How to choose a master or neutral vendor for your care home (without a consultant)

So you’ve decided your care home should use a vendor management service to manage your agency bookings in one place.

Great! Now what?

Whether you’re going forward with a master or neutral vendor, choosing who to work with can be daunting – which is why many people hire a consultant to help them scope out options and choose.

This can be valuable but adds cost and, while a consultant shouldn’t be financially incentivised to recommend you any particular vendor, some do receive monthly or quarterly fees from vendors for the length of your contract if their recommendation results in a sale.

Here’s how to choose a vendor yourself, without a consultant.

Review your agency usage over the last 3 months

Find out how you’re typically using agencies for staffing right now. This helps you make a decision best suited to you and your home’s needs.

1. Gather three months’ worth of recent agency invoices and put them into a single file online (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or similar).

2. Transfer the key information from each of the invoices into a single spreadsheet.

3. Select three or four neutral vendor providers and invite them to pitch over a short period of time.

4. Send those vendors the analysis you created.

Find master or neutral vendors for health and social care

Search for vendor management tools online.

Multi-industry vendors include:

– DatumRPO

– Neuven

– Magnit

– Matrix

– Retinue

– HireGenics

Or, check out Florence’s agency management tools – we only work with care homes and healthcare services.

This list is not exhaustive and we recommend you conduct your own research.

Review each vendor’s pitch and choose

After you’ve invited your chosen vendors to pitch, make sure you get the best out of each meeting.

Here’s how to manage the pitches from your side:

– 1. Invite all relevant stakeholders – if you’re not the only decision maker or day-to-day user of the vendor tool, getting these people involved will help you review the pitches.

– 2. Put together selection criteria that will help you fairly compare the different vendors.

– 3. Create a scoring matrix on the basis of this criteria.

– 4. Score each pitch and review the results as a team.

– 5. Gather any questions for your chosen top one or two choices.

– 6. Engage with them, and all relevant stakeholders, to make sure you fully understand any set up fees and processes, plus the compliance and reporting structures they have in place.

– 7. Get a demo (if you haven’t already) so you can see how the platform works.

– 8. Based on the information you’ve gathered, choose your vendor and let them know you want to work with them.

– 9. If you’re not familiar with contracts, involve someone in your leadership or finance team to review the terms and conditions.

– 10. Let other the other organisations know you won’t be moving forward.

Once you’ve signed your contract, it’s time to start!

You expected timeline for choosing and set up

Onboarding your company to a new vendor tool takes time and effort. You will work closely with your vendor to make sure you’re set up correctly across your organisation and panel agencies (ie, the agencies you will select as available to book via your vendor).

A typical timeline for a mid-sized provider with 20+ locations could look like this:

– Month 1 – agree to use a vendor and invite two to four to pitch.

– Month 2 – hear pitches.

– Month 3 – shortlist and decide who to move forward with.

– Month 4 – start the process of moving existing agencies over.

– Month 5 – Train locations.

– Month 6 – Go live.

This can of course take less or more time, depending on your company size.

A good vendor tool will help you save time (by managing your agency relationships in one place), reduce costs (by being able to quickly compare pricing) and can potentially improve the quality of your workforce, as you have more control over comparing and selecting staff.

Get started in your research by looking at our guide to the difference between master and neutral vendors, to help figure out which may work best for you.

Florence’s vendor management tools are for health and social care providers only, helping you hire only 100% compliant agency staff. Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more about how we can help you.

You may also be interested in:

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.