With more people choosing to age in place, home care is a rapidly growing industry.

Starting your own home care business is a great opportunity to not only make a living but also make a difference in the world by helping others age healthily and happily.

If this is a path you’ve been thinking about, the first step is understanding the differences between starting a non-medical home care business with a medical home care business. Both have their place; however, if you are concerned about offering medical services, then a non-medical home care business could be the perfect alternative! Everything from the legal and licensing requirements to the hiring process and marketing efforts will be informed by the type of business you decide to run.

As the experts in Happier Aging™ with over 200 franchise partners, Nurse Next Door is here to help you weigh your options.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • What Are the Two Types of Home Care Agencies?
  • What Are the Benefits of Starting a Non-Medical Home Care Business?
  • What Are the Benefits of Starting a Medical Home Care Business?
  • What Are the Costs of Starting a Non-Medical Home Care Agency?
  • Your Next Steps…

What are the Two Types of Home Care Agencies?

Home care agencies can be divided into medical and non-medical businesses. They vary by what types of services they provide, as well as the regulations and licensing requirements they need to follow.

(Here is a full guide on How to Get a License for Your Home Health Care Business that goes into more detail.)

Nurse Next Door client baking.

Non-Medical Home Care Agency

A non-medical home care agency focuses on allowing people to age comfortably at home instead of going to assisted living facilities or living with relatives.

Clients are usually senior citizens who don’t have significant medical concerns but need help with their daily activities. By enlisting the services of a private home care business, clients can live a higher quality of life in their own homes.

A home care agency employs professional caregivers, home care aides, or other non-medical personnel. While caregivers do not provide medical care, they give the client’s family peace of mind knowing their loved one is getting the assistance they need to live independently.

Common services offered by a non-medical home care business include:

  • Companionship
  • Assistance with bathing, personal care, oral hygiene, feeding, toileting, dressing, etc.
  • Transportation services to doctor’s appointments or other activities
  • Light housekeeping
  • Preparing meals
  • Shopping for essentials
  • Medication reminders

When running a home care agency, potential clients may be:

  • Senior citizens who need assistance with the activities of daily living (i.e., bathing, personal care, dressing), whether due to mobility issues or general age-related changes
  • Seniors requiring transportation to and from doctors’ appointments, friends’ houses, stores or activities
  • Elderly individuals who are isolated and can benefit from companionship
  • Loved ones who need help with their caregiving responsibilities

Medical Home Care Agency 

When comparing a non-medical vs. medical home care business, the difference is, that in addition to supporting aging in place, a medical home health care agency provides clients with medical care as well.

Nurse Next Door client having blood pressure checked.

A home health care agency employs or contracts registered and licensed practical nurses, physical therapists and/or other licensed medical professionals to deliver skilled care. Because of this, regulations are stricter.

Though a medical home care agency may provide assistance with daily activities, services will also include things that would normally be provided in a hospital or medical setting.

Access Your Welcome Package which includes

  • Discovery Video – 15 min overview of this opportunity
  • Franchisee Testimonials
  • The Nurse Next Door opportunity
  • Access to our calendar to book a 1×1 call.
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Home health care businesses commonly offer:

  • Nursing care
  • Administration and management of medications
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Wound care
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Palliative care
  • Assistance with medical machinery

Typical clients of a medical home care agency include:

  • Seniors who have significant or chronic medical conditions
  • Senior citizens who were recently discharged from a hospital, rehab or skilled nursing facility but need additional care
  • Terminally ill individuals who wish to spend their final days at home
  • Seniors who need monitoring after a recent injury or medication change
  • People who are not healthy enough to safely travel to a doctor’s office
  • Seniors who have had a decline in function and require help to regain independence

What are the Benefits of Starting a Non-Medical Home Care Business?

One of the most common questions we get from potential agency owners at Nurse Next Door is, “Do I need medical experience?” The answer is no! While, of course, having a medical or healthcare background can be helpful, it’s not necessary.

Nurse Next Door client.

A non-medical home care agency can be successful as long as you’re passionate and sales-oriented.

The benefits of starting a non-medical home care business include:

  • It’s easier.
    While you will want to check the licensing requirements of your state or province, even if you do need a license for your agency, the regulations are much less stringent when medical care isn’t being provided. You’ll face fewer obstacles when setting up your business and getting proper accreditation.
  • There’s less overhead.
    A non-medical home care agency will have less overhead than a medical home health care business. Your professional liability insurance premiums will be lower, and you’ll require fewer supplies. You also won’t need to hire a clinical supervisor or licensed medical caregivers, which will keep your staffing costs lower.
  • You’ll be able to provide most of the necessary care.
    About 80% of the care provided by any agency is non-medical. As a home care business, you’ll be able to address the vast majority of your clients’ needs and retain a large market share.

What are the Benefits of Starting a Medical Home Care Business?

Regulations for medical home health care agencies are stricter, and if you’re in the United States, you’ll likely need Medicare and Medicaid certifications. That said, once your home health care agency is off of the ground, there are a number of advantages.

The benefits of starting a medical home health care business include:

  • You’ll have a one-stop-shop.
    A medical home care business is able to offer full-spectrum care. You can provide a much larger array of services that go beyond assistance with daily activities to include skilled nursing, wound care, palliative care, and more. Having overlapping medical and non-medical services will expand your client base and create more revenue streams.
  • Ensures better retention.
    As clients age, their needs often change. As a medical home health care business, your services can evolve with each client, and you won’t risk losing them when something medical pops up.
  • Helps you get your foot in the door.
    Many people choose in-home care as a temporary measure after a relative is discharged from the hospital, say, for example, after having surgery.

A professional from a medical home health care agency comes in and helps with things like administering medication, supporting rehabilitation, and light housework while the client recovers. This lets you develop relationships with these clients and their families, expanding your network and increasing the likelihood they’ll call you down the road if long-term assistance is needed.

  • Gives you peace of mind.
    Even seniors who are relatively healthy can experience a medical emergency. With licensed medical professionals on your staff, you’ll have peace of mind knowing they’ll be able to handle any and all scenarios professionally and safely.

What Are the Costs of Starting a Non-Medical Home Care Agency?

Home care agency owners can expect similar costs to a medical home care agency, besides costs associated with specialized equipment such as nursing supplies required to offer medical services. However, as mentioned, the overhead costs of starting a non-medical home care business would be less than a medical business.

Nurse Next Door Team

With both types of home care businesses, some costs that you can expect:

  • Franchise fees (if buying a franchise feels like to right choice to you.)
  • A professional website
  • Business insurance
  • Business license
  • Marketing materials
  • Office equipment
  • Advertising
  • Employee training

For a complete list of fees and costs, visit our recent article that breaks down the specific costs of starting a home care business.

Your Next Steps

After comparing the benefits of a non-medical vs. medical home care business and deciding on the option that aligns with your goals, the legwork begins. For many entrepreneurs, franchising makes sense.

Step 1: Decide whether you’d like to go it alone by starting your own home care agency or want to join a proven system by buying a franchise from a company like Nurse Next Door.

Step 2: Create a home care business plan to comprehend the full scope of the business, whether medical or non-medical and the market. This will help you better understand if the business will be viable in your market.

Step 3: Start the franchise discovery process to look in-depth at the home care franchise model and your franchise company of interest.

Hands together

At Nurse Next Door, we have franchise partners across the United States, Canada, and Australia. We provide each of our Franchise Partners with a business coach who helps navigate the complexities of starting a home health care business.

Once your agency is up and running, we also handle the scheduling, marketing, and paperwork, giving you more time to focus on building your business and providing the best home health care services possible.

Access Your Welcome Package which includes

  • Discovery Video – 15 min overview of this opportunity
  • Franchisee Testimonials
  • The Nurse Next Door opportunity
  • Access to our calendar to book a 1×1 call.
Watch Now