Do you want to start a senior home care business? If YES, here is a 19-step guide on how to start a senior care business with no money and no experience. Taking care of senior citizens in the United States, Canada and in most developed countries of the world is indeed brisk business. As people grow old, they ensure that they put plans in place that will make them live the rest of their lives with support from professionals who are trained to take care of elderly people.
Taking care of senior citizens involves housing them and helping them handle basic day to day tasks like bathing, taking their drugs, exercising, cleaning them up amongst others. There are people that are gifted with the ability to take care of senior citizens.
Setting up a residential senior care home requires hard work and serious planning. You are expected to apply and obtain permit and license to run such facility from the government and your facility must meet the required health and safety standards before you can be allowed to operate it.
Aside from well – trained domestic employees that will be on your payroll, you will also need to hire nurses. A senior care home business is indeed capital intensive, but at the same time lucrative. You are rest assured to make good returns on your investment because there will always be need for your service since people grow old daily.
19 Steps on How to Start a Senior Home Care Business
Table of Content
- 1. Understand the Industry
- Interesting Statistics About the Senior Care 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
- 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
1. Understand the Industry
Operators in the residential senior care franchise industry largely provide residential and personal-care services for elderly individuals who are unable to fully care for themselves due to old age or one form of age related disability. Demographic trends have supported the growing demand for residential senior care franchises, and the industry has experienced strong growth over the last half 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.
So 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. The Residential Senior Care Franchises Industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much thriving in developed countries such as United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Italy et al.
Interesting Statistics About the Senior Care Industry
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 can comfortably boast of having a greater percentage of the available market in this industry. A recent report published by IBISWORLD shows that the Residential Senior Care Franchises industry has 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 fully 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 care home facility business are that the business can easily get support from government at all levels and the business is indeed a profitable venture despite the legislature governing the industry.
It is important to state that the senior care home facility 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.
Over and above, the residential senior care home line of business in developed countries are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to reach out to their target market.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of a residential senior care facility business is restricted to the elderly/aging population. There are a lot of senior citizens who cannot take care of themselves nor do the basic things that are expected from them due to old age or one form of disability or the other.
In essence, the demographic composition cum target market for a residential senior care facility is all encompassing; it is not restricted to any gender, race, tribe or group of people.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
Most residential senior care facility businesses tend to operate general services that a standard residential senior care facility provider is expected to offer. That is why it seems that there are no niche areas in the industry. But on the other hand, some residential senior care facilities may decide to major in some key 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 Industry
The level of competition in the residential senior care industry to some extent depends largely on the location of the business, your niche area of operation and of course the capacity of your residential senior care facility. If you can successfully create a unique niche for your residential senior care facility business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only residential senior care facility business in your location that is into Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care services 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 competitions.
It is important to also state that competitions in the residential senior care facility business is not restricted to that line of business but you will also be competing against all players in the Home Care Providers industry.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
It is important to state that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long while, and others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading residential senior care facilities in the United States of America and in the globe;
- HCR ManorCare
- Golden Living Assisting Hands
- Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.
- Brotoloc Health Care Systems Inc.
- Tutera Senior Living & Health Care
- Keystone Senior Management Services
- Volunteers of America National Services
- Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society
- Life Care Centers of America
- Capitol Senior Living
- National Healthcare Corp.
- Assisted Living Concepts Inc
- 5 Star Quality Care
- Benedictine Health System
- Harbor House Assisted Living
- Hospice care
- Genesis HealthCare Corp
- Senior Lifestyle Corporation
- Sunrise Senior Living, Inc.
When starting a residential senior care facility business, you have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and start competing at national level.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your residential senior care facility business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, pricing and promotion. As a matter of fact, you will have to continue reviewing these key factors at regular intervals while running your residential senior care facility business. As a residential senior care facility business owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.
It is important to note that renting and medication cost are some of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of running a residential senior care facility 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 looking towards starting a residential senior care facility business, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a residential senior care facility business to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Besides, starting a residential senior care facility business from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other similar businesses which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business. With a residential senior care facility business, you should just try as much as possible to secure a good residential facility inside a residential estate and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal, especially the internet to market your residential senior care facility.
Please note that most of the big and successful residential senior care facilities around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to open your own residential senior care facility today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established residential senior care facilities and of course other players in the Home Care Providers industry in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market and concentrate on the aging population in your immediate community.
Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your residential senior care facility are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), stiff competition, volatile costs, and rising medical care prices.
So also, unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, downturn in the economy which is likely going to affect consumer spending and of course emergence of new competitors within the same location where yours is located. There is hardly anything you can do as regards these 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)
You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as residential senior care facility. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale residential senior care facility business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital. But people prefer limited liability Company for some reasons.
As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and operate all across the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietorship 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. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your residential senior care facility business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your residential senior care facility 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 an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, 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. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own residential senior care facility business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Papas & Mamas Residential Senior Care Facilities, LLC
- Lotus Road Senior Care Facility, Inc.
- Cross County Residential Senior Care Company
- Caring Hands Residential Senior Care Facility Ltd.
- True Love Senior Care Facility Company
- Mark & Mary Senior Care Facility Company
- Ninety-Nine Home Health Care Company
- Warm Embrace Senior Care Facility Services, Inc.
- Bridget Brownstone Senior Care Facility Company
- Sharon Holmes Senior Care Facility Services, Inc.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own residential senior care facility 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
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own residential senior care facility business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business 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. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
If you intend starting a residential senior care facility 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 residential senior care facility business in the United States without the proper professional certification. In most countries of the world, carrying out any medical related practice without a license is illegal.
In most jurisdictions, individuals found to be providing medical, nursing or other professional services without the appropriate certification or license may face sanction including even criminal charges leading to prison. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own residential senior care living facility 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 cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long arm of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own residential senior care facility company 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
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- 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
Leasing a standard facility that can accommodate your residents and staff members and of course the purchase of medical equipment are 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 have the need to source for fund to finance the business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan 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 senior care facility 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
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from government, donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Starting a residential senior care facility business comes with its own challenges; it is a business that cannot be started in any location. As a matter of fact, you will need approval from your local council and other regulating authorities in the city you intend opening the 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 required purchasing power and lifestyle.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your residential senior care facility business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business. These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your residential senior care facility business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for the services of residential senior care facilities and other homecare related businesses in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of residential senior care facilities and homecare related services 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 residential senior care, you will need stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, oxygen tanks, first aid kits and other related equipment that will aid you in carrying out your job. It is important to state that these equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are operating on a low budget.
In setting up a small office for your residential senior care facility, 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 residential senior care facility 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 a serene environment, a facility that is big enough to accommodate the number of 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, 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.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 10 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard residential senior care facility.
The Service Delivery Process of a Residential Senior Care Facility
The service delivery as it relates to residential senior care facility to a large extent depends on the organization and what they stand to achieve.
Basically, a residential senior care facility business sources for clients, once they are able to win a 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 residential senior care facility business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated residential senior care facility 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 residential senior care facility 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 be creative 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 residential senior care facility services company, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company 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 residential senior care facility;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, elderly homes, hospitals, religious organizations, clubs/organizations for the elderly, the aged who might suffer from severe joint pains, and every other age categories who fall under the conditions listed by the physician in and around the location where your residential senior care facility is located
- Open your residential senior care facility services company with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to market your services
- Advertise your services in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your residential senior care facility
- Engage in direct marketing and sales
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main 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
One key factor that will help you offer your 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 products.
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 residential senior care facility business.
As regards medications, toiletries, cooking ingredients and other supplies that you need to effectively run your residential senior care facility, you need to ensure that you purchase your items directly from the manufacturers or from wholesale distributors in pretty large quantities. The truth is 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 Residential Senior Care Facility industry is 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 and also make your facility highly secured and conducive.
In other to stay competitive in this industry, you must ensure that your residences 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 options available.
19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a residential senior care facility 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 corporate identity for your residential senior care facility business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your services
- Install your billboards at strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your residential senior care facility
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact households, elderly homes, hospitals, religious organizations, clubs/organizations for the elderly, the aged who might suffer from severe joint pains, and every other age categories who fall under the conditions listed by the physician in and around the location where your facility is located
- List your residential senior care facility in local directories
- Advertise your residential senior care facility in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your residential senior care facility is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are well branded with your company logo et al.