How to run an NEMT business in more than one state
There comes a point in every business owner’s journey when they decide it’s time to strive for growth. This thought may be in the back of your mind as you work through your days, but when you consciously make a decision to become better, that’s when the magic happens. Maybe you’re looking to expand your client portfolio, or perhaps you have dreams of growing your business to operate in multiple states. These are both great goals, and if you want to achieve them, you have to start somewhere. We’ve outlined some tips to get you thinking about your priorities, where you want your business to be in five years, and how to get there.
Understand the specifics of what you want
Want to take on more customer opportunities? Then you’ll need more vehicles. Hoping to work with private pay customers? You’d better have a passenger app that supports trip booking and payments. The point is, if you have a goal, you need to first understand what tools you need to make it a reality. By examining the goal at large and the steps you should take to achieve it, you’ll have a clear roadmap of where you are now, and how you can ultimately get to a better place with your business.
Have a five-year plan
We know, this sounds like a hypothetical interview question that you fake your way through to sound like a real planner. But this time, it’s necessary. If you’re running an NEMT business, you probably aren’t planning on calling it quits after a year or two. It can be difficult to think about what your business could look like this far in advance, but that’s the beauty of planning—you can map out your dream vision and figure out what it will take to make it a reality. If this type of planning isn’t in your wheelhouse, hiring a business advisor is never a bad idea. Five years might sound like a long time into the future, but when you’re running a business, time flies. It’s better to be prepared if you want to remain successful.
Create a realistic budget
Detailed budgeting is an absolute must when you’re running a non-emergency medical transportation business. Start-up expenses can be costly, and since you don’t know when you’ll become profitable, it’s best to play it safe on the financial side of things. Three big areas you’ll want to budget for are the following:
If you own a personal vehicle or have a driver’s license, you already know that you need insurance before you can legally operate a vehicle. The same is true at your NEMT business. You’ll need to purchase insurance that covers both your fleet and your team of drivers. Considering the liability you’ll face if there’s an accident, you should invest in reliable insurance. It will be pricey, but it’s well worth the cost to ensure everything is properly protected.
If you’re only planning on doing ambulatory trips, you can use your own personal vehicles for transport, if you prefer. As you grow, you may need to invest in additional vehicles, or you might not want to put added miles on your own vehicles, but it’s an option if you’re not looking to purchase new vehicles yet. On the other hand, if you’re going to be doing wheelchair and stretcher trips, you need special, ADA-compliant vehicles. These vehicles can be quite expensive, so if you’re hoping to take on wheelchair trips, we recommend checking out used vehicle options before paying for a brand-new one. Additionally, it’s important to note that if you’re transporting passengers in wheelchairs or stretchers, this will increase the price you pay for insurance due to liability.
You might not need an office right away, but as your business grows, you’re going to need a space to store your vehicles and set up your team of dispatchers. Office expenses should be a considerable portion of your budget. Luckily, the cost is fairly predictable if you’re willing to do some research. For starters, you’re either going to rent or buy a building. Either way, it’s easy enough to do some digging on average costs in your area and begin looking into options when the time comes. Beyond the price you’ll pay for your space, you’ll need to budget for computers and other technology, toiletries, food and beverage, desks, and anything else you know you’ll need. Some of these supplies may be ongoing, too, so that’s something worth tracking when you start purchasing supplies.
Nail down your competitive advantage
If you want to be successful, you need to understand what sets your business apart from others. Those hoping to expand their business to different states can definitely consider that an advantage—especially if you’re willing to travel from one state to another for your clients. For instance, a patient might live in New York but need special treatment in Ohio twice a month. Most transportation companies wouldn’t travel that distance, but if you’re willing to, you’ll become the top choice for long-distance transportation. If you aren’t planning on becoming a long-distance transportation provider, there are plenty of other ways to stand out. Figure out what that is, and you’re golden.
Commit to software
Non-emergency medical transportation routing software is something that should definitely be on your radar when you have at least five vehicles in your fleet and you’re regularly completing trips. Software automates your operations to save time and money while boosting your efficiency. If you’re at this point in your business, we’d love to get in touch to discuss software options. Contact the team at iSi Technology when you’re ready to find a solid software platform for your company.