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Care Homes

Care Home Insolvency

Care businesses that look after the elderly or infirm have three main financial risks.  These are:

  1. The fixed overheads of a property that can not be quickly downsized or expanded. 
  2. High salary and wage costs. Often these costs are 60% plus of fee income.
  3. Falling below the break even point of the number of residents. 

Care homes are only profitable when occupancy levels are high and near capacity. Reputation is everything. 

All of the running costs of a home can only be added onto one person – the final customer or end-user of the service.

Care homes and nursing homes have the added risk of this expensive overhead of wages and this may mean that a home only makes a small profit once it gets to 90% plus occupancy. If several residents leave or pass away in quick succession it can leave the home losing money very quickly. Another issue may the local authority who if they are suspicious of problems in a home can stop it taking on new residents or close it down altogether.

I have dealt with many nursing and residential homes over the years and they are not easy to deal with. The conversation with the local Council goes something like this “We have run out of money and can not afford to pay the staff or pay the food bills this week so are having to close immediately” to which the Council often replies you need to give us three months’ notice. With no funds, this is impossible and gives tremendous problems for the families of loved ones and the local authority.

Quite often the main asset of the care home will be the building they are in which can not be sold quickly. The banks do not like lending money either to a business losing money.

The common solution is to accept liquidation and closure is inevitable but get the council/Local Authority to advance funds to allow the staff to be paid and this gives time for a more orderly wind down. We have dealt with several care homes on this basis. Local Authorities tend to take a call from us about the seriousness of the situation much more seriously than from a homeowner.

Employment agencies and care providers

As with care homes the wage cost is the largest overhead, and this can represent 80% of turnover. If an agency gets behind with PAYE it can be almost impossible to catch up. We can help with a range of innovative financial solutions such as a Voluntary Arrangement or a pre-pack Administration to keep the business going.

In the event of a more organised closing down it is worth noting that the government redundancy fund will pay out arrears of wages to employees (up to 6 weeks), unpaid holiday pay (up to 6 weeks), notice pay and redundancy. The figures the Government pay out are increased annually.

Just a quick email to say a heartfelt thank you for your very calm, considered, expert advice regarding my circumstances on Tuesday. Things looked bleak before you explained my options much more clearly, in simple layman’s terms.
Rob Elliott (14th December 2021)



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David Kirk Portrait

David Kirk

Licensed Insolvency Practitioner