Starting a Home Care Business

1
Introduction to Non-Medical Home Care

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With an increased desire to age in place, more and more services are being delivered straight to the home. One of the fastest growing businesses is non-medical home care. Learn the basics of how to start a non-medical home care business.

There is a difference keep in mind between medical and non-medical home care. Non-medical home care services include personal care, assistance with daily living activities, meal preparation, housekeeping, and transportation. Medical skilled home health agencies administer skilled licensed nursing and rehab services under physician's orders with strict guidelines.

2
Where to Start

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How do you enter this business? There are good and bad points to each of these models:

  • Start a company from scratch. You may have lower startup costs but more risk. You should have business experience. You must research the industry.
  • Buy an existing company. You may have a higher cost for a mature business, less risk, and high due diligence is required.
  • Buy a franchise. You will have higher entry fees but a proven business model. Work with a business broker and lawyer who specialize in franchise work.
  • Join a network. Membership networks provide initial training and ongoing support. It's a bit of a hybrid between owning and franchising.

3
Incorporate Your Business

Estate Tax Rate and Estate Tax Exemption
The estate tax exemption is tied to the lifetime gift tax exemption. Once you go over it, your heirs are subject to a maximum Federal estate tax rate of 40%. Peter Dazeley / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

  1. Consult with an attorney to set up the business that will best suit your needs. The business structure can affect a variety of issues, so commit wisely.
  2. Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
  3. Register your business with the Secretary of State in your state. You may want to work backward, checking domain names to make sure something you want it not taken. When you have decided on a business name and cleared availability, have letterhead, business cards, and brochures printed.
  4. Check to see if your state requires a license to operate a personal care business.
  5. Check on requirements for city or county business licenses.

4
Set up the Business

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  • Establish a business checking account and credit card account.
  • Set up computerized accounting, billing, scheduling systems.
  • Have three months operating capital in reserve.
  • Determine your rates.
  • Set up your payroll systems.
  • Find a location where care is affordable to the population and without excessive competition.

5
Write or Purchase Policies and Procedures

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Your policies and procedures need to address the following:

  • New client admissions
  • Plans of care
  • Scheduling
  • Employee and payroll records
  • Hiring practices
  • Orientation
  • Training
  • Client billing
  • Client rights and responsibilities

6
Hiring Staff

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Hire for fit and reduce turnover. Consistently evaluate and keep good people. Getty Images

  1. Hire your support staff first.
  2. Hire the best caregivers available as your company's reputation depends on it. Spend time interviewing prospects and conduct reference checks and background checks.

7
Marketing and Sales

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Knowing your target market increases results. Tuomas Kujansuu | Getty Images

Marketing and sales are critical to your business success.

  • Your best marketing comes from word of mouth, which spreads when people have a great experience.
  • Determine the best sources for referrals in your area—local physicians, senior centers and rehabilitation centers, churches, discharge planners, medical home care companies, existing client recommendations, elder law attorneys, estate planners, bank trust officers, and geriatric care managers, among others.
  • Create your website.
  • Create your collateral materials.
  • Learn sales techniques specifically for home care.
  • Become involved in the community. Adopt causes strategically.

8
Home Care is Fulfilling, But It Is a Business

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Home care can be a rewarding business to operate both financially and emotionally. Helping and giving back to our seniors can bring great fulfillment and purpose in your life. But remember this is a business. Do your homework. Let this serve as a start. Explore your options and make the best choices for you, your family, your goals, and your lifestyle.

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