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Ask The Expert: How do I start an Assisted Living facility as a new small business?

posted by: Lisa Sneddon Founder & President, Senior Living Experts www.seniorlivingexperts.com

Starting and running an assisted living facility is an enormous responsibility.  Before you start one, you might want to make sure you have searched your soul and decided that you want to do this because it is a passion not because you think its a great way to make money, otherwise you may be in for a big surprise.

Operating an assisted living building requires a huge amount of knowledge - some people have back grounds in nursing or nursing home administration.  I would even recommend that you work in an existing home to learn as much as you can about this 24X7 job.  It will also give you a chance to interact with the patients.

You can also contact the state governing body that licenses assisted living which may be the department of health.   You may also want to contact the Assisted Living Federation of America (www.alfa.org) or the American Association of Homes and Service for the Aging (www.aahsa.org) which are both national associations for providers of assisted living care.

And like any other person who wants to start a business, you need to do your homework.  You may want to contact your local Small Business Association office for help.  You are going to want to analyze the demographics of the area to make sure there is a need in the community and that those that need it could afford what you plan on charging.  You need to pick a great location that is residential in feel, yet close to local healthcare facilities and easy for doctors and professionals to visit.  You also have to spend a great deal of time finding the right employees and making sure they are trained to care for and communicate with seniors.  And don't underestimate the need for marketing your home.  Its not like the field of dreams... if you build it they will come.  Its a hard product to explain and to sell, so factor in the cost of hiring a professional to do the marketing.


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Comments

Posted by:Steve Schmidt

4/15/2014 3:56:45 PM

Ms. Sneddon, I really like what you had to say about soul searching and having a passion for providing care. I have seen many people fail at assisted living because they didn't have the personal or financial stamina/commitment to provide great care. Being in the marketing end of the business, of course I second your advice on the need to focus on clearly communicating what you do and promoting your facility. So many people spend an enormous amount of energy and money getting their facility just right, and have no plan on how to attract qualified residents. I believe a new operator/owner should have marketing in mind from the minute they decide to start their business. And the marketing should be driven by care and the sharing of experience, which hopefully is their strength. There is plenty of free info on my blog - http://marketingwithcareblog.wordpress.com - if you would like to offer the link to your readers. Steve Schmidt Marketing With Care

Posted by:Jason

2/1/2014 6:02:26 AM

I'm in Florida, and we're close to opening. It's taken me a year to find the right home and 6 months running to convert the home through the appropriate channels. Before you do anything.....take your state's Administrator Course. This will give you an idea on how to begin (and you need an Administrator to get a license . I'm in Hillsborough County, so I can help here, but every county has there hot buttons. Prepare yourself and make sure you have some cash to convert the home after you buy. It can get expensive. We're on a well and septic (the most difficult to permit).


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