Do you want to start a senior transport company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a senior transport business with NO money and no experience. Old age no doubt is an interesting phase of life. However, it also has its own challenges. It is very evident that as people reach their 60’s, a number of things tend to happen or rather a lot of things tend to change. A lot of them can no longer be working full-time jobs, meaning that they will spend a lot of time in their homes.
As they stay at home, some will lose their independence through illness, strokes and vision impairment. A lot of the seniors who end up with these issues will either surrender their driver’s licenses at the request of a doctor or family member. Even though we agree this is primarily for safety reasons, it essentially leaves the seniors ‘trapped’ in their homes thereby creating a business opportunity for you.
Note that with many seniors who do not have friends or family living nearby, getting away from home for even a simple task like picking up mail at the post office or attending a medical appointment becomes a major stress. Most times, the senior may decide to just stay indoors rather than relying on taxi services which can can be a costly trip downtown or to the pharmacy.
One of the businesses that come in really handy at this point in life is a senior transportation business. Indeed a senior transportation service will be a cost effective alternative for a lot of seniors who would want to perform some duties or run few chores themselves. Starting your senior transportation service would be faster and easier than most other businesses.
This is because there is no formal training needed. All you will need is a reliable vehicle, good and simple organizational skills, being able to communicate with seniors with patience, understanding and compassion and have the desire to provide a service that helps your customers as much as it will help you. There is a whole lot more information that would do you good as you look to launch into this business if you read on.
17 Steps to Starting a Senior Transport Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 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 Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 12. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 13. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 14. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 15. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 16. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
Anything concerning the Elderly Services industry will keep booming and expanding. Aided by an aging population, the services that can be offered is abundant. Meanwhile, a meaningful portion of the services provided to this part of the population are done by institutional providers (e.g. nursing care and assisted-living facilities) rather than from the industry’s formal, non-institutional providers. But we believe that in the coming years, the revenue aligned with the seniors will grow significantly, primarily due to the continued aging of the population.
The growing importance of transportation services in the healthcare system has engineered revenue growth for the transportation Services industry over the past five years. Healthcare reforms have allowed more insured individuals to use industry services, thereby boosting revenue.
Experts believe that over the next five years, the growing number of individuals aged 65 and older will sustain industry growth, since the elderly experience more medical issues than younger groups, and consolidation within the industry will improve operating efficiency and costs.
Note that this industry is in the growth phase of its life cycle and reports have it that during the 10 years to 2022, industry value added (IVA), or the industry’s contribution to the overall US economy, is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 1.5%, with GDP rising at a faster pace of 2.0%. The blooming elderly population bolstered demand for transport services due to this demographics’ heavy restrictions on driving.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
Indeed judging from the name of this business, we don’t need to stress our brains to understand those in need of this lucrative business. With 40 million Americans over the age 65 and 6 million over 85, the senior services business has become a cottage industry, requiring everyone from home health care workers to gardeners to fall prevention specialists.
Individuals within this age tend to find it difficult to run routine errands which is why by providing a service that gives them the opportunity to live an independent life, you can be rest assured that you are serving God, man and your pocket.
Statistics have it that one in five seniors over 65 does not drive, and need to get to and from medical appointments, such as a visit to their doctor or physical therapist. Also, just like the rest of us, non-driving seniors need to go shopping, run errands, visit friends and attend social events. The fast-growing demand for private senior transportation services has created a huge opportunity for those who can provide rides for seniors and others who cannot drive.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Indeed every customer is different, but a lot of your work will be taking seniors to their medical appointments such as doctor’s visits, or regular visits to dialysis or physical therapy. As your customers get to know you, they will also ask you to drive them on personal trips such as grocery shopping, errands and to social events. But it still doesn’t change the fact that you need to research this industry and choose a definite niche.
Note that deciding on a specific type of senior transportation service to start is the key way to go or rather start in this business. Niches to choose from might include transporting customers to their medical appointments, with seniors scheduling a trip in advance; offering on-call transportation, similar to that of a taxi service; or coupling transporting seniors with escorting them on their errands and helping them shop, which could earn you more money.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Building a senior transportation business is a lot easier than starting most other businesses because it is a service business that doesn’t require a store or inventory. The need in our present world is growing fast for senior transport drivers because of the large number of aging Americans who can no longer drive and need a ride to medical appointments, shopping and social events.
But don’t think that since it is easy to start, that it is without competition. Indeed fierce competitions exist amongst businesses in this industry. Most individuals in this business are small businesses run by an individual with restrictions to a particular neighbourhood.
You need to find a way to convince people to trust you instead of their favourite neighbourhood senior driver. Also for you to remain relevant, you should be able to deliver consistent quality service, be innovative and you should be able to meet the expectations of people and your customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- Veterans care planning
- A Caring Hand Home Care
- Y.E.S in-home care agency
- Sacred heart med-transit
- Loving Hands Geriatric Care Management and Placement Services
- Allied care
- Senior care givers
It is believed that a senior transportation business can be started with very little money – if you have a car and a cell phone, you are almost there. The rewards are great – not just in dollars and cents – but in helping seniors live better lives by helping them enjoy their independence as long as possible. This we believe, on its own, is considered a satisfaction.
Note that rates for private senior transportation services range from $35 to $60 per hour nationally. Rates are higher in large cities and lower in smaller towns and rural areas where the cost of living is lower. With rates like this, it is possible to earn a solid income of $60,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on the rates where you live, and how many hours you work.
Also another reward is that you will have a flexible schedule to allow you to balance your everyday family life with your client’s needs. Best of all, a senior transportation service is a recession-proof business. People grow old and require your help and services regardless of what the national economy is doing. In addition, there are no expensive training or college classes required, as you can earn while you learn.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Just like we stated above, starting this business can be relatively easy, with just a car and a phone you are good to go. But when you start out, you will need business cards and flyers or brochures to pass out to potential customers and health care providers who refer customers to you. This is why you need to decide; do I start from the scratch just like 79% of businesses in this industry or do I leverage a proven plan and take the market by storm?
Indeed the two options above have both benefits and disadvantages. Starting from the scratch or buying a franchise doesn’t determine success, but can help you mould a clean path. Indeed this business is a goal oriented business and a competitive business where big fishes are swimming deeper and the little ones are struggling to grow bigger. Innovation, commitment and brand popularity are important incentives that can guarantee success in this industry and only buying into a franchise can provide that easily.
Yes building from the scratch gives you proper control over the growth and size of your business but it will take more time, struggling and commitments to be able to attract the service users. The industry is fast growing and has gone beyond you plying the cities in search of business, buying a franchise gives you leverage over start up downfalls and challenges.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Indeed the senior transportation industry has experienced and will continue enjoying growth trends largely because of the rising care and medical needs of seniors, and legal decisions that enable disabled individuals have equal access to social activities.
Generally most companies close to or in the industry tend to specialize in medical transportation; while others transport disabled and elderly individuals to and from day-care programs, social events and other activities. Possible threats to this business may include;
- Market research and feasibility
- Penetrating the market
- Employing experienced workers
- Gaining patience in handling your clients etc.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Choosing an adequate legal entity for your business is one crucial step that will set your business apart from any peers as it will clearly explain the foundation of your business. As an entrepreneur, it is your duty to protect your business which is why you will have to decide early if you are going to run your senior transportation service as a sole proprietorship or as an LLC.
Don’t forget that every legal entity has advantages and disadvantages. Coupled with the different tax implications as each will have a different bearing on how you will be able to expand your business with the addition of more employees or vehicles. By and large, you may just consider starting out on a sole proprietorship scale.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When starting a business, you should know that the identity you create with your Business Name is very important. It will be how customers will identify you and you will want it to portray an excellent, positive image. Your business name should be easy to remember, say something about the kind of business it is and sound professional and caring.
- Senior cabs
- Easy Fire
- Easy call
- Vintage ride
- 24/7 cabs
- Pick and drop motors
- Neat express
- Elder cabs
- Safe drivers
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In your line of work, you may need delivery vans, trucks and similar equipment to transport clients to and from key locations. But irrespective of what you move, as someone in the transportation business, you cannot afford to lose one of your vehicles due to an accident.
This is why you have to cook up your transportation vehicles with the right types and amounts of commercial auto insurance, giving your business a life line when it suffers from financial losses associated with having to repair or replace a vehicle. It can also protect you from having to pay large medical bills when a customer or a third party is injured in an auto accident that involves one of your company vehicles. Here are some of the insurances you should consider…
- Physical damage protection
- Liability insurance
- Medical payments
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
- Commercial auto insurance
- Comprehensive coverage
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
We all know that with intense competition come innovations and ideas. These ideas and innovations have now made it a necessity to protect all valuables in your business. Intellectual property protection in the Senior Transportation industry may not be needful because your services aren’t hinged on any brainchild.
11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Every business venture has due processes, proper documents and permits needed in other to run its day to day activities. You need adequate documents to run a taxi company for seniors alone. It is very important to understand and follow all laws to avoid penalties. Documents needed for a taxi business differs from state to state, but here are few well known legal documents needed to avoid penalties and fines.
- Vehicle permits
- Vehicle for service permit
- Security badge for airport taxis
- Proof of Insurance
- Drivers form
- Business permit
- Commercial driver’s license
12. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Even with great ideas and goals, inadequate financing is a quick sand that will swallow up your brilliant ideas. Finance in the Senior Transportation business is a big ingredient especially if you are looking to start a large scale Senior Transportation Business.
Don’t get it confused, indeed with a phone and a car you can start a senior transportation business. What differentiates a small business and a large scale business is marketing abilities and target markets. Nowadays getting funds for a business is not an easy task because no one would want to pledge his/her money in a business that can’t guarantee returns and profits. Examples of ways to get funding may include;
- Funds from Personal savings
- Getting loans from families and friends
- Taking small business loans
- Getting microloans
- Attract an angel investor
13. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
In a bid to start this business successfully, you will have to choose a suitable location for your business. For you to do this comfortably, you have to make a careful assessment of costs. The ideal location should be one where costs are minimized. You should be able to look at the advantages which each area have to offer as well as any government help which might be available.
In this business, your choice of location should have easy access to all major routes in your area and enough parking spaces to safely store all your vehicles. A suitable location for your senior transportation business or a dispatch office for your senior transportation business should be easy to locate, convenient for the taxis to b refueled and repaired. Centrally located sites are best if you will be serving your entire city.
14. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Indeed when starting this business, you will need some additional things to keep your senior transportation service running smoothly. This will include office supplies and any other item you will require on the job. It may mean a cell phone, appointment calendars, billing programs on a computer along with the computer.
If you are starting small with non-Medicaid customers, a smart phone with the right apps can handle your appointments and scheduling. But for large scale, you will need more than just a cell phone and a vehicle. You will have to manage your business accordingly and expertly, you need to know how to reach out and handle issues when the need arises. Additional things you will need may include;
- Dispatch systems
- Top lights
- Taxi meters
- Electronic transaction systems
- Taxi driver protection screens
- Safety cameras for taxis
- Decals, labels and livery
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
Any senior can simply dial up one of the many taxi companies in Texas, so you need to offer something other transportation service providers don’t. In addition to better, friendlier customer service, offer seniors a package deal per trip – give them the option of return service to their home so they don’t have to call twice – group rates or flexible service hours.
You also need to ask yourself: what kinds of deliveries do you see yourself doing in order to build a lucrative senior transportation business? Indeed you will end up building your service around pick-ups and drop offs. A lot of your prospective clients may need a ride to appointments and you may also end up running out to pick up groceries in addition to the regular chores you intend to offer.
Note that the service schedule for your drivers or you as the case may be is pretty much the ‘menu’ of what you can offer. You need to view it carefully as you may see extra opportunities coming from beyond your basic pick up/drop off plan.
15. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Individuals who have succeeded in business always have a solid foundation in marketing. When planning on the best way to sell your services, there are some other things you will also need to learn about marketing a senior transportation business.
Listen to Marketing Consultants
Indeed as someone looking to start up small you may think that you have what it takes to market your brand effectively. Maybe you do. Judging from experience, there is no substitute for needing the services of a qualified marketing consultant. The best consultants possess a range of skills, including the ability to accurately communicate your senior transportation business service’ core competencies, value and product points.
These things are the little things which without the knowledge can rid you of precious opportunities in the marketplace. With the ever changing senior transportation industry, the need has come for professional marketing to help deliver a competitive advantage to your business.
Do not see the decline in the broadcast TV and radio industry as an opportunity to discount broadcast advertising entirely. A lot of senior transportation services are leveraging broadcast media to perform specific aspects of their marketing strategies. It is best for entrepreneurs to evaluate their target audience’s listening or viewing patterns and then tailor their media purchases to specific media outlets rather than blanketing the geography with brand messaging.
Consider Media Monitoring
A lot of marketing initiatives do lend themselves to simple measurement while others are more challenging. For example, direct mail can be evaluated by tallying the cost of inputs (e.g. a premium mailing list, printing, postage, etc.) and measuring the number of customer responses you receive from the campaign. Note that the difficulty comes when you are tasked with quantifying market presence and brand influence.
But nowadays, media monitoring has the ability to give your senior transportation service a sense of market presence and other variables that are difficult to quantify. If executed properly, media monitoring can help your brand get ahead of negative messaging and exert greater influence over news cycles.
16. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
Successful business people have always been individuals who saw competition as a need to improve and create a stand. Competition is what brings about ideas and creativity. Without competition, the transportation business would be boring and will lack new ideas and orientation, and no one will strive to satisfy the general public.
Indeed ways to win your competitors in the Senior Transportation business is by noting a void or an opening in the business and fill it comfortably. A business doesn’t necessarily have to be revolutionary in order to succeed. Rather than struggling to come up with a brand new idea, take a look at the industry and see where there is a void to be filled. Note that your services may be similar in many aspects to that of the competition except for a few defining factors.
Secondly, to defeat your competitors is to create a customer-centric culture by teaching your drivers to show and exhibit hospitality and friendly personality. To understand costumer need and listen to complains. You will need to create an advantage and strive not to compete on prices.
People might be happy to pay cheap fares but most people would take into consideration their comfort and happiness to the price they pay. Have it in mind that a competitive and crowded industry indicates that customers demand exist, and that the market is viable.
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Brand awareness is all about winning customers and letting them know who you are and what you offer. This is why you need to make sure you shout about your brand and get your name in front of as many eyeballs as possible. It takes planning and innovation to be able to push your senior transportation business to a point where people can easily identify it and patronize you. Ideas for boosting your brand awareness and creating a corporate identity may include;
Using the web
With the advent of technology and modernization, most homes and businesses in the U.S. are online, and mobile phones commonly have Internet access. We suggest you promote your awareness by developing a website. Employ a search engine optimization company or learn the process on your own and sure that your website appears high in Web search results. Contact website owners in related industries to see if you can place ads on their websites.
Creating a social media presence
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be crucial tools in developing brand awareness in the taxi business because they serve as forums where consumers discuss their lives, including their activities and items they like.