How to Start a Senior Transportation Business

Starting any business is difficult. It takes hard work and dedication. Starting a senior transportation company is no different. You will need to research other senior transportation businesses in your area and determine the market for the service. You will also need to do an industry analysis for the business plan. Use the industry analysis to inform your estimates for the financial model, which will include estimates for total revenues and total expenses. Begin small, using one vehicle first, and then grow your operation as your demand grows.

Research the competition. Do a search at your local library, in the Yellow Pages or by contacting the Chamber of Commerce to find senior transportation companies in your area. Use their contact information to determine what kind of services they provide.

Conduct an industry analysis of the senior transportation market in your area. One of the most popular frameworks for this is referred to as the SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Start by researching the strengths and weaknesses a senior transportation business can have in your city or state. These are internal to the business. Focus on business operations. Next look at opportunities and threats for the industry in your area. Focus on opportunities and threats from outside the business.

Identify your niche or market. This is your customer focus and is easy to determine after conducting the industry analysis. In terms of senior transportation, this is the area where there is a large and growing senior community. To narrow your focus, concentrate your efforts on underserved geographic markets.

Figure out your service model. Compare the business models of other senior transportation businesses. Decide if you want to allow customers to pay as they go or on a subscription basis (or both). Decide on your basic service, and then provide two other (higher) levels of service based on the basic service and price plan.

Identify how much funding you need. Use a spreadsheet to estimate your starting costs. Include insurance, vehicles (lease or purchase), physical location (rent or purchase), bonding & licensing, salaries/hourly help, maintenance, gas, marketing and any other expenses that may be specific to your locale. Add up all costs for a total start-up cost and include it in a business plan. Use your research and SWOT analysis to support your financial model. Solicit help from investors, starting with friends and family, and then set up a meeting with a few local banks in the area once you obtain at least 20 percent of the up-front costs.

Offer your services to a local senior center. If you can secure customers that need the service, this will support your idea with creditors and other potential investors.

Start your business out of a local senior center or other location that is popular among seniors. Begin with only one vehicle and expand as business improves.