Feeling prepared to start our residential home care business to include non-family members, minor home renovations were again necessary. Next I wrote a
business plan. Banks or investors require it to ask for additional funding to expand your business. I do not recommend you spend much time in writing one
initially. With our first resident insight, we downloaded a residential lease agreement off the internet. It had already been sent to our supporting law
firm to ensure it was legally prepared. .
Only one resident is needed to get started. Our first resident came through a referral franchise that charged us for providing their services. Their fees
were expensive but included physical info and financial screenings. Word-of-mouth marketing is cheaper and is the best way to keep cost down for marketing.
Now after living with us 30 days, we give a $500 business referral fee to any person who finds us a resident. Paying after the 30 days also provides us
with two monthly checks from the resident beforehand.
From our first year, we operated our business as a sole proprietorship which is sufficient for a startup business. However after the first year I
established an LLC to give us some protection and possible tax benefits. We operate our business as an unlicensed facility. Our state of location does not
require a license for facilities that have three or fewer non family seniors. With a fourth resident, the person must be a family member of the owner.
Including a daycare senior or respite senior will not detract from the unlicensed commitment.
Remaining unlicensed has advantages when it comes to regulation and costs related to those regulations. As the laws vary in each state, check your state
laws pertaining to unlicensed home care residential care facilities.
Our facility is completely flexible to all preapproved visitors including families, friends and associates of our residents. We also have regular visits
from home health, hospice nursing and support care groups to our unlicensed facility.
A few more renovations
We bartered for the next minor renovation to the house before we accepted our first non-family resident. This time we included a wall to enclose an
additional private bedroom downstairs. We enlarged a community bathroom by removing two small closets making its entrance comply with handicap
measurements. We added lighting in the hall, updated the bathroom light fixtures and added a couple handicap bars in the shower and beside the toilet.
We also needed to secure the front and back doors to keep a dementia resident from wandering away from the house. Solution: simply install a spring loaded
latch high enough out of their reach to our storm doors at both entrance and back door storm doors. Look around for your resources among family and
friends. It helped us to have experienced college kids who agreed to work cheaply in exchange for food.
A few furnishings should be available for each resident if they prefer not to bring personal furniture. Be sure they are easily moveable as you arrange for
new residents. We offer a bed, bookcase, and armoire to each resident as needed. The bookcase provides a good place to set supplies close to the bed. The
double wide armoire serves as a closet and is sufficient for seasonal clothing at one time. We suggest that you refrain from using furniture with
sentimental value to business owner due to expectation of wear and tear incurred through the number of furniture arrangements.
As we live onsite upstairs, the entire downstairs area is used as a common space, including laundry, 1.5 bathrooms, kitchen, two seating locations for
dining, and family area for visiting and watching television. We recommend that residents spend as much time together in the common area during the day.
However we do allow them to bring their own TV for their room at night. Cell phones are optional as land line telephones are available in a couple