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Medical taxis or non-emergency medical transportation services provide rides to those who are physically unable to drive themselves. Medical taxis are most often used by older people in nursing homes or under home care. All vehicles need to have wheelchair accessibility, and drivers will need to understand the basics of First Aid (including CPR.)
Who is this business right for?
Those who have experience in both the medical and transportation industry will do well. Owners should have experience in providing fast and efficient pick-ups and drop-offs, regardless of the community of people they serve
What happens during a typical day at a medical taxi business?
Medical taxi owners may perform the following jobs on a daily basis:
- Developing relationships with nursing homes/hospices/doctors' offices
- Coordinating driver’s schedules
- Driving between medical facilities
- Vehicle maintenance
- Solving transportation logistics
What is the target market?
The best clients are those with steady and constant needs. Most successful medical taxi companies partner with established places like nursing homes to provide reliable service and transportation to their many residents.
How does a medical taxi business make money?
Medical taxis make money by pricing rides at a comfortable profit margin. Owners need to take into account their everyday expenses as well as the demand for their services in the area.
What is the growth potential for a medical taxi business?
Anything related to health care typically has a huge potential for growth, but this is particularly true for services related to the elderly. As the population ages, the demand grows for non-emergency medical transportation.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful medical taxi business?
The exact requirements differ by state, but drivers should be CPR certified and have a general understanding of First Aid. No one will expect drivers to perform complex medical procedures, but there may be a number of incidents that occur on drives that require assistance.
The health conditions and medical equipment you’ll be working with be is both serious and unpredictable, so an owner needs to be smart and resourceful about getting people from Point A to Point B.
What are the costs involved in opening a medical taxi business?
Owners will need a van, bus, or truck to carry both the people and their necessary equipment. This can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 or more. You’ll also need commercial vehicle insurance and a business license. These costs vary based on where you live, and the clients you have. Generally though, you can expect to pay under $1,000 to register the business and a few thousand to cover your licensing and legal obligations. When you work with a high-risk population, you can expect to pay more for commercial insurance for both the business and the vehicles you work with. Owners should also account for the costs of business equipment and marketing materials, which can be kept low if the budget is tight at the beginning.
Most owners of a medical taxi service can do much of their office work from home. You should consider opening your own offices or buying your own fleet of vehicles only when you're sure the demand is strong enough in the area you service.
What are the steps to start a medical taxi business?
Once you're ready to start your medical taxi business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your medical taxi business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your medical taxi business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- 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.
- 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.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- 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.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I 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.
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What are some insider tips for jump starting a medical taxi business?
The best advice is to create a detailed business plan before you start offering services. There are a variety of people you can service, so it helps to have an understanding of who you want to transport and how. If you’re planning a wide-scale launch, then you’ll need to ensure you have the resources available should business pick up right away. Considering the costs of these vehicles can be high both to buy and maintain, you may want to start with just one vehicle. You can either be the sole driver, or you can share the van and the hours with a partner or employee. From there, you can build the business slowly.
How to promote & market a medical taxi business
The best way to promote yourself is to start networking with the people who need your services. There may be a heavy demand for medical taxis, but the demand is still a niche market. The more you know the key players and decision makers, the more likely it is you’ll start getting repeat work. It’s also an excellent opportunity for caregivers to see the quality of your equipment and vehicles.
Build up your email lists, and ensure everyone is updated about the major news. If you add more vehicles or services, those in the healthcare fields will want to know. Start and maintain a professional website, and consider offering modern perks like online scheduling and appointment setting.
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How to keep customers coming back
Safety and experience is the name of the game when it comes to retaining customers. Let potential clients know how you handle the unexpected, and how you take the utmost care to ensure all of your riders make it to their final destination in one piece. Reliability, punctuality, and accuracy are all going to be defining characteristics that can take your business to the next level.
How and when to build a team
Building a team can be tricky. Unless you can guarantee a strong client base at the very beginning, it may be risky to invest in hiring additional people. However, if you can’t meet the demand in your area, then your customer base may be less likely to trust you down the line. Gauge the interest level in your area before you buy your vehicles, so you have an idea of how many people will need your services before you start.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a medical taxi business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, check out our informative guide, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
Businesses are required to register vehicles which will travel across state lines for commercial purposes. Check here for a list of state requirements.
Class B Driver Licensing Requirements
In most states, licences are issued by classes, operating according to the weight of the vehicle being driven. Drivers of standard cars and trucks require a class A commercial driver’s license (CDL), while operators of heavier vehicles, including most tow trucks, require a Class B CDL to operate. More information can be found here.
How much can you charge customers?
Owners need to work out their fee structure, which can be done a number of ways. If you’re serving people on an individual basis, you may want to charge by the mile. Many nursing homes may only need you to drive their residents to and from the home to a nearby hospital, in which case, you could charge a flat fee per ride or per hour.
Medical taxi drivers make anywhere between $20 and $60 an hour. As with most businesses, it helps to give your major clients a break on pricing if they're offering consistent work to your business.
What are the ongoing expenses for a medical taxi business?
Medical taxi owners may have the following expenses for their business:
- Vehicle/equipment maintenance
- Driver salaries
- Commercial insurance
- Vehicle purchases/payments
- Vehicle insurance
- Rent costs (optional)
- Fleet/parking lot costs (optional)
How much profit can a medical taxi business make?
If you have a steady influx of work, you can expect to make your investment back fairly quickly. However, each state has their own commercial insurance requirements, so you may have more overhead depending on the state you live in.
The good news is that these services are needed on every day of the year, meaning you have a lot of opportunities to strike it big. If you give 40 rides a day at $20 a ride, then you'll net almost $300,000. Even considering additional vehicle and driver salary costs, the profit you make can be substantial.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Medical taxis can become more profitable when they expand their services. Eventually, you can aim for a fleet of vehicles that are on-call 24/7. Offer rides to anyone, everywhere, at any time, and you’ll start to see both your profits and your clientele grow.