How to Create a Luxury NEMT Service
All new businesses start with a small idea. That idea eventually blossoms into something tangible, but the initial excitement over a simple idea is what drives people to create a business from the ground up. Non-emergency medical transportation is an industry that continues to grow each year as the need for accessible transportation increases across the country. Because of this consistent growth, many self-starters are looking for opportunities within the industry, whether that’s becoming a driver or dispatcher, building software, or starting a new NEMT business. If you’re someone who’s toying with the idea of starting an NEMT business, you’re probably also trying to figure out how you can distinguish your company from all the other ones in your area. One way to do so is by creating a luxury NEMT service—we took a look at what exactly this means.
Luxury NEMT: What Does This Mean?
Non-emergency medical transportation is a program that provides transportation to healthcare visits for those who are unable to drive themselves. This is a Medicaid-funded program, so the majority of your trip requests will come directly from transportation brokers. However, the population of private pay clients is increasing, and this is where building a luxury NEMT business will have a big impact. When it comes down to it, your responsibility as an NEMT provider is to ensure clients are safely transported to and from their healthcare appointments. However, adding a luxurious spin on the classic transportation business model is a great way to set your business apart. The following are a handful of ways you might distinguish your luxurious business from a standard one.
Upgrade Your Fleet
If you’re offering standard non-emergency medical transportation, you need an ADA-compliant vehicle before you hit the road. If you’re doing wheelchair and stretcher transports, you’ll need vehicles with those capabilities. For ambulatory travel, though, you don’t need a vehicle with special features. This leaves the door open for using vehicles that feel a little more fancy than the standard four-door sedan. Investing in a Cadillac or a Lincoln vehicle, for instance, will give clients the feeling of being driven around in something that isn’t a limo, but also isn’t just a standard vehicle. If you can afford to buy higher-end vehicles for your operation, this is a great place to start.
Offer Transportation Beyond NEMT
NEMT may be your main priority, but if you want to expand your luxurious model, you should think about other trip opportunities and consider investing in a limousine. Limos give you the opportunity to greatly expand your services to a variety of places. These places include but aren’t limited to weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, proms, wine tours, family gatherings, dinner parties, concerts, sporting events, theaters, and more. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how vast you want to make your offerings, but in the case of luxury, the more options, the better.
Offer Competitive Rates
When you’re transporting Medicaid passengers, the amount of money you receive per trip depends on the Medicaid rules and regulations set forth by your state. However, when you’re transporting private pay passengers, you set the rates. Your trip rates should be based on a number of factors. First, it’s important to look at other NEMT companies operating in your area and see what they’re charging. This will give you a good idea of what’s appropriate in the area you’re working in, and also let you know what you need to charge in order to look more appealing than the competition while also being profitable. Your rates should be broken down into categories that cover various types of transport. Limo rides to proms will be charged differently than a standard ambulatory trip to a healthcare visit, and so on. Rides are typically charged based on mileage, but you might consider a flat fee or a time-based fee when it comes to limo trips. These are all things that can be adjusted as needed.
Commit to Seamless Communication
Your customers want to feel valued. A simple way for you to achieve this is by providing consistent communication with them. If a customer calls, make sure the call is answered. If a customer makes a special request, make sure that request is met, if possible. To provide optimum communication, send a confirmation email and/or call when a trip is booked. Then, when your drivers are on their way to the pick-up point, another call should be sent out to let them know their ride is on the way. This helps avoid no-shows and makes your passengers feel valued.
Offer Competitive Hours
Having hours outside of regular business hours available for your customers is a great competitive advantage for your business. Verify what type of hours your competitors offer, and decide if you can work during hours that they don’t. If you’re doing limo transports, you’ll definitely need to offer weekend and evening hours, so you can decide if you want to have those same hours for ambulatory, as well.
Invest in Top-Tier NEMT Software
Software isn’t the first step in starting your luxury NEMT business, but it should definitely be top of mind as you start to grow your business. Once your fleet is up and running with at least five vehicles, you can start seriously looking at non-emergency medical transportation scheduling software options. If you want to run an efficient business and secure as many trip opportunities as possible, you need a system you can trust. Searching for all-in-one scheduling, routing, dispatching, and billing software is the best way to manage your whole operation under one platform. If you’re ready to start your search, send your information to the team at iSi Technology. We offer a family of software products covering the NEMT, NY Medicaid, insurance, and homecare billing industries. Schedule your free demo today to see how our platform can improve your business.