The world’s population is aging. One in six people worldwide will be 60 years old or older by 2030, and the share of the overall population over 60 will double over the next quarter century, according to World Health Organization estimates.
This demographic shift has driven a surge in demand for custom senior and disability care options. So, if you’re an experienced health care worker with an entrepreneurial streak this presents an opportunity to start your own home health care business.
But the home health care industry is complex and layered—with issues ranging from licensing and staffing to liability concerns. Even with your industry-specific experience, you’ll need to write a business plan to navigate these challenges and focus your time on providing the best care possible.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to tailor your business plan to tackle the complexities of the home health care industry. And you can even download a free home health care business plan template to help get you started.
Why You Need a Business Plan for Your Home Health Care Business
Do you have a service and staffing plan? Do you know which agency or agencies have regulatory authority over your business? How much funding do you need to pay for equipment?
You’ll need to have answers to these questions and more before launching your business.
That’s why writing a business plan is necessary when starting any sort of health care business. It ensures that you are thinking beyond your expertise as a health care professional and able to easily manage day-to-day operations, insurance and billing snafus, and extensive startup costs.
You can enter this industry with extensive knowledge and the best of intentions. But without a plan in place, you won’t be prepared to run a successful business.
How to write a home health care business plan
For this guide, we’ll be highlighting specific areas that you should focus on when creating a home health care business plan. You can check out or full step-by-step walkthrough on how to write a business plan for additional guidance for creating a detailed plan.
1. Define your vision
What does your business offer that other health care services in the area don’t?
What’s your biggest business challenge right now?
Answering this question is your first step to lay out a roadmap for your business. And it goes beyond just describing the type of home health care business you will open. This is an opportunity to state your core values, long-term goals and the impact you hope to have on the lives of your clients.
Then, discuss what niche it will fill in the market. For instance, will you open your business to fill a need in an area with few health care options? Or will you round out the offerings in a city with a wide range of services?
Remember to keep this relatively short. This opportunity section can introduce lenders or investors to the unique services you plan to provide, like specialized care offerings, tailored care plans, or uses of advanced medical technology. But you don’t want them to get bored with an overly lengthy statement.
You can always go into greater detail about your services in the products and services section of your business plan.
2. Be specific about your service offering
As a home health care business, you will likely provide a variety of services. But will you have a specific focus—such as elder care or post-surgery care? Or will you offer a wider range of general services like medication management?
Additionally, it’s worth stating if your home health care business will be able to manage requests for specialized services based on individual client needs.
Whatever you choose, the important thing is to make your service offerings clear and to back them up with market and customer data. Make sure you describe why these services are essential and how they will benefit your clients. And remember to make a clear connection between your services and your target market, which we will go over next.
3. Define who your customers are
Not everyone with a medical condition will be interested in home health care services—so it’s essential that you focus on a specific set of people.
A home health care service specializing in senior or disability care will cater to that specific customer base. But a home health care business that provides post-operative or palliative care would likely appeal to an entirely different market.
To start your research, try and get an estimate of the population of residents aged 65 and older in the area you plan to serve—which can be found from sources like the U.S. Census Bureau. You may also be able to find the approximate number of nursing and elderly care beds in your area from sources like state licensing records.
This kind of information will give you a broad sense of how many people you could serve in your area. From there, begin to refine your target audience by taking into account competitors, your services, and what you believe you’ll be able to reasonably handle.
4. Understand pricing and insurance
When pricing your services, it’s helpful to research the prices of other home health care providers in your area. This provides you with a benchmark and allows you to position your business based on the value and/or quality of your services.
Now, another factor to consider before solidifying prices is insurance expenses for both your business and patient coverage.
From Medicare and Medicaid to private insurers, you’ll want to document all relevant insurance providers in your business plan. Then, research their reimbursement policies and rates for home health care services to better understand your potential revenue sources.
Different insurance plans may also cover varying degrees of home health care services—with some offering comprehensive coverage and others only covering specific treatments or services. Identify the limitations and requirements of each plan, such as the need for prior authorization or a physician’s referral, to ensure your services are eligible for reimbursement.
Then, make sure you understand the reimbursement rates offered by insurance providers for the services your business will offer. These rates will directly affect your revenue and should be factored into your pricing strategy.
Just keep in mind that these reimbursement rates may change periodically, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date on the latest information.
5. Identify your staffing and licensing needs
Worker shortages are especially prevalent in the health care industry. Without the right number of employees in the necessary roles, you can expect to see fewer customer visits, worse service quality, and potentially increasing employee expenses. This is why you need to have a well-documented personnel plan that takes into account the roles of your employees, how many you’ll need, and forecast potential expenses.
To start this section, carefully consider the services you plan to offer and the number of clients you expect to serve. That will help determine the number of staff members you’ll need and the qualifications necessary for them to do their jobs well. Additionally, be sure to document any training programs and processes your staff members will receive on topics like client care, safety procedures, and documentation.
Home health care businesses also require a variety of licenses and permits. What’s required may vary depending on your location and the services you plan to offer. So, it’s crucial that you understand the specific requirements in your area to avoid any legal issues down the road. And for your own internal management, it may be useful to detail the local, state, and federal regulations and agencies that will be responsible for regulating your business.
You will need to demonstrate knowledge of the operating requirements in your area to receive a license anyway. So take the extra step of detailing the full range of legal and regulatory issues in your business plan. Otherwise, you raise the risk of facing legal consequences, fines, or even the risk of being shut down.
6. Develop a risk management plan
In such a regulation-heavy industry it’s important to think about–and document–internal and external risks. These can be anything from negligence to malpractice claims and even elder abuse.
Consider conducting a risk assessment that takes into account your location, services offered, and employee qualifications. Once you’ve identified potential risks, outline what you’ll do to minimize or avoid them altogether. For example, you can implement employee training programs to prevent theft or malpractice, or you can invest in insurance to protect your business from liability claims.
By protecting your business from potential risks, you can increase your chances of success and longevity. And you can show lenders, investors, and regulators that you have considered the risks and developed the right strategies if they arise.
7. Marketing and PR
As home health care demand rises competion is bound to rise with it—especially if you plan to operate in an urban area where consumers are more likely to have multiple options. As part of your plan you need to not only take your competitors into account but outline how you will raise awareness and attract customers.
Some strategies to consider include:
- Creating a website or online portfolio that showcases your services and provides potential clients with your contact information.
- Using social media platforms to communicate directly with clients, and keep them informed about your services and any special offers.
- Investing in advertising by targeting your ideal clients through print or digital media.
- Partnering with other businesses, such as senior centers, to expand your reach and offer added value.
- You can also consider hiring a PR consultant, but make sure they have experience with home health care businesses or similar industries.
Download a free home health care business plan template and example
To help get you started on your home health care business, check out our free home health care business plan template. You can download this document in Word form and use it as a foundation for your own business plan.
In addition to these resources, you may want to brush up on how to write specific sections of a traditional business plan. If so, take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to write a business plan.