How to Write an Assisted Living Business Plan + Free Sample Plan PDF

Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon Glucklich

Elon Glucklich

7 min. read

Updated April 3, 2024

Free Download: Sample Nursing Home Business Plan Template

With the U.S. senior population expected to reach 80 million by 2040, the demand for assisted living services is skyrocketing. 

Seniors are living longer, and many are looking for amenities like health care, fitness, and recreation services as they age. This surge in demand, plus consistently high occupancy rates in well-run facilities, means starting an assisted living facility or improving your existing facility can be an incredibly lucrative business venture.

However, achieving success requires more than just filling rooms. From ensuring the health and wellbeing of your residents, to navigating license and permitting requirements, to understanding your market to securing funding for your facility, you’ll need to think strategically to ensure your care facility reaches its full financial potential. 

A business plan organizes your market, customer, and competitive research, so you can prioritize the most profitable services and develop marketing strategies to attract the right residents. Think of it as your roadmap for defining a successful business model. It’s the type of proof of concept that lenders or investors will need to see before they’ll feel comfortable funding your venture.

What should you include in an assisted living business plan?

Here are a few sections we recommend including in an assisted living facility business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial plan

No two assisted living business plans will be exactly alike. A residential assisted living business owner’s market research and growth strategy will vary depending on the market or markets they’re operating in. And while some assisted living developers own large portfolios of facilities in multiple locations, others may be focused on a single location.

If you’re starting a new assisted living business, it’s likely that you’re seeking a bank loan or outside investment. Business plans written for funding typically follow a detailed and proven structure to impress lenders and potential investors.

Below we’ll highlight some of the most important business plan sections for an assisted living business. 

Executive summary

Your executive summary is your facility’s elevator pitch. 

It’s the first, and sometimes only, section of your business plan that a lender or investor will read. So your executive summary needs to be engaging.

In no more than two pages, draw the reader in with an overview of your business opportunity and mission. Why are you passionate about serving seniors? What problems are you solving for residents and their families?

Describe what sets you apart. Maybe you’re opening a new facility in a location with pristine views and landscaping. Or maybe you’re offering innovative care programs.

Briefly mention your team’s qualifications and commitment to resident care. Touch on the factors that will be key to your success, such as hiring highly trained staff or introducing programs tailored to residents’ needs.

Market analysis

With significant startup costs to run an assisted living facility, it’s crucial that you understand both the broader senior living industry and the dynamics in your market. The market analysis section is where you show potential funders of your project that you’ve done your research.

Get to know your potential residents. Start by analyzing the size and projected growth of the senior population in your area. The U.S. Census Bureau is an excellent source of demographic information, and should include the age breakdown of your community.

It’s also important to determine the characteristics of your potential residents. Are you targeting:

  • Active seniors seeking independent living with some support
  • Seniors dealing with, or recovering from, surgeries or other medical issues
  • Seniors with memory care and other intensive needs

You may be targeting a combination of these services in your assisted living project. But no matter who your ideal customers are, you need to demonstrate through your study of industry and demographics trends that there is a demand for the services you’re offering. 

Competitive analysis

Identifying your competition is crucial if you’re planning an assisted living facility. A lender or investor will expect your business plan to analyze your facility’s competitors, and demonstrate that there’s room in the market for a new entrant.

Start by researching and listing your competitors. These could be:

  • Other licensed assisted living facilities
  • Independent living communities
  • Adult foster homes
  • In-home caregiving services

Note their size, services offered, and any specializations they offer. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Are they large chains or smaller, family-owned facilities? 

Consider factors like:

  • Location
  • Pricing
  • Reputation
  • Level of care

Be honest about your facility’s strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition. Do you offer a unique activity program? Are your rooms more spacious?  Focus on what sets you apart.

Answering these questions will help you determine how to stand out and win over potential residents and their families.

Remember: Solid research is key. Back up your assumptions about your target market and competition with data and analysis. This shows potential investors and partners that you have a strong grasp of the assisted living landscape.

By the end of your competitive analysis, you should be able to state why a family would choose you over your competitors. 

Marketing plan

This is where you turn your market and competitive research into an actionable plan to attract residents to your facility.

By now, you should have plenty of information about the senior living market in your area. Now it’s time to document how you’ll reach families seeking senior care services for their loved ones.

Start by thinking broadly about tactics to reach your target customers:

  • Networking with healthcare providers and elder care professionals to spread awareness of your facility
  • Advertising online, through television commercials, in printed publications and on social media
  • Appearing at community events

Each of these strategies accomplish the goal of boosting your visibility. Make sure your messaging through these marketing channels emphasizes the factors that set your business apart from competitors. They might include: 

  • A focus on personalized care
  • Top-of-the-line amenities
  • A vibrant social calendar

Additionally, spend some time in your marketing plan to discuss your pricing and sales process. Document your pricing and how it compares to your competition. And detail how you will turn prospects into residents. Will families tour in-person? Can they schedule virtual consultations? The plan should detail the entire journey prospects will experience, from initial awareness of your facility to moving in.

Finally, remember to track the results of your marketing efforts. This helps you refine your strategy and get the most out of your marketing budget.

Financial plan

This section is where your careful planning turns into actual numbers. While it might seem intimidating, don’t worry – you don’t need a finance degree to get this right. Here’s what a typical assisted living financial plan includes:

Sales forecast: Project occupancy rates and income from resident services. Be realistic, especially in the first year, and consider different pricing tiers if applicable.

Expense budget: List all planned spending, including:

  • Staffing (one of your largest costs)
  • Food, maintenance, and supplies
  • Insurance, marketing, and licensing fees
  • Legal and professional services

Profit & Loss (P&L): This combines income and expenses to show if you’re profitable.

Cash flow statement: Crucial for managing bills. Shows when money comes in and out, so you avoid cash shortages.

Balance sheet: This snapshots your facility’s financial health, listing assets (like your building), liabilities (like loans), and overall equity.

Important notes

Startup costs: If seeking funding, detail costs like renovations, equipment, and initial staffing.

Assumptions: Be transparent about any predictions you’re making (occupancy rates, growth, etc.). This adds credibility.

Use of funds: Explain to potential investors exactly how their money will fuel your success.

Industry-specific costs: Research sample financials for assisted living facilities to ensure you cover all your bases.

Remember, your financial plan is a living document. Revisit it regularly to track your progress and adjust your strategy as needed.

Download your free assisted living one page sample business plan

Download our assisted living sample business plan right now for free. You can download other medical and health business plans, or check out Bplans’ collection of over 550 free sample business plans to find more inspiration. If you’re considering other types of senior care businesses, read our article on how to write a home health care business plan.

With tons of opportunity, but significant upfront costs, it’s crucial to do your homework before investing funds in your assisted living plan. Writing a business plan is one of the best ways to put yourself on a path to a financially viable business.

And the business plan is an absolute must if you’re looking for outside funding to help you turn your dream into a reality.

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Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.