You have chosen to launch a very profitable and valuable service in your community with a NEMT business. (FAQ – NEMT means non-emergency medical transport, such as taking patients to medical appointments)
But before you start booking pickups and deliveries, you need to have a few details already in place. Trust me, some of these things you may not even think about until you need to, so I want to give you that extra boost by helping you sort them out now, rather than later. I have chosen to break these up into a total of eight different steps. Following them will provide you with the foundation to build your NEMT business upon.
1 – How Big Is Too Big?
I’ll be honest with you, the NEMT business can be a part-time venture keeping you busy and earning you a decent wage. It can also explode into a very large operation servicing several clients and expanding service options. But before anything starts with your initial business plan, you need to decide what size you want your business to be. This also means having a plan in place to address expansion,when it is needed.
2 – The Cost of Doing Business
As part of your business plan you will have to budget for expenses. When you first start up your NEMT business you will have to account for such items as insurance, transportation licensing and permits, fuel, utilities, vehicle maintenance, office supplies and anything else you will need to keep your business functioning well into the future.
3 – Rate Scheduling
As is the case with any kind of business, the fees you set for your customers will be an essential part. As NEMT business operators typically earn between $35 and $60 per hour, you will need to find the price that fits best with where you are in business. City operators can charge more than rural operators. Plus, depending on your specific client base, you may be able to offer discount packages or incentive programs that will increase your cash flow when things can slow down.
4 – The Unique Factor
In communities where you may have competition in the form of various other transportation providers, you will need to find something that makes your NEMT business stand out from all the others. It may be that you provide personal service, take the time to get to know your clients and are a welcome part of their family. This could be the ‘hook’ that makes your service different from the others. Whatever you choose to focus on, make it the item you use as part of your brand, in advertising and promotion plus any other tool you use to communicate with your client base.
5 – Branding
Speaking of marketing, you will need to find a way to reach your demographic through the use of a brand. A brand is something that identifies you and your customers will recognize as being you and your business. It can be a name, a color scheme, a slogan or a combination of things. Whatever you choose as your brand will be able to set your service apart from others, including potential competitors. You should make your brand easy to remember and easy to identify.
6 – Client Future Plans
Once you get established with your NEMT business you will need to look at the client base and determine the potential of long-term business. Let’s be honest, you are going to lose some clients over time. While some may stop using your service, you will lose some of your most loyal customers as they begin to age and pass on. This means you need to keep connected to the sources of clients you have used to see the new stream of seniors entering your age demographic. You will need to work on ways to introduce your service to new potential clients all the time so you can keep meeting your business goals as some clients are lost.
7 – Diversification Opportunities
As you will be servicing an age group that will require a number of different needs, you may see additional opportunities developing. This means that maybe there is room for additional services to be offered as either an extension of your NEMT service or as a completely new business venture. Your specific location and the needs of your customers should guide you with this.
8 – Broker Your Business
You can build associations with brokers and this will help your business to thrive. There are several ways to do this, but essentially you will need to keep detailed records in order to meet the demands of a broker. Once you can work with a broker, you will see a shift in your business and if you can meet their demands, everyone wins.
It is a very timely opportunity – the NEMT business. It addresses the needs of an aging population by providing reliable transportation services at their fingertips. The difference between you and any other transportation service should be flexibility and personalized service. If you follow the list of eight tips I’ve provided here, you will not fail at this business. In fact, you will be that much closer to having a runaway success on your hands.
Also, grab a copy of my start-up guide, which has everything you’ll need to succeed and make money: