Start a home health medical supply store business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your home health medical supply store business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a home health medical supply store business?
If your business plan includes a storefront, finding a location should be one of your top priorities. Average retail showrooms are approximately 1,500 square feet, with an additional 500 to 1,000 square feet for storage, etc. Studies indicate the most profitable locations are in strip malls or shopping centers that are close to medical offices and hospitals. Your storefront, along with inventory, licensing and insurance, promotional materials, and a website average approximately $15,000 for a small showroom. Initial start-up costs to open a medium-sized business increase to almost $200,000, while a large-sized medical supplies business required over $450,000 in start-up capital.
What are the ongoing expenses for a home health medical supply store business?
For a smaller home health medical supply store, estimated fixed costs average approximately $2,500. This includes marketing expenses, rent and overhead costs, insurance and legal expenses, and accounting. This does not include inventory, which will vary from month-to-month, or payroll expenses. To keep payroll at a minimum, many shop owners pay salespeople a modest salary with commission and/or bonus incentives.
Who is the target market?
While your target market is anyone who requires home health medical supplies, entrepreneurs emerging in this industry would benefit from targeting Home Care patients and Assisted Living facilities.
How does a home health medical supply store business make money?
Your medical supply retail store will generate revenue from each sold item, with a 45-55% markup on inventory. Some businesses choose to expand their services to include delivery for a nominal fee.
How much can you charge customers?
Durable medical equipment varies in price, depending upon the item. A walker can cost anywhere from $25 to $250, while a hospital bed can cost upwards of $1,500. Conduct research on what the competition is charging and set your prices accordingly.
How much profit can a home health medical supply store business make?
Industry leaders offer several formulas for determining annual revenue. One benchmark is gross sales generated per employee, which averages $140,000/employee in this industry. Another formula is to multiply your showroom’s square footage by $800 per square foot per year. With these numbers and minimal ongoing costs, many home health medical supply stores break even before the end of the first year, generating up to $400,000 in profit after the third year.
How can you make your business more profitable?
In this industry, it is important that you know your target market well. Once you understand the requirements of that particular niche, you can expand into other medical supply needs. Hosting an online store with competitive pricing is a great way to expand your reach and boost profits. One successful entrepreneur found success implementing the “hub-and-spoke” business model, offering multiple locations in one geographic territory.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Home Health Medical Supply Store Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your home health medical supply store business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a home health medical supply store business
Social media and registering with local online platforms should be a routine part of your marketing strategy. Additionally, creating a wellness letter will assist in establishing yourself as a thought leader and educating your client base. Hosting healthcare events, sponsoring medical awareness programs, and attending expos is an effective way to get your name recognized and network with others in the industry. When direct marketing, consider expanding your target market to include pharmacist, assisted and independent living centers, case managers, physicians, and discharge planners.
How to keep customers coming back
As a retailer, your role is to take care of the customer. When dealing with a client directly, keep in mind they are likely worried and unsure of their future. Make the process as seamless as possible, ensuring they walk away satisfied. Offering loyalty and referral programs and personalizing your service with a help desk for support sends the message that you are committed to your customers.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Home Health Medical Supply Store Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
For long-term success, home health medical supply business owners should understand the intricacies and terminology of the medical community and feel passionate about helping others live with dignity and grace. Because of the low upfront costs and untapped niche markets, the organized and compassionate entrepreneur stands to generate significant profits early into building their network.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a home health medical supply store business?
Your store is considered a retail business, making customer care and interaction a top priority. Purchasing inventory, changing out displays, and re-stocking shelves will also be a part of your day-to-day activities. In addition to nurturing customer relationships, you and your staff will need to network within the community and build sound relationships with supply manufacturers. Staying on top of emerging trends, comparative pricing, and educating the public on your findings should also be an integral part of your business-building strategy.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful home health medical supply store business?
Historically, industry leaders are successful business managers, delegating sales responsibilities to their sales staff. Leadership skills such as communication and interpersonal skills are critical, and it is equally important to be a strong delegator and detail-oriented. Your ability to interact with a wide variety of people will prove invaluable, as you will need to communicate and connect with customers, employees, colleagues, and vendors. For business and marketing advice, consider joining a medical equipment suppliers association that serves your geographical area.
What is the growth potential for a home health medical supply store business?
While your target niche is home healthcare, this doesn’t mean you are limited to homebound patients only. The Homecare and Assisted Living market offers an annual earning potential of $59.6 million revenue, while the Assisted Living market offers $17.6 million in annual revenue. And, with an increase in the world population over the last decade, the industry is poised for continued growth.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a home health medical supply store business?
Industry leaders recommend offering a variety of options for each type of product. While your Medicare customer may require a basic model, the cash-paying client may opt for top-of-the-line products. When designing your showroom, set the displays up like a patient room, including everything the customer might need. During the planning stages, consult with your state medical board or Board of Pharmacy regarding any specialized licenses, restrictions, and confidentiality requirements in your state. If you plan to accept Medicaid and Medicare, begin the inquiry and eligibility process early.
How and when to build a team
When first opening your doors, you should be able to manage the business solo. However, as it continues to grow, you will want additional manpower. Your staff should be honest and compassionate, with strong communication skills and extensive industry knowledge. While you may be able to find all of this in someone in their 20s, consider your clientele before hiring. Who are your customers going to be most comfortable talking to about their medical issues?