The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and research suggests that 88% of adults over the age of 50 want to age in place. This means that in the coming decades there will be a tidal wave of older adults who will need homecare services in order to safely age in their homes as they desire. For those who are seeking their next business venture, those statistics make starting a homecare agency look like a great investment opportunity. But starting any new business can be overwhelming, as it’s a big undertaking. That’s why we have compiled a list of the steps homecare provider hopefuls can follow to get their new business up and running.  

A. Always Do Your Research 

Before starting a business, it is important to conduct market research. This process involves gathering important information about your competitors and customers in order to create a winning business strategy. The Small Business Association (which has many wonderful resources businesses can use to get their new venture off the ground) recommends answering the following questions as you begin your market research: 

  • Demand: Is there a desire for your product or service? 
  • Market size: How many people would be interested in your offering? 
  • Economic indicators: What is the income range and employment rate? 
  • Location: Where do your customers live and where can your business reach? 
  • Market saturation: How many similar options are already available to consumers? 
  • Pricing: What do potential customers pay for these alternatives? 

The use of surveys, focus groups, and interviews can help you answer these questions, and prepare you to create your business plan. 

B. Become a Business Legally 

As with any business, there are steps you must take for it to be a legal entity and, in this situation, a certified homecare business. Every state has different procedures and licensing requirements for non-medical homecare businesses, so it’s best to check with your state’s department of health to see what will be required when it comes to licensing, insurance, and registration. Beyond licensure, you will need to incorporate your business, and obtain your tax ID number (also called an E.I.N number).  

C. Come Up with a Formal Business Plan 

Creating a business plan will help you think through the different steps involved in starting and growing your business, but potentially even more important, it’s what you will leverage to get funding or bring on partners. Check out the SBA business plan templates to get started. 

D. Determine How to Get Funding  

Consider how much funding you’ll need based on the structure of your business. Will you need to pay caregivers right away? How many office staff will you have? Where will your office be located? Do some research around available grants for people opening a homecare business. There might be some surprising funding avenues you can utilize to get your new business up and running. 

E. Establish a Sales & Marketing Plan 

A sales and marketing plan is critical to the success of a new homecare business, as this is how you will build your census. Consider taking the following steps to get started: 

  • Create a Google My Business profile— this will allow your business to be found online when people near you search for homecare agencies, and it is where happy customers can leave you reviews. 
  • Create a website- when people are deciding between homecare providers, they will most likely visit multiple websites. Your website is the home of your brand identity, so make sure it discusses your value proposition and what differentiates you from competitors. It should also provide all the information needed for someone to contact you. 
  • Network with local medical centers to start establishing a referral network. 
  • Network within your community, attend local small business events and other local gatherings where you can distribute information about your business. 
  • Consider creating paid ads that lead people to your website. 

F. Figure Out a Retention & Recruitment Plan 

With the caregiver turnover rate sitting at 64%, and a caregiver shortage making recruitment difficult, it’s no surprise that 65% of agencies said the shortage has had a negative impact on their business. This is why if you are planning on opening a homecare agency, you must have a recruitment and caregiver retention plan in mind. Consider implementing the following strategies: 

  • Utilize staff referrals 
  • Implement a caregiver rewards software 
  • Create a plan for training and career mobility 
  • Provide helpful technology for caregivers, like a mobile app 
  • Decide which benefits will be offered 
  • Create a mentorship program 

G. Get Compliant 

Achieving compliance is a vital part of starting and maintaining a homecare agency. If providers aren’t compliant, then they will not be able to get paid for the services they deliver. Ensure awareness of the following compliance requirements: 

  • Electronic Visit Verification (EVV)- As part of the Cures Act, caregiver visits must be electronically verified.  
  • Confirm your caregivers meet requirements and are eligible to work with patients by running caregiver exclusion lists. 
  • Utilize HR tools to ensure medical testing, background checks, training, and more are completed. 
  • Visit and Plan of Care Compliance 

H. Hire the Necessary Staff 

You’ve got your business set up, and now it’s time to hire your first staff members. Consider hiring for the following positions: 

  • Executive leadership– This might just be you, or potentially a partner. 
  • Caregivers– These qualified professionals will be responsible for caring for your members. 
  • Homecare Supervisor– This person is responsible for managing the caregivers and working through the referrals. 
  • Scheduling Coordinator– This is an administrative role that manages the member and caregiver schedules. 
  • Client Services Manager– This person is often considered the customer service representative. 
  • Marketing & Sales Manager– Larger organizations may hire a sales and marketing expert. 

I. Invest in a Homecare Management Software 

As mentioned above, in order to be complaint, homecare providers need to utilize an EVV software. The HHAeXchange software meets these compliance requirements, and with flexible EVV methods including our GPS mobile app, telephony, and FOB devices, providers can make it easy for their caregivers to remain EVV compliant.  

But homecare providers need software for more than just EVV compliance. Homecare software also improves overall efficiency, compliance, and decreases administrative time and costs.  

HHAeXchange offers the only homecare management software that connects providers, state Medicaid programs, managed care organizations (MCOs), and caregivers through one platform. Additionally, within the HHAexchange platform, providers can manage clients and caregivers, and automate time-consuming duties like scheduling, billing, and payroll.  

For new providers who are just starting their business, having the ability to manage their day-to-day responsibilities by logging into one platform can save them precious time, and prevent costly errors caused by doing work manually or housing data in multiple locations. 

Now You Know Your ABCs 

Starting a homecare business takes work, but it is also a rewarding and exciting endeavor. Not only will you be helping people live fuller, happier lives, but you will be surrounded by like-minded people who believe in your mission. To learn more about how a homecare agency just starting out can get up and running quickly and smoothly, schedule a demo today.