The average life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last few decades; with people now living into their 80’s and 90’s. This means that there are more older people than ever before who are in need of care. Despite this, many of the elderly are reluctant to accept the idea of moving to nursing homes for the duration of their life, as their health starts to deteriorate. (Images Credit: Rawpixel/Pixabay)
More and more home healthcare businesses are springing up as a result of this, meaning that older people can receive the care they need from the comfort of their own home. This would be an ideal business prospect for people who are already working in the healthcare sector or even those who are keen on a new business venture and are looking to make a difference in the community.
1. Choose which home care service to provide
First and foremost, you’ll need to think about the type of home care service you’d like to provide. Doing so should then establish the sector you will branch into. Homecare may seem like a fairly straight-forward concept, but there are a number of niches to specialize in.
- Personal care (for example, washing and dressing)
- Emergency assistance
- Domestic care
- Cooking and preparing meals
- Providing company to the lonely
- Medical assistance
If your business venture starts to gain a large number of clients, and you feel as though the business is turning over enough custom to branch into other areas, then you may wish to expand. However, it would be best to stick to a single niche first so that the level of care provided is of the best quality.
2. Write a business plan
Writing a business plan will help you gain perspective on how you will go about starting your new business and how you will tackle challenges which may arise. Such complications may include the likes of your financial difficulty, hiring and managing staff and how you’ll market the business to the correct audience.
Your business plan should include, but not necessarily be limited to:
- Summary – Explaining your idea for the business in a basic format
- Company description – Describing your main aims and goals for the business
- Services – Make a list of all the services you’ll be offering
- Marketing – State how you’re going to advertise the business and how people will find out about you
- Management – Describe who will own/run the business and how staff will be managed
- Operational – Explain which staff members you’ll be hiring and the equipment you’ll need to get the business up and running
- Financial – How you intend to gain the cash for the start-up and how you will combat any issues which may arise in the event of a collapse
3. Work out the costs involved
As with any business, there are initial costs to keep in mind, but home care may be more costly than you may have imagined. You don’t necessarily have to pay out a substantial amount right away, but you will need enough to get up and running. Some of the fundamental expenses include:
- CQC registration fee: This will need to be paid on a yearly basis, so your registration remains intact
- Paying staff
- Staff training
- Renting out an office to carry out admin tasks
4. Register the business with your state
Your business will only be legalized once you have registered with your state. You can do this by filling out a homecare application form in order to get the license. Dependent on which state you live in, you will also need tax identification and be sure to register for your National Provider Identification.
5. Take on the necessary training
Although you don’t necessarily need to have qualifications to run a home care business, it will give you a good head start over competitors. If clients are aware that you have a relevant academic background in healthcare, they will be more likely to trust your services. Although you may have never thought about this, it’s never too late to start studying towards a qualification to enhance your business prospects.Courses such as online DNP nurse executive programs can be worked around your current commitments and studied from home. This course, in particular, teaches students influential leadership, transformative care models, and business strategy; all of which are fundamental skills for running a home care business successfully.
When first starting out a healthcare business, you need to consider the type of equipment you’ll need. While there’s not a great lot to purchase, there are a few basics that shouldn’t be overlooked.
A fully functioning office
Once you have found premises to set up the HQ of the business, it’s important that your office is equipped with all of the necessary furniture and devices. At a minimum, you’re going to need a computer or laptop with a sturdy desk and comfortable chair, as well as filing cabinets to store documents and a safe to store private client information and valuables.
Uniforms for staff
All staff members will need to be kitted out with the appropriate uniforms. While businesses typically tend to purchase them on behalf of their staff, it is acceptable to ask them to do so themselves, especially if they are working on a self-employed basis. Regardless, you will be responsible for providing all staff members with a personal ID badge so that clients and their families are aware of your employee’s identity when they enter the property.
It would also be an idea to stock up on as protective aprons and gloves for staff members to take with them in their rounds. Also, be sure to invest in sanitary wipes so that hygiene is taken care of after dealing with ill patients.
As the age of technology is very much becoming a real priority in the 21st century, it’s important you consider how it could also be implemented into your home care business. Previously, health care software was only used in hospitals, doctors surgeries, and clinics, but it has now become much more accessible for anyone who wishes to run a business in health care.
Software is most typically used to replace the need for manual documents so that the day-to-day management of a business is more efficient. The efficiency will drastically cut down on administration tasks, meaning you may not need to hire a receptionist to record and monitor documents as it will all be accessible on a single platform.
A reliable software package should allow you to:
- Record and keep track of your employee’s shifts
- Record and manage the personal details of clients
- Monitor staff activity during their shift
As the need for home care soars, businesses in this field are starting to saturate the market, meaning there’s a greater need to stand out from the crowd. Due to this, it’s even more important to get your marketing strategy in place as soon as you can to secure your client base.
One of the effective forms of marketing is through word of mouth, especially when it comes to the care sector. Relatives of clients would be more inclined to hire the services of a firm if they are thought to be reliable and trustworthy; especially when staff are entering a client’s personal property to provide the care. However, in the early stages of the business, getting the word out is difficult if your business isn’t recognized on a large scale. This is where you should think about referral marketing. Building a good relationship with local hospitals and doctors’ surgeries may mean that your business is recommended to patients who are in need of a home care service.
A website is an important online marketing technique to enhance your brand profile. Even if a relative of a prospective client were to hear good things about your company, they would be interested in browsing your website to find out more, before choosing your firm. It is also your opportunity to write great website content which explains who you are, what services you provide, and any FAQ’s that may come in useful.
Another useful marketing technique would be through social media. Social media platforms already have a worldwide customer base available at your fingertips; however, it’s all about learning the best methods of securing an audience who to promote your business to. Social media is ideal for increasing brand awareness, building relationships with direct contact, and creating a brand identity.
As you’ll be relying on local custom, dropping leaflets through letterboxes in the neighborhood would also be a successful way of growing your client base. Even if the homeowner isn’t elderly, they may know someone who could make use of your services. The leaflets should list all of the services you offer and the relevant contact details for the business.
If you’re hoping to start a home care business in the very near future, we hope that this guide has given you some useful tips on making the first steps towards the start-up process and running a successful business in this field.