How to scale your NEMT business
Owning a business is an incredibly difficult job. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and just when you think you have a handle on things, a curveball inevitably comes out of nowhere. But that doesn’t stop people from creating new businesses, and it doesn’t stop those businesses from thriving. If you’re in a good place with your business, you need to think about how you’re going to continue to grow and improve—because if you aren’t, you’ll end up staying stagnant, which can be just as detrimental as declining. The problem is, figuring out how to scale your business isn’t as easy as it sounds. That’s why we did the research for you. Check out our recommendations below.
Plan ahead on investments
Planning ahead on your future investments is a key way to be both frugal and rational. Impulse purchases are usually a bad business decision, so it’s crucial that you figure out whether or not an investment is going to be useful or not. Having regular meetings and keeping track of your business earnings is a good way to answer that question. When you pinpoint your shortcomings, you’re able to then assess what you need to fix them, and then budget for those investments. If you find an investment you’re interested in but realize it’s way out of your budget, you’ll still have a good idea of when you’ll be able to afford it.
Offer competitive rates
The majority of your trips will likely be Medicaid-based, at least to start out, but as your business grows, you’ll want to look for private pay opportunities, too. Before you can do this, you need to figure out the rates you’ll charge per trip. This decision is tricky, because it needs to be both strategic and practical. First, take a look at what the competition in your area is charging for trips. Examine what type of area you’re operating in—rural, urban, suburban—and look into the type of clients you’ll likely be working with. It’s important to base your rates on your geographic location and also on what others are charging. You want to find a good balance between being competitive with other NEMT businesses in your area, while also charging enough that you’ll make money. It’s a fine line, and sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to end up in a good spot, but when you find a rate that works for your business, it’s well worth the time and effort.
Develop a unique brand
In order to stand out from your competition, you need to create a brand that’s unique to your business’s mission. If you don’t have a marketing or advertising background, it’s easy to glaze over this step and say you’ll revisit it later. But this line of thinking is dangerous. Without a brand story and image, your company has no defining qualities when put up against a competitor. Obviously, this is a problem, because it means 9 times out of 10 a potential passenger will choose the brand with the interesting story. The non-emergency medical transportation industry may not be a flashy one, but there’s a lot of room to build a meaningful business that attracts clients on a human level. It’s your job to do that. Whether you hire an in-house team to develop marketing assets, or you hire an agency or freelancers to do the job, good marketing is an absolute must when you start a business.
Avoid common trip problems
While you’re doing industry research to create the best business possible, take note of the problems customers cite most commonly when it comes to their trips, especially if these complaints come from your local area. One common issue NEMT passengers report is drivers being late to pick ups. Since most passengers are on their way to appointments and have to arrive at a specific time, this is a huge issue that can result in patients being forced to reschedule their appointments. When you start your driver hiring process, it’s crucial to emphasize timeliness as a must-have quality. Additionally, once your business has a steady flow of customers, looking into NEMT scheduling software is a great way to ensure all trips are completed on time. Another top complaint from NEMT passengers is driver professionalism. Passengers expect a certain level of respect and professionalism from their drivers when they get into a vehicle. If a driver is being rude, dismissive, or reckless in their driving habits, passengers will likely feel unsafe and, as a result, will seek out a different company for future trips. Your company should focus on hiring friendly, outgoing, professional drivers to make up your team.
Be forward thinking
Being a business owner means constantly thinking about the next step. Just when you think you’ve hit your stride, a roadblock will come out of nowhere and throw you off track. That’s the way of business, so rather than trying to fight it, figure out how you can stay one step ahead of things. Focus on client needs in your area, and decide what type of trip offerings locals might need in the near future. For instance, does it seem like more clients are requesting rides for chronic conditions? If so, you have a good opportunity to secure recurring trips. Maybe a handful of your customers require out-of-town trips, in which case you can make a greater profit from private pay customers traveling long distances.
Find trip scheduling software that fits your business model
Once you’re completing a variety of trips on a regular basis, it’s time to boost your trip management process. There are a number of NEMT software products on the market, so it’s important to understand what you need from software before you make your purchase. Investing in software helps you automate your scheduling, routing, billing, and dispatching processes for an overall more efficient process. If you’re ready to start your search, or if you’re interested in New York Medicaid billing software, homecare billing software, or other insurance billing software, reach out to the team at iSi Technology to schedule a free demo of our software options!