November is National Home Care & Hospice Month, and CareAcademy honors the contributions of direct care workers (DCWs) and the value they bring to their clients and families. These heroic caregivers play a central role in our healthcare system and in homes across the nation.
The home care field is rapidly expanding. In fact, Home health care revenue in the U.S. has grown to $97 billion. This massive shift has been driven by an expanding older adult population who are overwhelmingly interested in aging in place. AARP reports that 90% of seniors plan to remain in their homes as they age today.
With such explosive and ongoing industry growth, it’s no surprise that savvy caregiving professionals and entrepreneurs are considering throwing their hats in the ring in creating their own home care agencies.
One of the fastest-growing sects of the home care agency is non-medical services, which commonly include support with activities of daily living, like cleaning, safety checks, and socialization. Read on to learn how to get started with your own home care business.
Medical vs. non-medical home care business
First and foremost we need to make the distinction between medical and non-medical home care agencies.
Medical home care is provided by medical professionals and includes wound care and general nursing services, such as monitoring blood pressure and mental state. This type of care is typically needed by senior citizens and those recently discharged from the hospital.
Non-medical home care is provided by professional caregivers or other (licensed or unlicensed) non-medical personnel and is based around essential day-to-day assistance. For example, home care aides will prepare meals, clean the house, help change or dress an individual, or drive them to or from doctors’ appointments. They might also play cards or board games to keep seniors cognitively engaged.
Read on for more on starting your non-medical home care business.
Step 1. Structure and incorporate your home care agency
The first step in building a successful non-medical home care agency is to decide on a name. Once you have a name, you’ll be able to incorporate your business and access an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
In many states, a home care business must apply for a specialized license (get your EIN ready -- you’ll need it.) Currently, only 28 of the 50 states require a specialized license, but you will need to contact your state to get the latest information.
Once you have your paperwork and licensure underway, it’s time to think about your business plan. What services will you offer? Who is your ideal client? How can you target your services, business structure, and messaging to most effectively meet their needs?
The answers to these high-level questions then should be reflected in your budget. Be sure to outline a budget that includes the many moving pieces of owning and operating a service-based business.
Small business experts at BizInsure recommend including the following items in your non-medical home care agency budget:
- A professional website
- The cost of incorporating your business
- Cost of software (billing, scheduling, marketing, communication, etc.)
- Marketing (flyers, posters, billboards, online advertisements, etc.)
- Licensing and certification materials and test costs
- Payroll (if you are hiring additional staff)
- Office equipment and supplies
- Office costs (not applicable if you are working out of your own home)
- Insurance (liability, automotive, etc.)
- Nursing supplies
Step 2. Staff your home care agency
Some home care business owners opt to begin with a single caregiver model, wherein you are both the business owner and the skilled care for your clients. Compensation for non-medical care services ranges from $13 -$35 per hour by state. Considering the national average of $27 per hour, a single-person care agency could expect to earn $50,000 per year or more – depending on how much you charge for your services.
However, when you expand your company to include multiple caregivers and home health aides, profits for the business owner typically increase drastically, which is why many home care agencies keep multiple caregivers on staff.
Unfortunately for new agency owners who are hoping to grow profits, hiring and retaining caregivers can be challenging, given the shortage of caregivers. To address this dynamic in the field, the majority of savvy home care agency owners are offering advanced training and advancement opportunities for their staff.
Step 3. Market and grow your home care agency
Now that you have the basics in place, you’re ready to start attracting and growing your client base. Marketing your new home care agency is a critical part of increasing your revenue and ensuring the long-term success of your business. Home care agency owners should think of marketing efforts on two levels:
These are your high-level marketing efforts that help establish your brand as a trustworthy option for clients. High-level brand marketing includes aspects like developing a professional website, creating active social media channels, and securing a google business and directory listening with other reputable sites.
You might create a blog on your website to demonstrate your caregivers’ expertise, or create caregiver bio pages to humanize your team, and create a packet of marketing materials that accessibly outlines your services for potential clients.
Local marketing is critical when providing a community-based service like home care. Try these local marketing ideas to get your business off the ground and established in your community.
- Set up your google business listing to connect with potential clients and their families searching online for services
- Connect with local hospitals, nursing homes, and medical centers to create an in-person referral network.
- Attend community events with marketing materials to introduce your business to your potential client base.
- Create social media ad campaigns to target local clients
Start growing your agency today
The need for qualified non-medical home care services is on the rise. If you’re ready to build a successful business serving your community and beyond through a non-medical home care agency, we’re here to help. Learn more about how CareAcademy can help you build your home care business.