Losing the ability to drive can be devastating for an independent senior. From grocery shopping to picking up medications to simply getting out and about, transportation is crucial for seniors who don’t want to have to depend on family or friends to help them get around. Do your elderly community a great service by starting a nonemergency transportation service.
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Conduct market research via the U.S. Census Bureau or your state’s department of aging to learn statistics on the elderly or disabled in your area. Then research current transportation services to evaluate competition and to identify any voids which can be filled by your company.
Contact your state licensing department to learn what licenses and permits are needed to start your business. At a minimum, you will need to select a business entity, such as a corporation or limited liability company, and register your business. You will also need to invest in liability insurance. Your state may have minimum requirement amounts. As well, you may be required to obtain a motor-coach permit.
Then find an insurance provider who specializes in providing commercial insurance to transport companies.
Secure a location in good proximity to your clientele, such as near an assisted-living community, residential neighborhood, hospital, rehab center or clinics, if you intend to have more than one vehicle. When first starting out, you can operate from your home. As your business expands and you begin to build a fleet of vehicles, having your own garage and tow truck may prove to be much more financially advantageous than having to rely on other companies.
Become certified in CPR and first aid. It may also be worthwhile to enroll in a course for sensitivity training, defensive driving or transporting persons with disabilities.
Purchase a wheelchair-accessible minivan from a reputable dealer and outfit it with GPS tracking. If purchasing used, make sure that you have a staff mechanic who can respond quickly in the event that your vehicle breaks down. Also make sure that your vehicle meets federal safety standards. Contact your department of transportation for information on registering and outfitting your commercial vehicle. Your van should be comfortable, clean and spacious. Outfit it with a first-aid kit and appointment book.
Implement a stringent screening process for your driver. Be sure that he holds a clean driving record, is at least 25 years old (for insurance purposes) and has undergone a background check.
Create a brochure and website that details the services you provide, as well as your service radius and accepted forms of payment. Ask to leave brochures at clinics and hospitals.
Contact your department of human services to learn how you can become eligible for accepting Medicaid.