Now that there are almost 50 million Americans over 65, and 7 million over 85, senior service businesses are springing up like weeds to take care of our aging population. One of the most in-demand senior service businesses is a senior home safety business, which helps seniors avoid falls in their own homes.
You see, most seniors want to “age in place,” and live independently in their own home as long as possible. But as they age, they are at greater risk for in-home injuries as they become more prone to falls or other accidents. Many of these falls can result in serious injuries, such as head trauma and hip fractures.
Helping seniors to remain safe in their own homes is essential as the senior population continues to grow. This need for safe senior homes has created a brand new business opportunity in just the last few years. By providing home safety checks that help seniors stay safe at home, and then showing them how to make simple home modifications that will allow them to safely age in place for many years in their homes, you can help seniors and help yourself to generous profits from these safety checks.
A senior home safety business is ideal for anyone who wants to help others, be their own boss and work flexible hours out of your own home. How many other businesses can do that? In a nutshell, you can do well by doing good for others. The charge for a complete senior home safety survey is between $60 and $200, depending on how large the home is. In addition to the basic safety survey charge, most folks partner with local contractors and service providers to earn commissions and referral fees when a homeowner needs additional work to make their home safe, such as ramps, grab bars, walk-in tubs and other modifications. It’s quite common to earn $200 or more from commissions and referral fees on a home that requires even simple modifications.
What services to offer: Most senior home safety consultants offer a complete interior and exterior safety check, using a 120 point checklist that covers everything from sidewalk trip hazards to lighting safety. Other simple add-on services, like supplying non-slip pads for area rugs can add additional income. (The markup on good quality pads is 100%, and the average home needs several!)
Costs to start: This really is a low overhead business, as it’s just you and a clipboard. Most of us already have a dependable vehicle and a smart phone for staying in touch with customers and prospects. Of course, you’ll need business cards and a simple tri-fold brochure to leave at places like your local senior center or doctor’s offices.
Skills required: Unlike a traditional home inspector, who must have some construction knowledge, a senior home safety business deals only with basic safety issues, such as safe lighting, safe walkways and fall safety. You can learn the basics in a day, and as long as you have some common sense, can be ready to start right away. All that is required is to go room to room and check off all the items on the safety checklist for that room. It also helps if you’re a “people person,” as you will need to explain your findings to your senior clients. I’ll admit this is probably age discrimination, but if you’re over 45, you’ll do better, as seniors tend to trust those closer to their own age than a much younger person.
Marketing your safety consulting service: Speaking of trust, your first customers will tell their friends after you’ve gained their trust by helping them stay safe at home. Most consultants find the bulk of their new customers are referrals from their friends who’ve had a safety survey done at their home. At first, pass out business cards to everyone you meet, and place a stack of brochures at the local senior center. A small classified ad in local senior publications will help spread the word as well.
Keeping it legal: It goes without saying you will need to get the required business licenses from your town or county, as well as a federal I.D. called an EIN, available at IRS.gov. Once that’s done, check in with your insurance agent to see what the insurance requirements are for using your vehicle for the business. Even if your insurance rates increase, don’t forget you can deduct 55 cents per mile currently on your tax return for business use of your car.
This is truly a win-win service business. In addition to the earnings potential – many safety consultants are earning a six-figure income – you’ll have the satisfaction of helping seniors stay safe and live a better quality life in their own home, in addition to the respect you’ll gain in your community for helping those seniors prevent crippling falls. To learn more about helping local seniors stay safe at home, read Start Your Own Senior Home Safety Consulting Business.