Politics and Business
Guide to Getting Started with a Home-Care Business
We have an aging population, something that is set to carry on in the future. There are even statistics that have shown that going forward in fifty years time, there are likely to be nearly millions more elderly people than we currently have. So unsurprisingly, there is, and there will be, a big requirement for care for elderly people. There may be authorities that provide care to some people, however there is a lot of opportunity for independent care businesses to provide care in care homes or privately in homes. If you have experience in this industry, and think that this could work for you, then here are some ideas and tips to help.
Just like you would do for any business, before you start out with a home-based care business or agency, it is vital to write a business plan, and write it in a lot of detail. You might have the passion and enthusiasm to put into the business, but when you’re the owner of the business, that won’t be enough. There are different aspects of business to think about, in order to have some success in this industry over time. Having a thorough business plan will help you to get any funding that you might need, as a lender will want to see that you have plans in place, and they want to see that they will get their money back. A plan can also help you to focus on what areas need work, how to organize your time, and it can also help to keep you organized later down the line.
The services to provide
In part of your plan, you need to make sure that you know what services to provide, and how you want to do it, as there are a few options for you. So think about what you want to offer. Will you provide one-on-one nursing, personal care, or something more along the lines of domestic housekeeping and companionship? Once you have done that, you’ll be better able to carry out certain services and know how to do them. You can plan out if you will do half an hour appointments or will it be on-call care or shift work for the care? Some other aspects to think about are:
- The costs that the business will have, from training, staffing, software, and equipment
- There are a lot of prices that you will charge to think about. Having a rough pricing strategy, to know what you will need to make your business profitable, is really important
- Thinking about how to sell your business and market the business is something to think about and can be additional costs. Will you just use social media, or will you push it through leaflets and a website?
Funding and financial management
The plan for your business will help to give you a focus, and help your attention to be on what you need to do to get things started. Your finances are something that is so important to consider, as that can be what makes or breaks the business getting up and running. There will be some upfront investment that is needed, there is no getting around that fact. This could be something that you’re able to cover yourself, or something that you’ll be able to do privately. There are, of course, loans that you can apply for, that are specifically for small businesses, so that could be something worth looking at.
One of the things that you should do is to look at your budget and what your first expenses will be. There will be some small things, like business cards, uniforms, and a website, for instance. But there will be larger expenses like getting the equipment that you need, from an Ambulatory EEG to harnesses or other medical equipment that you’d need for in-home care. Work out the costs and then you can look at what funding you will need. From there you can make a plan, which will include some expenses and the sales that you will need. Being able to manage your cash flow will be vital for success in business.
Keeping things legal
Before you start an in-home care business, you will need to think about the specific rules and regulations that are part of the industry, to make sure that you don’t break the law. What agencies should you register with where you live? There will be some legal requirements to do so, such as registering with the Care Quality Commission in England, for example. You should also register the business, as it is another legal requirement to do so. Having yourself, as well as others, that are going to work with you, need to be qualified and have the correct skills and training. Experience may not be necessary, but having the skills and training means that you are legally covered. Insurance is another must for keeping things legal, as you will be in people’s homes, administering medication, and in some cases, providing intimate care. So make sure that you are covered and have things like police checks in place.
Getting clients on your books is how you are going to make money and make the business a success. So you need to think what the best things are going to be for you to do. One of the things to think about is getting a website set up, to make sure that you have a presence online for when people search. This could also be done through social channels, to get your name out there, as people do search for things on social channels, like they would on a search engine. Advertising, again with social media, can be a low-cost but effective way of doing things. You can be quite specific with social media advertising, such as setting location and age settings. But newspapers locally and even radio can be a good way to reach your target audience.