By 2030, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that one in five Americans will fall into the age range of 65 or older, which is a large increase from 1994, when only one in eight were in that age range. As the elderly population grows, the need for more equipment to assist them in personal care and daily activities is also growing. Entrepreneurs can cater to this expanding population group by learning how to start a home medical equipment business.
Obtain funding. Learn if you qualify for small business loans offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans have low interest rates. Apply for business and private loans from banks and credit unions. Find an investor willing to donate money to the start-up of the business in return for a share of the profits.
Get a supplier. Contact companies that manufacture home medical equipment to learn how to buy their products to sell in your store. Connect with wholesalers and distributors if manufacturing companies don’t sell their products directly to retail businesses. Negotiate a wholesale or bulk price to generate a profit when the item is marked up in your store.
Find a facility. Lease or purchase a retail or commercial space from which to operate your medical equipment business. Invite customers to visit the store as well as providing in-home consultations. The latter provides the opportunity to up-sell since you visually see the home and can make recommendations about additional products and equipment that may be beneficial.
Arrange for insurance. Contact insurance companies in your state to learn how to become a medical equipment provider covered by their plans. Work with the representative in the insurance company to complete any paperwork required, and learn how to accurately bill the insurance company for medical equipment purchases.
Hire staff. Get sales staff to work in the store as well as make home visits to clients to explain and demonstrate the different home medical equipment your business offers. Employ a customer service representative to answer phones, greet customers and assist sales staff when needed. If offering delivery services, find people who are strong and able to lift heavy objects to deliver medical equipment to customers' homes.
Market the business. Establish a Web site to allow customers to review your products online, or print a catalog and mail it to customers and medical locations in the area such as hospitals, physical therapy clinics and doctors’ offices. Network with medical professionals, such as physical therapists, doctors and nurses, as these are people able to make recommendations to clients on where to go to purchase the medical equipment they need for their home.
Allison Dodge has been a writer since 2005, specializing in education, careers, health and travel. She has worked at educational institutions for more than 10 years. Dodge has a master's degree in education administration.