Hi, it’s me, Christine, again.
Hope everybody’s doing OK. As for me, my new career as a caregiver is looking up!
Just want to fill you in real fast in case you missed my first post. Last time, I was talking about how much I was “over” working as a manager in fast-food, and how I just received my CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) credential in Ohio. But then I hit a wall – what’s next? I was looking for a new career path that will allow me to set my own schedule, so I can spend more time with my kids, Lucas, 6, and Mia, 22 months, to give my mom and sisters some relief from always babysitting for me. If I can, I’d love to even choose how much money I can make per hour – I mean, within reason!
Anyway, I googled “part-time nursing assistant jobs” and came across this website, www.caregiverusa.com. After looking the site over a little bit, I decided to sign up!
So, first I should talk to you about the important business aspects of joining CGUSA before I get to the really good part –getting hired. You should understand that, basically, CGUSA is empowering you to run your own business. That’s right, members are “caregiver entrepreneurs” so to speak, in that I (and, you, if you join) can set your own hours, manage your own time, and establish your own pricing.
I told you last time I filled out the short, “easy-peasy” online application and cut-and-pasted my resume inside it. I sent it off and immediately got an email confirmation from CGUSA that it was received.
Shortly thereafter, I’d say a week or so, I received a notification that CGUSA accepted my application. I was invited to sign up for an annual subscription . . .
Uh oh! I thought, this is where they get you. But hey, I found out the cost to join Caregiver USA is very reasonable. Only $68 a year for caregivers, regardless of the certifications you have. That’ only $5.67 a month. Sweet!
Next, I’m told they need to perform a free background check on me. That’s right, it’s included in my $68 fee, which is a relief! Gotta say, having people verify my social security number and look into my education, employment, any criminal history, etc. is what I expected, since I know people are concerned about whether or not the people coming into their home or that of a loved one has a “record.” I mean, wouldn’t you be? The normal background check is three years, but CGUSA goes back seven. Again, that’s OK. I want to be part of respected caregiver network that has a reputation for making sure its workers are good, honest people.
Of course, I passed the background check. (They didn’t count a couple parking tickets, hahaha!)
Did you know CGUSA pays you directly electronically? What’s more, you can look up exactly how much you’ve made after – say – three days, and figure out if you want to accept any extra hours that may be offered. And you know the really good part? They don’t take out any taxes, so you can keep more of what you earn, and “write off” your mileage, any supplies you buy, etc., at the end of the year. You’re an independent contractor. Just be sure to keep track of your receipts to score the extra tax benefits.
There’s real potential to make what I would call good money! Specific rates are kind of determined by where in the country you live. In Ohio, most people set their fee between $18 and $20 an hour. It’s a supply-and-demand business, after all.
You should know Caregiver USA takes credit cards from the care seekers you would be working for and has a highly secure encrypted internet security system through its website and the apps it provides to caregivers. I already told you the annual subscription fee for caregivers to sign up is like, ridiculously low. It makes sense then, that to support the set-up and maintenance of the extensive data base, search features, credit card payment system and all the security bells and whistles, that Caregiver USA needs more than $5.67 a month from its caregivers to pay for all the services it provides. After all, it is running a business! All that being said, it withholds only 10% of caregivers’ weekly earnings to help maintain the site and provide the banking services to both caregivers and care seekers at the best possible level. Sounds more than fair to me.
What’s more, as a “caregiver entrepreneur,” (love that phrase!) you’re going to want and need liability insurance. This is what care seekers demand, for their own protection and peace of mind. Fortunately, CGUSA offers you a very modestly priced group policy with a lump sum premium paid at the beginning of your work year. Again, it’s priced really low, at less than $10 a year for coverage. It’s definitely a lot cheaper than buying a policy on your own. Besides, as I said, very few care seekers will even consider hiring a caregiver without liability insurance.
Next, they asked me to review my calendar and block out times I am available to work (and the times I’m absolutely not.)
As I said in my last post, I’m currently working full-time as a manager at a fast-food restaurant, but it’s too many hours and I am flaming out under the stress. The convenience and ability to choose when and how often I can work is great for my situation.
After being encouraged to add photos and other personal information to my online CGUSA caregiver profile so it would be easy for care seekers to find me, I was ready to launch my CNA career. Fortunately, as a CGUSA caregiver, there are three different ways I can find work (or it can find me!) 1) I can search for jobs in the database that meet my criteria. 2) Care seekers can search profiles of people they are looking for, based on credentials and expertise. 3) Care seekers can post their jobs on an electronic job board and caregivers can respond. Both the caregiver and care seeker communicate with each other via a secure internal email system.
So this is what is happening now. I was not active on the data base very long at all when this woman named Mary Jane contacted me. She says her father, John, 72, has Alzheimer’s and her mother, Anna, 65, has high blood pressure, diabetes, and is having a really hard time dealing with her own issues while trying to care for John. Mary Jane has five siblings, but everybody lives in different states. Mary Jane is the closest to John and Anna, however, living about two hours away by car, so the burden of looking in on her parents has fallen to her.
Poor Mary Jane! I’m guessing she’s about 45-years-old. She said she has a demanding, full-time job as a senior manager at a Fortune 500 Company; a husband, three kids ranging from ages 3 to 8, and two dogs. Every Friday, for the last three months, she leaves work and does all this driving in rush hour traffic to John and Anna’s house. While there, she does the housework and cooks five days worth of meals for her parents. She stays with them till Sunday morning, crack of dawn, when she drives back home to go to church with her family. Mary Jane is trying to help her parents while she is drowning herself. She’s even thinking of quitting her job if things don’t improve. (And I thought I had it rough!)
Anyway, we’ve traded several internal messages back and forth and finally spoke on the phone, having given out our numbers earlier. She wants to know if I can come over to her parents’ house (about 12 minutes away from me by car in medium traffic — yay!) and help out with housecleaning, cooking, and maybe running some errands so that she (and her mom) can get a little bit of a break from the constant needs of her dad.
Sure, I can do that!
Mary Jane already knew from the online calendar that I am available from 10 am-2 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There was like no drama over money, because I set my price at $18 an hour, and it showed up on my profile before she even contacted me. Again, I am starting out as a “companion.” When I add more CNA work (performed under supervision of a physician or an RN) I may boost my rate up to $20 an hour when my contract comes up for renewal. Not bad for starting out in a new career!
I just told my husband Daniel the great news, and he is excited for me, and for our family! I’ll let you know how it’s going after taking care of John a few weeks.