How much do care agencies charge per hour?

There are many different types of care agency, and the service you choose will likely impact how much you pay. Whether you're looking for a recruitment agency to introduce you to a private carer, or a fully managed service that'll take control of all aspects of your care, we've discussed the differences and costs below. 

What is a Recruitment Care Agency?

A recruitment care agency is a care business that operates within the social care sector, but doesn’t manage care routines directly, therefore they do not have an ongoing role in the direction or control of the service provided. However, these agencies work to support people who need to find care with the suitable carers. They often support NHS, Local Authority, residential care homes and other private care providers to find care solutions. These care agencies do not need to be CQC registered.

Are Elder a Recruitment care agency?

Elder falls under the recruitment care agency model, more generally called an introductory agency.

Rather than employ the carers we work with, we match customers who require care with self-employed carers from the Elder network.

All the live-in self-employed carers on the Elder platform are contracted directly with your family, as per the terms and conditions. We’ll work closely with you to understand your needs and lifestyle, before matching you to suitable carers. we take into account carer experience and personality when matching, and ensure you always have the final say over who provides your care. 

Elder care professionals, in line with the family members or primary contacts, and local councils, manage the day-to-day care of care recipients. This includes supporting personal care, risk assessments, continuation of care assessments and anything else required to make sure the recipient is safe, happy and comfortable in the place they’re happiest – their own home. 

In terms of enabling you to manage your care, we go above and beyond what many other introductory agencies offer. We’re guided by our own internal clinical team, we manage carer payroll, and we provide on-going support via dedicated Family Support Specialists who’ll help with any questions and can organise trusted cover when it’s time for your carer to take a break. 

We’ve done everything we can to make managing your family’s care needs as stress-free as possible with our online care management app, MyElder, and provide you with your very own dedicated account manager, as required.

How much do recruitment care agencies charge?

Each year the Homecare Association calculates the minimum rate that local authorities should pay to home care agencies for domiciliary care services.

The Homecare Association provides guidance on what the minimum rate should be paid to home care agencies. In 2021-2022 they recommended that a minimum of £21.43 per hour should be paid to fund home care services. With this rate, home care agencies can provide sustainable services which comply with the national minimum wage and national living wage. However, the Homecare Association says that ideally the rate should go higher than the minimum, to allow higher wages for care staff and factor in additional costs such as travel for care visits and office expenses.

These recommendations are aimed at local authorities and are not a lawful requirement, but they allow for an understanding of what you may be charged when using a care agency.


How much does Elder charge?

How much a recruitment care agency’s care fees are depends on the level of care services you need, the type of carer; whether a specialist to provide more advanced types of care or just someone to help with minimal day-to-day tasks, and how much the agency pays the carers. 

At Elder, we think you should be able to invest in quality care without unexpected extra costs or fixed contracts. Our rates are personalised to individual care needs; however for our full-time live-in care, basic rates usually start from £1150 per week, or there is a hourly rate of £22 for daily care, i.e an arrangement where your carer visits you at agreed times throughout the week. These prices should be used as a guide only, call our care advisors for a personalised quote.

Our rates represent our quality service and the care we take to ensure we do right by carers.

Every Elder customer benefits from the expertise of our in-house clinical team, who’ll review every situation in detail. You’ll also have your dedicated Family Support Specialist, and our phone lines are open seven days a week.

With your MyElder account, you can manage your care in one safe, simple place. Add and stay connected to family members, choose your carer and build your schedule, and easily keep track of your invoices.

Elder is the only care agency with an award-winning support package for independent private carers too. From paid travel costs, sick pay and holiday cover to emotional support and healthcare.

What’s a managed service agency? 

A managed service care agency is exactly how it sounds  – it’s an agency that will provide you with a carer and take an on-going role in how your care is delivered. While every agency in the care industry is recognised by the The Care Quality Commission (CQC), managed service agencies are also regulated by them, meaning they can be more involved in who cares for you, when they care for you, and how. 

These agencies will build a care plan for you, and often have a staff of care workers who provide care. Because of their regulated status, they may be more involved in things like administering medication. For some people this is favourable, as it provides peace of mind and means they don’t have to be as ‘hands on’ in managing how their loved one is cared for. However, this may also mean you have less control over the day to day, and the final decision over who your carer is may not always rest with you. 

How much do managed service care agencies charge?

Because their care packages include care planning and management the cost of care per week will likely be more than introductory agencies. The average cost of hourly care may start from £23 per hour, and live-in care could cost upwards of £1400 a week for one person. These prices may be higher for specialist services such as overnight care. 

Whether you choose an introductory or managed service, it’s important to check whether the agency requires any additional costs. Some may require a one-off payment or ‘joining fee’ to cover administrative costs, or charge extra for certain services such as if a live-in carer is woken up during the night, or for carer matching. At Elder we’ll never charge you for these services. 

Can I pay a care agency using local authority support?

Local authority support is a viable funding option to cover care costs, and can pay associated costs for using a care agency – in full or part. It’s the most common way people get support to pay for care.

To find out if you’re eligible for Local authority care funding, speak directly to social services in your area to complete a care needs assessment and a financial assessment.

It’s worth highlighting that if you live in England or Northern Ireland and have assets greater than £23,250, you’re automatically discounted. This figure differs for Wales (£24,000 for care at home, £30,000 for care in a home) and Scotland (£26,500).

The care needs assessment helps the local authority gain a better insight into the extent of care required and a broader understanding of your specific needs.

At some point, you’ll also need to do a means test. A means test is an appraisal of financial circumstances to establish what you need to contribute towards the total cost of care.

Your point of contact then comes back to you with their decision as to whether you’re eligible for funding and, if so, a recommended care and funding plan. Once agreed, it’s put into writing. The overall process can take a two or three months from start to finish.

How much can I expect to receive?

There’s a limited amount of money available for local councils to allocate, so those who receive full or majority funding are in short supply. This level of funding generally goes to those who live alone, have recently been discharged from the hospital or can’t manage without care.

For those of lower priority, the council may agree to subsidise individual needs, such as rehabilitation or home adaptations. This is all laid out in a support plan, which outlines when, how often and from whom you’ll receive the required services. The financial value of this plan ultimately depends on your situation.

Can I pay using Direct payments?

Direct payments – also known as a personal budget – are government contributions the care recipient can use to arrange their care independently.

Like local authority funding, your loved one will receive ongoing financial support, but rather than having to construct a care plan with another party, they can use it however they see fit. This gives your family more choice, control and flexibility over how you meet their care needs.

To find out whether you’re eligible for direct payments, you need to get in touch with your local council and complete the same funding assessment as above. Remember that your eligibility is once again affected by the value of assets.

Learn more about paying for care

We know your money matters. Take a look at more Elder guides on care costs and funding below. 

Information & advice