How to Start a Companion Business
A companion care business provides companions to the elderly or disabled in need of assistance with their day-to-day activities. Depending on the extent of the services your business will provide, you may need to obtain special licensing. A background in gerontology, social work, nursing care or nursing is ideal, but not necessary. Compassion, patience, discretion, a sense of humor and a desire to help people will go a long way in this business.
Things You Will Need
Determine if you want to branch out on your own or join a franchise. A franchise may offer you training in hands-on care on a variety of relevant subjects, such as fall prevention, elder abuse and infection control. A franchise will also provide you with marketing materials, operational assistance, employee handbooks and guidelines and licensing information. However, franchises can require a significant initial capital investment. Going it alone allows you to build up your business at your pace with much less money up-front.
Contact your state’s Department of Health to learn the rules governing the companion industry and the training and licenses required. Laws vary greatly. In Georgia, licensing in required for companion care, but in Virginia, it is not. Your state may also provide guidance on liability insurance requirements.
Obtain training in companion care, such as how to care for someone on bed rest or who has memory loss; personal grooming; handling medications; financial management; healthy meal preparation and housekeeping. Become cardiopulmonary resusitation (CPR) and First Aid certified.
Secure a location for your office in an area near a large elderly community. You’ll also need a private room for conducting interviews of potential companions. Establish your business entity and register with your Secretary of State office.
Develop an in-depth interview process for your companions. Implement background checks. Then look for experienced, compassionate professionals who understand the importance of discretion. Hire bi-lingual providers if your region calls for it. Send your professionals through training, includng First Aid and CPR training.
Implement an interview process for your clients to better understand their needs, lifestyle, financial situation and preferences. Develop policies that detail what happens in the event that the caretaker cannot make the appointment, emergency protocols and schedule planning.
Develop professional brochures that detail your commitment to providing quality care from compassionate and trained professionals at affordable prices. Then distribute brochures to senior centers, clinics, medical professionals and community centers.
Check up on your employees and clients from time to time to ensure that the companions are upholding the level of professionalism and standards set by your business. Offer handsome packages and benefits in order to keep your most dedicated companions. Provide annual or ongoing training for your companions.