Do you want to start a home healthcare company? If YES, here is a 19-step guide on how to start a non-medical home healthcare business with no money. Many elderly folks in the United States would prefer to spend the rest of their days in the comfort of their own homes, as opposed to retiring to a nursing home, where they may not enjoy the independence they have come to cherish while in their younger years.
Because aging impacts the body’s strength and vitality, elderly people sometimes need help to properly handle their daily affairs. The above expressed condition has become one of the major reasons why non-medical home healthcare businesses are on the rise in the United States.
The activities of those who go into this type of business revolve around housekeeping, transportation, preparation of meals and so on; nothing that will require some type of professional health care training. On the other hand, medical home healthcare would require a licensed nurse who would provide certain medical or rehabilitation services under the strict guidance of physicians.
In this article, we are concerned with the non-medical home healthcare business, primarily for the aged population. The first few things one who intends to start this type of business is expected to do is to first of all register the business and Develop a business plan.
After this is done, then one would have to set up various administrative and financial systems; like setting up some type of current account, establishing some type of checking system as well as other steps for starting any normal business venture.
One benefit of going into this kind of business is the sense of satisfaction one gets in making other people’s lives a lot easier, one in this kind of business becomes relevant to the clients they take care of on a daily basis.
19 Steps on How to Start a Non-Medical Home Health Care Business
Table of Content
- 1. Understand the Industry
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- The Level of Competition in the Industry
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
- 7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
- 8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
- 9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- The Service Delivery Process of Non-Medical Home Healthcare Business
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
Most senior care providers by the year 2012 were established for profits as opposed to family members taking care of their elderly at home, the industry would have employed above 1.3 million people in that year and although the temporary pause in expansion experienced in the 1980’s and 90’s the industry bounced back a short while after.
Due to the fact that major revenue in this industry is gotten from Private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, most of the competition experienced in this type on industry is not on prices but on the quality of care, referrals from medical professionals, reputation and such.
In 2006, about 22% of Americans took care of someone over fifty and as the aged population continues to rise, the home health care industry will continue to experience an increase in market share. More growth is expected as more than 85% of seniors express a desire to stay in their homes rather than be put in a hospital or nursing home.
Home care providers have been cited as one of the fastest growing sectors in the health care industry. The non-medical home healthcare business which falls into this sector continues to experience growth and expansion. Instead of financing the room, board and treatment of the aged in the regular old people’s home, which could run into billions of dollars per year in the collective, they can, as an alternative prefer that their aged be taken care of at home.
This can save the regular salary earner quite a lot of money in fees and charges. Industry growth has been fostered by physicians realizing that this could very well be a more effective approach for most aged people. Over the previous five years leading up to 2018, the expected growth in industry revenue annually was about 3.5% to yielding slightly above $92.5 billion, this includes an increase of about 2.9% in 2018 exclusively.
Due to the fact that the largest payers for these services have come from the government, there is pressure in the industry despite the strong growth experienced. This sector is expected to continue to grow as the population of those over 65 continues to expand by more than 38% due to the fact that the baby boomer generation approaches this age.
Post-acute care preference for Medicare patients today places home health and hospice at over 34% of its regular functions. Approximately 84 million within the boomer population is approaching 65; this is almost twice the estimated number made in 2012 and approximately 20% of the entire population in the United States.
Close to nine thousand people will turn 65 every day for the next twenty years; this will result in the necessary installment of senior healthcare, because the elderly population is increasing rapidly. This aspect of the health care sector is expected to see revenues grow to more than $289 billion in 2020 from slightly above $179 billion recorded in 2014.
This shows a growth rate of about 7.5%. All these may present positive signs of increased demand for businesses like this; encouraging investors who intend to take advantage of these growth tendencies to find ways of cashing in on the rise. However more research and proper market analysis would need to be conducted in order to decide if this is the best business for you.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
One may think that the demographic and psychographic make up for this kind of business would be the elderly population, but that would be a wrong assumption. In an attempt to direct sales and marketing activities, you should focus on the adult children of the aged as there are the ones who actually bear the financial burdens of the care of the aged.
Even if they may not be making the finances available, they have a strong influence on the decisions made by the client in question. It is to be assumed that this set of people would be working class of at least the middle-class level, in order to guarantee constant and regular payments of service fees and charges.
Hospital managers and doctors are known to recommend non-medical home healthcare facilities, so they too fall into the category of those who would be interested in this type of business. It is said that most of the clients gotten by those in this business come from referrals given by hospital managers and doctors, as well as other medical practitioners.
Directors of rehabilitation centers also seek for great non-medical home healthcare services for patients that have been discharged or patients that may not be able to receive admission into the facility due to either congestion or lack of proper staff strength.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
When people get aged, simple household chores such as doing the laundry, getting the groceries, cleaning the bathroom and even cooking meals become tough. So one of the areas you can focus your non-medical home healthcare business is in this area.
Another area you can focus your business could be maintenance of outdoor landscape or gardening. Many homes have yards, lawns and even gardens that have to be taken care of, and you can specialize in this area. Most of the elderly population has pets that will need very regular care and attention; pet-sitting can be one of the major niches your business can focus on.
You could pay attention to things like taking them to the vet, making sure they go out for walks, cleaning out their living space and so on. Most elderly persons have prescriptions, diagnoses, medical appointments and such, you could focus on being their advocate’s when they make these trips.
As their advocate you are not necessarily offering any medical advice per se, but your role is to make things clear about these medical activities, ensuring that the client understands what has been said or at least ensuring that the family members are up to speed on the medical activities practiced by the client.
Also helping with medication schedules play a large role in this particular focus, as drugs should be taken at allotted times. Offering transportation can be another area you can focus on in establishing a business such as this. The elderly still need to get around town, assuming they still maintain a very active life; maybe they are still active in Church, Volunteer Services or even business.
They may need help in getting around town to execute most of their daily activities. You may choose to pick a few of these to focus on, or put the entire set of activities as part of your total service as a business. Whatever decision you make, know that with specialization comes excellence.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Every business has its own level of competition and the non-medical home healthcare business is no different. Many in the health care sector are beginning to see the opportunities opening up in this particular sector, and they are making strong advances towards securing their own piece of the proverbial pie.
Since price is not the basis of competition as expressed in the introduction, it means that simply setting up your business and seeking out clients is not enough.
You would have to seek out credible medical practitioners to give proper referrals if you are going to make any kind of progress. Security is also another concern of clients, so when this particular service comes from a credible referral, clients can trust the service provider.
This presents a slight challenge for the new entrant if they have not generated enough goodwill among the medical influencers that would be able to direct some business traffic their way. The competition is high as in any other type of business endeavor, but with persistence and self-belief, one can build a dependable and successful brand.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
Below are therefore some of the leading Non medical home healthcare businesses or brands in the United States;
- Visiting Angels
- Comfort Keepers
- American Family Care
- Home Instead Senior Care
The great thing about this type of business is that it doesn’t have to be so expensive to start. Once you have registered the Business Name and acquired the necessary documents needed to be tax relevant, then you can kick start the business.
Depending on exactly which niche you may want to focus on, a car may be required. Other than that, simply making yourself available and doing the tasks placed in front of you would suffice. Other businesses may require the purchase of large equipment, but this kind doesn’t, especially if you would like to be the one giving the service yourself.
If you intend to hire staff and set up some type of administrative office then the conditions are different. However, compared to other kinds of business, this one is still soft on your budget no matter how you intend to kick it off.
In the occasion that you intend to hire support staff, or professionally trained help givers, you may still need to offer some type of training exercise. Again, this shouldn’t be too stressful to execute. All in all, kicking off this type of business is very economical as you can choose to start this from a home office.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
The general opinion about starting this type of business from scratch or buying a franchise is that franchise is best as it offers you an already tested and tried model for your e services. One thing you would notice in this particular area is that there are a lot of franchise options to choose from. The ease with which you can begin operations and have access to an already tested and tried framework is a plus when deciding to buy a franchise.
Also, a franchise already has a reputation and as has already been stated, this type of business runs on reputation, brand image and word of mouth. Buying a franchise would give you access to the industry goodwill already generated by the franchise name itself, hence making it easier to gain clients.
However, the major disadvantage of buying a franchise is the level of restrictions you will have in offering your services. You would have to follow the strict guidelines of the franchise which you bought, making it difficult for you to express your own creativity or manner of approach in offering your services.
When starting from the scratch, you may have challenges gaining your first clients, but you would have the freedom to implement your own service approach. You can fine tune your business the way you see fit as you believe better care would be given to the clients by such approaches.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Lack of properly trained aides is one of the major challenges this type of business presents. This is why it was suggested in an earlier part of this article that re-orientation and regular training should be offered to caregivers. If you intend to offer the service yourself and simply set up more of a self-employed type of situation, then taking some type of short course as a help-giver would go a long way in preparing you for what lies ahead.
Many may down-play the place of proper training since the services rendered are non-medical in nature. They can assume that this type of care is not different from what you would do for an elderly person in your family. But this could not be farther from the truth, because you or your staff would be taking care of complete strangers and whether or not you render a good service could have serious implications that may even affect life.
One of the things proper training would do for those in the care-giving business is the identification of warning signs that signify deterioration of the health of clients. When a care-giver is well trained, even if they may not be medics, an understanding of the medical condition of the client goes a long way to impact how the care-giver offers their services. Where the care-giver misses these warning signs, such ignorance may result to death of a client.
Apart from this, understanding the side-effects of most of the medications taken by the client goes a long way in preparing for some type of specialized service when such conditions begin to take effect. It cannot be over-emphasized that the need for proper training for aides in this business is a must, because the lack of this may mean the difference between life and death.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Sole-proprietorship can be a very good option for starting up this type of business if you intend to run a small operation. However, because of the possible dangers of taking care of a senior and certain mishaps that can take place in the process of rendering your service, it is best to register as a Limited Liability Company.
This way, if for any reason some type of unexpected event happens that can lead to lawsuits, your personal assets would not be affected.
It is wise to protect yourself from the beginning because simple as this type of business may be, the littlest things may cause the biggest problems. At least when you are registered as a Limited Liability Company, it is the company that suffers the consequences of lawsuits, fines or compensation.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
If you are therefore considering names to use when starting your own Non-Medical home healthcare business, here are some names you should try;
- ReachKeep Care
- Vitality Health Care
- Vermont Care
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
If there is any kind of business that requires insurance, it is this one. Entering this kind of business without first understanding the various types of insurance policies necessary to protect yourself from any unforeseen events would be unintelligent.
There are a great number of things that can go wrong in this business, so you need to be protected. Some of the basic insurance policies that you should therefore consider purchasing if you intend starting your non-medical home healthcare business in the United States of America are;
- General Insurance
- Risk insurance
- Liability Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Except you would be inventing some type of device that further assists you in rendering your services, there is no real need for Intellectual Property Protection in this type of business.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
One interesting thing about this type of business is that one can go into this venture without any certification. However, as stated above, if one receives formal training in care-giving, it will add to their level of professionalism. Also such training would prepare them for what to expect and how to go about the business in general.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Some states do not require special licenses to run this type of business, while others do, so it would be best to make enquiry about what the requirements are for the state in which you want to start this business. Some of the basic legal documents that you should have in place if you intend running your own non-medical home healthcare business in the US include;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreements
- Business License and Certification
- Data Universal Number System (DUNS) Number
- Non Medical Healthcare Business Plan
- Insurance Policy
- Employment Agreement
- Non-disclosure Agreement
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Consulting contract documents
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
In as much as this type of business is not capital intensive, you need some funds to set it up especially when you need to register the company, or even apply for certain licenses. Money would also be needed to engage in some marketing and advertising campaigns in order to generate some type of attraction towards your business and generate leads.
So knowing how to go about seeking these funds is a very important thing. Some of the financing options you can explore when seeking for start-up capital for your non-medical healthcare business include;
- You could self-finance by money you have saved up or made by investing.
- The sale of properties or lands can be a quick way to raise large amounts of cash.
- If you have a great business plan, you could use it as a leverage to get investors to put money in your venture.
- Family and friends can give you soft loans to help you start.
- Applying for loans in a bank is another excellent option.
- You could look for silent partners.
- You could get seed money from grants and business angels.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
The location would have to depend on your business model. First of all, you go to your client’s homes to render your services. Only in special occasions where prospective clients may want to visit your facility in order to make enquiries or even register with your company, would they come to your office.
Apart from this, every other thing you do as a service provider would be at the home of your clients, there would be no real need for them to come to your facility. These are some of the key factors you should consider before choosing a location for your non-medical home healthcare business;
- The communities we find ourselves have laws and regulations, this should be considered.
- The general demographic of the location
- The business activity level in the area
- Non-medical home healthcare business demand in the area
- The purchasing power of residents
- Road networks and accessibility
- Parking, traffic and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Apart from a car and maybe some support staff to assist you in your services, there is no need for working equipment. Except of course you intend to have an administrative office, only then would you need to furnish the office with office materials and furniture. In addition to that, you would need to hire a Secretary, Book keeper or accountant, Business developer and such.
The Service Delivery Process of Non-Medical Home Healthcare Business
Prospective clients get to hear about your business by referrals or any other form of advertising you may have done in the past. They contact you either by phone, email or through your website. You explain to them the services you render as a company; they register online and specify which package they would need from your firm.
After registration is done and payment plans are approved, a schedule is released and either you go yourself to begin taking care of the client as planned or you send out one of the care-givers that work for you.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
Your marketing plan is no doubt one of the most important things to make up your entire strategic business plan. This expresses your manner of approach to the market, as most have aptly said, ‘if you fail to plan, you have planned to fail’.
The lack of planning is one of the major reasons why most businesses fail even if they were set to succeed from the get go. The opportunity may be there, however without a proper plan of market entry and growth such an open door, as it were, could be misused.
If you need to meet with a business development strategist, or even a marketer for the singular purpose of putting together a strong marketing plan, then make that one of your major priorities as you move to set up this business. Although the task of putting together the plan may be tedious, but be rest assured that your hard work will pay off in the end. Some ideas for marketing your business are listed below;
- One of the ways Radio and TV stations make their money is by placing adverts, so that businesses just like this can get across to the intended targets. Ensure that you place engaging adverts on strategic TV and/or Radio Stations.
- The local directories have not lost its relevance in a world of great digital advances. Make sure your company is listed.
- Another place where people can easily go to look for and/or find your business is in the yellow pages, ensure you are represented there as well.
- There are strategic health expos, seminars and meetings you can make out time to attend for the purpose of networking.
- Employ the positive effects of direct marketing by recruiting talented business developers.
- Keep seeking for new and innovative ways to promote your business on the internet.
- Employ the strategy of promos and discounts to entice prospects to become clients.
17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
Ensuring that your care giving methods are the best will go a long way in convincing those who offer referrals to pick you as their choice. Your methods and manner of approach should point to the high standards you employ in giving this service to clients.
In as much as price may not be a major player in swaying potential clients away from competitors, it could also be a winning factor in the quest for superior competitive edge. Differentiation is also another option that can really begin to move more clients your way as you begin to offer specialized services to clients.
There are certain services some clients may not need, or a particular niche rivals have overlooked which you can capitalize on. Proper research and industry analysis can help in identifying most of these trends. When such research is done, proper information is made available for decisions to be taken that will strengthen your competitive edge.
18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
Simple, let your service speak for itself. Once the word gets out that your care-giving service is the best in the city where you operate, most of your clients will stick with you in spite of other competing companies that may enter the market.
One thing you must not under-estimate is the need for security, once your customers have realized that your services are of best standards and that their elderly are safe in your care, using another service provider would be difficult as they do not know exactly how the new care-givers would be. Most clients would rather choose to stick with the brand they know, rather than take the risk of finding another service provider.
Another way to retain customers in this type of business is to emphasize the place of human relations as service is rendered. It is normal for care-givers to engage in friendly conversation with clients, help them read a book, relate with them as friends instead of just someone they have to take care of in order to get paid.
When a client gets used to you, or the unique set of care-givers you have employed to work with and for you, it would be difficult for them to find another, as such experiences would mean building another type of friendship.
19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
In business, strategy is very important. In most cases, it provides a clear path for certain objectives to be achieved. In this case, awareness is the major objective as jobs have been known to come mostly from referrals. Making a name for yourself in the mind of the public also presents a great hint for those looking for the services you provide.
When the larger population is aware of your brand, it makes it easier to convince prospects to become clients. Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and advertise your business.
- Digital Marketing is one of the most effective ways to create brand awareness, begin to explore this option, especially because a business like this can really profit from advances in technology.
- Billboards are a great way to appear larger than the average industry player, ensure a few of these are spread across town.
- One purpose of advertising is to get people to see your brand, so branding your official vehicles would be another excellent way of accomplishing this.
- When your workers wear branded uniforms and clothes to work, it also sends the information across to onlookers.
- Seek for ways to drive more traffic to your website
- Use Information Technology to boost your spread, by developing a mobile app and encouraging your loyal clients to download.
- Loyal customers can be your best source of referral clients, learn to inspire them to spread the word.