A small senior home care facility offers residents companionship, privacy and the comfort they want, while also giving the the supervision they need. As a general rule, this type of facility offers services like meals, laundry, supervision of medication, housekeeping, daily living assistance and planned activities. In some cases, the home care service may also offer other amenities like transportation. Although this is a fast-growing industry, potential business owners must realize that this is a complicated startup. Working conditions are exhausting; dealing with emotional issues brought on by illnesses, aging and dementia can be difficult. Operating this business becomes even more complicated when owners must comply with strict state licensing requirements.
Before starting a senior care facility, an owner should think of the type of care and services the business will offer. There are different types of residential facilities, some specializing in helping seniors solely with daily living, transportation and entertainment activities. Other types of facilities do not provide assistance with daily living and only provide medication and general supervision of residents’ welfare. The type of services offered will determine the initial business capital needed, the number and type of employees needed and the overall licensing requirements for the business.
Many small businesses start at home, but owners rarely think of zoning laws that affect their doing business in their own residential area. Zoning law violations can result in fines, additional business costs and even the closing of the business. These laws refer to residential use, neighborhood traffic laws and even the ability to park in front of the home. A potential owner should contact their local government to see if an elder care facility in a particular area violates any special zoning ordinances.
Licensing requirements for senior home care businesses are not federally standardized and will vary from state to state. The type of services offered will determine the business licensing needs and the level of difficulty in meeting these licensing requirements. For instance, a facility that administers medication must be run by a licensed medical professional. It will have stricter regulations and licensing requirements, while a senior home care center offering only companionship and assisted living services will have fewer requirements.
An owner should also check with his state department of aging, or the social services department, to ensure the business meets all health and safety requirements. This department will conduct regular on-site inspection to ensure that you are in compliance.
An owner must register the business either as a sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company or corporation. Most business owners choose to register as a limited liability company because of its protection of personal assets. Consulting with an attorney specializing in business law is beneficial when making this decision as he can explain the financial, legal, and accounting implication of each business structure. Once the registration is complete, an owner needs to visit the Internal Revenue Service website to obtain an Employer Identification Number, EIN. This number is required to open a bank account under the business name and to file the business tax forms.
Obtaining insurance quotes and purchasing appropriate insurance coverage is the next step in setting up the business. These are special insurance requirements set forth by the local licensing office. If an owner does not meet state required specific insurance needs, he will not be licensed to operate. As a general guideline, a senior home care facility needs professional liability insurance and fire and theft insurance.