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Starting your own non-medical home health care business – A complete guide

Nov 9, 2018 · 8 minutes to read

Non-medical home care is a great business opportunity for anyone who is caring, trustworthy, and empathetic. In the next few years and decades, the need for at-home care will rise dramatically, due to the aging population of Baby Boomers, and an overwhelming preference among elderly individuals to “age in place”, rather than live in an assisted-living facility or nursing home.

If you’re interested in working in this field, we’ve put together a guide on how to get a license for a home health care business, outlined the business plan for a home care agency, and put together some of our top tips for how to start a non-medical senior care business. Read on and get the details now.

How to get license for home health care business and other requirements

Licensing requirements for home health care businesses will vary, based on your state and even your city. We’ll discuss the process of obtaining licensure in more depth later in our guide. First, let’s focus on the basics – what home health care agencies are, and what they do.

What is a home health care agency?

A home health care agency is, essentially, any business that takes care of the elderly, disabled, or folks with special needs – in a non-medical capacity. Unlike a home care nurse, for example, you are not responsible for administering drugs and medicine, or other such tasks.

Different elderly care and home health care business ideas

Need some elderly care business ideas? Wondering what options, you have for your services? Here are a few different strategies and idea you can use, and a few examples of common home health care agency businesses.

Senior needs assistance

This type of home care primarily involves caring for the day-to-day needs of a senior, such as helping them get groceries, driving them to doctor’s appointments, cooking for them and helping them eat, and other such basic tasks involving health, nutrition and hygiene.

24-hour home health care

This usually involves two caregivers, who both work 12 hours shifts, and look after all of the basic necessities of an elderly or disabled individual, to ensure that they are safe, and have all of their needs met.

Transportation services for the elderly and handicapped

If you want, you can specialize in providing independent transportation services for elderly, handicapped, and disabled individuals. This may require you to invest in a van or a large vehicle with support for wheelchair lifts, and other specialized equipment.

Elderly and PWD equipment and facilities

You could also start a business that supplies equipment for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and the elderly, such as shower rails, walk-in showers, non-slip mats, stairlifts, and other such equipment. If you’re handy and love working on home improvement projects, this may be a viable business model for you.

Technical support and assistance

Elderly individuals tend to have issues with modern technology. Offering IT, tech support, and technical assistance to these older folks can be a great way to make a living, particularly if you love technology.

In home care

In home care usually involves helping an elderly person with most or all of their day-to-day tasks, and providing them with companionship, care, and assistance whenever they need it. You may choose to offer in-home care to a number of different clients – or live with one client full-time.

Starting A Non-Medical Home Health Agency

Wondering how to start a non-medical home health care business? Here are a few things you should know.

How much does it cost to start a home health care business?

Starting a non-medical home health agency is actually quite inexpensive, compared to other businesses. You do not need much initial equipment – and if you’re working on your own, you won’t have expenses for any other employees.

Typically, the highest costs will be related to getting licensed and certified in your state. In some cases, you could start your business for less than $1,000. However, your costs will be higher if you need a vehicle with a chairlift, or any other specialized equipment.

Home health care business income

Wondering what your home health care business income will look like, once your company has gotten off the ground? The national average rate for at-home non-medical care is about $27, so you could make up to $50,000 per year or more – depending on how much you charge for your services.

And, if you expand and hire more employees, you can pay them hourly wages – averaging $11-$15 per hour – and keep the rest of your profits for yourself. As your business grows, your expenses will go up, but so will your profits!

Home health agency license certification

Getting home health agency license certification is the first step you’ll need to take to start running your business. The non-medical home care business forms and licenses you’ll need depend on your state.

Because the process varies so widely based on your state, it’s hard to give you step-by-step instructions on what to do. However, you’ll usually need, at the very least, to take a specific training course, and become certified for CPR/AED. In some states, you don’t need any special license beyond this – but in others, you may need to take other courses for personal care, and caregiver training. Here’s a full list of requirements by state.

Business plan for home care agency

Building a business plan for your home care agency is a key step in determining if your business will be viable or not – and if it’s a worthwhile investment. In your business plan, among other things, you’ll outline:

  • The rate you’ll charge for your services
  • Your target demographic
  • Costs associated with licensing and certification
  • Your monthly budget and break-even rate
  • Your business objectives and goals
  • Your corporate values
  • Expansion plans

You can’t start a successful business without a plan – so think through every aspect of your business when creating your business model. This guide from Bplans is a good place to start, if you need more help writing your plan.

Sample budget for home health care agency

Your budget will vary, depending on the services you’re offering. However, you can expect to budget for:

  • 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

Depending on how you structure your business, you may also incur other additional costs. But these are the primary costs associated with a one-person home health care agency.

Home health care marketing plan. Ideally, you’ll want to target your marketing efforts at three primary demographics:

  • Older adults and seniors
  • Adult children of seniors
  • Other relatives of persons with seniors, handicapped individuals, or persons with disabilities

Your marketing plan should focus primarily on these three market segments. One great place to start is by contacting doctors and asking for referrals, or if you can put literature or advertisements about your services in their offices. Your home health care marketing plan should also include:

  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  • A strong online presence, with a modern website optimized for high search engine results
  • Blogging and content creation, to bring in more customers and educate them
  • Placing ads in local newspapers, and listing your business in The Yellow Pages, and in other local publications
  • TV and radio ads can be a viable option, but are usually quite expensive – don’t invest in these until your business has already gotten off the ground

It may be worth reaching out to a small, local advertising or marketing agency to see what they will charge to assist you in creating a marketing plan. It’s cheaper to do it yourself, but if you partner with a professional, they’ll certainly be able to help you grow your business more quickly.

Home health care insurance – what coverage do I need?

This depends on the services you’re offering. At a minimum, you’ll need:

Professional liability insurance, which protects you from claims of malpractice, incompetence, or negligence. This is also known as “errors and omissions” insurance.

Depending on what you do, you may also need:

General liability insurance, to protect you from claims involving third party bodily injuries and property damage resulting from your product or operation.

Cyber security insurance, which can protect you from some HIPAA penalties resulting from a hack or breach that reveals a customer’s PII (Personal Identifiable Information).

Get Started Now!

After reading this guide, you’ll know how to start a private home care business on your own. Do a bit more research, decide if this is right for you, and get started right away! You’ll be able to do good in your community, and start a successful, profitable business.

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