Starting a senior home care business is a great way to become your own boss in a rapidly growing field. In these uncertain economic times, self-employment can still offer opportunities to make a solid income and provide job security for the future. In addition, senior home care is a recession-proof business, as folks still get older and need help regardless of whether the economy is booming or in recession.
As boomers become senior citizens, they are driving the demand for senior home care. The senior population today is over 40 million in the U.S., and expected to double in the next 2 decades. As seniors age and become less mobile, they need more help with everyday activities, such as meal preparation, housekeeping, bill paying, errands and more.
START-UP COSTS. A senior home care business can truly be a “shoestring startup,” as the 2 essentials, a reliable vehicle and a cell phone, are items which most of us already own. A computer with internet access in needed, but the new affordable laptops, such as the Chromebook, can be purchased for around $200, and will easily handle most basic business needs.
Printed sales and marketing tools, such as business cards, flyers and brochures, are important business-building tools, but can be purchased online from services such as vistaprint.com at prices that won’t break even a tiny advertising budget.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU CHARGE? The amount you can charge for your senior home care services depends more on where you live than any other factor. Hourly rates, the most common way to charge for home care services, range from as low as $18 an hour in smaller towns to as much as $40 an hour in the larger cities. The national average for non-medical home care services is currently $24 an hour.
RECOMMENDED SKILLS & TRAINING. Starting a senior home care business requires no formal education or medical training. The 4 most important skills are: common sense, caring compassion for your senior clients, honesty and organizing skills. Those skills come in handy for scheduling clients, errands and household tasks at client’s homes. Honesty is way up there on the “essentials” scale, as without honesty, your clients will never trust you or recommend you to other seniors – the best way to build your business.
MARKETING TIPS. Since your clients will all be seniors, you just need to reach them where they are – places they live and hang out with other seniors. If there is an over-55 community in your area, place an ad in the monthly newsletter or bulletin, and post a flyer at the community hall. Local senior centers are a natural spot to post a flyer or leave a few business cards or brochures.
A free ad on Craigslist.org can bring in a steady supply of new prospects, as can a simple web site to help prospects find you on the internet. Don’t forget, a big chunk of senior care dollars are spent by the adult children of older seniors, who may live far away from their parents, and need a local home care provider to help them.
INCOME POTENTIAL. Using the national average rates for senior non-medical home care of $24 an hour, an established senior home care provider could earn around $900 to $1000 a week, or $45,000 to $50,000 per year. If you have employees, that number could go much higher. There are also “add-on” services, such as safeguard visits, that can add even more to your income.
Starting a senior care business could be your escape from the rat-race, or unemployment. It is also an ideal part-time business for anyone over 50 who wants to “semi-retire,” and still have extra income coming in. With a rock-bottom startup cost and solid earnings potential, the future is looking bright for anyone who wants to start a senior home care service.