The United States has a population of 50 million elders as of now and is expected to reach 70 million by 2030. Seniors and elderly people become weak and fragile due to various reasons. The contributing factor is age which makes them weak and subject to various medical illnesses.
It becomes hard for them to walk and travel on their own. Situations can come to an extent where traveling in their regular mode of transport also becomes hard. They require special transport vehicles for movement which can be for various reasons.
Generally, at such age elders go for medical and non-medical work out of their home. Generally, they go for outings for recreational purposes, Yoga center, fitness center, community gathering and much more.
Therefore, it is imperative that they require a special mode of transportation to travel. The transportation industry for seniors in the United States is booming. This transportation caters to both medical and non-medical transportation.
For clarity of understanding let us understand what is medical and non-medical transportation for elders.
Medical and Non-Medical Transportation:
Medical Transportation is of two types.
- Emergency Medical Transportation: These are mostly for emergency needs and are generally ambulances
- Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: As the name suggests, it is for non-emergency use but is still for medical purposes. Patients who have scheduled visits to clinics, therapy centers, dialysis, diagnosis, etc. generally use this service.
There is a special rule that governs medical transportation which ensures safety of patients with all necessary services and facilities essential for safe transport. Obtaining a license for the same is a complex and rigorous process.
Non-Medical Transportation implies use of a transport to move from one place to another for various purposes for non-medical usage but in a transport that has basic facilities of medication which is generally first aid, wheel chair, ramp, etc. aimed to aid and facilitate elders who might require them during travel.
Elderly Transportation Business Plan:
As the article deals with non-medical transportation business, we will discuss how one can start a non-medical transportation business. What are the requirements for the same and what is the process to start the business.
There are certain steps necessary that need to be taken. They are:
- Registering yourself as business
- License, Permit and Authority
- Transportation Vehicle
- Drivers and Staff
- Client and Networking
- Advertisement and Growth
1. Registering yourself as Business:
Elder Care transportation is a business in itself and cannot be counted as a general transportation business though it has nothing medical in it. Register your business with your state transport authority and mention the purpose of your transportation service.
Various states have their own rules governing the same. Generally, your business will be covered under the umbrella of NEMT services that are commonly availed by senior citizens. It might be the case that your registration is done under the same umbrella.
For more details and specific direction, it would be advisable for you to contact your local attorney dealing with the same.
Register yourself as a business mostly as LLP or sole proprietor of the business and get your tax identification number against your business. You need to furnish all details of your business along with a business plan.
It is therefore important that you draft your business plan meticulously as it will be essential at various junctures especially for legal formalities and to secure a loan.
2. Get License, Permit and Authority:
It would be hard to draw a special rule that governs NMT services but it is generally covered by the Department of Transport along with Federal Transportation Policy for Elders. You need to obtain a driving license for driving and running an NMT service dealing with elders.
Usually, after furnishing all details along with application and fees, you will be granted your license. You also need to get the requisite permit regarding the medical test of your driver, anti-drugs test, transport fitness certificate and others.
Contact a competent lawyer dealing with this service in order to get your job done in a smooth manner. If you have contacts already working in this industry, connect with them in order to understand the whole process.
3. What does a Non-Medical Transport Service offer?
There are certain services that a NMT offers. They are:
- Transportation for disabled elders
- Assistance staff along with required support like wheelchair, walker, etc.
- Proper services and facilities in transporting vans including AC, wheelchair, comfortable seating, etc.
Moreover, these services also render assistance through their staff which includes personal care during travel like assistance in walking, or while traveling on a wheelchair.
4. Transportation Vehicle:
You obviously need a transport vehicle which you will use to transport those elders. The size of the vehicle can be better determined by you based on your needs. It can be small size, mid-sized or large size depending on need.
Usually, large vehicles can accommodate many individuals, given you are rendering common services to them all like taking them all to one place like a recreational center or yoga center.
If you are rendering personal services to individuals like taking the person all day long to various places then a small sized van would suffice that can accommodate the person and one assisting individual with him apart from the driver. The van should obviously have facilities to ensure safety and comfort of the elder.
5. Facilities in a Transport Vehicle:
The following facilities are necessary in your NMT transport vehicle.
- Ramp to load the wheelchair in the vehicle
- Proper height and elevation
- Chains and belts to lock the wheelchair to avoid inside movement
- Water facility
- Dialysis facility for person requiring one
- First aid kit
- Seat must be comfortable with pillows
- Vehicle must be in fit condition with all safety measures like air bag, ABS, etc.
6. Driver and Assisting Staff:
To drive your vehicle, you need a driver and an assisting staff who will be helping the individual get into and out of the vehicle. He should also be rendering basic services to the person traveling.
Driver should be well trained with a proper license and should have the least points against his license. Should also have a fitness certificate along with an anti-drug test on regular periods.
He should be experienced enough to drive through all roads and should be diligent in driving so that the elder sitting in the vehicle feels comfort and should not be subject to jerks from the vehicle.
Assisting staff should also be well skilled and trained with experience in handling and assisting the elder. Elders require special care with lots of patience. One needs to be patient and nice in behavior since elders might sometimes get angry and irritated easily.
He should know all basic knowledge in dealing with elders and their requirements. Diligence is necessary for the staff to ensure comfort and safety. In NMT services, elders are not generally too sick that they can’t do a few things on their own but those who are disabled require special care.
Various authorities conduct seminars and training for the same regarding hospitality and you can in order to ensure standards can hire employees who have proper certification or you can get them certified. It brings professionalism in the staff and at the same time the necessary care and gentleness.
7. Client and Networking:
Getting a new client is always a challenge when you are starting your business. Without any early experience of your business, how will you attract new clients?
The answer lies in networking. Networking is basically building your contacts in the industry through various ways so that they can help you in getting new clients. You can give them commission for the same.
The best way to network is to work in the industry for sometime. This is how you will build your credence and profile. It will sometimes but it will surely be helpful in many ways. Working in the industry will also help you in gaining experience which will be utilized when you will be starting your own business.
Such networks help you in getting various help like vehicle on lease, driver and staff. Your personal relationship will help you in tough times especially when you are building your business.
8. Advertisement and Growth:
Advertisement is another method using which you can get new clients. You will have to target your potential clients smartly. Advertising with hospitals, clinics and diagnostics can help you in getting clients.
Similarly, places where elders generally go like recreational centers, yoga centers, fitness centers, etc. can be also used to advertise. You can advertise using banners, pamphlets, digital marketing, etc. whatever you will can fetch you new clients.
The real advertisement lies with your service that you render. Your clients will be the real marketing agents for you. If you have done enough to satisfy them with your services, it is likely that they will recommend your service to many others.
In this industry, this is the common way you build your client base and gain new clients. This is the most effective model of growth as well. Gradually, you will be able to have a client base that will help you in growing ahead.
Regular customers will help you get the requisite earnings and target. Surplus returns will help you in building your business to new heights and expanding your business. Don’t hurry but be extremely vigilant in your steps. Don’t compromise on your service standards and that is the way ahead.