A unique business opportunity has developed for entrepreneurs in the transportation sector. There are populations of disabled individuals in cities, suburbs, and rural areas that require adaptable transportation to various non-emergency medical appointments. The NEMT potential for wheelchair transport van owner/operators is growing at an astounding rate.
As with starting any wheelchair transport van business, there are several concrete steps to be taken to ensure a proper foundation. For the sake of brevity, this article will focus on four primary elements: (1) establishing a business entity; (2) assembling a wheelchair transport van fleet; (3) creating a website and social media presence; and, (4) setting up a client/customer pipeline. We’ll conclude with some resources you can consult for additional information.
Establish a wheelchair transport van business entity
The first step in the process is establishing your business operations status with respect to the local, state, and national wheelchair transport van requirements. While these vary by location, they generally include the following activities, in no particular order.
File for corporation status. Either through a lawyer or online through a corporation agent.Options include C-Corporation, S-Corporation, or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). The LLC is typically the most popular choice, primarily because it separates and protects your personal assets from your business assets.
Apply for operations permits. Licensing varies by location. Download, fill out, and submit a copy of a Medical Transportation Provider Application Package from your local health care services department., Also, check with the Department of Driver Services for wheelchair transport van drivers licensing requirements, if necessary.
Secure insurance protection. While most major insurance companies will offer NEMT insurance, selecting a company that specializes in this area holds benefits. Your agent should work to establish a policy that grows as your business grows, helping you to control costs in the beginning.
Select a physical location. While some NEMT companies work out of their homes, financing a physical location holds benefits, as well. A permanent business headquarters exudes confidence and stability — two elements that can work to help get you those critical first clients for your wheelchair transport van business.How 2 start a #wheelchair transport van biz the right way #NEMT #mobility Click To Tweet
Finance a single wheelchair transport van or fleet
The success of your wheelchair transport van business rests on your ability to begin with a single vehicle and then transition to a fleet of vehicles. Smart financing with a dealer who understands NEMT business operations is a pivotal step in the beginning.
When choosing a wheelchair transport van dealer, look for these qualifications:
- Safe, reliable vehicles. If you’re starting out with used vehicles, your dealer should stand behind the quality and durability of everything they sell
- Custom optimization. Your dealer should have the ability to customize the wheelchair transport van you purchase with multiple floor plans and accessible entries
- Accessibility equipment. Look for the ability to add lifts, ramps, and similar equipment to improve accessibility and ensure the comfort and safety of your customers
When it comes time to purchase your wheelchair transport van, buying from a factory-direct dealer is the smart business move. By excluding the middleman, you’ll save thousands of dollars off the purchase price.
Wheelchair transport van loans are handled a bit differently than traditional financing options.
Because traditional banks and car dealers recognize the value of the vehicle only — and not the value of the accessibility conversion — you’ll often have to come up with a significant down payment to purchase a vehicle.
However, because a mobility dealer recognizes the value of both the vehicle and the conversion, you can often make the purchase with 100% financing, no down payment, and extended payment terms over a longer period of time for lower monthly payments.
Create a website presence and social media network
Consider your NEMT marketing plan as the wheel on a car. Your website is the hub — the very center of all of your other marketing mediums and activities. You can outsource the design and content creation or select a DIY website creation solution — depending upon your level of computer familiarity.
Here are the suggested pages to include in your website:
- Home. Include hi-resolution photos along with a logo and tagline
- About. A brief introduction of your company and it’s story
- Services. A brief summary of the services you provide
- Location/service areas. Your physical location and the areas you serve
- Testimonials. Positive words of support about your capabilities
- Contact. A telephone number, email address, and contact form
The next step is to establish your social media channels across the major networks. Don’t feel like you have to use all social media networks, but do include the majors: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Google+, etc.
Also, contact the Better Business Bureau and work with them to establish a profile and contact information for your business — this is the first place many potential customers will check before trusting you with their business.
Set up a wheelchair transport van client/customer pipeline
Because the NEMT wheelchair transport van industry is highly competitive, a strategic marketing plan is critical to your success. That means going to where the customers are and bringing visibility to your brand. A few of the populations that require your services include:
- Nursing homes
- Doctors’ offices
- Community clinics
- Adult day/live-in care
- Lab facilities
If you do things the right way, your marketing literature will bring in the first wave of customers. After that initial stage, referrals should create a continuous stream of business going forward. Outside of your primary website and social media communications, the following marketing elements — the spokes of your wheel — will help in establishing a reliable customer pipeline:
- Business cards and brochures
- Stand-up table postcards
- Logo promotional products (pens, t-shirts, stress relievers, etc.)
- Email autoresponders
- Google PPC advertising
Marketing for customers is a continuous process — and one that you should get better at over time.
Purchase a wheelchair transport van from AMS Vans and enjoy selection, convenience, and support. We have a remarkable inventory of vans that you can browse and buy from the comfort of your home and have delivered directly to your driveway followed by a personalized vehicle feature demonstration.
About AMS Vans
America’s Mobility Van Dealer is a national wheelchair accessible van dealer and manufacturer with a mission to deliver the industry’s best adaptable vehicles and mobility equipment that meets the unique needs of our customers at a price they can afford.