Opening your own non-medical home care business isn't just a good business decision--it's a growing necessity. Thirteen percent of the United State's population will be 65 or older by the year 2010, according to the Census Bureau. This means that more people will want non-medical home care to assist them in their home and delay their admission to a retirement home. It also means a wellspring of clients for you.
Develop a business name. Take into consideration the comfort level of your customers—both the elderly and their children. You want a business name that sounds comforting and caring. For this reason, many companies choose a nature-related name or a name evoking a comforting aesthetic.
Find out what your state's specific licensing guidelines are for operating home care (see "Resources"). The rules, requirements and process for obtaining a license vary from state to state.
Develop a policy handbook that outlines a plan of action for any type of situation you encounter, such as your areas of practice, licensing, health care background and experience, client rights, client responsibilities, situational procedure, hiring procedures and job descriptions. Your state's licensing board may require you to have a policy handbook before receiving your license.
Develop your financial system, including bank accounts and an accounting system to keep track of your businesses revenue, expenses, accounts payable and receivable and payroll. You will want to keep track of the monthly bills sent out to insurance companies and families of the elderly.
Determine what qualifications you look for in an employee and what your long-term strategy for retaining employees. Typically, you will want someone who has gone to college or had training after high school for nursing or health care. These people should also have clean background checks, since they will be going into the homes of clients, where there are many ethical boundaries to be mindful of. You will also want people who are willing to commit long-term, because non-medical home care requires stability for long-term success. This is because comfort and familiarity are essential to building a strong relationship with those being cared for. When the home care assistants change frequently, those needing assistance are more likely to feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with their service, and they become more likely to seek out an alternative.
Find a suitable workspace for your business. Even if you are working in people's homes, that doesn't mean you can run your business out of your own. Set up an office with adequate workspace for all your employees, keeping in mind it is the only physical location your clients will ever see to base their perception of you on.
Develop a marketing plan to get your company's name out there. Focus your advertising towards the adult children of the elderly, rather than the elderly themselves. Children will be more likely to get help for their parents and push them towards accepting in-home care. Network within the community and capitalize on advertising space in publications and other media to get your business in the public eye.
A policy handbook is not only important for the organization of your business, it's important you have all this written down and presentable to a potential client when they interview with you about purchasing your services.