The first step in starting an elder care business is to determine the type of service to offer by considering skills, financial capital and interests. Service options include medical care, socialization opportunities, in-home care and transportation. Providing in-home services such as help with cleaning, cooking and running errands requires little capital, but certain states have training and licensing requirements. Regardless of the offered services, understanding relevant state and local laws and regulations is essential to early decision-making.
Listing an individual's intentions, skills, finances and human resources in the context of state and local licensing, training and regulatory requirements is part of developing a business plan. The business plan should also include details related to service delivery, fee structure, start-up costs and record-keeping. Emergency procedures, liability insurance and other operational details are also included in a business plan, which outlines the tasks required to move a business from an idea into reality. Assistance and training in this effort are available through the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers, the National Adult Day Services Association and other national associations.
Zoning and regulatory issues are key considerations when selecting a business location. Additionally, even if the business operates as a sole proprietorship, it is wise to obtain an employer identification number from the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to liability insurance, bonding for extra protection and the possible addition of an umbrella policy attached to an individual's homeowner's insurance are recommended. Creating a website, buying newspaper advertisements and making contact with senior centers, care giver support groups and similar organizations are good marketing options.