prepared to pay for, IMO, especially if you will go way beyond a taxi service and perhaps even attend appointments with them. Many older people are too hard of hearing to understand doctors they don't know well.

BoboChic Sun 12-Feb-17 18:13:47

Accompanying elderly people to hospital appointments is something they (or their relatives) are prepared to pay for, IMO, especially if you will go way beyond a taxi service and perhaps even attend appointments with them. Many older people are too hard of hearing to understand doctors they don't know well.

FinallyHere Sun 12-Feb-17 18:40:01

Option 1 sounds brilliant to me. I'd be very glad to know what areas you plan to cover. My own mother has recently had to give up driving. I hate to think of her stuck in the house and so would love to find someone who would commit to a regular slot, for example to take her to the hairdresser, stop off at Waitrose on the way home and ideally, share a simple meal (ready meal etc) on their return.

It would be more than a taxi service, as she really needs someones arm to hold on to, to help steady her these days. We were only recently talking about what sort of service would provide the kind of support she needs: a Girl Friday service sounds perfect.

Hoping to hear from you. Please, if you PM me, post here so i know to look for a PM. I use the app, and don't seem to see PMs. Kind regards.

hickorydickorynurseryrhyme Sun 12-Feb-17 18:50:14


BackforGood Sun 12-Feb-17 19:07:26

wondermoomin's post is really helpful. (Must have taken you ages to write out all that ) smile
I agree with the hospital appts thing as well. My elderly neighbours pay the lady that started out as their cleaner to go with them. As folk have said it's both the arm to lean on, but also an advocate and someone with better hearing and better memory.
Not all elderly folk are poor either. Paying out for support like that enables them to stay in their own home - its a lot less money being spent than if you have to pay for a care home.

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