Is your home care agency in the early growth stages? Here’s an overview of the challenges and solutions you need to be aware of. Guest post by Annabelle at HomeSecurityHeroes.com.
Getting into home care can be a great way to bring together your passion for helping others and the need to make a profit. However, just like a startup in any other industry, the road to becoming a successful business isn’t always smooth sailing. There are some challenges that any newcomer on the home care scene has to face.
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Finding the Money to Start
Any new company needs to find some capital to get started. Home care startups, though, need a little more than others. By some consultants’ measures, it can be as much as $40,000 to $80,000 for a non-skilled and private-pay startup.
This cost increases when other factors are considered. For example, a licensed but non-Medicare company would need an estimated $60,000 to $100,000. For a Medicare-certified company, the starting cost jumps to $150,000 to $350,000.
Where do these costs come from? Mostly, they are centered on licensing costs and payments or software and technology. Office space also makes up a large chunk of startup expenses. Consultants also suggest that new owners take a detailed look at not only the initial costs but the probable budget for their first year of business.
There are a few ways that new startups can make these funds. For one, many business owners tap into their own savings. Additionally, many turn towards loan programs or utilize assets such as borrowing against their own home.
Finding New Customers
New companies do have the initial disadvantage of not having a large customer base to draw upon. This means that you’ll need to compete with veteran companies who have an existing customer base. To do this effectively, you’ll need to put an emphasis on marketing.
Many new companies do this by offering incentives to new customers such as discounts or free items. These have to be balanced to make sure that this cost is making a profit that will cover it. This may not be a profit made immediately, but a profit made over the course of offering a client your services. If your promotions cost more than they’ll make, you won’t benefit from doing them. If a loss is incurred by any business in marketing, the goal is to earn that back in profit.
A home care startup doesn’t usually run with a single person. After all, one person can’t be in the home of different clients all at once. This employee pool may be small at first, but it still needs to put quality above all else.
There are a few things to do before hiring someone for home care work. For one, you’ll need to run a background check on them. This prevents putting both your business and clients at a potential risk.
You’ll also want to make sure you look at for the right qualities. There’s more to finding a home care employee than just being capable. They need to be compassionate as well as capable.
The best way to find the right employees is to set up a strict hiring process. If you ask one candidate one set of questions and one candidate another, it’s going to be difficult to score the two against each other. This becomes even more important as your startup grows large enough that you won’t personally be hiring all future employees yourself.
Introducing Tech to Seniors
Home care, like other industries, is trying to stay ahead with their technology. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to introduce seniors to new technology. Yet, this doesn’t mean that they won’t use technology. The University of South Carolina reports that it can be helped by designing technology for seniors. They suggest upgrading slowly, making technology easy to use, and keep information accessible, and similar ideas.
One good example of this is to introduce medical alert systems. These systems usually work at the press of a single button that calls for help when needed. They also often monitor conditions of their own accord to call for help when a senior can’t. Technology such as this is also often a wearable piece that isn’t easily misplaced or reachable in an emergency situation.
Using Tech Internally
Just as you might use technology to help clients, you should use technology systems internally as well. This will make office tasks easier and more effective. Billing and coding or keeping client files can be kept digitally. This also solves the problem of files getting lost or destroyed as most digital files are now saved online or at least backed up online.
This does pose the challenge of introducing technology and technology updates to your staff. Many companies solve this by introducing new technology slowly when possible or offering training sessions for new systems.
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There are state and federal guidelines for how home care businesses should run. It’s absolutely crucial that your business follows these guidelines to stay and be viewed as legitimate. If you don’t, you risk your business being labeled as illegitimate which can create a financial loss or even more severe repercussions.
Federal guidelines are frequently changing, so you’ll want to stay up-to-date on what the current regulations include. For example, home care companies are federally required to inform patients of their rights. This must be done verbally and in writing. There are also current regulations that increase direct patient input and personal representative – such as a family member – input as well.
As far as state guidelines, you’ll need to check with your local government specifically. The laws that apply in one state may greatly differ from another.
When opening a home care startup, there are some challenges that new business owners will face. With a little planning and ingenuity, though, you can build up a successful home care startup.
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