How to start an NEMT business with one vehicle
Starting your own business doesn’t have to be a huge production complete with flashy bells and whistles. In fact, starting a business can actually be a lot simpler than you might think. If you’re thinking about starting your own NEMT business but you don’t want to invest your life’s savings, you’re in luck. It’s entirely possible to start your own business without going broke. In fact, it’s possible to start an NEMT business with just one vehicle. Here’s how.
Develop a strategic plan
Having a good idea is one thing, but having a fleshed out business plan is a whole different game. If you’re working with a small budget and you’re trying to keep your business as minimalist as possible, you need a fully formed plan, and you especially need a realistic budget to reference. When you sit down to write your business plan, these are some of the details you should definitely include.
Description of your business/service: Here, you should highlight the service your business will provide, the name of your business, and anything that might set your business apart from other similar companies in the local area.
Before you officially decide to start a business, you should conduct a market analysis to get a good picture of the area you’ll be working in. Look at the demographics in your area—do they match up with your target group? How many other NEMT businesses are in the area, and how is yours different from existing ones? What barriers of entry might you face as you begin your journey? These are all important things to consider, and your findings will tell you a lot about the future of your business.
Marketing strategy: Marketing is going to be a huge part of your business, so it’s best to have a plan in place to maximize your reach. Marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, in fact, there are a variety of ways you can market your services for free. These are just a few of the ways you can spread the word about your business and secure relationships with passengers:
- Be active on your business’s social media page.
- Reach out to local hospitals, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes to form partnerships.
- Offer a referral program to current clients.
- Introduce yourself to industry experts whenever you can.
Financial outlook: What do your finances look like? How are you going to turn cash into profit? It’s incredibly important to be realistic when developing this part of your business plan. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Invest in the tools you need to start your business, and worry about upgrades and additional supplies later on. If you’re smart with your money, the rest will follow.
Create an attractive website
If you have a business, you need to be online. Making your own website might seem like a daunting task, but there are a variety of resources out there that make launching a website possible for anyone. Websites like Canva, Weebly, and Wix all provide templates to make website creation something everyone can achieve. If you can’t code and aren’t looking to hire a professional to develop your website, check out the aforementioned sites to create your own website for free.
Decide if you want to work from home or rent an office space
The great thing about becoming an NEMT provider is that you aren’t tied to a specific location. If you’re trying to start a business on a budget, there’s absolutely no reason you need to rent out an office space just to say you have one. Instead, run your business from your home until you grow enough that you need additional space. When the time comes to rent an office space, you’ll have money to do so without worrying about the cost.
Have at least one vehicle in your fleet
Yes, you read that correctly. You can successfully run an NEMT business with just one vehicle—and it can be your own personal vehicle. If you’re only planning on doing ambulatory trips for the time being, there’s no reason to invest in an expensive wheelchair van. Seeking out and winning contracts with a variety of brokers, both in your local area and regionally, is the best way to get a handful of trip opportunities at your business.
Once your trip volume grows and you have the capacity to invest in another vehicle and hire more drivers, you should do so. Further down the line, when you have at least five vehicles and your trip volume continues to climb, it’s time to consider investing in non-emergency medical transportation scheduling software. Software automates your entire operation to find the most efficient routes, allows for seamless communication among your team, and reduces the number of billing errors you have in your claims. If you’ve reached this point in your journey as an NEMT provider, we’d love to show you some software options. Send along your information to the team at iSi and we’ll be in touch to schedule your free demo!