I actually started doing this in June 2015 after being laid off in the travel industry in December 2014 after 20 years in that industry. I have a Bachelors degree from University of Houston in Psychology and use it all the time in my daily life.
What I do:
I drive the elderly that can't or don't drive anymore. I also listen to them and get to know them and sometimes just be a friend. I can take an established client to the grocery store and know what they are forgetting which is a good thing when they forget their list! I help some people get their papers in order and help them at home (not caregiving!).
I am based in Houston TX. Eventually I would rather move to a cooler climate but my family is in Houston so I will be here for a long time. They come first with me.
What's going on with my career now:
2 years in, I have a total of 7 clients and a "new to me" car which my clients seem to love. I am always looking to expand and take care of more people as there are still times I'm just sitting at home when I'd rather be working. I charge $15 per hour in my immediate area (Galleria) and $18 per hour if you live in another part of town for driving (like Pearland, WestOaks, Spring, etc). I have a flat Galveston one way rate of $75 and a flat one way airport (either one) rate of $50. I never work on Sunday's unless it's just an emergency. We attend church and have family time on Sunday's.
A lot of people seem to compare me with Uber. I am nothing like Uber, I promise! I drive a person where they are going, (whether it be a doctor, the grocery store, or to dinner), WAIT FOR THEM (or go with them), and then drive them back home. To book me can be difficult sometimes because I cannot do last minute rides as my schedule will not usually allow it. Most people book their doctor appointments based on my calendar because they want me to drive them (which is so sweet) so I save the dates for whomever requests it first.
I also have a list of 15 caregivers that are available to me if and when I need them. I charge $15 an hour for them payable to me and I pay them $12 per hour and send them 1099's at the end of the year since they work for themselves. I prefer to give them at least 8 hour shifts and even have people available to live in if needed. All of my caregivers are well trained and have worked in retirement homes under assisted living or skilled nursing units. I always check their references and know most of the assisted living places around this area and know the managers so I know exactly how they are as a worker. Most of my caregivers still work at a facility but need extra money so they work for me on their days off. I do have those people that would prefer to just live in and take care of someone too.
When I am not working, I take care of my 12 year old son and help my 73 year old mother. I am hard working, independent, and busy most of the time. I am not afraid to talk to my clients about my life as I have nothing to hide. My son goes with me every once in a while and the people I drive seem to enjoy it when he does. I watch Netflix, play board games, and like to take one or two day trips to drive around Texas with my son. Last summer, we drove to Paris, TX. The year before that, we took a 3 day trip to San Antonio. This year, our vacation was a drive up to the Texas panhandle to attend a graduation ceremony and the next day drove to Dallas to go to dinner with friends before coming home again.
I also enjoy doing things around my home to make it better. Right now, I am making things white instead of the pinkish off white it was to try and make it seem bigger.
I am very into the Houston Astros and will listen to the games when working (not while anyone is in the car unless they ask) since I am obviously not able to watch while driving!
I have some interesting stories from some of the people I drive. I get phone calls when they need someone to talk to. I have gotten to know and be friends with their kids. I love what I do and can't wait to build this business up more.
This is my business called JulieHartCares.