If you are a nurse or a medical practitioner and you are sick of working as an employee for the government, you can consider starting your own private nursing service.
A private nursing service is relatively easy to start, it requires moderate start-up capital and it is indeed one of the coolest ways to make money as a nurse especially if you are starting the business in the United States, Canada, Europe or in Australia.
Since the demand for private nursing service is increasing in places with aging population, more private duty nursing businesses are opening up to meet this demand. So, if you know you are a nurse or you have interest in the healthcare industry and you live in a community where the elderly requires special care, then you should consider starting your own private duty nursing service.
It is a fact that you can make your first million dollars within 2 or more years of starting your own private duty nursing service, especially if you are in an area where the rush for private nursing service is high.
The good thing about private duty nursing service is that if it is well established, your service won’t just be restricted to old people or those who need you to send nurses to their homes, but would expand to hospitals that are short staffed and would need trained nurses for a period of time on contract basis.
If indeed you want to start your own private duty nursing service, then you should read through this article, it will help you establish your own private duty nursing service from the scratch and build it to profitability within the shortest time possible.
Steps to Starting a Private Duty Nursing Business
1. Understand the Industry
Establishments in the Home Care Providers industry mainly provide services in the home. These services may be medical or non-medical and can include skilled-nursing care, personal care, homemaker and companion services, physical therapy and medical social services.
It is important to state that in-home hospice care providers are part of the Home Care Providers industry. If you are a close observer of the Home Care Providers industry, you will agree that over the last five years, the industry growth has been nurtured by an aging US population, the occurrence of chronic disease, growing physician acceptance of home care, medical advancements and a movement toward cost-efficient treatment options from public and private payers.
Nevertheless, in spite of strong past growth, the funding the industry benefits from government sources has come under intense pressure in recent years. Going forward, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement cuts will continue to seriously threaten the industry.
Nonetheless, strong and steady revenue growth seems likely for the Home Care Providers industry in the next five years, as a result of an aging population and increasing interest in home healthcare.
The Home Care Providers industry of which private nursing services is a part of is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in countries such as United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia and Canada et al.
Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are about 403,589 registered and licensed (accredited) home care provider companies (private nursing services companies inclusive) scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 1,780,797 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $89 billion annually.
The industry is projected to grow at a 4.5 percent annual growth within 2011 and 2016. It is important to state that there are no establishments in this industry that has a lion market share.
A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that the Home Care Providers industry is highly fragmented. IBISWorld expects the three-largest industry firms to generate less than 10 percent of industry revenue in 2016. As hospitalization costs have increased and aging consumers have embraced the home healthcare trend, many new firms have entered the industry in the last five years.
The report further stated that the total number of industry operators has grown at an annual average rate of 3.4 percent during this period, a rate only slightly behind that of the industry’s 4.3 percent revenue growth over the same period.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own private duty nursing services business could be that the business is easy to set up and one can easily run the business as a one man show (sole proprietorship) and still generate good income.
It is important to state that the private duty nursing services business is indeed a growing business. Even though the business is not considered a Green business in the United States of America, one can comfortably say that the business is booming and open to potential entrepreneurs.
Over and above, the private duty nursing services business is very open to any aspiring entrepreneur who has acquired the required training, skills and perhaps professional certifications to start his or her own business and of course make good money from the industry.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who hire the services of a private duty nursing services business is not restricted to the elderly/aging population.
They have a wide range of clientele ranging from parents with disabled kids and kids with special needs, and people generally who cannot take care of themselves or do the basic things that is expected of them due to accident or one form of disability or the other.
In essence, the demographic composition cum target market for a private duty nursing service is all encompassing; it is not restricted to any age group, race, tribe or group of people. So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your private duty nursing services business, then you should make it far reaching to everyone and household within your location.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Most private duty nursing services business tend to operate general services that a standard private duty nursing service provider is expected to offer, that is why it seems that there are no niche areas in the industry. But on the other hand, some private duty nursing service companies may decide to major in some key or niche areas such as;
- Providing homemaker and companion services
- Administering in-home physical therapy
- Providing in-home hospice care
- Providing 24-hour home care
- Administering in-home occupational and vocational therapy
- Providing in-home dietary and nutritional services
- Administering speech therapy
- Providing in-home medical care
The Level of Competition in the Industry
No matter the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others who are into the same line of business and private duty nursing business is not an exemption.
The level of competition in the Home Care Providers industry of which private duty nursing services if part of, to some extent depends largely on the location of the business, your niche area of operation and of course the capacity of your private duty nursing company.
If you can successfully create a unique niche for your private duty nursing service company, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only private duty nursing services company in your location that is into administering in-home occupational and vocational therapy or administering speech therapy, you can successfully monopolize the market for a long time before you start having competitions.
It is important to also state that the competition in the private duty nursing services business is not restricted to the line of business but you will be competing against all players in the Home Care Providers industry.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands who perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than the others.
Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long while and so are known for that, while others are best known for how they treat their patients. These are some of the leading private duty nursing service companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- HCR ManorCare
- Golden Living Assisting Hands
- Almost Family
- Addus Health Care
- Apria Health Care
- Community health Systems
- LHC Group
- National Healthcare Corp.
- Benedictine Health System
- Care Initiatives
- Hospice care
- Genesis HealthCare Corp
When starting a private duty nursing services business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profit, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start competing at national level.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your private duty nursing services business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, pricing, and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular interval while running your private duty nursing services business.
As a private duty nursing services business owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profit and be in the frontline of the industry.
It is important to note that transportation cost is one of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of a private duty nursing services business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.
This is so because your employees are expected to report to the office, before proceeding to their place of duty as assigned by the organization.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to start from the scratch as against buying a franchise.
Besides, it is easier to start and run a private duty nursing company from scratch to profitability without leveraging on a known brand name. People will patronize your services based on your ability to deliver excellent services as it relates to private duty nursing services.
Please note that most of the big and successful private duty nursing services companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own private duty nursing services company today, one of the major challenges you are likely to face is the presence of well established private duty nursing services companies and of course other players in the Home Care Providers industry in your target market location.
The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on households and individuals in your immediate community. Other threats and challenges that you may face when you start your private duty nursing services company are mature markets, stiff competition, volatile costs, and rising medical care prices.
So also, unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, downturn in the economy which is likely going to affect consumer spending and of course emergence of new competitors within the same location where yours is located.
There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When considering starting a private duty nursing services company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as private duty nursing services company.
Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale private duty nursing services company especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start-up capital. But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons.
As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and operate all across the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
For example, Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships.
Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your private duty nursing services company so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your private duty nursing services business.
Here is some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own private duty nursing services business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Equipment and Auto Insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
9. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own private duty nursing services company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark.
This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties. On the other hand, if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even operation concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection.
If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subject to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
10. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
If you intend starting a private duty nursing services company in the United States of America, you are encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in the market.
Besides it is almost impossible to run a private duty nursing services business in the United States without the proper professional certification. In most countries of the world, running any medical related practice without a license is illegal.
In most jurisdictions, individuals found to be providing medical, nursing or other professional services without the appropriate certification or license may face sanctions including even criminal charges leading to prison. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own private duty nursing services company;
- Registered nurse and Licensed practical nurse Certificate
- AADNS Certification
- Director of Nursing Services–Certified (DNS-CT)
- QAPI Certified Professional (QCP)
Please note that you cannot run your private duty nursing services company without any professional certification especially the basic one such as private Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed practical nurse.
11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.
If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own private duty nursing services company in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Employee’s Handbook
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
12. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a standard and well equipped private duty nursing services business is not capital intensive especially if you choose to launch the business on a small scale and you are the only full time employee on your payroll.
Purchasing a bus/van (for easy movement of your staff and medical equipment (stethoscopes, Blood Pressure Cuffs, oxygen tanks, and first aid kits) and of course the purchase of medical equipment is part of what will consume a large chunk of your start–up capital.
In essence, if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have the need to go source for fund to finance the business. No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things and perhaps the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan.
If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start-up capital for your private duty nursing services business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from government, donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
13. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
A private duty nursing services business can be started in any location as long as there are elderly people and people with special needs residing in the location. As a matter of fact, you can start your private duty nursing services business in your house and still grow the business to profitability.
Generally, in business, it cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
14. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to starting a standard private duty nursing services company, you will need stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, oxygen tanks, first aid kits and other related equipment that will aid you in carrying out your job. It is important to state that this equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are operating on a low budget.
In setting up a small office for your private duty nursing services company, you will also need computer, printer, home healthcare software, telephones, pager, photocopier, scanner, fax machine, first aid kit, gloves and uniform.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for your private duty nursing services company, the size of the private duty nursing services company you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice.
Besides, you don’t need a big office to operate from since you will be going out to attend to your clients as against your clients coming to your facility. As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finances before making the decision.
Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard private duty nursing services business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer), Accountant, Nurse Aide, Caregiver, Nursing Home Administrator and Customer Services Executive/Front Desk Officer.
Please note that if you are operating the business as a one man show, then you must be ready to occupy all of the above positions and also outsource some key functions like bookkeeping and accounting et al to professionals when the need arises.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 3 to 7 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard private duty nursing services company.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
Service delivery as it relates to private duty nursing services to a large extent depends on the organization and what they stand to achieve.
Basically, a private duty nursing company sources for clients, once they are able to win a client over based on the services they intend offering, they will both agree on the terms and conditions as required by the nature of the job they are to execute.
For example, if it is to take care of an elderly person for a period of time, they will ensure that they carry out all that is agreed upon.
The services could be providing homemaker and companion services, administering in-home physical therapy, providing in-home hospice care, providing 24-hour home care, administering in-home occupational and vocational therapy, providing in-home dietary and nutritional services, administering speech therapy or providing in-home medical care.
Depending on the organization, the nurse assigned may be required to report to the office before proceeding to is duty location or he/she may be required to proceed from home to his/her place of duty and report back to the office to submit report for the day.
15. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small scale private duty nursing services business is low means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with creativity and innovation if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your private duty nursing services company, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile.
Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to your line of business. This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your services. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your private duty nursing services company;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, elderly homes, hospitals, religious organizations and organizations for the elderly amongst others with your location of operation
- Open your private duty nursing services company with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
- Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to market your services
- Advertise your services in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business and services on yellow page ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your private duty nursing services company
- Engage in direct marketing and sales
- Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people will consider you an expert in the field)
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.
16. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is a dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a business that is profitable and can last long.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your private duty nursing services company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health related magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business
- Install your billboards on strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshow from time to time in targeted neighborhoods
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact households, elderly homes, hospitals, religious organizations and organizations for the elderly amongst others in your target areas by calling them up and informing them of your private duty nursing services company and the services you offer
- List your private duty nursing services company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your private duty nursing services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks are well branded with your company logo et al.