A considerable number of people need constant care and nurturing. These are elderly people, disabled people, and seriously sick patients. Due to employment or remote residence, relatives cannot take on all the worries and concerns. For this reason, they apply to special services whose duty is to provide professional care for their patients. This business is promising, as public health facilities cannot provide long-term care during the recovery period, and private clinics are way too expensive. So, how do you open a homecare agency, and what steps do you have to take? Compiling a business plan is not as easy as writing a college essay. Today, we are going to share with you some useful pieces of advice.
Explore the territories
What should you start with? First of all, you need to evaluate the market potential of your city. To do this, divide the number of residents by four. That’s how we get an approximate number of families. After that, we divide it by 30 and get the number of families living in the city that have relatives who need assistance. Finally, we divide it by four again. At least a quarter of these people have thought about paying for these services and have money to cover the expenses. Even with all these calculations, the number is going to be huge. In the meanwhile, you will need to have at least fifty long-standing clients for business to be successful in the first year after its launch. Fifty people are a drop in the ocean for a large city. While assessing the market, you should also examine your competitors if there are any. Try to find their strengths and weaknesses, analyze their approach, and try to offer something extra that will make your agency different.
Create a strategy
Either you open everything from scratch or use franchising, coming up with a business strategy is a vital component that holds everything in order. Make sure this document includes agency start-up costs, initial staff costs, marketing, operational strategy, taxes, and advertising campaigns. It is beneficial to have your business plan reviewed by a qualified finance professional to avoid errors and delinquencies. Do not hesitate to add even the tiniest expenses into the budget. It is also essential to create a business development path: set the desired material goals and ways of achieving them. Make sure you prepare agreements both for your employees and future customers. It is best to seek assistance from a local lawyer so that these documents take into account all legal requirements. Make sure you understand each wording to avoid problems in the future. In other words, you have to take care of all the paperwork and make sure you are ready to start your entrepreneurial adventure.
In theory, you can start your own business in social services without a penny in your pocket. The only couple of things you need are a computer with Internet access, the employer ID number, business entity, and registration. In the beginning, it is possible to work without an office, from home, with a minimum (1-2 people) number of full-time employees. In the future, of course, you will need an office (maybe 2-3 offices, if we are talking about a large city). Why would you need an office? That’s the place where your future clients will come to sign contracts, where you train your future employees.
In practice, it is better to start with at least 40 thousand dollars. If you have a more substantial amount, you can open two or three offices at once. The advantage of this business model is that it adapts to a variety of formats.
High income, however, should not be expected, especially in the first couple of months. But in any case, most likely, you will not lose what you have invested: the investment will return to you in about a year. As we have already mentioned, you will need at least 50 regular service agreements for this business to be profitable. In the future, you can consider selling franchise yourself.
Look for the right people
You can have several models of recruitment. You can either cooperate with independent caregivers and pay an hourly rate or employ people full-time. However, you have to make sure you will have enough customers to cover their wages. In addition to checking the background and experience of your future workers, you have to make sure they suit your agency’s requirements in terms of personal traits of character. It’s vital to check the criminal record of the people you interview. The geographical availability of the staff is also an important factor. Your agency must have an extensive database of qualified people who are willing and able to provide social care services. Then, when an order comes in, you always have the opportunity to find someone who lives nearby.
Keep it under control
As you can see, it’s quite easy to start this kind of business. But as the number of customers and employees grows, the administrative tasks become more complicated. Consider purchasing special software or automated systems that allow keeping accurate records, simplify the work with agreements, and store everything in one space.
It’s vital to establish excellent relations with local clinics, hospitals, and private doctors as they may recommend you to your potential customers. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing instruments in this sphere. Make sure you work on your reputation and maintain a good relationship with your partners.