One inescapable demographic reality that every industrialized nation on Earth must face is a rapidly aging population. By 2050, it’s estimated that the United States will have more than 88 million seniors, many of whom will require hands-on care and assistance. Already, a crisis is unfolding that threatens the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens due to a lack of adequate health care. As a result of these looming demographic shifts, there’s no time like the present to launch a senior care business of your own.
Selecting an Appropriate Niche
The first thing you’ll need to decide on when mapping out your business is what area of senior care to focus on. There are many different facets of elder care that one can specialize in. For the highly ambitious, a broad approach to senior care offers greater profits with a commensurate increase in responsibilities and potential liabilities. Obviously, starting a full-blown, integrated senior care facility is beyond the financial capabilities of most solo entrepreneurs. Therefore, it’s best to pick one niche like check-up visits, cleaning, cooking or physical therapy to pursue.
Before you print any business cards, it’s important to perform some basic market research in your local area to see what’s in demand as far as senior care is concerned. If you’re going to specialize in home visits and transportation, there’s little you’ll need in the way of start-up capital. If you plan on expanding your business later on, an EIN from the IRS is required to hire additional employees. In the event that funding is required, a loan can be had from the U.S. Small Business Administration or a local credit union.
Depending on your chosen specialty, you’ll probably want to invest in some training and education to make you more effective at providing care to seniors. Knowing basic life-saving techniques like CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver is a good start. As far as bureaucratic paperwork goes, you’ll need a business license from your city or state for tax purposes. Registering your company as an LLC is a good idea as this will offer your fledgling business maximum protection from potential liabilities further down the road.
No matter what area of care you choose to specialize in, you’ll find that a senior care business requires a decent time commitment and round-the-clock availability. Though you can make a minimum of $20 per hour right off the bat, you’ll need to schedule your care delivery intelligently to maximize revenue. A little light house cleaning, some cooking, providing transportation to appointments and the occasional odd hour comes with the territory. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice is a great resource for advice on how to best care for your clients.
You’ll find that attracting a reliable stable of customers will be the most challenging part of running your enterprise at first. Though online methods of marketing such as Google+ and Facebook can work wonders, a more personal approach is a better bet. Senior care is an industry where trust reigns supreme. The families of your clients will want to ensure that you’ll take good care of their relatives. As such, word-of-mouth advertising will often be the best way to sell your services to potential customers.
When embarking on any entrepreneurial pursuit, it makes sense to determine how far you’re willing to go with your project. The nice thing about senior care is that it’s not an all or nothing proposition. You can either make it a part-time pursuit or a full-time career. Expanding a senior care business is a bit trickier, though it’s by no means as difficult as with other ventures. Thanks to senior care’s massive growth potential, it’s one of the best businesses to get involved in at the moment.