Home health and home care can be a very challenging market to differentiate in and gain new customers. We all know that the number of people needing home health care is staggering and the size of this $89 billion industry will continue to grow for the next couple decades. However, there are also a lot of competing companies vying for that business. So how do you grow your business in the midst of all of this?
1. Get Referrals
Referrals are a key to any long-term success in the home health industry. As an owner, or if you can afford a business development person, you should be dedicating at least one day a week to meeting with and calling on referral partners. Another possibility is referral partners from other home care providers. Are you private duty? Perhaps meet with Medicaid agencies to get referrals for non-Medicaid clients that inquire with them.
Common referral partners for home health can be primary physicians, geriatric specialists, rehab and nursing homes and hospitals.
But why would a referral partner decide to refer to you? This is all about building the relationship, and showing results. It takes time to become a trusted partner. Start building the relationship now and fruit will come later.
Results can be in the form of showing client satisfaction or improvements. Do you have statistics on lowering readmission rates? Maybe it’s time to start combing through your data and create those stats.
2. Get Specialized or Unique
Specializing is a great way to differentiate yourself and gain clients. When you specialize, you can take up space in peoples’ minds on that particular need. Some organizations specialize in pediatric home care, some in physical therapy, and some focus on medically difficult clients. By specializing, you can be known in your market for that specialty, and then you are more likely to be referred or have inquiries based on that need.
Similar to specialization, what is your unique selling proposition? In other words, what makes your home health organization unique? Do you offer 24/7 care and support? Do you have a special caregiver matching model? Are you using a special home health software or family communication app for home care that helps deliver better care? Whatever it is, make sure you can articulate it when people ask.
3. Be Active in the Community
Home health is a local business. Local businesses need to be active in the community. Join your local chamber of commerce or healthcare networking groups (don’t know of any? Check out www.meetup.org for local groups in your area). Sponsor baseball teams, local events, or charity events. As you become active in the community, people look to you as a community leader and give respect to your company.
4. Market Your Business
You should spread the word of your business through every channel feasible. It is important to look into all types of advertising and then make an informed decision on which ones to use. Both free and paid methods are worth a shot.
Get Social (Media)
One of the cheapest forms of advertising is maintaining social media profiles. It costs you virtually no money and gives you a platform to speak on your brand. Interact with your customers and build better relationships with them, others will see this and want the same. People want to feel like they know your company and core values. Consider posting an “about us” video where potential customers can be introduced to you and your staff.
Post Online Ads
Online ads allow you to target the exact group of people you are looking for. Use this to your advantage! Set an advertising budget and try posting ads on different websites. Popular channels include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and Google Ads. Also, look into care specific websites such as care.com.
Post Paper Ads
Local newspapers and magazines are always selling ad space. The best advertising is sometimes free. Instead of simply releasing an ad, write your business story (tell people what makes your business unique) and see if your local newspaper would be interested in publishing it.
Print Marketing Materials
Make company business cards and brochures that can be handed out to prospective clients. You can go to elderly care facilities or hospitals in your area and ask to leave some materials at the front desk. There are plenty of free resources available on the web to create your designs.
The Best Form of Advertising
Word-of-mouth can be a beautiful or deadly thing. If your clients are satisfied with your care, they will be happy to share your information with friends and family. When a recommendation comes from someone they trust, they are more likely to follow through and contact you. Once your caregiver and the client have made a good bond, it is time to hand them informational packets to share. Have your staff explain the importance of helping others who could benefit from your services. Then, offer a small token of appreciation for any referrals they bring in, such as a $20 gift card. You will be surprised how much faster referrals come in!
Search for senior community events and get networking! Ask to be a speaker and provide your audience with valuable insights.
Track Your Progress
When you get a new lead, ask how they heard about your company. Stick to the marketing channels that are working the best for you!
5. Add Other Services
Another way to grow is to add services to your offering. For example, a private duty home care company might offer additional services like grocery shopping for the client, home management tasks and transportation services. Maybe you have a home health company that provides nursing services, and you want to add personal care services.
What is private duty and private pay?
Private duty home care is a form of general home care. Caregivers can provide a wide range of services such as medical, nursing care, bill paying, and transportation. Other services can include:
- Meal preparation
- Medication reminders
Private duty home care differs from traditional home care due to the payment method, which is private pay. Private pay is also known as paying “out-of-pocket”. It means existing savings and assets are used to cover the cost of elderly care services. This is one of the most common forms of payment and it is accepted by many elderly care services. A few methods used to pay for care include trusts, reverse mortgages, and annuities.
How to offer private duty services
Step 1: Research state certificate of need and license requirements
A certificate of need is a legal document required in many states and some federal jurisdictions before proposed acquisitions, expansions, or creations of facilities are allowed. You must make sure that your business is allowed to expand to private duty.
Step 2: Look into your finances and determine the impact of expansion
An agency that adds private duty may spread administrative and general expenses over more visits. This will lower Medicare reimbursement.
Step 3: Hire a manager
Find the best person to head your private duty service. They must understand the structure of your business and have experience in management.
Step 4: Establish an appropriate pay structure
Private duty has a very different payroll structure than other home care sectors. Private duty is a competitive market where caregivers are often paid weekly and demand pay to be in line with industry standards. Overtime calculations may differ as well.
Step 5: Educate your staff
There are many private duty staff educational requirements. A good educational resource is the Private Duty Homecare Association.
Step 6: Change your marketing efforts
Target end users of private duty, such as the family members of elderly who need care.
Step 7: Recruit caregivers
Private duty recruitment can be difficult due to work-flows and hours available. Expect to spend money on staff recruitment.
If you are not doing any of the five methods for growing your home health business, chances are that you’re not growing. Now that you’ve read the methods, it’s time to start putting them into practice. Do not get overwhelmed and try to do all at once. Create a plan of what you will tackle over the next 3-6 months, 6 months to a year, and beyond.
Once you have your plan in place, begin to do what you’ve laid out to do and dedicate the time and resources to it. Let us know if we can help!
CareTime is a home care software provider that makes it easier to run your business. We serve private pay, Medicaid, skilled and unskilled agencies and consumer directed care as well. CareTime is an innovative company that is creating new and exciting home care technologies like a Voice Assistant that can check in on your clients and their condition while caregivers can’t be there. Our customer support is top-notch, and you can always get a hold of a real person on the phone to help.