Nobody wants to spend unnecessary money. You’ve worked hard and you want to make sure that you’re getting the best value that you can. Therefore, it is often tempting to look for the cheapest possible option.

Unfortunately when this strategy is applied to your Home Care, it can often mean that you’ll end up with inferior care and poorer quality – and your care is not something you should compromise.

What are the costs of Home Care? Why are some providers more expensive than others?

The costs of Home Care Packages can vary greatly depending on the type of provider.

Home Care costs include all of the things that allow a provider to run their business and pay their staff. This includes paying wages to their staff, buying equipment/consumables and uniforms, paying business insurance, paying for travel and transport, and items for things such as wound care and nursing/medical equipment.

Like most products and services, there are cheap options and more expensive options. Providers who are more expensive generally have something extra that people want to pay for. This might be something as simple as a strong brand and reputation, or it could be more experienced or higher qualified staff, or specialist carers.

However, there are expensive providers out there who do not necessarily offer anything better or more than a less expensive provider. It takes quite a bit of research to find a provider with high quality services and reasonable fees!

What costs are reasonable? What aren’t?

With such a wide range of costs, knowing what’s reasonable and what isn’t can be tricky. Particularly when providers aren’t consistent with their way of charging fees. For example, Provider A might have a cheaper hourly rate (many people just look at hourly rates and compare these), at say $45 an hour whereas Provider B has an hourly rate of $55. However, Provider A charges $90 an hour for Care Management while Provider B only charges $60.

Because it’s impossible to compare apples with apples (hourly rates with hourly rates), most of the time we instead talk about an overall percentage cost. All of the costs are added up and then calculated as a percentage of the overall Home Care Package funds. This makes it easier to compare apples with apples.

In terms of what is reasonable, again, it is difficult to put a number on it! A lot of what is reasonable will be up to you to decide – would you rather pay more for a provider who has been highly recommended to you and has a fantastic reputation? Or would you rather take a chance on a cheaper provider with less experience?

Generally, if you are self-managing your Home Care Package, a reasonable cost would be within the range of 13%-26% of your Home Care Package funding. Less than 13% is cause for concern regarding quality and correct processes and more than 26% would seem much too high a fee for you to be managing/coordinating all of your own care.

For providers who manage and coordinate everything for you, the range would be 25%-40%. At the upper end of that scale, you would be expecting a provider who specialises in something like dementia care, or has a fantastic reputation and very high-quality care with expertly trained staff.

What type of providers are cheaper?

Generally, the cheaper providers are those who offer self-managed Home Care. This means that it is up to you to do a lot of the work, such as booking and liaising with care workers. This is why self-managed providers are less expensive; they don’t have to hire a Care Manager to manage your care, you do all of that yourself.

If your needs are fairly basic and you do not require complex care or services, you may find that a cheaper provider could suit you. Providers who have staff with expert training, such as advanced dementia care training, will often charge more than those with less experienced and less qualified staff. This is fine if your needs are basic but if they are more complex, you might be better off paying a little bit more for more expert care.

Some providers are a little more advanced in their technology than others. Sometimes these technology-savvy providers can afford to charge less than others, as they are utilising technology in place of hiring and paying for staff.