Do you want to start a senior assistance service? If YES, here is a 20-step guide on how to start a senior citizen assistance business with no money or experience. The fact that people grow old on a daily basis means that smart entrepreneurs can make money off them and one business opportunity you can leverage if you want to make money from senior citizens is to start a senior citizen assistance business.
Trust me, this is one business that can fetch you reasonable income year in year out. Senior citizen assistance business involves housing senior citizens and helping them handle basic day to day tasks like bathing, taking their drugs, exercising, cleaning up amongst other tasks.
There are people that are gifted with the ability to take care of senior citizens. If you think that you have flair for taking care of the elderly, then you should consider starting a senior care home in your city. If you have decided to start a senior citizen assistance business in your city or county, then you should ensure that aside from carrying out thorough feasibility studies and market survey, you must ensure that you visit the regulating authority for the necessary documentation and licenses needed for such business.
20 Steps on How to Start a Senior Citizen Assistance Business
Table of Content
- 1. Understand the Industry
- Interesting Statistics About the Industry
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 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 a Senior Citizen Assistance Business
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
- 20. Create a Strong Business Network
1. Understand the Industry
Senior citizen assistance business falls under the residential senior care franchise industry and players in this industry provide residential and personal-care services for elderly individuals who are unable to fully care for themselves due to old age or age related disability.
Demographic trends have supported growing demand for residential senior care franchises, and the industry has experienced strong growth over the last half a decade. This growth is expected to improve, driven by an improving economic environment and the continued aging of the population, which will expand the industry’s markets.
The law in the united states and in some countries states that before a senior care facility can commence operation, there should be at least six residents and at least one trained caregiver there 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Also, a standard senior care facility is expected to have a house manager, night manager, weekend activity coordinator, and 2 or more caregivers depending on the size of the facility.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
The Residential Senior Care Franchises Industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much thriving in developed countries of the world. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 1,467 licensed and registered Senior Care Facilities scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 106,609 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $3bn annually with an annual growth rate projected at 11.7 percent between 2011 and 2016. Beehive Homes has a greater percentage of the available market in this industry.
A recent report published by IBISWORLD shows that the Residential Senior Care Franchise industry boomed during the five years to 2015, and this is driven by the aging population and a growing need for dementia care.
The report further stated that the industry, which provides residential and personal-care services for elderly individuals who are unable to care for themselves, has been increasingly orienting itself toward the provision of dementia care as the population continues to age; this can include medical and social assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating and dressing.
Although franchises that primarily provide inpatient nursing and rehabilitation services are excluded from this industry, many facilities provide some nursing care and other medical supervision.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own senior citizen assistance business could be that the business can easily get support from government at all levels and the business is indeed profitable despite the legislature governing the industry.
It is important to state that the senior citizen assistance business is indeed a growing business. Even though the business is not considered a green business in the United States of America, one can comfortably say that the business is booming and open to potential entrepreneurs who are interested in the business.
A senior citizen assistance business is one of many businesses that would usually get the support of the government and you can be rest assured that it is a business that cannot go into extinction since it is engraved into the culture of the United States of America.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of senior citizen assistance businesses is restricted to the elderly / aging population. There is a wide range of senior citizens who cannot take care of themselves or do the basic things that are expected from them due to old age or one form of disability or the other.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
There are two basic niches when it comes to assisting senior citizens. There are residential and non – residential services. Residential senior citizen assistance business involves housing senior citizens in a facility and providing all the assistance that they would need.
On the other hand, non – residential senior citizen assistance business requires going to the house of the senior citizen to provide all the needed assistance that will make life easier. Some senior citizen assistance business may decide to major in some key or niche areas such as;
- Continuing care retirement communities
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care
- Respite care
- End-of-life care
- Interactive care and other services
- Providing room and board
- Nursing and other supervision
- Assistance in daily living
- Housekeeping services
The Level of Competition in the Business
Research shows that the level of competition in the residential senior care industry depends largely on the location of the business, your niche area of operation and of course the capacity of your senior citizen assistance business. The truth is that if you can successfully create a unique niche for your senior business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only senior citizen assistance business in your location that is into Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care or administering in-home occupational and vocational therapy or administering speech therapy, you can successfully monopolize the market for a long time before you start having competition.
It is important to also state that the competition in the senior citizen assistance business is not restricted to the line of business but also you will be competing against all players in the Senior Care Providers industry and any business that generally provide support services to the elderly.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
It is important to point out that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public than others. Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
Here are some of the leading senior citizen assistance businesses cum residential senior care facilities in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Assisted Living Concepts Inc.
- Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.
- Brotoloc Health Care Systems Inc.
- Capitol Senior Living
- Tutera Senior Living & Health Care
- Keystone Senior Management Services
- Volunteers of America National Services
- Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society
- Life Care Centers of America
- HCR ManorCare
- Golden Living Assisting Hands
- National Healthcare Corp.
- 5 Star Quality Care
- Benedictine Health System
- Harbor House Assisted Living
- Hospice care
- Genesis HealthCare Corp
- Senior Lifestyle Corporation
- Sunrise Senior Living, Inc.
Starting a business on the right footings is one thing, scaling up profitability annually is another thing and all these factors are tied to how effective you are able to conduct your economic analysis prior to starting the business. This goes to shows that you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if you want to generate profit, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start competing at national level.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your senior citizen assistance business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, pricing, and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular interval while running your senior citizen assistance business.
It is important to note that renting, transportation and medication cost are some of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of running a senior citizen assistance business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are considering starting a senior citizen assistance business, you have the options of choosing to start from the scratch or purchase a franchise. The advantages of starting a business from the scratch cannot be over emphasized. You have the option of choosing a location of your choice, becoming your own boss, growing the business at your own pace and the list goes one.
One major disadvantage of starting this type of business from the scratch is that you would have to take responsibility for the day to day running of the business including coming up with strategies that will help you grow the business.
On the other hand, if you choose to buy the franchise of a successful senior citizen assistance business, you will be able to leverage on the brand name to build your business and usually it is always a smooth ride. One major disadvantage of buying franchise is that you will abide by the terms and conditions of the company and this may hamper your own creativity.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Some threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your senior citizen assistant business are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), stiff competition, volatile costs, and rising medical care prices.
So also, you may encounter unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, and of course emergence of new competitors within the same location where yours is located. There is hardly anything you can do as regards this threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When considering starting a senior citizen assistance business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. You can either choose general partnership, limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship for your senior citizen assistance business. Sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale senior citizen assistance business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital.
But if your intention is to grow the business and operate all across the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your senior citizen assistance business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entity to use for your senior citizen assistance business, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or a ‘S’ corporations especially when you have the plans of going public.
One benefits of upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation is that it will give you the opportunity to grow your business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
The rule of thumb when it comes to choosing a name for your business is that you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents.
If you are considering starting your own senior citizen assistance business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Senior Citizen Assisted Living Concepts Inc.
- Santa Fe Senior Living, Inc.
- Jehu Macmillan Health Care Systems Inc.
- Land Over Senior Living Company
- Kate Bannon Senior Living & Health Care, Inc.
- Polaris Senior Citizen Management Services, LLC.
- Golden Age® Senior Citizen Assistance, Inc.
- Senior Life Care Centers of Los Angeles Inc.
- Life Finders™ Senior Citizen Assistance, LLC.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy cover that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your senior citizen assistance business.
Here is some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own senior citizen assistance business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Workers compensation
- Building / Property insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own senior citizen assistance business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection / trademark because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
On the other hand, if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even operation concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
If you intend starting a senior citizen assistance business in the United States of America, you are encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market.
Besides it is almost impossible to run a senior citizen assistance business in the United States without the proper professional certification. In most countries of the world, practicing any medical related practice without a license is typically illegal.
Individuals found to be providing medical, nursing or other professional services without the appropriate certification or license may face sanctions including even criminal charge leading to prison. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own senior citizen assistance company;
- Registered nurse and Licensed practical nurse Certificate
- AADNS Certification
- Caregiver Certification
- Senior Care Administrators License / Assisted Living Administrator Certification
- Director of Nursing Services–Certified (DNS-CT)
- QAPI Certified Professional (QCP)
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you can successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own senior citizen assistance business in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Health inspection Certificate
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Employee’s Handbook
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a standard senior citizen assistance business is capital intensive especially if you choose to launch the business on the residential business niche and you only have a handful of full – time employees on your payroll.
Leasing of a standard facility that can accommodate your residents and staff members and of course the purchase of medical equipment is part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, in essence, if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you will still need to source for fund to finance the business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things to consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your residential citizen assistance business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Starting a senior citizen assistance business comes with its own challenges; it cannot be started in any location. As a matter of fact, you will need approval from local council and other regulating authorities in the city you intend opening your senior citizen assistance business.
Generally, in business, it cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of the aging population and of course people with the require purchasing power, and lifestyle.
It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor to help you out.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your senior citizen assistance business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your senior citizen assistance business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for senior care services in the location
- The purchasing power of residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of senior citizen assistance business, residential senior care facilities and homecare related businesses in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to starting a standard senior citizen assistance business, you will need stethoscopes, Blood Pressure Cuffs, oxygen tanks, and first aid kits and other related equipment that will aid you in carrying out your job. In setting up a small administrative office for your senior citizen assistance business, you will also need computer, printer, home healthcare software, telephones, pager, photocopier, scanner, fax machine, first aid kit, gloves and uniform.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for your senior citizen assistance business, the size of the facility you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. Besides, you will need a facility that is in serene environment, a facility that is big enough to accommodate your residents and staff working for you.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision.
Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard senior citizen assistance business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer), Accountant, Nurse Aide, Medication Management Counselors, Senior Care Administrator (Human Resources and Admin Manager), Home Health Caregivers/Home Caregivers/County Aging Workers, Customer Services Executive / Front Desk Officer, Security Guards and Cleaners.
You would need a minimum of 10 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard senior citizen assistance business.
The Service Delivery Process of a Senior Citizen Assistance Business
The service delivery as it relates to senior citizen assistance to a large extent depends on the organization and what they stand to achieve.
Basically, a senior citizen assistance business sources for clients, once they are able to win the client over based on the services they intend offering and the facility available, they will both agree on the terms and conditions as required by the nature of the job they are to execute. For example, if it is to take care of an elderly person for a period of time, they will ensure that they carry out all that is agreed upon.
The services could be providing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care services, respite care, homemaker and companion services, administering in-home physical therapy, providing in-home hospice care, providing 24-hour home care, administering in-home occupational and vocational therapy, providing in-home dietary and nutritional services, administering speech therapy or providing in-home medical care.
It is important to state that a senior citizen assistance business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated senior citizen assistance business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale senior citizen assistance business services business is low means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with creativity and innovations if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your senior citizen assistance business services company, make sure that you create a compelling profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to your line of business.
This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your services. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your senior citizen assistance business;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, elderly homes, hospitals, religious organizations, clubs/organizations for the elderly and the aged who falls under the conditions listed by the physician in and around the location where your senior citizen assistance business is located
- Advertise your services in community based newspapers, local TV and radio station
- List your business on yellow pages’ ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your senior citizen assistance business
- Engage in direct marketing and sales
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
Some major factors that will help you offer your senior citizen assistance services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your services.
So also, if you are able to secure business partnership with hospitals, and medical insurance companies as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your senior citizen assistance business.
As regards medications, toiletries, cooking ingredients and other supplies that you need to effectively run your senior citizen assistance business, you need to ensure that you purchase these items directly from the manufacturers or from wholesale distributors in pretty large quantities. This is because the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from the manufacturers or wholesale distributors, the cheaper you tend to get them.
18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The Senior citizen assistance industry is indeed a competitive industry, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to create easier and cheaper ways of taking care of your patients/clients and also make your facility highly secured and conducive.
In other to stay competitive in this industry, you must ensure that your residences or your clients as the case may be are always comfortable and always ensure that you pay attention to details when carrying out your job. The truth is that if there are fluctuations in the services you provide, customers can choose to shift allegiance and settle for other services.
19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secret of larger corporations is that they spend fortunes each year to boost their brand.
If your intention of starting a senior citizen assistance business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of residential senior care facilities and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your senior citizen assistance business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your services
- Install your Bill Boards on strategic locations all around your city or state
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact households, elderly homes, hospitals, religious organizations, clubs/organizations for the elderly and every other age category who falls under the conditions listed by the physician in and around the location where your facility is located
- List your senior citizen assistance business in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your senior citizen assistance business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your senior citizen assistance business is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo et al.
20. Create a Strong Business Network
In order to successfully run a senior citizen assistance business, you must establish good business relationship with wholesale distributors and manufacturers of medications, toiletries, cooking ingredients and other related supplies. You need a steady supply of these items to continue to make good profits and to remain in business.
As regard building a business network, it will pay you to enter into partnership with association of retirees, hospitals, and insurance companies et al who work with the aging population in order to get referrals from them.