These days, anyone can start a business. All you really need is an idea, relevant equipment, and a drive to succeed, right? Sure, that’s a start, but it might not get you far. Forming an in-depth business plan right away is your best bet, and one of the most important things you should focus on is what sets you apart from the competition. The key to attracting more customers is by differentiating your service from others in the area. With that said, we broke down the top ways we believe new NEMT businesses can stand out and succeed.
Be realistic about your fleet size
Purchasing five vehicles won’t naturally bring you tons of trips. Start with one or two different vehicles, and as you find yourself taking on more trips each day, think about how many vehicles you’ll need to keep up the pace. It’s important to remember that vehicles require maintenance. A larger fleet can quickly become expensive between oil changes, vehicle inspections, fuel, and more, so keep this in mind before you make the jump to add another vehicle.
Budget, budget, budget
Speaking of costs, formulating a comprehensive budget will keep you accountable for your business finances. Every little thing adds up, so remember that you’ll be paying for vehicle maintenance, fuel, licenses, office supplies, driver salaries, and more. If you plan ahead and budget, you won’t be caught off guard later on.
Set competitive rates
Your rates depend largely on location. If you’re operating in a city, you’ll have the ability to charge more than you would in a rural area. However, just because you’re located in a booming city doesn’t mean you can go crazy with your rates. Take a look at what other NEMT businesses in the area are charging for trips. If you charge too high, potential passengers will look elsewhere for a cheaper option. But if you charge too low, you might lose out on your profit. Find the happy-medium where you can make money and beat out the competition with your prices.
Identify what sets your business apart
Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Think about what will set your NEMT company apart from others in your area. Take the time to get to know your passengers (and hire friendly, personable drivers to make this possible). Consider what services you can offer to your passengers that others in the area may not. Are your hours more flexible? Do you offer discounts to frequent riders? There’s no single solution, but there are a plethora of routes you can take to stand out from the rest.
You want to attract new customers, right? Then you need a solid marketing plan. Your name and branding matter. Do you have a memorable company name? Are you trying to find a particular group of people through your brand identity? If you’re hesitant to figure out the marketing side of things on your own, it’s worth hiring some freelance help to make sure you create a memorable business.
Aim to serve both broker and private pay clients
Don’t limit where you find your customers. Working with brokers is great for a lot of reasons, and you should definitely try to sign contacts with both small and large brokers. But broker clients pay through Medicaid, which means depending on the state you operate in, you might not make as much per trip as you’d like to. Private pay clients, on the other hand, offer a lot more flexibility. Since they’re paying out of pocket, you’ll almost always make more money on these trips. When adjusting your marketing strategy, make plans to target both groups of passengers for a diverse, profitable portfolio.
Invest in reliable NEMT dispatch and billing software
Once you have an established business, you’ll find that dispatching, scheduling, and billing trips by hand becomes overwhelming. Finding an efficient NEMT software that automates all aspects of trip planning will save you time and money and put your business on a fast track to success. If you’re ready to learn more about what NEMT transportation software can do for you, contact the iSi Technology team for more information.