Starting a senior transportation business is a lot easier that starting most other businesses because it’s a service business that doesn’t require a store or inventory. The demand is growing fast for senior transport drivers because of the large number of aging Americans who can no longer drive and need a ride to medical appointments, shopping and social events. If you’ve just heard about this business opportunity, you probably have a few questions before you’re ready to get started. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:
What does a senior transportation business do?
One in five seniors over 65 does not drive, and needs to get to and from medical appointments, such as a visit to their doctor or physical therapist. Also, just like the rest of us, non-driving seniors need to go shopping, run errands, visit friends and attend social events. The fast-growing demand for private senior transportation services has created a huge opportunity for those who can provide rides for seniors and others who can not drive.
2. What hours do you have to work?
Because you are an independent service provider, you have a quite a bit of control over your work schedule. Most of your driving jobs will be during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm) but there can be occasional evening work, depending on your customer’s transportation needs. If you prefer to work only part-time – say 20 hours pre week, you can often arrange that with your customers.
3. How much do I get paid for driving seniors to and from their medical appointments.
A senior transportation business typically charges between $30 and $60 an hour. Rates are higher in larger cities and lower in smaller towns, where the cost of living is lower. If you work an 8-hour day, it’s possible to make an income between $60,000 and $120,000 a year.
4. Do I need special insurance?
Yes, you will need to have liability insurance and auto insurance coverage for business use of your vehicle. In our guide, How to Start a Profitable Senior Transportation Business, you will find a list of 8 national insurance broker who specialize in senior transportation business insurance, who can give you the coverage you need at a competitive price.
5. What are the most common senior transportation services ?
Every customer is different, but most of your work will be taking seniors to their medical appointments, such as doctor’s visits, or regular visits to dialysis or physical therapy. As your customers get to know you, they will also ask you to drive them on personal trips, such as grocery shopping, errands and to social events.
6. Is a senior transportation business expensive to start?
Not at all if you already have a reliable vehicle. Aside from a vehicle, you’ll need a smartphone to stay in touch with your customers and schedule your rides.
When you start out, you will need business cards and flyers or brochures to pass out to potential customers and health care providers who refer customers to you. By using affordable online printers like Vistaprint.com and uprinting.com, you can get your printing done at a discount and likely spend less than $300.
7. What if I’ve never done this before?
If you’re a careful, safe driver, and you enjoy helping people, you have the most important two skills you need. The driving trips are very much like what you already do every week – with one important difference – now you get paid for driving! A senior transportation service is all about people, so the ability to be a friend, a good listener and have a cheerful attitude and a can-do attitude is very important too.
8. How do I find new customers without spending a lot of money?
The best method is word-of-mouth, because when you do a good job for a senior customer, they will tell their friends. Another almost free method is to leave a simple flyer or brochure at your local senior center and local doctor’s office and clinics. That can bring in many new customers as well. Our guidebook, How To Start a Profitable Senior Transportation Business, lists 18 proven, free ways to get new customers.
9. Does starting a senior transportation business require specialized training?
Because you will be providing non-emergency medical transportation (N.E.M.T.), you do not need medical training, although almost all drivers take the affordable CPR and First Aid classes offered at local Red Cross centers.
10. Do I need a specialized vehicle, like a wheelchair van?
No, because for every customer that is wheelchair bound, there are many more who are ambulatory (able to walk). In addition, many who are in wheelchairs can be assisted getting in and out of a vehicle, and the wheelchair can be stored in the trunk in transit.
The best vehicles for transporting seniors are larger sedans, SUVs and Mini-vans.It’s important for senior customers to be able to get in and out of a vehicle easily, and larger vehicles tend to be better for that.
11. Is there really a lot of work for a local senior transportation service?
There are over 48-million seniors in the U.S and over 5-million in Canada. That number is growing rapidly, as 10,000 people turn 65 every day! One in five seniors does not drive and needs transportation to medical appointments, errands and social events.
Family is not always available, the bus schedule may not be dependable, and many seniors need assistance to get from their home to the car and then into the doctor’s office. Try asking a bus driver to do that! You can provide a helping hand, a reliable, dependable ride and a friendly smile.
Finally, the federal government requires each state to provide transportation to and from medical appointments for every patient on medicaid. Most states use independent brokers to schedule rides for patients, so simply registering with your state’s broker can provide lots of steady work. Our guidebook lists all the brokers, so it’s easy to find the right one for your area.
12. Is it true I can get a free new car for my medical transportation business?
In our guide, How to Start a Profitable Senior Transportation Business, we explain the simple way to get this special tax deduction from the I.R.S, or the C.R.A in Canada, to pay for the cost of a leased or purchased new or used vehicle.
If you are seeking a way to provide a dependable income from helping others, consider starting your own senior transportation business. The start-up costs are low and your customers genuinely appreciate what you do for them. To discover more about this amazing service business, read our guidebook.