How to Start Up a CNA Business

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Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, are routinely involved in many basic patient care activities. These entry-level nursing aides typically assist patients with bathing, dressing and meal activities. In some settings, CNAs obtain patients’ temperature, pulse and blood pressure readings for nurses and physicians. Hospitals, nursing homes and medical offices frequently employ CNAs to supplement higher-level nursing staff. Private clients also contract for CNA services to assist with a family member’s in-home care. CNA placement firms help determine clients’ short-term or long-term needs, and assign qualified CNAs to fill these positions.

Document your CNA business structure. Adopt a business structure with a certified public accountant familiar with medical and service businesses. Examples of business forms include sole proprietorships, limited liability companies and S corporations. Evaluate variables such as your financial situation, estimated risk from your CNA business and tax implications of each business structure. Ask for examples of other medical service companies that successfully operate under each business structure.

Complete your CNA business startup details. Consult with a commercial insurance agent about business and professional liability insurance. Inquire about special risks presented by your CNA business. For example, ask about your consequences if a client wants your agency’s CNA removed from her assignment. Contact your state Department of Revenue about the necessity of a sales tax license for your service business.

Lease a business office location. Find an easily accessible office near a hospital or medical park. Proximity to these facilities helps increase your visibility and enhances your placement opportunities. Ensure that your office features a reception area, small private meeting room and high-speed Internet access.

List your CNA business competitors. Locate two types of CNA placement services. Some general job placement agencies include a medical division that places certified medical personnel, including CNAs. Specialized medical placement agencies work exclusively with medically based employers. List online job posting platforms that advertise CNA opportunities. Collect newspaper “help wanted” ads seeking CNAs for regional assignments. CNAs also find employment through networking and word-of-mouth referrals.

Recruit qualified CNA personnel. Contact vocational schools, community colleges and high schools with CNA certification programs. Inform program graduates of your agency’s operations, and ensure that all candidates have met federal requirements for CNAs who work in nursing care environments. Requirements include at least 75 hours of state-approved instruction and competency exam completion. Consult your state nursing board for additional CNA requirements.

Market to regional institutional clients. Visit hospital personnel managers, nursing home administrators and assisted living facility managers. Consider adult day care centers as well. Analyze each facility’s services and needs beforehand, and clearly outline the ways in which your CNAs can meet those requirements. Present a CNA compensation structure that offers value to the client and rewards your agency accordingly. Maintain contact with administrators to fulfill the facilities’ evolving staffing needs.

Recruit private clients such as families requiring care for a sick family member. Create professional-looking brochures that showcase your services. Place brochures in physicians’ offices, pharmacies, medical equipment stores and retirement community management offices. Place similar-themed ads in medically focused publications produced by city newspapers. Newspapers often distribute these inserts to thousands of readers throughout its service area.


About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.

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