Do you want to start a nursing staffing agency? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a nursing agency business with NO money and no experience.
A nursing agency is one that provides qualified nursing staff to private patients or healthcare institutions that require them. The nursing agency plays an important role in the healthcare industry especially if the industry does not have enough nurses.
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), by the year 2022 there will be a shortage of at least 1 million nurses in the healthcare industry.
The nursing shortage has already started as at 2010 as some cities and regions had less nurses. Therefore, if you have a nursing license and have obtained the necessary certifications and also have an entrepreneurial spirit, then you can set up an agency that represents reliable and competent nurses and make a whole lot of money.
The first step you will need to take in starting your nursing agency business is to conduct a research to know the health and safety code regarding nursing agencies in the jurisdiction you intend to operate your nursing agency business from. Also, you might need to check on the strategies being used by those already in the industry- especially the well-known ones, so that you will be able to work their strategies into your own.
If you are looking to start your own nursing agency business in the united states of America, reading through this article is bound to help you out.
Steps to Starting a Nursing Agency Business
1. Understand the Industry
The nursing agency business which helps to place nurses and certified nursing assistants in vacancies in institutions or with individuals in order to help improve the physical and functional well-being of others, is seen by IBISWorld as an industry that generates $16 billion annually.
The industry saw a 4.7 percent annual growth between the periods of 2011 to 2016, where there were more than 4,900 nursing agencies employing more than 143,000 people in the United States of America. The industry is expected to experience more growth that will be sustained over the five years to 2022.
The industry saw an increase in revenue from between the period of 2011 to 2016 and this is not expected to decline anytime soon.
Some of the factors responsible for the growth are an increase in demand for healthcare services, a growing aging population, as well as a shortage of qualified healthcare personnel such as nurses. Another reason is that hospitals in order to cut costs are no more focusing on hiring long-term and permanent staff but are instead relying on getting temporary workers to handle any influx in demand that they might have.
The strong growth that has been experienced in the nursing agency cum healthcare staff recruitment agencies for a period of five years due to the fact that the industry is rebounding after the recession experienced by the country. The rapid recovery experienced is as a result of rising employment and an increase in the number of individuals with health insurance provided for by their employers which have made healthcare services to be more affordable.
This means that the more health coverage individuals receive, the more there will be patients demanding medical attention.
The United States of America has a lot of senior citizens, in fact it has been estimated that by 2022, 17 percent of the population will be 65 or older and this therefore means about 84 million men and female will have their dependence on the healthcare industry increased.
This will in turn see revenue in the global healthcare sector grow to about $300 billion from the $180 billion that it was in 2014, which is therefore an annual growth rate of more than 8 percent. The increase in demand for services from the healthcare sector will put increased pressure on the nursing and other healthcare agencies to find qualified staff.
However, research has shown that demand for qualified and capable staff will continue to be above supply for a few more years and will therefore cause a lag in growth for this sector.
However, future estimates show that close to 1.3 million healthcare workers will enter the market leading to a job growth of 50 percent by 2018. The industry is also facing challenges from classification and certification as there are many nurses who are not certified but only went through a non-standard training program created by the agencies recruiting them.
This has therefore led to confusion, especially for agencies that recruit these nurses to work in homes of individuals. Technology has found its way into this industry as older and outdated systems are being replaced by equipment that is more powerful and yet less intrusive.
However, some agencies are struggling with ensuring that the nurses they recruit are able to handle these new technologies by ensuring that they undergo training whenever necessary.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of a nursing agency are healthcare facilities, senior citizens and individuals with health challenges that might require help in their homes. The senior citizens alone account for 17 percent of the total population in the United States of America.
The healthcare facilities include, hospitals, assisted living homes, group homes for the elderly, clinics as well as other facilities where the care of a nurse is needed. This therefore goes to show that the nursing agency business cannot be restricted to certain demography.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
If you are going to be running a nursing agency business, you will need to ensure that you are able to get qualified nurses and even certified nursing assistants to meet all the requirements of your clients. This is one of the basic criteria of running this business, which is why it is important that you know and understand your target market and what they will likely need.
While most healthcare facilities and individuals just want these nurses on a temporary care basis offering services that are general in nature, there are some that require some sort of specialized care from these nurses, which has led to some nursing agencies offering niches so as to be able to meet the requirements of some segments in the target market.
You can either decide to offer just the regular care or you can decide to add one or two niches as long as you have the capacity to handle it. Therefore, some of the niche areas that you might need to look into when starting your nursing agency business are;
- Locum Tenens Staffing
- Allied Staffing Services
- Per Diem and Travel Nurse Staffing
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The level of competition in this industry is very high as there is competition amongst nursing agencies to be able to cater to as many clients as they possibly can, however only a few of the individual companies actually have a high share of the market value.
According to the American Nurses Association, it is likely that the country would find itself short of about 1 million nurses in the healthcare industry by the year 2022. Therefore the shortage of nurses which have already begun in some regions and cities will allow for more nursing agency businesses to crop up in the hope of ensuring that reliable nurses are given to places where there is demand for them.
Even though one can run the nursing agent business via a virtual office, it is still one that is dependent on location as facilities and individuals that make this demand usually do so from a certain location and so for you to be able to compete well, you would need to be able to locate your services in as many areas as possible and this is mostly possible through a franchise system.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
Even though the nursing agency business is one where brand popularity is more prominent for individual companies in certain regions than in others, there are still some brands that are well known across the regions where they operate from and this could be because of some factors such as; franchise systems, massive publicity strategies, highly reliable nurses in its employ and so many other distinguishing characteristics.
Therefore, some of the well-known brands of nursing agencies in the United States of America include;
- CHG Healthcare Services
- AMN Healthcare
- Cross Country Healthcare
The nursing agency business might be one that is not only booming but is one of the largest growing businesses across the country with franchises and individual businesses being set up every now and then. However, the industry is one that has changes occurring in it every now and then, which makes it a very volatile industry.
There is a growing shortage of healthcare professionals that are needed to ensure that this industry meets up with the rapid growth occurring in it.
The demand for nurses, other healthcare professionals and support staff is growing in every sector of the healthcare industry especially in hospitals. This will make healthcare agencies to compete for the available practitioners thereby making the competition of nurses to be acute.
Not hiring the needed healthcare professionals can threaten the viability of the nursing agencies and allow them to lose revenue, destroy patience, confidence, have lapses in quality care and cause a burnout for the staff on ground. It is therefore necessary for agencies to thoroughly engage in staff planning in order to be able to meet the growing demand from its clients.
According to the American Nurses Association, the year 2022 will see demand rise higher than supply as there might possibly be a shortage of about 1 million nurses across cities and regions, with some regions and cities already experiencing this acute shortage as demand is far higher than the supply on ground.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Starting your business from the scratch and buying a franchise are options you would need to consider when starting your nursing agency. Each option has its pros and cons and so you will need to carefully consider which option will be beneficial to you in the short and long run.
Starting from the scratch might be beneficial to you especially if you want to be in control of all the aspects of your business without interference from any other person.
Buying a franchise is a different ball game and once you are able to get a good one, it will be beneficial to your business. However, it is necessary that you conduct a thorough research on the franchise you intend to buy so that you do not end up wasting money on something that will not be beneficial to your business.
Once you have bought a quality franchise, you would not have to worry about handling certain aspects of your business such as advertising and promotion and other core aspects of the business.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Every entrepreneur starting a business ought to be aware that there are threats and challenges that they will likely encounter and should therefore make preparations on how to handle the threats and challenges when they occur.
The challenges and threats that you are likely to face during the course of starting your own nursing agency are; changing trends in the industry as well as competition from new entrants into the business operating from same location.
Other threats and challenges that you are likely to face are; a downturn of the economy that will result to people having less to spend on their health insurance and therefore demanding less healthcare services; and also competition from already established nursing agencies.
As an entrepreneur, you will need to have laid down strategies to be able to rise above any challenges that you might encounter.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
In starting your nursing agency business, there are a number of legal entities that are available for use and they are; sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC). The sole proprietorship kind of legal entity is one that is easy to start up and does not require much paperwork.
However, the owner can be held personally liable for all the debts and liabilities incurred by the business. The partnership kind of legal entity is one where two or more people come together to agree to run a business. Any decision or action taken by one partner is binding on the other partners.
Also, the partners can be held liable for any debt that is incurred by the business. One good thing about the partnership kind of legal entity is that the tax structure is one that is beneficial to the owners.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
Choosing a business name for your nursing agency business is very important as the name you choose will determine how you are perceived in the industry. It is therefore important that you choose a name that is unique, represents the business you do and one that is also memorable as well.
You can also look at what your competitors are calling their nursing agencies so as to have an idea of what will be deemed fitting. Therefore, below are some of the names that you can consider if you are thinking of starting your own nursing agency business;
- Helping Hands Nursing Agency, Inc
- Gifted Hands Nursing Agencies
- Nurturing Hands Nursing Agency Corp
- Caregivers Nursing Agency
- Serene Care Nursing Agency
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Getting insurance policies is very important if you intend starting your own nursing agency, and is considered very vital by the authorities in the United States of America especially as you will be handling patients and other kinds of individuals and anything could go wrong.
Also, the fact that any incident that involves one of your nurses will be pinned to you is why it is vital to get the necessary insurance policies for your business.
If you are however confused as regards what policies to get, you might need to visit an insurance agent or broker that will help you determine how much you would need to budget and what insurance policies you would need to procure for your nursing agency business.
Therefore, some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you intend starting your own nursing agency business in the United States of America are;
- General Insurance
- Professional Insurance
- Liability Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Theft and property damage Insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
The nursing agency business is in the healthcare and service provider industry and therefore is not the kind that requires one to apply for an intellectual property protection. This is because nothing is produced or invented by the players in this field to require an intellectual property protection.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Even though you do not need any professional certification in order to run a nursing agency business, your nurses will need to be certified in order to be able to offer their services wherever they might be demanded.
It is already taken for granted that your nurses are certified and registered, this is because it will do your reputation a great harm to take in nurses who have not undergone any sort of verification. Some of the basic certifications that the nurses you intend to get should possess are;
- First Aid certification
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certificate
- Fire marshal certification
- Food handler certification
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Having a list of legal documents for your business is very necessary especially if you intend to operate your business legally in the United States of America. It is vital that you carry out findings to determine which documents would be needed to run your nursing agency business as ignorance is no excuse for the authorities.
Not being found with proper legal documentation will have you not only be penalized financially but you might be banned from running this kind of business or anything similar within the shores of the country. Even though certain documentations might differ from state to state, some documents will still remain the same.
Therefore, some of the basic legal documents that you would need to possess in order to run your nursing agency business successfully in the United States of America are;
- Certificate of incorporation
- Operating Agreement
- Business license and permit
- Business plan
- Employee daily operation schedule
- Employee Identification Number (EIN)
- Federal Tax Identification Number
- Insurance Policy
- Contract documents
- Employment agreement
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
The nursing agency is a business that requires a substantial amount of money to start up, therefore if you intend starting this business, you must have enough finance at hand. Some of the financing options that you may therefore need to explore when sourcing for capital for your nursing agency business are;
- Generating start-up capital from personal savings and sale of personal properties
- Sourcing for soft loans from friends and family members
- Applying for grants from local and state government agencies
- Applying for loan from the bank
- Meeting private investors to seek for start-up capital
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Even though you can operate your nursing agency business from home does not mean that you should because location has a very large influence on the success of your business. If you have conducted a thorough research on the nursing agency business sector, you will find out those who take the business seriously are those who are either leasing or renting a facility for their business.
Therefore, if you hope for your business to be nationally reckoned with, you will need to rent or lease a facility in a location that is very conspicuous, accessible and within the demography of your target market. If you rent or lease a facility in an area that is too far out, then you would need to engage in intense publicity so that more people can be aware off your business.
You must have a budget in place for leasing or renting a facility for your nursing agency business, therefore you might need to speak with a real estate agent who would know the best place for you to locate your nursing agency business and one that would be within your budget.
Therefore, in choosing a location for your nursing agency business, it must be one that is located within your target market hub, one that is within your budget, visible and easily accessible.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Starting a nursing agency would require you to have a substantial amount of money which is why it is very essential that you have conducted feasibility studies as regards the business and then prepare a business plan to help determine all the actions and decisions you will make during the course of starting your nursing agency business.
The location that you intend to use for your nursing agency is very important because it must be one that is not only conspicuous and in a strategic place, it must be within your target hub and easily accessible to your employees as well as your clients. if you are located in a remote place, you might not find those willing to drive far out to your agency; also, you might need to spend more to create awareness for your business.
Regarding the equipment you will need to run your nursing agency, you can get fairly used ones from the hospitals who want to upgrade on their equipment or from other medical centers.
If your nurses will be working in a hospital, there would be no need for them to go with any equipment except their basic equipment. If however, they will be working for an individual, there may need to go with certain equipment depending on what the needs of the individuals are.
The number of employees you would need in order to start and run your nursing agency business successfully would depend on the scale you intend starting your business.
Basically, you would need a chief executive officer, human resources manager, admin and schedule manager, accountant, business development and marketing executives, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, front desk officer, security guard, cleaner, and driver.
From the above analysis, you will likely need a minimum of 20 people in order for you to run your nursing agency effectively and successfully.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The nursing agency business is one where an agency in the healthcare industry recruits reliable nurses and certified nursing assistants to meet the demand for the services of these nurses by individuals, hospitals and other healthcare institutions.
Therefore in order for you to be able to offer the right services for your clients, certain things have to be in place. Once you have determined that you want to start a nursing agency, you must be ready to ensure that you recruit only qualified and competent nurses and not just any individual that you provide training to.
The nurses must have been certified so that they are able to work with not only individuals but in clinics and hospitals which will therefore boost your reputation.
The nursing agency is usually run by an administrator who keeps in contact with several clients – existing and potential and also has a schedule of nurses that are available and those out in the field so that when a demand comes up, work can easily be dispatched to those on ground.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
As a nursing agency business, you will need to prove your worth many times before you would be approached by any huge hospital or clinic.
This is why before you can market your services to your target market, you would need to have first built a profile that will enable your target market know that they can rely on you to provide them with reliable, competent and proficient nurses at any time.
Therefore when you are creating your marketing plans and strategies, you will also need to create a powerful company profile that shows what you have achieved and what experiences you have accumulated. This is why when starting up; you should provide your services to other smaller clinics, hospitals and individuals so that you can easily build your company profile from there.
Because marketing takes money, it is very essential that you understand how important it is that you use only strategies that would be very effective in helping you achieve your marketing and corporate goals.
You might need to therefore engage the services of a marketing consultant who has the experience in your kind of industry to help in creating the right marketing strategies that would boost and help you grow your nursing agency business. Below are some of the platforms you will need in order to market your nursing agency business;
- Formally introduce your nursing agency business to hospitals, clinics, religious, and charitable organizations as well as individuals by sending them a mail about your company, your services and your contact information
- Ensure that your business is listed in yellow pages as well as in online directories
- Ensure that you place adverts in newspapers (local and national) and health related magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Engage in directly marketing your nursing agency
- Distribute handbills and fliers as well as business cards in certain strategic locations
- Use the internet as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google Plus and other such platforms to market your services
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Every business that is established requires constant promotion in order to boost the awareness of its brand and also create a corporate identity to its target market and other stakeholders in the industry.
Due to the effectiveness of publicity in businesses, existing businesses especially those that are of a large scale, usually spend fortunes annually to engage in publicity for their businesses, because asides the awareness that publicity generates, it also generates revenue for the business.
If the reason why you started your nursing agency is to grow beyond the city where you are operating to be a nationally recognized brand that might eventually become a franchise, then you should be ready to spend enough money on promoting and advertising your brand.
Using the right channels to publicize your nursing agency business is very important and most entrepreneurs in this sector usually engage the services of a branding consultant who has the required experience to help with publicizing and positively communicating the brand to its intended target market.
Below are some of the platforms that can be used as leverage to boost your brand and also promote your nursing agency;
- Ensure that you place adverts in newspapers, related magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Ensure that you place billboards and banners in strategic and conspicuous locations so as to raise awareness for your nursing agency
- Distribute handbills and also paste fliers in certain strategic locations
- Raise awareness about your nursing agency by creating and using platforms on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus in order to raise awareness about your business
- Create an interactive website and use this to promote your nursing agency business
- Participate in charity programs in your local community in order to raise awareness for your nursing agency