Why Relying on Local Authority Clients is Killing Your Care Home or Home Care Business
Post pandemic, care providers are facing financial strains due to high operating costs, negative media coverage, labour shortages, not to mention mandatory vaccinations for care workers as well as 3% increase in NHS pay; all of which may result in a lot of caregiving staff leaving the sector altogether.
Local authorities are also struggling and having to adapt by making budget cuts and these cutbacks are majorly impacting the amount of funds allocated to social care. Many local authorities have also been seeing care and nursing homes as well as home care businesses close, impacting the accessibility to socially funded care. With the cutbacks and the rising costs, local authorities are struggling to keep up with supporting the growing number of aged people in Britain who are in need of care.
In the past, for example, if you opened a new home you could be sure that most of your occupancy issues would be solved with local authority referrals; if you needed a little extra help you could release some flyers or put an ad in the local paper etc. This is sadly no longer the case; which is certainly scary, as traditionally care home and home care businesses would rely on help from local authorities to acquire residents or clients.
However, this may have to be a thing of the past now.
As margins become tighter, it is becoming clear that care providers can no longer solely rely on local authorities if they want to stay open and thrive. Local authorities will not be able to help them build back occupancy, increase their weekly hours or even recruit and retain their staff. Care providers now need to think about and prioritise different ways of attracting private self-funding residents or clients in order to grow their businesses.
A great way to build back your occupancy, recruit more staff, increase your weekly hours and future proof your business is by using Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC).
When considering PPC, it is important to note that you should be careful doing this on your own, as the digital landscape is fast-paced and with platforms like Google Ads it is easy to spend hundreds of pounds without knowing exactly what you’re doing, especially in such a niche market such as care.
If you wish to put your hard-earned money into paid search, a great option is hiring a PPC agency, preferably one that specialises in the care sector. That way you can almost guarantee calls and leads coming in and with proper lead handling training and a robust follow-up process, you can convert these enquiries into future residents or clients. You can even boost the amount of leads you are receiving by using Live Chat, which you can learn more about here.
With private fee-paying clients, you can potentially pay your staff more which will help with retention and it will also allow you to have enough margin for growth which is extremely important. PPC is also a great option simply because the way people look for care is changing, many of us now spend over 24 hours weekly on our mobile phones alone.
Above all, Google Ads allow you to show the right message (your ads), to the right people, in the right place, at the right time. It means that YOU are in control of your business success.
Although it differs depending on the type of care and where you are in the UK, as a whole the number of people receiving local authority-funded care seems to be decreasing.
Relying solely on local authorities for the success of your care business is likely to be detrimental. You should instead be thinking of ways to ensure an influx of private fee-paying clients and putting your focus on PPC is a great way to do so.
If you want more details about how to choose a PPC agency, what questions to ask or what things to consider, you can have a read of one of our previous blogs, ‘7 Questions to Ask When Choosing a PPC Agency’.