Before you launch your senior home care business you really need to be prepared for a variety of things in the actual business end of the operation. Just like building a home, you can’t expect a good quality building if the foundation you start with is not solid and sturdy. The same goes for any kind of business. There has to be a solid footing and this comes from how you put together your business in the beginning. Here are five questions you need to be able to answer before digging deeper in the senior home care business.
1 – What Will Be Your Legal Structure?
This is the very first item you need to resolve before you go anywhere else with your business plans. The legal structure of your business will define the business as well as provide it with structure to build the balance of your business around. When I refer to legal structure I am talking about the legal form of your business for tax purposes. It will not be a hobby so you will need to decide if you will run your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership or as a limited liability company (LLC). Each has advantages and disadvantages. If you are running it by yourself then it is a sole proprietorship. If you have a business partner then you will be operating as a partnership. A LLC (limited liability company) is similar to a corporation with distinct differences that are much like a sole proprietorship.
2 – What Name Will You Use?
When registering your business you will need to determine the name you will be using. You can go with a ‘company name’ for all the legal parts of the business and use a slightly different one for your actual senior home care business, provided the corporate name is referenced. For example, if my corporate name was ‘Random Services, LLC’ I could use ‘Random Services. LLC DBA Sandy’s Senior Home Care Service.’ The DBA means ‘doing business as’ to differentiate the corporate business from the home care business which hints that I have more than one business operating under the Random Services, LLC umbrella. Before you go anywhere with your business structure, you need to determine the name of the business and if you will be using it alone or as a business under your legal corporate name.
3 – Will You Need Staff?
This is something that may not be obvious at the beginning. Possibly you can run the service by yourself but if the client base explodes to the point where you are working seven days a week and getting little or no sleep, you may want to consider employees. Even adding just one part-time employee will require altering your business structure. If expansion is part of your plan, this is good. When you add additional employees you will need to add administrative costs such as training, wages and additional tasks that you will have to assume as a manager. If you can handle it all as a one-person show that is great as it also means more profit to you. Regardless, you will need to consider the staffing options.
4 – What Services Will You Provide?
It’s easy to just describe this with one line: “Seniors Home Care Services” but what exactly are those services? You will need to sit down and determine the precise services you intend to offer your customers. Many of them will lend themselves to being packaged into combination services where many will very likely end up as standalone services. You will also need to determine the hours you plan to operate your business and on what days. These will all contribute to the structure of your business and provide definition of what you are trying to do. A complete list of services is more or less the ‘menu’ your customers will use to order your services from so it will require detailed descriptions as well as limitations.
5 – What Will The Costs Be?
While I’m discussing the services with you, you should also be putting together a schedule of fees you intend to charge your customers for your services. You would probably be able to use an hourly rate for most of what you will include in your services ‘menu’ with a number of items packaged together for a slightly reduced rate. Pricing your services will be tricky in that you don’t want to charge too much nor do you want to charge too little. A good way to figure out the right price is to research what similar services are charging and adapt it to your market. Remember, if customers complain about prices, you may want to revisit your pricing structure or offer more incentives to keep your business functioning within budget, as long as you don’t shortchange yourself.
Going into business for yourself is an exciting opportunity but too many cause problems by not doing the proper homework. By spending time working on the details before you fling the doors open to potential customers will save you a lot of headaches and problems later on. By using my series of questions you should be able to answer before signing up your first customer, you will be better prepared which will give you a slight advantage in business. You’ll find everything you need to get started in my guide, How to Start a Senior Home Care Business.