More than 83 million Americans will be over age 65 by the year 2050. Many of these seniors will want to stay in their homes, if possible, rather than enter a nursing home or assisted living facility. Most aging Americans will need some form of assistance at some point to continue “aging in place”. This is where the home care industry serves a crucial role and need. A non-medical home care agency helps with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, light cleaning, and companionship.
The huge opportunity in the senior care industry may have you wondering how to start a home care business of your own.
Home care is one of the largest, most recession-proof industries in the United States, providing a range of opportunities for entrepreneurs to invest in business ventures that serve to improve people’s quality of life. Within that broader field, senior care is valued at over $380 billion, with many different service categories.
As a result, there is no better time to start a home care business that caters to the unique needs of this growing segment of the population. If you are wondering how to start a home care business, here are some of the first steps you will need to take.
Create a Business Plan
Once you decide to move forward in operating a home care business, you need to develop a solid business plan. This document should detail your mission statement and goals, services you plan to offer in your home care business, the management structure, and your financial plan, including how you plan to become profitable and scale the business.
Set Up Your Business Structure
Determine the business entity that will best fit your needs. There is a variety to choose from, including sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), S corporation, and C corporation. It is a good idea to consult with an attorney and or CPA about which business structure is best for your business. These experts can also give you important information regarding payroll, sales tax, workers’ compensation, and business liability insurance.
Register Your Business
Another step in starting a home care agency is incorporating your business. You will also need to get a Taxpayer Identification Number (EIN) and register for your National Provider Identifier Number (NPI).
You will need to certify your home care agency by completing your state’s home care application for a license. These steps need to be completed in order to receive payments from Medicaid and Medicare.
How will you fund your business? You could go the traditional route and get a loan through a bank or the Small Business Administration. You can also try bootstrapping your business, which means you fund it yourself with your savings accounts, credit cards, and leveraging other personal assets. You can also ask friends and family to invest initial capital into your business.
Check on License Requirements
Requirements for operating a home care business vary from state to state, and even county to county. Check with state and local officials on what business licenses are necessary and apply as needed.
Medicare and Medicaid Certifications
Obtaining Medicare and Medicaid certifications are critical to opening your home care business. Without them, you will be unable to provide services and get paid by the Medicaid and Medicare plans. The process of getting accredited is time-consuming and can take up to a year — so plan accordingly. You can learn more about the process and apply for certification on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website.
Will you rent or buy your business space? Once you decide, you should work with an experienced realtor to help you establish your business in an area where you can attract and grow your clientele.
Home care businesses generally do not see clients in their office. Representatives of home care businesses visit with potential clients in their homes where service will be provided. The office setting is usually for administrative staff and a place where caregivers are trained.
Because your home health care agency is providing personal service to patients in their homes, you want a staff that represents and reflects what you want your business to be.
Once you interview potential staff members, make sure you conduct thorough background checks to avoid legal action if there is any problem with care from an employee.
Connect with Referral Sources
It is a good idea to make connections with long-term care facilities and hospital discharge social workers who can serve as a referral pipeline. Local physicians, senior centers, and rehab outpatient centers are also great resources to reach prospective clients.
When researching how to start a home care business, you’ll find that effective marketing strategies are vital for obtaining clients for your business. Marketing encompasses lots of different channels and efforts. You might feel comfortable doing all the marketing initiatives on your own or hire a dedicated marketing specialist or agency for extra support.
Digital marketing allows you to put your business out there on the internet and get in front of so many people — whether it is through their phones or laptop. You’ll need a website to represent your company and allow potential clients to research the services you provide. You will also want to consider having a social media presence, especially on Facebook. The platform has an advertising audience of more than two billion people and is widely used by baby boomers.
Register your home care agency with Google so your address, hours, phone number, and website can be accessible for potential clients when they search for care providers.
Since your home care business is a human business, you will want to meet people face-to-face. You will also want to network to get your name out into the community. Participate in local senior expos or join the chamber of commerce in your area. There are so many potential partnerships that can happen when you put yourself out into the community.
Another networking opportunity is to join local and national groups and organizations such as the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, which provides support and information related to staffing and regulatory updates in the industry.
The Franchising Option
All of these steps are key to starting your own home care business. However, another option is to join an in-home care franchise system already in existence. Franchising brings with it the advantages of owning your own business while also receiving knowledge, training, direction, national alliances, and support from the franchisor. You’ll learn how to start a home care business directly from industry experts and professionals.
CareBuilders at Home provides training, marketing support, national advertising, and ongoing operational support. The company also handles all the back office assistance to franchise owners. This means the company takes care of payroll and taxes as well as billing and collections from clients, cutting down on the costs needed to start and operate your business. It also mitigates your risk when it comes to workers’ compensation and insurance.
If you’re interested in hearing more, take a minute to fill out our form, and we’ll get in touch with you to answer all of your questions.