Some people don’t have family or friends available to drive them to a doctor’s appointment or their dialysis treatments, especially if a person is required to go multiple times in one week. Others have disabilities or medical complications that require special care or assistance when being transported. Private medical transportation businesses have been established in cities throughout the country to meet the needs of these people. With the baby boomer generation transitioning into their senior years and requiring more medical care, now is the perfect time for you to learn how to start a medical transport business.
Find a vehicle. The most critical component of your business is the vehicle you use to transport your clients. You want something that is reliable and can accommodate different disabilities and medical conditions. This may include a ramp or lift elevator for individuals in wheelchairs or an area in the back big enough to transport someone on a stretcher.
Purchase vehicle and general liability insurance. You need auto insurance to cover any vehicles used in your medical transport business as well as drivers. To protect your business you also need to obtain general liability insurance. Check with your state as they may have a minimum insurance requirement. For example, Ohio requires $500,000 in general liability insurance and $100,000/300,000/50,000 per person/accident/property.
Obtain a license from state if required. Some states, such as Oregon and Ohio, require medical transportation businesses to obtain a license to operate. This requires you to submit an application, licensing fee and proof of liability and vehicle insurance. In addition your vehicle may undergo an inspection to make sure it is safe and suitable for transporting clients.
Check for local license requirements. You also need to check with your city for any special licenses or requirements they have. For example, Albany, Oregon requires medical transportation companies to obtain a city business license by completing an application, submitting a $10 licensing fee and showing proof of insurance.
Arrange to accept insurance. Some insurance companies will pay for private medical transportation while others will not. If there are insurance companies that do pay for your services, work with them to become an approved service provider. This allows you to receive insurance payments for some clients you transport, and it may increase the number of transports you do since more people will use it if insurance pays for it.
Establish fees and policies for business. When setting your prices, take into consideration the cost to operate your business, including vehicle maintenance, fuel and employee wages. You also need to establish policies for payment such as whether you require payment upfront or will arrange a payment plan for those whose insurance doesn’t cover it.
Market your medical transportation business. To get the word out about the transportation to medical facilities you provide, you can do a general advertising campaign using radio, TV and newspaper. However, it is more profitable to target the population in need of your services. This can be done by marketing at doctors' offices, hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis centers. You can also network with physicians, therapists and staff at treatment centers to get them to refer their patients to your services.
Hire employees. While you may be able to manage on your own as you start your medical transportation business, as you grow you need to hire employees to assist you. This is especially true if your services are available 24/7 or you expand to more than one vehicle in the fleet.
Set up a dispatch center. Once you add additional vehicles and drivers to your business, set up a dispatch center to handle calls for service. They can speak to the client and then send the appropriate driver and vehicle to assist the client.