Starting and running an Assisted Living Home is not easy...but these steps can help increase your likelihood of success.
Create a business plan
Put it under scrutiny and revise as needed. In talking to assisted living owners, I’ve found a number who’ve relied on guesswork, hunches, and optimistic projections in place of clear metrics.
Here are some useful business planning resources:
Think location, location, location
Seniors don’t normally travel very far when searching for an assisted living home. In most cases, it’s close to where they last resided, or where one of their children lives.
So, before opening a home, look at the demographic profile of the town, city, and county. Specifically:
- Income and net worth
- Population growth (or loss)
- Number of other assisted living homes
You can find much of this data for free online. Be sure to read How to Do Market Research and Market Research Resources for more on researching the market you plan to enter.
Keep impeccable records
Running an assisted living home means having to file a good amount of paperwork. It’s not as bad as some other businesses, but the penalties for getting behind are more severe.
In many states, even minor infractions (e.g., late payment for a license) will put you in the state’s digital doghouse, which means anyone looking at your home via the state website will see a notice. The first assumption—trust me—will be that it’s for something serious. Your home will be dropped from consideration. Better to never make it onto the penalty list in the first place.
Provide premium service
Assisted living homeowners who offer premium service (organic food, luxury bedding, and so on) weather lean months better than those who don’t. The reason is that the profit margin on premium service provides a cushion. Premium service also acts as a way to differentiate the home.
Get comfortable selling
Selling something as expensive as assisted living means understanding the customer journey. Savvy owners structure their marketing efforts in a series of steps, all of which provide the prospect incentive to keep going. Selling, of course, starts with little things like a cheerful voice answering the phone.
Eighty percent of small assisted living homes close within five years. That sounds awful, but that’s about the same failure rate for small businesses in any industry.
No doubt, senior care is hard work. But when you understand the three biggest risks in opening an assisted living home, you’ll be in a much better position to handle them, should you go ahead.
Finally, ensuring your availability is updated and searchable is critical as technology is changing the industry. Consider companies like Realtime Senior Living - which makes sharing your availability to your referral sources Simple, Fast and Easy. Now they start their search with Realtime Search app or website - and then reach out to the available options. No more text, email or phone calls that go unanswered - our updated availability is there 24/7 when they are looking. www.RealtimeSeniorLiving.com for more information and to get started today.