Ways To Cut Outgoing Costs in Care Homes, Care Agencies and Care Establishments

Ways To Cut Outgoing Costs in Care Homes

Rising costs in care homes, care agencies, and care establishments is getting to near crisis point across the UK. From the introduction of the living wage to pension schemes and government cutbacks, this culmination of rising costs across the board is a pressing issue for care business owners, staff, agencies and residents nationwide. Here we look at the various factors of why costs are rising but will also outline one key way to reduce costs significantly to ensure a secure future for your care business. Read on to find out more.

The Living Wage and What This Means for Care Homes and Agencies.

The cost of implementing the living wage has had a massive impact on the care industry. As well as care home owners now paying more money per hour across the board, the introduction of mandatory pension schemes has also had a considerable impact on wage costs for those wishing to remain ‘opted in’. Adding to this, the government has stopped paying employers back for sick pay for staff while ensuring sick pay is still paid out resulting in another added cost. This was masked by the National insurance incentive given to employers of £2,000 a year. Check with your accountant if you can still claim this!

On top of the increased living wage, pension contribution and sick pay, local governments have either frozen the costs they are paying care homes for service users going into the home, or in some cases they have cut the costs completely. If government cuts continue to be made, combined with rising wage costs, care homes and care businesses are heading for a death curve where even basic overhead expenses will not be met. To be put simply, more and more care homes, care service providers and agencies will close which will inevitably lead to a serious care crisis for our aging population, on top of the pressures we all currently face.

One of our customers Elite Care for example, a leading Nursing and Care staff supplier on the South Coast, had to reluctantly lay off 8 office staff recently. This has had the inevitable result of immense stress put on the remaining team as more work is piled on to cope with the loss of people. They simply cannot put their prices up anymore to counteract this loss as they have already lost 30% of their customers due to care homes not being able to afford to pay for the care and nursing staff available. Simply put, the cost of running Elite Care has gone up 30% and the only way to save that 30% was to cut wages of office based staff, resulting in increased stress of the management and daily running of the business.

How To Cut The Costs Of Running A Business In The Care Industry

The day-to-day running of the accountancy and placement of care staff within a care business involves a lot of processes, which can be streamlined, made more efficient and effectively save time and money with the right resource management software. Here are just a few ways RMS software can help cut costs by saving time.

Auto setting rates on wages – not having to work out individual wages each month will save hours of time. AWR (agency worker regulations) pay and charge rates can be automatically applied for agencies with temporary workers also.

Stop spending money chasing money – one of our care agency customers has reported that they have reduced their invoicing time from 60 to 7 hours per week by using RMS software which is an impressive feat.

Candidate placement – save time searching through candidate notes for the perfect candidate by defining candidates by specific job requirements, qualifications and other relevant info including skill types and many custom searches within a searchable database.

Run real time reports – RMS Care Placer will allow you to bring up live reports on sales and can project sales allowing you to see real profit, LIVE! not at the end of a month or pay period, and not fixed margins that equate to nothing so you can better plan for the future.

Access from everywhere – we understand people can’t be tied to their desks which is why RMS Care Placer software is a solution that can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Now has never been a better time to increase your efficiency with RMS Care Placer software as we are currently offering FREE set-up and customisation to your care business, which usually costs £1500. Talk to us today about how RMS can help save your business time and money on +44 203 411 2327 or online here.

5 Steps to Ensure a Good Disaster Contingency Plan

Disaster Contingency

If you run a business, an important part of planning your operations is to ensure you have a good disaster contingency plan in place. Not sure what a disaster contingency plan is? Basically, what do you plan to do in the case of a disaster? For example; natural disasters, fires, floods. Even something as simple as losing important clients. Read on for our 5 steps to ensure a good disaster contingency plan.

  • Think about what could happen.

When writing your contingency plan, you need to think about what could possibly happen to your business and what you would to in response. Further to this, you should also plan ahead regarding what you can do in advance to help prevent this. For example, there could be a fire at the office. To respond to this, you can have fire alarms installed and a plan set in place to safely evacuate the premises. To help prevent this, you could install surge-protected plugs for the computers to reduce the risk of an electrical fire.

 

  • Ensure that your business will still be able to operate if your office is out of commission.

A good way to ensure this is to invest in cloud-based software. Regular software installed on your computers or servers will be inaccessible in the event of a disaster. As such, if you operate with cloud-based software, you will be able to access it from anywhere. If you’re interested in cloud based software, you can find out some more information about the solutions that Resource Management Systems can offer you here.

 

  • Make sure that your contingency plan isn’t a low priority.

It is important to ensure that you have a plan in place, so don’t keep putting it off to the point that you never get round to creating it. If it’s easier, hold a meeting with your other business partners/colleagues to help create your plan. It will also improve the quality of your plan if you have multiple people helping you with it, as other people may look at certain scenarios in a slightly different manner than you would.

 

  • Data recovery.

A backup of important data is vital for a good contingency plan. There are a few options you can go for in regards to having a good back-up of data. You could have your data backed up to external HDDs, and switch them out regularly so that one is on-site and one is off-site. You could also look at cloud based storage. Much like using cloud-based software, this will be accessible even if your office is out of action. It’s also usually a cheaper alternative than a physical backup. You can also store more data in the cloud than on a HDD as you’re not restricted by the physical amount of storage on the disk.

  • Regularly update your plan.

It is sensible to keep your plan up to date, relative to your business. As your business grows, your contingency plan could no longer be relevant to suit your specific business needs. It is also a good idea to regularly ensure that your plan is as good as it could be.

 

With all this in mind, it is clear that with the advances in technology over the years, it is possible to take advantage of cloud-based computing for both storage, and software. If you would like more information about cloud-based software, you can check out our software solutions here, or book a free demo here to see why cloud-based software can help your business excel.

 

Business Growth and Inflation

As we all know, businesses exist for one main reason. To make money. Therefore, it is important that all businesses are set up in a way that enables them to grow and increase their market share. In order to grow, you need to ensure that you’re making enough money to accommodate for these changes. Your pricing is a very important aspect as you need to be able to remain competitive while also generating an increasing profit. This is where you need to consider inflation.

10 years ago, you could send an employee out to do a job. You could pay the employee £4.50 an hour, and charge the client £10 an hour, resulting in £5.50 an hour profit, minus expenses. Due to inflation, and changes to minimum wage (see our previous blog: Coping With the Changes to the National Living Wage in the Care Sector) your prices will have to change. With this example, you will have to charge your clients £12 an hour and pay your employee £7 an hour. Your profit per hour has now dropped from £5.50 to £5.

The above is just an example of course, but it points out the trends in relation to minimum wage, inflation and business growth. You’ll need to up your prices to be able to continue generating profit, but you also need to be priced competitively. In 2020, when the minimum living wage is £9 an hour, if your prices remain the same at £12 an hour, then your profit per hour has now suddenly dropped to a measly £3 an hour. So how can you ensure that you remain successful as a business?

Pricing

The most important part of maintaining profit within the current economic climate is your pricing. Yes, you could put your price per hour up by £5, but then what’s to stop your clients finding somewhere else where they can get it cheaper?

You need to consider your main competitors. See how much they’re charging. Perhaps see how much they’re paying their staff. If you can’t match or beat their prices while still maintaining a nice profit, it’s not the end of the world. Think about where you think your pricing should be, regardless of your competition. Why should a client pay that price for your products and service? What are your unique selling points that should encourage people to buy your products and services? How can you improve your unique selling points?

If you’re still unable to keep to an adequate profit, or are struggling to find business growth, then you can perhaps take a look at your expenditure. Yes, it’s nice to put as much money into your business as possible, but if the amount of money you’re putting in isn’t resulting in more money coming out, then is that really feasible business practice? Take a look at your systems you have in place. For example, are you spending money on hundreds of licenses for Microsoft products when you only need, say, 50?

If you want to save time and money, while keeping your costs down in regards to software, why not check out the products that was can supply? Whether you’re a business of 5 people, or 500 people, we have the product that can help you run your business efficiently. Check out our products here.

It’s not hard to work out that business isn’t easy. It’s a tough game to get into, but with the correct motivation and ambitions, you can ensure that you are a cut above the rest.

Coping With the Changes to the National Living Wage in the Care Sector

 

What you can do to ensure that your care business can cope with the changes to the National Living Wage

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With the changes being made to the National Living Wage (NLW) you may be having some worrying thoughts for your business. Lower profit margins, continuing inflation, government/ Local authority contracts not increasing with inflation. With all of these thoughts flying through your head, you may find your business troubled. However, there are some things you can to do help cope with the change to the NLW.

 

As of April 2016, the NLW will apply to workers aged 25 and over, increasing the minimum hourly rate up to £7.20, increasing to £9 by 2020.

 

Government Contracts Not Increasing Pay Rates

If you have government contracts to deliver care and nursing staff to government owned homes, domiciliary care, hospitals, or other locations,  then they may not increase their pay rate for your staff. As a result, your profit margin would be a lot lower than it was before due to the increase in the NLW. You should consider your Profit and Loss forecasting and not be scared of asking for prices to be reviewed. Remember Turnover is vane, profit is sane! 0% net profit of a 1 Million pound contract is £0.

 

If you work in a government/ local authority funded home, then you could be at risk of a collapsing business due to lack of increased government/ local authority funding after changes to NLW. This can affect private employers who have service users funded by the government.

Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, is trying to work with the government to find a fair solution to help the care sector with these changes. You can help, by writing to your local and regional MPs and other government bodies to help them empathise with your care home’s needs.

 

Continuing Inflation

With the thought of continuing inflation in mind, you know that all business will have to put their prices up to help accommodate for the changes to the NLW. With this knowledge, you will be able to price your services much more realistically, resulting in a larger quantity of work and contracts that you can carry out. Never be scared to put prices up if this means you are going to survive. This would then increase the amount of revenue your business is generating, therefore increasing profits across the board. This will mean that even though you are now paying your staff more money, you profits are actually increasing due to the amount of work your business will pick up, on the correct rates, enabling your business to expand further if this is your goal. If you wish to stay the same size, you must make sure your current revenue stream is sufficient and future proof.

Importance of Profit Margins

With any business, its’ sole purpose is to make money. You always need to consider your profit margins to ensure that you are making enough money to help expand your business and be able to comfortably pay your staffs’ wages. With the changes to the NLW, it may be important to focus more on the quantity of work that you are supplied with, as you generally would be making less profit per job as your costs will be higher. Alternatively, to counteract the changes to the NLW, you could increase your rates when supplying to privately owned customers/ service users to keep to your current profit margin. However, as always with increasing prices, you run the risk of your customers looking elsewhere to get the same services at a cheaper cost. You also need to consider the extra cost of holiday pay, sick pay, and pension contributions that will all have an inflated increase due to the extra wages, as well as the employers PAYE contributions.

 

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as the government are slightly reducing corporation tax to 18%. A net minus of 2%, in order to help accommodate these changes. Also make sure you are claiming your £2000 a year NI pay back scheme each year (max of £2000). The NI pay back scheme, known officially as employment allowance, will be increasing to £3000 to accommodate the changes, but get your accountant or tax expert to advise you on this. This all helps towards a brighter future.

 

Theoretically, the NLW will increase an employee’s motivation to work, with increased wages, staff would be more willing to work hours as they are receiving a greater reward at the end of the month. So with happier employees, but slightly less profits, there is a lot to take on board with the changes to the NLW, and coming up with a solution can be a slow and arduous task. However, not an impossible one.

 

Why not take a look at our Care Placer product? Care Placer can help you to stay ahead of the game despite these changes to the NLW, by saving you time and money, allowing you to keep costs down and invest more into your business.

Good Luck!

6 Reasons Why You Need Cloud Business Management Software

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If you’re thinking about upgrading your internal systems or business software, let us introduce you to the world of cloud based solutions. There are many benefits to cloud software and here we’ll showcase the most beneficial for your business.

1. Anywhere Anytime Access

The beauty of cloud based software is that with an internet connection, you can access the software from anywhere in the world and from any device, with no need for heavy downloads.

2. Collaboration & Synchronisation

Your whole team will be able to access, add, edit and share documents/files/scheduling information easier than ever before, from anywhere in the world. With updates in real time, there’s no need to keep sending files back in forth which can often lead to a culmination of documents with content loss or conflict. Using cloud based documents will ensure this never happens again.

3. Low Maintenance

With cloud based software, there are no in-house servers or hardware to manage or maintain which reduces costs in more ways than one. Software updates are also rolled out automatically to minimise downtime. Cloud servers will also fluctuate in capacity to accommodate your needs so will only use the energy it needs opposed to standard servers that are set in capacity.

4. Recovery

Cloud based back-up and recovery is much more affordable than in-house hardware which is a major benefit, especially for small and growing businesses looking to streamline costs as well being more secure.

5. Security

Should an employee lose a laptop, no data would be lost and everything remains on the cloud.

6. Flexibility

This point is especially beneficial for growing businesses; should you need more storage, the cloud can be scaled up and down to meet a business’s specific needs in just a few simple steps. In-house servers however would require costly upgrades and would most likely incur downtime to do so.

Its clear to see why cloud based software is the way forward for businesses to manage every aspect of their business. This is why RMS are proud to provide our range of software solutions on the cloud so our customers can manage their assets, people, PAYE, invoicing and more all with just one piece of cloud based software. Get introduced to our business management software in our 2 minute video here.

5 Ways to Grow Your Business

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So you’re running an established business that’s making a profit, keeping customers happy and are now steadily ticking over. This is the perfect time to start thinking about growing your business and of course, profit margin. As business professionals with years of experience in development and growth, read on to discover our tried and tested 5 ways to grow your business.

1. Learn to delegate.
When running your own business, it can be difficult to let go of certain jobs, whether that’s the accounts or project work. However as an owner or Managing Director of a business, your time should be spent on growing the business and driving things forward through sales, product development and new opportunities, not on the day to day running of the business. So if this sounds like you, take a step back, delegate more responsibility to your staff, and you’ll be amazed at the difference this will make within 6 months.

2. Turn your customers into brand ambassadors.
Customer referrals and recommendations is the best way gain sales/new work. This gives the opportunity to tap into new market areas and expand target audiences with customers who already trust your reputation from recommendations. Consider introducing a referral scheme to encourage your customers to recommend your product or services too, you’ll be surprised at the amount of quality leads or sales you’ll get from this method.

3. Funding.
Although this should be looked at in the beginning stages of planning a business, it’s never too late to investigate new funding options, government initiatives, and start-up funds that may still be available to you or that have just been introduced. Look at possible industry awards your company could be entered into also as these often have funding or monetary prizes.

4. Franchising.
Franchising is a fantastic way to expand nationally and even globally without the commitment of managing multiple locations yourself. Franchisees will also have more determination and enthusiasm than an employee as they will reap the benefits of a successful franchise for themselves. Franchising will also minimise growth risk as it minimises money spent on expanding as the franchisee will buy the outlets and assets in the chain.

5. Streamlining & automation.
List all of your day-to-day business processes and see where you are spending the most time and investigate whether any of these can be automated or streamlined. Streamlining processes such as running PAYE, invoicing, tracking assets, scheduling staff and gathering information for reports could free up whole days if not weeks which could mean you may need less staff to manage these processes. This will then save money which can be spent on new initiatives for growth. Streamlining all the processes mentioned above and more can be done simply and effectively with just one piece of cloud software, in fact, we have customers who have experienced 50% growth in just 6 months by streamlining processes alone, using our management software. To see how this was achieved, read our recent case study here. Discover how RMS can help your business grow by requesting a call back here and find out more about the features that could benefit your company here.

5 Ways to Boost Team Morale

Ways to boost team morale

Have you noticed a lack of enthusiasm and energy from your team recently? Are they overly stressed, lacklustre and generally dragging in their regular work routines? If you’re hearing more sighs then laughter then your team morale needs an urgent boost. Instead of waiting for gripes and concerns to build up to boiling point, take a proactive approach and transform your office environment into a hub of productivity with these 5 ways to boost team morale, because a round of coffees and morning doughnuts just wont cut it.

Communication & Trust
By keeping your employees and team in the loop with company plans and goals, individuals will feel part of the bigger picture and know that what they are doing within the company forms a fundamental part of it. Getting caught up in daily routines often means this feeling of being part of the bigger picture can be lost, so a regular refocus of perspective can go a long way. Sharing positive feedback will also go a long way to how the company and everyone’s role within it is benefitting the end user.

Step out of the daily grind
Busy days that turn into busy weeks, months then years can get extremely tiresome so mix things up on a monthly if not weekly basis to engage in fun activities people might not otherwise have the opportunity to do. From the company taking an afternoon every month to volunteer in a community project to, sports activities, in-house competitions, the options are endless!

Work life balance
Connecting with employee’s personal life and appreciating outside commitments make individuals feel more valued as a whole person, not just for what they contribute at work. If possible, switch up schedules, explore working from home options, and be more flexible. You will be surprised at how flexibility in the workplace improves productivity.

Another suggestion we love is getting everyone to fill out an ‘employee favourites’ questionnaire to use in the future, e.g. favourite chocolate, flower, restaurant, so you can use this in the future. For example, if someone has been working late all week, buy them their favourite flowers to show meaningful gratification.  And don’t stop there; show the company cares about everyone by celebrating birthdays with cake and a card.

Listen & Value
Take the time to listen to your employees and share ideas. Keep them informed of important developments and ask for opinions, ideas and further improvements – however you must also make sure they are listened to, otherwise it will have the opposite effect. Reward employees for a good job well done – sales people get commission for a closing a sale so why not reward other employees when they reach goals or make positive changes in the company. However if tensions are already high, confront frustrations head on – listen, understand and seek a solution together.

Comfort & Efficiency 
Making sure your team are comfortable in their working environment is also important in boosting and keeping morale high. From supplying good coffee, to having the best ergonomic chairs and the technology they need to do their job to their best ability, these little things all go a long way in keeping employee morale high. Finally, inefficiency and monotony are two key factors that drive down job satisfaction so investing in streamlining the business will not only up productivity but morale too. For a complete solution to streamlining business processes from wages and invoicing to asset management, discover our range of software products which can be tailored to your company, here.

How to Run an Efficient Business

5 Ways to Run an Efficient Business Model

How to Run an Efficient Business

Efficiency in business is crucial to ensure maximum productivity is being achieved to realise maximum potential and of course, profit. Read on below for our 5 tips on how to run an efficient business.

  1. Clarity
    Openness and clarity in business is extremely important for employees and teams. When staff are focused on the bigger picture, this gives people the clarity and motivation to do their best to reach the goal to further business growth. Withholding goals and dreams from the team will only hold everyone back.
  2. Streamline & Automate Inefficient Processes
    How much time do you or your team spend looking for files, gathering information & statistics for reports, struggling with effective team collaboration, or managing assets? With just one piece of software, streamlining inefficient processes such as these is now super simple. Having experienced the above problems and more in our own businesses, the team at RMS have developed a software program that can be completely tailored to any company to solve many aspects of inefficiency which has helped one of our own businesses grow by a staggering 50% each six month. Read more about this case study here.
  3. The Fear of Missing Out
    Checking every email that comes in, when it comes in, will bring non-stop interruptions to your day as well as significantly decrease productivity, and this goes for everyone. Even if you’re checking your email more than twice a day, this is too much. Set two points throughout the day to check your inbox and make sure everyone knows this so they are not waiting on a quick response. If it’s important, they will call you. Another point to note is to never look at your company’s social accounts without a reason. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the world of social without a purpose and before you know it, 20 minutes or more have passed.
  4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
    By using an intelligent CRM, (see point 2) you will be able to see who your most loyal customers are. Once you have this information, focus on selling more to these customers, if possible, as this is a much more cost effective solution compared to new customer acquisition. Also distinguish your most problematic customers, the ones who never pay on time, don’t respond to emails and who you generally spend the most time chasing. Give them another chance to pay on time, or simply get rid of them. Although you are cutting a revenue source, you will save time, hassle and energy which could be put to use finding more reliable customers.
  5. Empower Your Staff
    Are you or your managers involved in every move or decision that is made in the company? Is this necessary? By empowering your staff to make more decisions, you show that you trust them which is a huge motivator but it will help your employees thrive in their role and really make it their own. This will also free up your time to make more strategic decisions to propel business growth.

Equipping your team with the best equipment and software they need to complete their job to the best of their abilities will also increase business efficiency as well as employee satisfaction. Talk to RMS today about how your business can become more efficient and achieve growth never before thought possible.

Learn more about our software packages here.

5 Ways to Make the Workplace a Happy Place

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A happy workplace is a productive workplace. Ever worked with a miserable co-worker who was ahead of their work schedule, consistently overachieving and taking the business to the next level? No, didn’t think so. Happy employees not only stimulate a healthy workplace culture by being more productive and less stressed but can become advocates of the company that will in turn grow the business. Investing in your employee’s wellbeing has never been more important. Read on for our 5 Ways to make the workplace a happy place.

“You don’t build a business. Your build people and then people build the business.”
Invest in your employees through their training, their overall wellbeing and recognition for a job well done. This is a proven motivator which is said to be more effective than pay. Understand what drives happiness in your employees; whether that is working from home, free coffee in the office or acquiring new skills, these are all important aspects of work life balance to consider to drive up workplace happiness and motivation.

Don’t be so serious.
Prioritize fun – this can be more difficult than it sounds. A serious and formal workplace attitude has no proven benefits and can even be harmful to employee wellbeing as this environment encourages stress and little communication. A smiley workplace, recognising and appreciating fun situations that crop up in the day can all encourage high spirits which results in a more relaxed and calm atmosphere that encourages connections and good mental health. The odd afternoon break to enjoy a fun activity as well as regular jolly days can do wonders for team morale too!

Reduce time spent on repetitive, time consuming tasks.
By streamlining mundane processes such as running payroll, running reports and invoicing, this will not only maximise business efficiency but will encourage increased productivity in other, more exciting and motivating areas of the business such as company growth and new ideas. By doing this, not only will your business prosper but your employees will feel more valued. If you would like to find out more about how to streamline your in-house operations, discover our software solution here.

Encourage thought leadership.
Imagine a workplace where employees were too scared to voice their ideas for fear of being shot down or simply not listened too. This scenario results in low job satisfaction and a generally unhappy workforce. By encouraging thought leadership and entrepreneurial thinking, workers will feel more passionate, motivated and resourceful as they will feel a sense of ownership and dedication to the business, product or service.

Get active.
Employees who are active in their morning routines, lunch breaks and evenings have shown to be more engaged and energetic in the workplace opposed to those who are glued to their desks. Encourage physical activity to not only improve general health but to improve happiness. Consider company gym memberships, set up a morning Yoga practice or even invite your employees to bring in their dogs so everyone can take small breaks to walk and play!

5 Ways to Efficiently Track Recruitment Candidates

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When working within a recruitment agency, you need to have a firm grasp of your candidates, their preferred jobs, their salary requirements and qualifications to name a few, but when you are handling so many candidates, this can be difficult to manage. The last thing you want is the ideal candidate to be bypassed by mistake. But how do you efficiently track your candidates to ensure they are put forward for the right positions? This tracking can be even more important when handling temps so you know when candidates are available and where they are based. Read on for 5 amazing solutions to candidate tracking in recruitment.

  • Preferred and non-preferred status for your employees and customers – getting the right people to the right placements.
  • Define candidates by specific job requirements, qualifications and other relevant info – save time searching through candidates notes.
  • AWR (Agency Worker Regulation) pay and charge rates automatically applied for agencies with temporary workers – save time working out different rates.
  • Full noting system – track every placement from start to finish.
  • RMS is an online solution that can be accessed anywhere in the world from your PC, MAC or laptop – allowing you access your database of candidates on the go when meeting clients.

Our software was born out of necessity for a large recruitment company and already manages millions of pounds of resources meaning it’s tried and tested, purpose-built software that is proven to increase efficiency and sustainably grow profit.

Increase candidate and client satisfaction today!

Get in touch with RMS today to see how much time and money your business could save.