Assisted living facilities come with their challenges. Check out this 10-step guide on how to start an assisted living facility and mitigate risks!
There are more than 15,000 assisted living facilities in the U.S.
That number is expected to grow substantially over the course of the next 30 years.
By 2050, the elderly population is likely going to top 83 million, which means there is going to be a real need for even more assisted living facilities in different parts of the country.
Are you interested in opening one up? If so, take the time to learn how to start an assisted living facility first. It’ll help you bring in more business right away and, more importantly, it’ll set up your facility for long-term success.
Here is a 10-step guide on how to start an assisted living facility.
Step 1: Create a Business Plan
The first thing to do when starting an assisted living facility is to come up with a business plan.
Without a clear business plan in place, you’re going to be doomed as you move forward with the rest of the steps.
In your business plan, lay out where you want to open your assisted living facility, who you want to target with it, and how you’re going to make your assisted living facility successful.
If you plan on keeping your assisted living facility small and catering to a small community on your own with a few staff members, note that. If you plan to bring a property management company like Paradigm Senior Living on board to do most of the dirty work after opening your facility, note that, too.
Your business plan is what you’re going to use to obtain the proper funding for your facility. So don’t leave any details out, no matter how big or small they might be.
Your business plan should be rooted in research you’ve done and provide a blueprint for how you plan to operate once you get everything up and running.
Step 2: Establish a Legal Business Entity
Once you have a business plan in place, make time to establish your business as a legal business entity. This will protect you in the event that your assisted living facility ever faces a lawsuit.
If you don’t establish a legal business entity prior to opening an assisted living facility, you could be personally liable for any legal issues involving your business. It could bankrupt you and force you to shut down your business, even if things are going well with it.
Step 3: Register Your Business for Tax Purposes
Before you can open up an assisted living facility, you’ll need to register your business so that you can pay state and federal taxes tied to it.
This is obviously another very important step in the process. The absolute last thing you want to do is put off paying your taxes and get yourself into hot water with the IRS.
Registering your business for tax purposes is simple. But many business owners forget to get around to doing it and pay the price later.
Even if, for whatever reason, your business doesn’t start generating money right away, it’s still good to have your affairs in order when it comes to taxes.
Step 4: Visit a Bank and Open a Business Account
When you’re first trying to jumpstart an assisted living facility, you might be tempted to mix your personal and business finances. Don’t do this.
Although it might be more convenient to use your personal bank account to conduct business on behalf of your assisted living facility, split the two up as soon as possible. Go down to your bank and open a business account for your assisted living facility.
A business bank account will help you keep all of your business finances in good order. It’ll also look a lot more professional when you’re paying for services using business checks as opposed to using personal ones.
Step 5: Find a Location for Your Assisted Living Facility
At this point, you’ve laid down a solid foundation for your assisted living facility.
You have a business plan in place and have established a legal business entity. You’ve also registered your business for tax purposes and opened up a business bank account. Now, the fun part begins.
Start looking around for possible locations for your assisted living facility. That might mean moving into an existing building that has everything you need for your facility, or it might mean building a new facility from scratch.
Your finances and any funding you’ve received will dictate what you can buy or build. Whatever the case, choose a property that will allow your assisted living facility to grow over time.
You also want a property that’s conveniently located and that will attract business from a surrounding community. Picking out the perfect location is an important part of giving your business a great chance to survive.
Step 6: Get Your Hands On the Right Permits and Licenses
To run an assisted living facility, you need to have the proper permits and licenses in place.
These permits and licenses are often different in each state and, furthermore, in each city or town.
Check with your local city or town to see what kinds of permits and licenses you need to have. If you fail to obtain these permits and licenses, you could potentially face large fines and even risk a shutdown later.
Step 7: Obtain a Business Insurance Policy
If you’re going to open any kind of business, it’s a good idea to obtain business insurance. Business insurance will protect you and your company if an accident ever takes place on your property.
Business insurance is especially important for someone opening an assisted living facility since there’s an increased risk associated with starting one. If someone slips and falls in your facility or is injured in an accident, business insurance will protect you.
You will, at the very least, be required by law to obtain workers compensation insurance if you plan to hire employees. Do your homework and find out what kind of insurance you’ll need before you open your facility.
Step 8: Set Up a Website for Your Facility
How are people going to find out about your assisted living facility? More often than not, they’re going to learn about it on the internet.
If you don’t have a website set up for your facility, now is the time to get one. Your website should include everything from your location and your contact information to your services and the benefits that come along with sending someone to live at your facility.
Consider starting a blog on your website as well that contains useful information on assisted living facilities. Use the latest search engine optimization techniques throughout your site to generate more traffic and keep people coming back.
Step 9: Market Your Services to the Community
In addition to setting up a website to generate business, find other ways to market your services to the local community, too.
You can do this by:
- Starting social media accounts for your assisted living facility
- Advertising your assisted living facility on local TV and radio
- Sponsoring local events, like 5K runs and community picnics, on behalf of your assisted living facility
Commit to doing whatever you can do to get the name of your assisted living facility out there into the world. People will begin to take notice when you find different ways to appeal to them.
Step 10: Hire Staff for Your Facility
You can follow all the other steps listed here and open up an assisted living facility in your community to much fanfare. But if you don’t have the best staff in the business working at your facility, it might not even matter.
People want to know their loved ones will be taken care of at your facility. So you need to hire the best staff to work at it and keep your staff happy once your facility opens.
Registered nurses and certified nursing assistants will obviously be some of your first hires.
These employees will be in charge of providing care to the people who move into your assisted living facility.
But they’re just some of the employees you’ll need to hire for your facility. You will also need to hire:
- An executive director
- Activities directors
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapists
- Marketing director
- Head chef and a team of cooks
- Maintenance workers and groundskeepers
- And more
Without the right employees, your assisted living facility might not stick around for very long.
Don’t underestimate the importance of hiring the right people to work for you.
Use This Guide on How to Start an Assisted Living Facility to Your Benefit
Now that you know how to start an assisted living facility, it’s time for you to get to work.
From coming up with a foolproof business plan to hiring experienced employees to work in your facility, you can open a successful assisted living facility if you take the right steps. Stay patient and avoid getting ahead of yourself, and your facility will be up and running in no time.
Read our blog for more advice on starting a business.