The home care business is a growing industry thanks to increased life expectancy and the popularity of ageing in place at home. According to IBISWorld, the industry has been growing at a rate of 3.7% a year, and revenues for the US are expected to reach $99 billion in 2019. In addition to being a good business opportunity, the caregiving profession can be extremely rewarding for people who have the dedication, compassion, and patience to deal with both the people they provide services to and their family members or other caretakers. In addition, home care business owners will need to know and comply with various regulations.
Here’s how to get started in this business:
1. Do Complete Research
In addition to looking for general industry information, you can search your locations for areas with residents who are aged 60 and over and retirement communities. Find out what home care services are already in your area. Will you be able to successfully compete with them? What will differentiate your services from theirs? Stay open and flexible as you develop your plan as you are sure to be exposed to other elements that can prove beneficial to the success of your business.
2. Comply with State Licensing
Dependent on the state in which you reside, you’ll be required to obtain the proper state and city licensing for your home care business. The proper guidelines and restrictions should all be in place, so you can legally run and operate your new enterprise without any restrictions, fines or penalties. You can hire an experienced company to complete the application and associated documentation, or take the time to wade through the requirements alone. Just make a note that doing things right from the start can save you future time and headaches.
3. Compare Buying a Franchise to Staring on Your Own Agency
Buying a home care franchise could shorten your learning curve, and provide you with benefits such as name recognition, training, and marketing materials. However, you should weigh those benefits against the initial cost, ongoing royalty fees and need to follow the franchise’s rules for running your business.
To help make your decision, estimate your costs and potential profitability both as a franchisee and as an independent agency. If you decide on franchising, be sure to compare franchises and learn all you can about buying a franchise.
4. Create a Business Plan
You can improve your chances for success by creating a solid, detailed business plan. The plan should describe the market, what sector of it you’ll target and what services you’ll provide, how you’ll organize and manage the business. It will also detail all the financial aspect of the business, so you can predict what your startup funding needs will be and when you’ll break even. Down the line, it can be used as a point of reference if you need a reminder of your original goals and keep you on a straight path toward meeting your future goals and objectives. Starting out on your own can be cost-effective. However, adding staff to the equation as you expand can be expensive, so make your projections as robust and thorough as you can. You can always revise it later as your business growth dictates.
5. Creating the Business Structure
There is quite a bit of information that goes into the set-up of your business. This includes determining the business entity such as S Corporation, Sole proprietor, Limited Liability Company, Partnership, etc. Many online legal sites can walk you through the incorporating procedure or an attorney or CPA can prove beneficial if you have any questions or concerns. You’ll also need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification number, business checking account and a company credit card.
Free Business Startup Checklist
Starting a business can be overwhelming! Use this free Business Startup Checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important steps. This downloadable Word document lists the steps you need to take to get your business up and running, and includes space for you to note your own comments and deadlines. You can get the checklist free when you subscribe to the free Business Know-How Newsletter.
6. Have Appropriate Training
Starting and running a home care business can prove successful with the appropriate training and education – even if it’s on the job. You’ll also need patience, strong communication skills, and attention to detail. If you’ve been employed in this line of work before, and you’re venturing out on your own, you’ll know exactly what it takes to survive. You’ll also know what’s expected and how to treat your clientele.
7. Don’t Cut Corners When Hiring Caregivers
Since your reputation will be dependent on the care you give, you want to hire only the best caregivers. This should include performing background checks and then providing employees with extensive training. Your staff goes out to the world as your personal representative, so spending time thoroughly interviewing candidates and checking references can allow you to find the most compassionate and hardworking individuals.