Owing to our aging population and the desire of many older individuals to be cared for in their homes, home care agencies continue to increase in popularity.
It may theoretically be a rewarding business enterprise to start a home care business to satisfy this great demand for in-home care.
Differences between Skilled home health business and non-medical home care business
Initially, the difference between starting a medically certified home health agency and a non-medical home care agency is very important to consider.
Personal treatment, assistance with daily life tasks, food preparation, housekeeping and transportation are primarily non-medical home care facilities.
For people to stay healthy and happy in their homes, such services are also important.
The most common method of payment for non-medical treatment is private pay rather than 3rd party sources of billing.
As the name suggests, medical professional home health organizations administer trained licensed nursing and rehabilitation therapy services under doctor’s orders with specific guidelines enforced.
Including Medicare and Medicaid certifications, medical home health organizations need comprehensive licensing.
The less complicated non-medical home care venture with usually lower start-up costs is more likely to be considered by most entrants to this sector.
Starting a home care business
Your next choice is whether to start a home care business on your own or team up with a franchise for home care.
For both, there are advantages and disadvantages, but franchise fees essentially offer a business model along with start-up advice and continuing support.
Without entry or re-occurring franchise fees, launching out on your own typically has lower start-up costs, less hand-holding but more flexibility in market strategies.
Write a comprehensive plan of how you will launch, function, and expand your company when electing the independent option.
Basic Requirements in starting a home care business
To start a home care business similar to that of most other firms, some specific conditions apply, including the following:
1. Set up Business Entity
Set up the business company that best suits your requirements. (Sole proprietor, Partnership, Limited Liability Company, S Corporation, C Corporation) Consult with an attorney or CPA or online research on the website of your state government (www.state.(your state initials).us) on the required corporate arrangement, payroll statistics, sales tax, employee benefits and protection of company liability.
2. Obtain an Employer ID Number
To identify your company with respect to tax liability, obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS (IRS form SS-4) equivalent to your personal social security number.
3. Register with Secretary of State
Register your company with your state’s Secretary of State. Decide on a company name and check availability in your state, including website domain name consideration.
Business cards, brochures printed when accepted have letterhead.
4. Check on license requirements
Check for urban or county business license requirements and apply as required.
5. Prepare your finances
Create a business checking account and credit card account and if necessary to cover start-up costs, apply for business loans. Set up an accounting system that is computerized.
6. Write or buy a Policy and Procedures Manual
Write or buy a manual of policies and procedures to handle new patient admissions, plan of treatment, scheduling, records of staff and payrolls, orientation, in-service training, billing of customers.
7. Find and hire caregivers
Find and recruit the best available caregivers as the company’s credibility weighs heavily on the standard of care given.
To find the most skilled, caring and resourceful caregivers, spend time interviewing prospects and reviewing references.
8. Connect with referral sources
Determine the best sources of referrals in your city, such as connections with long-term care facilities and social workers for hospital discharge.
To meet potential customers, contact local doctors, senior centers and recovery outpatient centers.
9. Build a website
Employ a website designer to develop a professional website with content targeted at internet-savvy senior adult children responsible for delivering home care services.
Upload your agency listing for the highest visibility on existing elder care websites with a large internet presence.
10. Find an office space
Find a place where coverage for the community is accessible and without unfair competition.
Save your money on expensive commercial office space with heavy traffic and find a better place for your employees instead.
11. Be creative with scheduling
Be innovative in planning to navigate the ever shifting balance between staff and customer needs.
Turning away customers is detrimental to potential referrals, but risking poor treatment due to lack of personnel is equally detrimental to the image of a business.
12. Attitude is very vital
To manage day to day operations, be resourceful. To your staff, be thoughtful and respectful. Be understanding and attentive to the needs of your customers.
Reflect on the reasons why you initially started your own business and when times are difficult and take time to enjoy the small achievements along the way.