How to Start a Caregiving Business
If you think you have what it takes to provide unparalled caregiving service, here's what you need to know to start your own caregiving business.
Starting your own caregiving business isn’t an easy task. The nature of the job in general can be quite demanding and requires a special kind of person. However, if you have a passion for this line of work and can really see yourself owning your own business, this is the article for you.
Before you even start with the business plan, you should do some research into the services covered under the Australian Medicare program. Some services you may have considered entering into may not be covered, and you may need to rethink your strategy.
- Customers have no reason not to employ your services.
- They are more likely to keep hiring your services on a regular basis.
- You will have a very steady stream of customers with the rise of senior population.
- You will not be paid straight away.
- You will have to make a claim to the Government for the work you completed.
- If you have incorrect paperwork or file something wrong, it can be grounds not to pay you at all.
Your business plan is essential for every business, no matter what they are selling or how. We’ve previously covered this in more depth in another article, and explained how to write an effective one. Writing a good business plan will help you remain on track, and will be helpful if you ever need to present it to gain additional funding.
Sometimes it helps to have a guideline on how to write it up though. You can download a template or create it from scratch if you have experience with it already. Or alternatively, get advice from a business lawyer.
There are few structure types you can have if you are considering a caregiving business. They each come with their own advantages, disadvantages and legal issues to consider.
Starting from scratch
This is the way to retain all of the profits you make from your business. Besides the obvious costs of operating and other expenses, you have no other fees to pay others unlike a franchise. The registration fees are relatively low, and you are able to have full control from the start. This type of structure would be best if you have extensive experience in the industry and know exactly what you are doing.
Franchising an existing business is best for those who have some experience in the industry but would like some guidance. The benefit of franchising is that you can use the resources and reputation of an already successful company. You see this a lot from the ‘Jim’s Mowing’ business. Now franchised into cleaning and even automative repairs. There is an instant trust between people and Jim from years of hard work.
The disadvantage here is that you will need to pay not only for the business itself, but also ongoing fees to the owner for using said resources and reputation. The exact amount is agreed between you and the owner, but it can incur a lot of money. You will need to consider this carefully before entering into any franchise agreements.
Buy an existing company
A nice balance between franchise and starting your own company is buying an existing caregiving business. You will not have to pay any registration fees or ongoing franchise fees. However, you may have to pay a substantial amount for the business itself. Especially if it is highly successful.
The advantage is that you can have full control once bought, and access to all their existing customers and resources. This takes the guess work out of it for you and gives you guaranteed work straight away.
The disadvantage is the initial payment. It is usually the biggest cost, but it can be rewarding. Another risk is customers being scared of the change. Once they have become used to their usual caregiver, they may be skeptical and not trusting of a new person. It may take more work to win these existing customers over than finding entirely new ones yourself. A way around this could be requesting that the owner introduces you to all his customers before you take over.
Location, location, location
You should do a survey of the demographic of your area. If you prefer to stay around your house you’ll need to make sure that there are enough customers who require your services. A good way to start is searching for local retirement or nursing homes.
Perhaps you can even strike a deal with a retirement home by offering some of your profits as a commission for each customer referred. This way you can secure multiple jobs in one place, saving you travel time. Having your own car is essential for this business so you can bring your equipment and travel with it safely.
So before starting your caregiving business, you should check you have researched on all the above points. Passion for helping people is a must in this line of work, and the rest follow closely. Think carefully about the structure you will have, and how it will benefit or hinder your success.
Taeisha is a Legal intern at Lawpath. She is a Law student at Macquarie University, previously completing her Commerce degree. She has an interest in Commercial Law.