Care homes provide residences, community living and sometimes nursing care to elderly residents. They can be a highly rewarding business to operate since you can provide care and support for some of the most vulnerable people in society. Additionally, care homes can deliver great returns and potentially valuable long-term investments since people live longer on average nowadays.
However, care facilities operate in a highly regulated sector, so there are some things to consider before you open up a property to new residents. Continue reading for more information.
Research your competitors
The first thing to consider before opening your care facility is your target market. To be successful, you will need a robust understanding of the demand for such a residence and how much local competition there is.
Your competitors are something to consider at first. Broadly, any other care facilities in the region covered by your local authorities will be direct competitors to your care business. More specifically, those providing services at a similar standard and price to what you offer require particular attention.
Use tools like google and review websites to find out more information about local competitors. Your local council might also have a list of care homes in the region you can use to research what services are on offer in your area. Overall, you should look to compile a list of competing care facilities and what they offer tenants. This will give you a better idea of what to provide in your own facilities.
Understand potential clients
Your market research shouldn’t stop at competing businesses. You will also need to understand the individuals that might become your tenants in the future. Care facilities exist for various reasons. For example, people might need assisted living due to their age, learning difficulties or physical disabilities.
While some people might travel from afar to live in your home, the majority will come from your local area. As such, you need to find out as much as possible about the population in your region. There is little point in opening a state-of-the-art care home if it doesn’t meet the demands of prospective residents.
A crucial thing to research is the level of government funding available to people in your area. Funding from local authorities is means-tested. Therefore, you should check whether your region is generally wealthy, as this will indicate whether prospective residents have savings or insurance policies to cover your fees. If most people in the area are likely to be eligible for state funding, you might need to adjust your prices or amenities to ensure you attract enough tenants.
Assess tenancy rates
The percentage of the total number of beds in your care facility occupied at a given moment is known as the tenancy rate (or occupancy rate). Tenancy rates will naturally fluctuate from time to time, so it is probably best to consider this figure across a longer period (i.e. a year).
Estimating average tenancy rates is a pivotal part of managing a care facility. These figures allow you to generate forecasts for income and cash flow in your business. You should start recording data from your first year in operation to create baseline numbers that will facilitate more accurate predictions in the future.
At first, you should expect your tenancy rates to be relatively low. This is because you probably won’t fill up every bed in your facility immediately. However, you might be able to begin recording these numbers before your facility even opens. If care homes are in high demand in your area, you might find people put their names down before you open your doors. You can use this to begin generating preliminary tenancy rates.
Overall, you need to have a robust understanding of how to estimate occupancy rates and their effects for your care facility to succeed. You cannot generate revenue from your care business without occupants, so understanding what influences tenancy rates is essential.
Care facilities are often subject to higher standards of risk management than other residences. Tenants are often vulnerable individuals with specific care requirements, so how you manage hazards and look after people is essential.
Care home managers need to consider insurance options before they open their doors to occupants. It is usually best to opt for sector-specific insurance when operating assisted living facilities. Since there is a high inherent risk to managing such a business, you need to manage your exposure to this to protect your business and residents. Choosing a care home insurance policy will cover your facility in any eventuality. You can learn more via Barnes Commercial Insurance Broker, which is a dedicated commercial insurance company that has specific industry knowledge to benefit your care home.
Another thing to consider when managing the risks associated with assisted living is the experience and quality of your employees. Since your occupants will often have specific requirements, you need to ensure that the people caring for them understand what they are doing and know how to effectively look after vulnerable people. Otherwise, you are exposing tenants, employees and the business as a whole to physical and financial risks.
As mentioned above, there is plenty of competition in the care home sector. Therefore, if you want your business to succeed, you need to carefully consider your pricing strategies. The amount you charge for room and board in the home should reflect the quality of care you provide, as well as the amenities and facilities on offer. For example, if you provide nursing services to residents, your prices will typically be higher than homes that don’t do this.
There are several essential considerations when outlining your pricing policy. Firstly, you should figure out how much you need to charge residents to cover all of the operating costs while making an acceptable profit. You will also need to consider how much other enterprises charge for comparable services in your region. The final crucial thing to think about is how much funding your local authorities pay towards residential and nursing care.
Consider purchasing a pre-established business
When opening a care home, you might think you need to build the whole operation from scratch. However, this isn’t always the case. For example, if there is an old hotel or large home in your area, you might be able to use this as a care home. However, these will generally require extensive refurbishment and can be a costly option.
Instead, it might make more sense to purchase an existing care business. This can streamline a lot of the process of opening care facilities since it will come with a pre-established reputation and an existing business relationship with local authorities.
However, you will need to consider a few things if you plan on buying another business. Investigate whether there was any adverse publicity surrounding the care home that could have sullied its reputation. Also, research its historic tenancy rates and check if any outstanding legal claims are levelled against the business.
In summary, opening a care home can be an emotionally rewarding and financially lucrative endeavour if it’s done correctly. However, there are many things to consider before you can begin taking in new occupants. As such, consider the suggestions listed above to give your business the best chances of success.
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