The increase in demand for group homes for the elderly in the united states comes from the fact that the population of senior citizens is largely growing. A group home for the elderly people business is one where elderly people live independently in a unit but share common areas like the sitting room and the dining room.  If you do not want to just help people that are old and vulnerable but are open to ensuring you generate revenue and maximize profit, then this business is for you.

First you might need to decide on the kind of group home for the elderly you wish to open as you can either open an assisted living facility where the elderly can live independently in self contained units or go for a residential board and care facility, where you will have to be more involved in the lives of the elderly by offering personal services such as helping with eating, bathing and even dressing.

Whichever of the businesses you intend running, you will need to ensure you lease or buy a facility that has enough space for the business you intend to open. You might need to still conduct renovations on the facility to bring it up to the standard that would be required to run your business.

For instance, you will need grab-bars in all the toilets, showers and bathtubs. You cannot get the necessary permit for your business if your facility doesn’t pass the safety inspection test.

17 Steps on How to Start a Group Home for the Elderly

1. Understand the Industry

According to IBISWorld in this industry, there are no companies with a dominant market share. The industry however is valued at an annual revenue of $132 billion with a growth rate of 2.3% projected between the periods of 2011 to 2016.

There are nearly 23,000 group homes for the elderly businesses in the United States of America, which has offered employment to more than 1.7 million people. The industry, despite the economic downturn experienced in the United States of America has continued to grow and this is mainly due to the necessary nature of the business and equally due to the growing aging population.

The elderly are more prone to illness and injuries in their daily lives when living alone and so require great assistance with their daily activities. Despite the demographic trend that has been quite favorable, the growth in the industry has been hindered chiefly by poor funding from the government, both state and federal.

Between 2016 and 2021 however, the industry regardless of all the threats and challenges it faces is expected to continue in its expansion as more people according to analysis are going to age within these five years.

Interesting Statistics About the Group Home Industry

The future growth for this industry is hugely dependent on the fact that in the next two decades, nearly 77 million baby boomers will need a group home for the elderly. The increase in the life expectancy rate here in the United States of America has also caused a boom in this industry, with many people expecting to retire at 65 and therefore needing to decide where they might likely spend the remainder of their lives.

This will in turn increase the demand for the group home for the elderly and therefore provide an opportunity for enterprising entrepreneurs. Close to 1 million senior citizens in America reside in group homes for the elderly and other such facilities like that and that number is expected to not only increase but double by the year 2030.

It should however be noted that there are several factors that have caused a hindrance to the growth of this sector and one is the current economic climate which has seen a crash in real estates and also losses in stock prices and 401(k) accounts, this has caused a substantial loss in earnings to those that planned to retire and use their money to fund their stay in group homes for the elderly.

This has caused about 25 percent of baby boomers to postpone their retirement due to the poor state of the economy. More than 70 percent of the financial assets as well as over 50 percent of all the discretionary spending in the United States of America are from baby boomers. Most baby boomers and their families usually require retirement communities that remind them more of home and are quick to turn away from those that resemble institutions.

And so to meet with the taste and demand of the baby boomers, most group homes for the elderly businesses and similar businesses like it have gone upscale in terms of ensuring the environment meets with the desire of the baby boomers and that the services are also top notch. Others go as far as fitting in golf courses, allowing pets and spas in order to be able to cater to the active baby boomers.

However, as much as this looks like everything is okay with the industry; the high costs usually experienced by the baby boomers have forced most of them to seek out group home for the elderly facilities abroad. Mexico for instance has seen a high number of senior United States citizens seek for such facilities in their country.

Even though this might look like it is affecting the industry, the high growth demand from the population has made the number of people going abroad to be negligible and not have such an effect on the industry.

As at 2009, there were close to 30,000 group homes for the elderly and other Assisted living facilities that generate revenue of nearly $37 million. According to the 2007 U.S Census Bureau data, while group homes for the elderly accounted for the 42 percent revenue generated in the industry, continuing care retirement communities accounted for about 58 percent.

As at 2008, occupancy rates for group homes for the elderly fell by 2 percent mostly due to several senior citizen’s reluctance to move to such facilities.  However, even though the growth rate in the industry slowed in 2008 and 2009, as at 2014 it bounced back and has continually maintained an annual growth rate of 4.2%.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of a group homes for the elderly are not restricted to the senior citizens who cannot stay alone and need constant supervision due to various reasons. Group homes for the elderly have 69% of females as compared to the 31% of males. According to the U.S Census Bureau, those aged between 65 and 84 have increased by over 38 percent and will continue to between the periods of 2001 and 2021.

There are other people who require the services of the group homes for the elderly as well, such as the government who needs licensed homes where senior citizens can be duly monitored in supervised settings as well as the children of the elderly who stay far away but would need a place for their parents or guardian to stay, where they can be duly supervised. So, one can see that the demography is one that is not just restricted to just a group of people but that it cuts across government agencies and other demographics as well.

3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On

If you intend running a home for the vulnerable, you will need to decide on what type of home you intend to run. This will help you when you go around to assess your competition and in writing a business plan. It will also help you know what your target market will be and how best to penetrate and get a huge share of this target market for yourself.

Now, if you have enough financing, you can decide to run several of the niches or stick to just one or two, just as long as you are able to provide quality services and meet with the requirements of the laws in the state where you will be operating from.

Therefore some of the niche areas that exists in this industry are;

  • Group home for the elderly
  • In-home personal care services
  • Disability group support
  • Home meal delivery and transportation
  • Day care services for the physically disabled
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Medical assisted living facilities

The Level of Competition in Group Home Industry

The level of competition in this industry is very high even though only very few companies are dominating the market, but their market share is less compared to the remaining which comprises of a variety of profit and non-profit businesses.

The low entry barrier in this industry has made it difficult for many of the businesses in this industry to attain and retain high profit margins. Typically, the barriers into starting a business in this industry include regulations and licensing, economies of scale for businesses that operate on a large scale and the lower costs for organizations that are non-profit oriented in nature.

However, more of the group homes for the elderly thrive well in their region as most senior citizens usually prefer a location that they are familiar with. Smaller group homes for the elderly usually offer more personalized services and other additional services not offered by their competitors in order to be able to compete and remain relevant in the industry.

4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry

No matter how many analysis points to the fact that this industry is one where there are no dominant companies with a high market value, there are still brands that stand out in the industry. Brands that stand out from the others usually have one or two things in their favor such as best customer care services, massive publicity strategies or the fact that they have existed in the industry for a long time.

Therefore, some of the leading well known brands in the group home for the elderly business here in the United States of America are;

  • Emeritus Corporation
  • Atria Senior Living Group
  • Sunrise Senior Living Inc
  • Brookdale Senior Living Inc

Economic Analysis

According to research, the global population doubled in the 20th century and will not double in the current century because of the decline in birth rates. However, the number of people who will reach 65 and above will double in the next 25 years. According to the United Nations, close to 600 million people in the world are aged 65 or older.

According to projections, by 2033, 13 percent of the population which will amount to more than 1.1 billion people globally will be aged 65 and older. America which has a high fertility rate will however see its old age dependency rate rise by 70%.

A larger proportion of old people in the economy means that growth will be slower especially as the old will need to use their savings to live which will result in less savings, even though it has been argued that this will mean that the old people will work longer and no longer retire at 65.

This is evident in the fact that nearly 20% of Americans that are aged over 65 are still in the labour force compared to the year 2000 where only 13% were in the workforce.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When it comes to starting a group home for the elderly business, you are faced with two options and that is to buy an existing business or to start the business totally from scratch. There are no franchise options in this industry.

Starting the business from the scratch has many advantages because it allows you to choose the location that would be best for your business and then carry out the research that you would need to enable your business become a success. Also, when starting from scratch, you would be able to build according to the specifications you have in mind for your customers.

This is not to say that buying an existing business does not have its advantages as well because it would allow you spend less than you would have if you are buying or leasing a property. Also, in buying an already existing business, you would not need to worry about zoning permits and regulations as the previous business would have taken care of such issues. Whatever route you choose to go is okay, as long as you have a good plan in mind as regarding the business you intend starting up.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

Every business whether starting up or already existing usually faces challenges or threats and this is because there are circumstances that cannot be controlled despite how well planned a business is. One of the major challenges that you would be facing would be from competing with already established businesses offering same services in the area where you are located.

Other threats and challenges that you are likely to face are the downturn of the economy where fewer senior citizens will be able to afford the services of a group home for the elderly, stringent government regulations, poor source of funding on the state and federal level and other such challenges. You should however put strategies in place that would ensure that you are able to overcome any threat and challenge that your business might encounter.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

When intending to start or run a group home for the elderly, the legal entity you choose will help determine how big your business will grow. In creating a legal entity for your group home for the elderly business, you can select from a number of options such as sole proprietorship, partnership, a limited liability company or a corporation for your new business.

While the sole proprietorship and partnership kind of legal entity are simple to start up and doesn’t require much paperwork, they also do not offer strong legal protections. The good thing about these kind of legal structures is that you can convert it to a limited liability company or a corporation as your business grows and its needs changes.

However, it would be best if you seek the services of a law attorney or any one that can offer legal assistance so that the advantages and disadvantages of each legal structure would be enumerated for you and also leave you informed enough to pick the best for your business.

On the other hand the limited liability company and corporation form of legal entities are more difficult to set up but would provide the necessary protection for your business and is also regarded as a separate entity from you in case anything goes wrong or your business is sued.

Making the right choice however depends on the type of business you intend to run, how you intend to run the business, how many owners the business has and how much capital is needed to start the business. Even though not one legal structure can fit all the needs of your business, there are several criteria that you would need to use to find out that which best works for you.

The various criteria that you can use to determine which business structure best suits your business include; the different types of liabilities that each business structure brings, the investment needs of the business, the income tax that would accompany the legal entity, and the expenses and procedures needed to establish and continue running the business structure conveniently.

Why the Limited Liability Company (LLC) and Corporation is chosen by those who run the group home for the elderly business is mainly due to the fact that the business offers some sort of risks and any business that has a huge risk inherent in its activities would need more impersonal liability.

This means that once anything goes wrong during the normal operational activities in your business, you would not be personally held liable as opposed to if it happened when you are under a legal entity such as a sole proprietor and a partnership structure.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below

Choosing the right name for your business is very important as the name you choose goes a long way in impressing upon your target market, the kind of brand you are and intend to be. The name you would need to choose for your business shouldn’t be one that will not be memorable or distinct. It is usually the norm for people to follow a particular trend in the industry when picking names for their businesses.

If you intend starting your group home for the elderly business and are stuck on names to choose from, consider some of the names below;

  • Quaint Group Homes for the Elderly Inc
  • Serendipity Home for the Elderly LLC
  • Akwaint Home for the Elderly Inc
  • Triple services home for the elderly
  • Brooks Community Homes Inc
  • Running stream home for the elderly

9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

Having insurance either as an individual or a business is very important in the United States of America. It is imperative therefore that you choose an insurance policy that that will cover the business you intend going into. If you are confused as regards the insurance policy you would need for your business, it is best you approach an insurance agent or broker to guide you in choosing what would be best for your business.

Also, this would help you to draw a budget that would reflect on the insurance policy you intend to purchase for your group home for the elderly business. There are however basic insurance policies that you would need to get regardless of what business you might be starting up.

Therefore, some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you intend to start your own group home for the elderly business here in the United States of America are;

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

The group home for the elderly business and other such businesses in the industry is not the kind that requires one to secure an intellectual property protection because this is in essence a service based industry. Nothing is produced or invented in this industry that would require an intellectual property sort of protection.

This is not to however say that certain innovations haven’t been made in this industry where products were invented to help better take care for the elderly and should this occur, you would need to approach a lawyer to help you file for intellectual property protection.

Another thing that some owners usually want to protect are their unique company logos, media production concepts, jingles and slogans. However, except it is mighty important to you, if you haven’t produced any new invention, then getting an intellectual property protection for your logo or slogan shouldn’t be a priority for you.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

One of the key and necessary requirements for running a standard and successful group home for the elderly is the possession of professional certifications. There are certain certifications that the law requires from you and that you should work toward getting not just for yourself but for your employees as well.

This will show that you are taking the group home for the elderly business you intend to run seriously. Some of the certifications that you will be required to get when starting your own group home for the elderly business include;

  • First Aid certification
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certificate
  • Fire marshal certification
  • Food handler certification

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

Every business no matter the category requires certain documentations if it intends to operate legally in the United States of America and the group home for the elderly is no different. Therefore it is very important that documentations are in place before starting your group home for the elderly business so that you do not put your clients – the senior citizens and your employees at risk.

Therefore some of the basic legal documents that you would be required to possess in order to legally run your group home for the elderly business in the United States of America are;

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Business license and permit
  • Business plan
  • Employee daily operation schedule
  • Food handler’s license
  • Employee Identification Number (EIN)
  • Insurance Policy
  • Contract documents
  • Employment agreement
  • Surety bond

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Getting the necessary finance for your group home for the elderly business is very important because it would be unwise of you to start a business and then run out of funds midway because you didn’t make the right plans. This is why it is very important to write a comprehensive business plan because, not only will it point out how much you need, it will also help in pointing out where you would need to get your of finance from.

Therefore, some of the financing options that you would need to explore when sourcing for start-up capital for your group home for the elderly business are;

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Before starting your group home for the elderly business, you would need to conduct a research on the location where you intend to operate your business from. This will help you find out how many similar group homes for the elderly businesses already exist there and if the area will be able to accommodate more businesses like yours.

When selecting the appropriate location for your group home for the elderly business, you need to put several factors into consideration such as the zoning requirements of the city where your business will be located and who your neighbors would be.

If for instance you locate your group home for the elderly business in a community that appreciates your kind of business, you are less likely to have problems than if you locate your business in an area where most of the residents in the community are opposed to your kind of business.

Another thing you would need to know is if you can convert your private residence into a group home for the elderly.  Also, while it is important that your group home for the elderly business isn’t located in areas that are too busy and have a lot of noise and traffic, it doesn’t mean that you choose a location that is so far back or not close to major roads. This is likely to be a major disadvantage during emergency cases where immediate experienced care is needed for the residents.

There are certain requirements that the place you choose for your business must meet. If you intend to have a large number of residents, then you must ensure that you buy a property or space that is huge enough, and ensure that the key requirements needed by the authorities for your kind of business are made available.

The comfort and convenience your group home for the elderly would bring will go a long way to attract more residents and thereby generating more profit for your business. Also, when choosing a location for your group home for the elderly, ensure that it is close to places where your residents would often like to visit like churches, senior centers, drug stores and a hospital.

In ensuring that you have chosen a perfect location for your group home business, you will then need to contact architects, builders and interior designers who have an experience in the kind of industry you intend starting up and will therefore be able to meet with your requirements. You would need to ensure that certain guidelines such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are strictly adhered to during the location, planning and construction of the home in order to accommodate intending residents with physical challenges.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

A group home for the elderly is where senior citizens are allowed to live together under the supervision of those called the caregivers.

Group homes for the elderly usually require daily living aids, safety equipment for the bathroom, skin care items, walking aids, diabetic supplies, incontinence, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and supplies to care for wounds and other light ailments.

When it comes to starting a group home for the elderly business, the size of your land and the type of building you intend to build will give you an inclination of how large your business would be and how much you would need to run such business.

The number of employees you would need to help kick start your business will depend on the size of the business and also the services you intend to render. You will need a chief executive officer, personal aids, accountant, marketing team, human resources and admin manager, medical aids, practical nurses, front desk officer, kitchen employees, serving employees, security guard, cleaner and driver.

This shows that you might likely need a minimum of 19 people to be able to run your group home for the elderly business to the standard it requires.

The Service Delivery Process Involved a Group Home for the Elderly

In order to be able to deliver the right service to your residents, several things must be in place such as knowing the requirements as regards the feeding and health of your residents and other such requirements. The group home for the elderly is where retired senior citizens live in groups and share common areas like the sitting room and dining area.

The daily affairs of the facility are usually handled by the admin manager who ensures that all other employees are aware of their duties and ensure that all functions are smoothly performed. However, if the facility is a medical one, then someone who is more medically inclined will be in charge of the affairs so as to ensure that everything is done according to industry standard practice.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

If your business is one that depends on revenue generation, then marketing your business is very important as it will allow individuals and even government agencies to be aware of your business and send the necessary contacts your way.

First of all, it is mighty important that you conduct a market survey on the business you intend to start as well as on your target market, if you intend to get a huge portion of the market share in the area where you will be operating from. The market survey will help you understand the psyche of your intending customers and how best to get their attention.

It is after you have conducted a thorough market survey that you can then draft the necessary marketing strategies that will be very effective for your business. Also, you can then decide on which strategies would most likely be worth your money before creating a marketing budget.

If you intend to network with government agencies and hospitals in your state, you must make sure that all is in order so that they will confidently refer the needed residents to your group home for the elderly. Therefore below are some of the platforms you will need to market your group home for the elderly business;

  • Ensure that you formally introduce your group home for the elderly business to government agencies and community organizations such as religious, educational and charitable organizations.
  • Ensure that your group home for the elderly business is listed in yellow pages and in online directories.
  • Place adverts in local newspapers as well as on radio and television stations.
  • Ensure that you advertise your business in popular websites and blogs.
  • Attend and participate in community events in order to network and market your business.
  • Pass out handbills and fliers in strategic locations.

17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

Every business either new or existing requires constant promotion in order to boost the awareness of their brand and positively communicate their corporate identity to the target market as well as the industry at large. The reason why publicity is so important for businesses is that it helps businesses to always be in the eye of the target market, thereby causing an increase in patronage that would result to a boost in revenue for the company.

No business starts with the intention of remaining stagnant and not growing to become a brand to be reckoned with. However to achieve this, you must be ready to set aside a budget and spend money as well.

There are several medium that can be used to boost the brand awareness for a company and several businesses have keyed into this sort of strategy which is participating in, and sponsoring local events in the community so as to allow people know and identify their brands.

Another strategy is to make massive use of the internet and social media platforms such as Facebook, as this is not only a cheap source of boosting brand awareness but also ensuring that a larger audience is reached. Below therefore are some of the platforms that you can leverage on to boost your brand and also promote your business;

  • Distribute handbills and paste fliers in certain strategic locations all around the city
  • Make use of your website as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram to increase awareness and promote your business vigorously
  • Place bill boards in strategic locations all around the area where your group home for the elderly will be located
  • Place adverts in local and national newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
  • Participate in local community programs in order to generate awareness for your group home for the elderly business
  • Provide tours of the new facility to the press as well as interested parties
Ajaero Tony Martins