The Senior Care Job Guide: How Much to Charge for Senior Care

Pay rates for elder care providers

Once you choose a job you will pursue, you'll have to decide whether to work for an agency or institution, or become an independent contractor. If you work for an agency or institution, they will set your pay rate, but if you work independently, you will need to assess how much to charge.

For home care aides, rates vary significantly according to:

  • geographical location. Pay rates will be different in different cities.  For example, Dallas Senior Care Aides may charge a different price than Austin Senior Care Aides and Houston Senior Care Aides. Compare prices in the towns and cities near you.
  • job requirements, type of care provided, number of hours, and time of day (day-time vs. overnight)
  • level of skill, experience, and whether or not a person is certified

According to AARP, the average pay rate for home care services for adults in 2008 was $19 an hour for home care aides, versus $38 an hour for Medicare-certified health aides.  These rates, however, varied depending on hours of the day that care was provided, as well as region of the country. People were paid at a lower rate for services that were only needed a few times a week and at a higher rate for 24-hour care.  To see the most recent cost of care data, refer to the Genworth 2011 Cost of Care Survey.

Therapists (physical, occupational, speech, and mental health) who come to the home generally charge between $50 and $125 a visit.

Licensed nurses who treat a senior at home generally charge between $50 and $100 a visit. One senior hospitalized in Manhattan paid $5,000 for three days of 24-hour private nursing care, averaging approximately $70 an hour.

Now that you know approximately how much to charge, the next step is to prepare for a job interview.

More Senior Care Resources

Find a job as a Senior Care Aide today

Interested in working in Senior Care? Create a Senior Care Provider account on Care.com today!

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Comments (18)
Katie M.
I was hired at $15 an hour for 25hrs a week as an independent contractor for a senior and two children under the age of 4. The senior is diabetic and I have to administer insulin, etc. I also cook meals for the three and clean up after them. Also, occasional laundry, vacumming. Am I being severely underpaid?
They did not mention the diabetic assistance or housework in their ad. The senior is non ambulatory.
Posted: July 20, 2014 at 11:12 PM
Cristina
@ Kathy you shouldn't be paying rent!!!!! They or her POA should be able to pay you at a lesser rate.
Posted: February 26, 2014 at 6:39 PM
Denise S.
I work 24 hour shift at the rate of 160.00 per day .I think it's not fair,my goal is to start my own business. Can I get a insight on starting my own business. Denise S.
Posted: February 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Kathy R.
I AM A LIVE IN CARE GIVER. I COOK AND CLEAN AND CARE FOR A 96 YEAR OLD WOMAN. ALTHOUGH IM ONLY PAYING 200 DOLLARS RENT, IM EXPECTED TO BE HERE MOST OF THE TIME AND CANT SPEND THE NIGHT AWAY. I FEEL LIKE IM BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. WHEN I STARTED I WASNT EXPECTED TO BE HERE SO MUCH. BUT SHE HAD A REACTION TO SOME MEDICINE AND SUDDENLY A LOT MORE WAS EXPECTED OF ME. ADVICE.
Posted: December 30, 2013 at 7:00 PM
STAY AT HOME CARE LLC
We have live-in caregivers and Michigan Wage and Labor says they have to stay at least 5 days at work. Please check with wage and labor in your state the company you work or worked for might have done you wrong! Get back what you deserve!
Posted: November 05, 2013 at 7:58 PM
Photo of Hortencia E.
Hortencia E.
I would like to thank all for their posting I've learn alot from this. Still waiting to be hire. Be Bless.
Posted: May 11, 2013 at 8:22 AM
Daniel M.
I just started building my profile,i would like to be a on my own,but I need more ifo on what channels to make it a legal process.Also to proved clients with several options,so they can see what best fits into a budget.Hope somone can help with this. Thanks DanielM
Posted: November 25, 2012 at 5:49 PM
Linda A.
Bottom line is: Are you making it on what you are being paid? And Ginger? Do you use your car when you take your senior out for trips? If not, you can not charge mileage.
Posted: June 25, 2012 at 5:34 PM
Nichole W.
I am doing a little math of my own on some of the jobs being listed and I am seeing that unless you live with in just a few miles of the job enven the 10.00/hr is not covering the drive with the cost of gas. In thses cases is it approperate to ask for more an hour than the going rate?
Posted: March 31, 2012 at 3:07 PM
Photo of Karen O.
Karen O.
Hi Ginger,

Is this your only gig? Charge per hour. If you go out - add.60 per mile; or ask for gas once in awhile. Do you enjoy the craft? the Senior?

I am trying to make it on my own and am finding it more and more difficult.
Good Luck let me hear back from you.
Posted: February 03, 2012 at 9:12 PM
Ginger
I have been asked to come to a seniors home and do art projects with her for 3-4 hours per day. Sometimes we will go to art museums, art classes. What should I charge? (she lives only 5 minutes from me)
Posted: January 16, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Alice L.
Care.com, please provide prominently displayed articles to those hiring caregivers regarding their fiscal responsibilities to their hirees under IRS and other labor laws.

Almost every person advertising a senior caregiver job on your site in my area is offering illegal employment (wanting to hire someone as an independent contractor to skirt labor and tax laws for an employer-employee relationship that does not meet IRS independent contractor criteria.)


Even if someone works independently (not with an agency or for a senior care facility), that doesn't necessarily mean the caregiver is an independent contractor.

In my experience, most of the senior in-home care jobs I have worked or interviewed for, including jobs offered on Care.com, have clearly fallen under the IRS criteria for employee, not independent contractor.

See:
http://ct.brickriver.com/files/oFiles_Library_XZXLCZ/Twenty_Point_Test_USRHG2VM.pdf

and
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99921,00.html

Thus the employer must have the employee fill out a W-2 and follow all IRS rules and pay all appropriate taxes and provide proper insurance--(Worker's Comp. and Unemployment Insurance) required by the federal government and each state--for employers. The employer can also contract with a payroll service to do this work, for a modest fee, which, given the many details for the employer to abide by, may be well worth it.

It would help if you could post an article for the employers about using a payroll service to ensure complying with tax and labor laws, and to reduce the employer's paperwork.

Hiring an employee gets tricky when a senior is hiring someone to work for themselves. The senior may not be able to manage all the paperwork, even if using a payroll service. Especially if the caregiver is only working a small number of hours per month for the client, then it can make sense for the caregiver to handle it as an independent contractor (i.e. using an IRS 1099 tax status.) But the nature of the employment relationship must clearly comply with the IRS rules, above, to ensure it abides by independent contractor regulations.

Furthermore, if a caregiver is working less than full-time for any one client, on an on-going, long-term basis, has a lot of open hours in her schedule, and has to spend a lot of time and/or money networking or advertising to keep enough work coming in, she must factor those unbilled hours into her business, and into the fee she charges.

For example, someone working for 3 hours on M-W-F afternoons has time gaps that are hard to fill. If she starts at 2 pm, how is she supposed to fill that one-hour gap from 1-2 pm? It's highly unlikely she'll find a client that just wants her to work that specific 1-hour time slot. She'll be lucky to find a senior who will want just the M-W-F *morning* time slot (highly unlikely). So these odd gaps in billable hours mean the caregiver has to charge more to be available for only 3 hours those 3 afternoons per week. If she is self-supporting, she can't simply be paid the same hourly rate as a full-time caregiver employee working in a care facility! She would not be able to stay in this line of work and be available to work as an independent caregiver.

The article above doesn't specify if the AARP's finding of average pay for home care aides of $19/hour is for aides paid as independent contractors or employees, and how many hours per week on average those aides were working. A caregiving *employee* *working 40 hours per week* can afford to accept work at $19/hour, or perhaps as low as even $10/hour.

But an *independent contractor* working a caregiving job of just 20 hours per week or less could not afford to offer such a low hourly rate.

I find that most of the senior care jobs listed on Care.com in my area (one of the most expensive regions in the country) are for just $10-15/hour! And many are for just a few hours a day at that rate. At that rate, for such few hours, even if the caregiver could find several clients whose schedules worked perfectly around each others', it would render the independent contractor caregiver homeless.

I have to charge $30/hour with a 4-hour minimum, then offer a $5/hour discount if the client is in my city, and another $5/hour discount for visits of 8 hours or more in one day.

It would be helpful if Care.com would include more articles discussing the specifics, written both to caregivers, and to those hiring us, with a detailed list of the costs and legal responsibilities for employers and independent contractors, i.e. each of the items the employer or contractor must pay (% of hourly wage), worker's comp, unemployment insurance, liability insurance, etc.

Care.com clients seeking to hire caregivers should see articles prominently displayed on this site that list what the employer/contractor financial responsibilities are, and what is a realistic amount of time and pay for caregiver visits. For example, if each visit by an independent contractor is less than 8 hours, then the client should expect to pay, realistically, 3x the hourly wage of a full-time employee doing that work. One third of the cost is the contractor's take-home pay, 1/3 is for time spent networking to keep business coming in, and 1/3 for federal and state taxes, unemployment insurance, worker's comp equivalent, health insurance, and retirement savings.

So, for example, if a caregiver *employee* in an assisted living facility were to earn $11/hour, then an *independent contractor caregiver* working as a home-care aide *only a small number of hours per week for the client*, especially for shifts of less than 8 hours, should be paid $33/hour, to cover the contractor's business taxes, unemployment insurance, worker's comp insurance equivalence, liability insurance, and hours of running the business (unbilled networking time to keep new clients coming in for small numbers of hours per week, downtime between short shifts, etc.)

Care.com, please break this all down for those hiring caregivers, so the employers are not exposing themselves to IRS back-taxes plus penalties for illegal hiring/paying practices and worker's comp violations, to protect their homes against a worker's comp lawsuit, and also to ensure that the caregivers on your site are not being exploited and in effect, getting paid well below minimum wage.

For example, I just received a local job posting from your site, for a senior caregiver to work as an independent contractor for 3 hours per day (9-noon), 4 days/week, for just $10-15/hour! That is ILLEGAL! That's because it comes out to well under minimum wage after the caregiver pays all the taxes and worker's comp. insurance, etc., not being paid by the employer. An employer cannot hire someone as an independent contractor to avoid, in effect, paying below minimum wage.

Employers on here must be informed of this, prominently on your site. They shouldn't have to dig through months of past blogs, either. Every prospective employer and employee should see the relevant articles, for everyone's protection.

You offer a great service - except that the financial legalities of employing caregivers are not being spelled out for all to be protected and treated fairly. Please address this.

Have a CPA or small business advisor write thorough articles about the employment relationship between employers (or clients) and caregivers, and post them on your site, where all registering will first have to read them and can refer to them. Perhaps even offer some sample contracts for either party to use.

Thanks.
Posted: December 01, 2011 at 3:02 AM
Janice C.
You are absolutely right!!!!! An agency that wants to hire you as an independent contractor and have you go into a home for three executive 24 hour shifts in a row at 10 an hour. Do your math, you are making 4.58 an hour. I was given $110.00 for the 24 hour shift and told that the family provides the food.
A lot of these agencies are misguiding the employee and telling you that you were never an employee, you were a independent contractor. The seniors also do not have food at their homes, very disappointing, so I started bringing food to them to make sure that they ate. I should be a senior's advocate, I care about senior's .Care.com is the way to go to look for the proper care
Posted: November 07, 2011 at 6:38 PM
Dr. Bob
Carmen, do the math! Thats only 8 bucks hr
Posted: April 07, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Mary S.
Hi everyone,

According to national data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in May 2009 Nursing Aides in nursing care facilities earned an hourly average wage of $11.58. Home Health Aides made an hourly wage of $10.39. Facilities may offer slightly higher wages at night because these positions can be harder to fill as the schedule is less convenient for most people. You can go to the website for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find out more about the average hourly wages in your area (http://www.bls.gov/home.htm).

If you are providing home care and you are not required to be awake during the night it is possible that the agency you work for (or you if you work privately) may negotiate lower rates with the family or individual.

I hope this helps.
Posted: March 30, 2011 at 11:26 AM
Photo of Carmen S.
Carmen S.
I am working thru an agency every week end 12 hrs (days) and get paid $200 per the week end. I am a state Certified Tech. Is this a good pay?
Posted: March 25, 2011 at 8:11 AM
Photo of Danielle H.
Danielle H.
When i worked in assisted living from 10pm-6am I was paid a 50cent differental. At night I always made more money and don't know what the difference really is. It's hard to get people to work at night vs. daytime.
Posted: March 22, 2011 at 9:57 PM
Photo of Crysta M.
Crysta M.
Day-time vs overnight. What would be the pay difference, since the senior would mostly be sleeping at night. More or less?
Posted: February 27, 2011 at 9:11 AM
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