Are you wondering how to start a private home care business? Look no further!
Home Care is a great business opportunity! Before COVID-19 we were already facing a crisis in health care with the aging baby boomers. Now, more than ever the health care system needs more professional caregivers. Starting a home health agency is a perfect opportunity to provide services for people who need them, where they need them most: AT HOME! You will also create jobs for home health aides and personal support workers that can offer flexible scheduling and lower workloads since home care is traditionally a ratio of one caregiver to one client. We need more home health care services to provide support within individual's homes. Thank you for being part of the solution!!
The baby boomers are aging and they need additional resources to be able to remain safe and independent at home (and to care for their elderly parents!). This blog post is to help you determine the types of private home care businesses and to help you figure out whether the home care industry is a good fit for you by reviewing the 5 MUST-DO start up steps.
There is no better time to start your initial survey into the home health care industry than right now!
The following steps are the minimum requirements for starting your own home care business.
- The first step is to determine the type of care you want to you want to provide. Will you operate a non-medical home care business or a home health care agency?
A non-medical home care agency provides domestic services that do not need to be delivered by a skilled health care professional. Non-medical home care is paid directly by the client, or private-pay.
Non-medical home care services include:
- Meal preparation
- Assistance with transportation
- Personal Care
A Home Health Agency provides skilled health care services such as nursing and physical therapy. Home Health Care services are generally covered by medical insurance or in Canada the provincial health care plan.
Home Health Care agencies would provide the following services:
- Diabetic Foot Care
- Wound Care
- Palliative Care (medications required)
- Dementia/ Alzheimer's Care
- Physical Therapy
- IV therapy
In the United States, Medicaid certifications and a home care license are required.
In Canada, you are required to have a licensed business but there is no specific licensing or certifications required for home care business owners. Just to repeat that to clarify, in Canada you need to have a business license (which is obtained when you obtain your business number) but there is no specific certification or license to operate a home health care company. It's always good to do your own checking with local sources directly. The best place to search for permits/ licenses in Canada is BizPal
Now that you have a bit more information, the best way to determine what type of home care business you want to operate is to research other home care providers and learn more about the services that they provides. If you want to run a private pay home care agency and you do not have training as a health care professional, then providing non-medical home care services is the best next step.
2. Determine the type of business structure that works best
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (United States only)
Each structure has it's own set of pros and cons. A corporation is a separate legal entity, and can have multiple shareholders. A sole proprietorship is just you, although you can hire employees, but you and the business are one in the same. A limited liability company (LLC) is a unique option in the United States that is defined as a business structure that protects its owners from personal responsibility for its debts or liabilities. The LLC sounds pretty good, but we don't have that option in Canada! Incorporating is the only way to separate you as an individual from your business in Canada.
3. Make a Business Plan:
A comprehensive business plan is an essential step in getting in starting your own home health care agency.
- Include details about your target market (ex: senior citizens, adults with special needs),
- Marketing plan (including a social media plan)
- List of medical professionals and health care providers in your community who could refer potential clients
- List of services you will provide to your clients
- Your business model (ex hourly billing, packages with fixed rates)
- List of start up costs
- Valid license requirements & Medicare certification (if applicable)
- Employee plan including hiring and your plan for caregiver training
Once you get this step done you will be ready to jump into opening your own business! Don't skip this step! It will also be a necessary document if you are planning to apply for financing. Banks want to see your business plan! If it feels like too much to start from scratch, I get it. I made one for you to use and edit. You can purchase it here
4. Pick a Business Name:
The business name will be your brand, and you will be saying this name a lot! Make sure that it's easy to pronounce and easy to spell.
It's a good idea to get feedback from others on some of your name ideas before you settle on one. You want to make sure it means the same thing to others as it does to you. For example, maybe you think "1STAR HOME CARE" is a perfect name....but when you ask your friends you realize 1 Star usually means that the service is TERRIBLE (because 5 Stars is the best). See? Easy to avoid if you seek feedback.
Your name can reflect the types of services you offer or more personally reflect you as the owner…or both! A memorable business name is a great way for referral sources to remember you. Don't be worried about looking like a small business. A smaller home healthcare business is able to provide a more personalized experience for new clients compared to bigger companies, so be proud that this is your own business!
5. Create your Client & Employee Forms & Documents: To keep your start-up costs low, consider buying the Home Care 101 start up kit to edit and customize professional forms that are ready and waiting for you to use in your business today. This sort of help will accelerate your timeline for opening by MONTHS!
Once you have completed these first 5 necessary steps, you can start focusing on your potential customers. Remember that the business of caring for others can be exhausting work, so make sure to keep your blood pressure under control and create a sustainable work/life balance.
Now you can start building the fantastic business you always dreamed of....that you can run from your cell phone!
If you are looking for additional information, check out my article on Don't Buy a Home Care Franchise
In Health & Good Home Care,
Purchase the Home Care 101 Complete Start Up Kit to put you on the fast track to starting your own home care agency!
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Did you like this article? Check out some more great content!
- Tips on how to start a Successful Canadian Home Care Business
- How to grow your small Canadian Home Care Business during COVID-19
- Why I Don't believe in buying a home care franchise
- The Financials of a Successful Home Care Business
- What comes first, finding clients or hiring Caregivers?
About the Author
Hi there, these are very informative!
Looking to start a home care agency, you mentioned that I need to be a registered business first. Is this a must? Or can I start off independently then register later if the business plan works?
Looking forward to hesr from you and will purchase the starter kit!
Hi! Yes in most cases you must register your business. The only exception I believe is if your business is your name and you are providing direct services. If you plan to grow your business I would definitely recommend starting out with a set up that allows you to grow! This link may be a helpful resource for you: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/start/register-with-gov/register-sole-prop-partner.html
Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll be putting them to practice.