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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

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 ( or the American Association of Homes and Service for the Aging ( 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.

Back to Assisted Living Expert


Posted by:Cheryl

6/5/2014 11:45:27 AM

I live in Tampa Fl. I am very much interested in opening an ALF. I would to speak with someone on the first steps. I've been a CNA for 5 years, I have my med tech certification, and I have my core training certification.

Posted by:Robert Ice

5/27/2014 11:10:00 PM

Hello, our company Falkirk Assisted Living franchises assisted livings in the midwest. If you are interested in starting a assisted living, please contact me at or

Posted by:Trish

5/12/2014 9:43:03 AM

I am looking for a consultant or consulting firm to help open an assisted living facility in Houston. Please email me at

Posted by:Maitraee Samadder

5/12/2014 1:29:44 AM

Good one...visit this one also for Assisted living, nursing care, nursing home. this is one of the Rubinstein company founded in 1931 and manages assisted living luxury since 1997 . Experience, knowledge and financial strength of them guarantees you peace of mind, security, continuity and stability.

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 - - if you would like to offer the link to your readers. Steve Schmidt Marketing With Care

Posted by:Joseph Carrasco

3/29/2014 2:48:16 PM

Hi my name is Joe Working now in nursing home in New YOrk city for more than 6 years come to Florida every year would love to open Assisted Living facility near Hudson if there any person or person,s that would like to help in any way please email me @

Posted by:Lamar

2/23/2014 3:25:55 PM

Hello, looking at purchasing an assisted living home in Orlando, would like to speak with a paid consultant, please email

Posted by:Rhonda Bostic

2/18/2014 7:15:01 AM

Hi Jason I'm in Hillsborough County as well could you please provide any helpful information that could be useful for starting a facility, Thanks

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).

Posted by:Merveen Nealy

1/13/2014 12:01:11 PM

Please, i would like information on ideas to find clients for an alf

Posted by:Tara

12/16/2013 11:19:12 PM

I need a consultant to assist me in opening an ALF in the Houston/Pearland area. Please email me

Posted by:Alice

12/2/2013 6:39:11 PM

I'm in the Texas area, I am working on my license for my Resident Care Business(assisted living). I have been open for four years now and wanting to expand, but running into obstacle because of no money to expand the business. Do any one know of any funding for this type of business.

Posted by:marilyn nolasco

9/8/2013 8:02:28 PM

I'm a nurse and I wanted to open an Assisted Living here in Albuquerque. I really do not know where and how to start and how much will it cost to build one. I just want to start with a small senior group. Thank you and appreciate your time and help.

Posted by:Chris

5/22/2013 3:01:02 PM

I wanna open a alf but how do I find clients?

Posted by:Bill

5/3/2013 11:33:30 AM

looking for a paid consultant to help me open senior care home in California.

Posted by:linda madrid

4/27/2013 5:49:52 PM

I am a nurse would like to open my home and make it assisted living home but I don't know where to start

Posted by:lucy

4/24/2013 12:51:01 PM

Hi, How to get clients, and what is the average price for the 2 person sharing the bedroom.

Posted by:Debbie Howard

4/24/2013 11:17:59 AM

I have a friend who has a business but she need five clients do anyone know where she can find them in the southwest of Houston area.

Posted by:Margalite Ornis

4/2/2013 3:36:22 PM

Hi,I've been looking how to start a.l.f if anyone have any idea what I'm talking about please help some advice thank you looking to hear from you.

Posted by:Hortensia

3/27/2013 6:41:10 PM

For those of you that are interested, I invite you to look at my website.

Posted by:Hortensia

3/27/2013 6:38:29 PM

Hello everyone, I am an ALF Consultant, with 18 yrs experience. If I can help you with anything,it would be my pleasure. I have recently added business coaching to my consulting in order to teach owners & Adm, and staff to not only care for residents physically but also support them spiritually and emotionally. This will give them the tools (meditation, relaxation and so much more!) to stand out from the rest because ALF coaching is very new, and this will enable you to be one step ahead of your competition. If you know anyone that can benefit from this please be sure to tell them. For those that want to start an ALF, I can give you the guidance, and orientation from my 18 yr.experience. Coaching would be something that would come later after your business has been established.I am in Florida.My goal is to make Assisted Living what it should be, all about giving the residents a balanced care that will support them on all levels.

Posted by:Dionne Gibdon

3/19/2013 7:50:13 AM

I would love to get some info on how to start an ALF in South Florida.

Posted by:Crystal

3/3/2013 1:26:31 PM

Registerd Nurse interesed in opening a assisted living facility would like information on how to get started.

Posted by:mahogany

1/27/2013 1:00:24 AM

hello anybody looking to open a assisted living in my home for about five people need some direction please on how to get started.

Posted by:kathy

1/15/2013 2:20:57 PM

I am trying to find something on the web that gives you a calculation of the cost of running a care home. average operational cost to see if we are on track or spending to much. where can I get this sort of information for the state of TX?

Posted by:S. Reid

12/11/2012 3:43:35 PM

I've worked in the healthcare field for 20 yrs and i would love to open an ALF. I really would appreciate your assistance on how to get started. Im also wondering where i can get funding. I welcome your advise. Thank you

Posted by:Todd

11/28/2012 9:15:42 AM

I live in Florida and have noticed that there seem to be ALF's going up in single family homes in residential areas. Where can I find out more info on how to start this type of business?

Posted by:A. Knight

11/7/2012 6:46:38 PM

I am a retired Veteran. I am also a Healthcare Administrator working in a great organization but I still have a desire to build my own ALF. Writing a business plan and getting a license wouldn't be difficult for me. However, I am wondering where I can find funding. If you have some advise I would welcome it. Thank you.

Posted by:angie

11/3/2012 4:21:34 PM

I am a Registered Nurse who would like to open a retirement home in a Colonial style one family home. I plan to do some research. Please free to advise me. Thanks

Posted by:pamela rue

9/20/2012 10:35:29 AM

How do I start my own assisting living and what resources can I use

Posted by:Tina

9/15/2012 6:01:15 PM

I would like to start ALF and would appreciate assistance on how to start it. Please do not include my email in the posting.

Posted by:LC

9/9/2012 8:54:08 AM

I am considering starting my own ALF in the future, but am currently working on the complete business plan. Anybody know of a business or individual who would be willing to offer advice/suggestions? Correspondence via e-mail? I am located in central Florida. thank you!

Posted by:Ed

8/13/2012 10:22:31 PM

i'm from california and work as a caregiver for many years and been manage RCFE for years (as administrator). I would love to share my skill & knowledge about this business to those who want to start a facility for elders. thanks & God bless! :-)

Posted by:august

8/3/2012 5:11:04 PM

Do you know any repetable and realiable company that will do or have the compleat Manual for Assisted Living Home policies and procedures in Mary Land. Also i need some help with my Business plan. ASAP. Thank You. Have a Wonderful Day.

Posted by:august

8/3/2012 5:11:03 PM

Do you know any repetable and realiable company that will do or have the compleat Manual for Assisted Living Home policies and procedures in Mary Land. Also i need some help with my Business plan. ASAP. Thank You. Have a Wonderful Day.

Posted by:RITA

7/24/2012 10:42:08 AM

i want to buy a assisted living in houston texas or start up one can somebody pls advice

Posted by:elizabeht Valencia

6/27/2012 7:34:35 AM

Thanks so much for your help.

Posted by:Star

5/24/2012 9:40:12 AM

The best free way to find any kind of reviewed senior care information is to simply call 877-817-4580

Posted by:ashley

5/9/2012 4:45:30 PM

i am 23 and i have grown around dis field and i am trying to find out what is it that i neew to start my own alf..

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Posted by:Melvina

12/20/2011 7:05:08 PM

The answer of an erxept. Good to hear from you.

Posted by:diane reid

12/5/2011 11:16:33 AM

could anyone give me some information on how to start an assisted living home for twelve residents and or there any programs that can help me with finance.

Posted by:fariba

11/30/2011 9:43:19 AM

hi, i have a mother tht is will be 73 yrs soon, she needs more care and someone to look aftr her. at this time i am employeed and working, and my question is this if i wanna bring her to my home to live with me, i love to do that but based on my financial problem i just can not affort or support an other person. i was wondering if i bring her with me wht is the procesure, and how does it work, basiclly, i dont feel comfortable to ask her to pay fr rent and food. but wht is the other way i can work it out. and i get pay fr the services i am gonna provide her 24/7 in to my own house. i live in woodbridge, ontario, canada

Posted by:Theresa

11/21/2011 2:15:44 PM

Live in Oklahoma need to purchase policies and procedures for assisted living facility, perfer on msword cd for editing? Please help

Posted by:ruby

9/20/2011 8:00:29 PM

How many elder can i have in my home at one time?

Posted by:ruby

9/20/2011 7:57:55 PM

How do i get started working in my home for assisted living.

Posted by:michelle hubbard

8/12/2011 12:36:18 AM

assisted living is expensive and they not even eating or drinking healthy,could something be done about they pre cooked meals? please do something about bettering they diet,cotinious stomach

Posted by:jay

7/29/2011 10:51:13 AM

Iwant to open my own assistd living i dont no where to start and what steps to take

Posted by:mary

7/5/2011 8:22:36 PM

i need to no how do i get clints

Posted by:Marta Trumbach

2/27/2011 6:47:23 PM

Urgently need assistance. Currently have a very limited assisted living facility. I need to locate a grant or financial support to expand services and help the clients that currently live in mu home. Would like to expand to be able to help people that come to me everyday for help and I have to turn them away. Thank you

Posted by:Micheal Birch

5/6/2010 3:02:43 PM has valuable information on starting an assisted living, get information on financing, licensure, policies and procedure manuals, quality assurance and much more

Posted by:Gary

5/4/2010 7:57:56 AM

I just got licensed for AL and need info on how to get clients

Posted by:SC

3/4/2010 7:24:32 PM

will my mother have to give up all of her social security if she moves into an Assistant Living on Special Assistance? What about her payment for life insurance?

Posted by:EasyALF

2/7/2010 7:38:17 AM

Hello I have a free website that addresses this issue and has links to state-by-state resources, laws, and regulations. Just google my name with the words assisted living facility behind it.

Posted by:wilma martin

11/2/2009 11:17:13 AM

I am very interested in opening a alf facility and was seeking information.

Posted by:Hortensia

9/11/2009 8:33:55 PM

I am an ALF Consultant and billing agent. HRM Billing and Consulting Services is able to offer you a wide spectrum of services from starting a new ALF to assisting you with an existing one.(786-853-1533) Thank You.

Posted by:Cindy

7/28/2009 7:19:55 AM

I need to find out how to get licensed to open an Assisted Living Facility. I have been looking on various sites and keep getting the run around. Can anyone help me out with this?

Posted by:Linda

4/24/2009 6:36:18 PM

I am graduating with a bachelors degree in gerontology this year. I currently work at a hospital and after I graduate i am going to nursing school early 2010. Eventually I want to get my masters in nursing. I work in a hospital and I found that I really don't like the disconnect between the nurses and the patients. I feel its military style, everything is done in a certain way and order and you miss the true sense of caring for the patient. Anyways a few days ago I thought about my dream career: starting and running my own ALF and eventually a nursing home. But I have no idea how to start planning that. I'm about to graduate with my bachelors degree and now I've been accepted to a bachelors nursing program, I don't plan on starting an ALF for atleast another 5-10 years but I need some information to get started. I want to run a small 10 bed facility. What is the average cost to open a facility that size? (by the way i live in south florida) Any advice you can give me?

Posted by:Jane Bymark

2/6/2009 9:18:12 AM

How does one start an assisted living facility? (MN)

Posted by:Lisa Sneddon

2/3/2009 10:53:17 AM

Regina - I think if this is something you are really passionate about, you should start by visiting both a regular assisted living building - one with 80-100 residents, and a smaller one that may be in someones home if that is what you intend to do. If you have never worked in the industry, I highly recommend that you try to get a part time job at least as a caregiver. You will learn a lot about how they are run that way. Again, I would also contact the Small Business Administration about starting a business, you will want to write a business plan etc. And don't forget, if you build it, they won't just come. You have to remember that marketing is a very important aspect. I do not think you need a college degree (Does Bill Gates have one?) I would also check in with your local Alzheimer's Association office, they offer caregiving training as well. You would want to also have (or partner with) someone who can handle the books and the money management part of the business. Its not impossible as people do open them out of their own home, but it does not happen over night. Best of luck to you, please keep us posted on your progress and contact me if you have any additional questions!

Posted by:Regina

2/3/2009 2:24:18 AM

What is the very first step in opening an a.l.f.? Also do i need a college degree to get this process on it's way? How long will this take for all this to happen? I have some training, but is it what i need to get strated? What are some of the training I will need ? Thank You for your help.

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