How to Start a Home Care Business in Ohio: Your One-Stop Guide (2024)
Disclaimer: This guide is for starting a home care business in Ohio, not a home health care business, as the regulations differ. The information provided should be taken as educational, not legal advice. Please consult with a licensed consultant or a legal professional for accurate, personalized advice when starting your home care business. Laws and regulations can change and may vary depending on your specific circumstances. Always perform thorough due diligence.
Welcome to our all-inclusive guide to starting a home care business in Ohio. The Buckeye State holds an abundance of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs such as yourself.
This guide aims to simplify the intricate process of setting up a home care business by breaking it down into manageable steps. Whether you're seeking an in-depth understanding of the industry's dynamics in Ohio or looking for hands-on advice to expand your new business, we aim to be your go-to source of information.
Let's dive into everything you need to know to get your home care business up and running in Ohio.
Begin with this Essential Guide: Launching a Home Care Business
Before diving into Ohio-specific guidelines, we recommend you read our In-Depth Guide to Starting a Home Care Business. This foundational guide has essential advice and guidelines that are relevant across various states, so you can establish the basics first, then dive into the specifics for Ohio.
Understanding Home Care in Ohio
Home care is a fast-growing industry in America, but the industry landscape varies across each state. Before you start a home care agency in Ohio, you need to understand the local regulations, licenses, and trends.
The Benefits of Starting a Home Care Agency in Ohio
On top of this, 28% of adults in Ohio have at least one disability. That’s more than one in four.
Soon, home care is going to play an increasingly important role in enabling older Ohioans and Ohioans with disabilities to live independent, fulfilling lives.
Before You Do Anything Else: Register Your Business Name
After you've selected a business structure, Ohio law mandates that you pick a distinct business name under which you'll operate. The name you choose must be one-of-a-kind and not already registered within the state.
You can check the availability of your chosen name using the Ohio Secretary of State's online name search tool. After your business name is officially registered, it's a good idea to secure a domain name that reflects your business. For more information, you can visit the Ohio Secretary of State's website.
Do I Need Home Care Training in Ohio to Get a Home Care License in Ohio?
While care certification isn’t required for a home care license in Ohio, your caregivers will benefit from training to help them provide the highest-quality care.
This is especially important if you’re launching an Ohio home health business that provides direct medical care, in which case you’ll need to ensure your home health aides and certified nurses meet the minimum training hours for their respective roles.
Setting Up the Legal and Financial Structure
Having laid the foundations of your Ohio home care business, you’re ready to set up its legal and financial structure. This includes getting insurance, gaining relevant licenses and permits, ensuring you’re complying with state regulations, and obtaining your tax ID and EIN.
Choosing the Right Business Type
When launching your business, one of the first decisions is selecting the right type of organizational structure. The business structure you choose can significantly impact your company, such as taxation, legal liability, and day-to-day management.
Here are some common types of business structures you might consider:
Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC is a frequent choice for small businesses because it combines liability protection with flexible tax options. You can also choose your taxation method within an LLC framework. For more insights into LLCs in Ohio, check out this helpful article.
Corporation: You have the option to classify it as an S-corp or a C-corp, each with distinct taxation approaches. Corporations are usually preferred by businesses aiming for large-scale growth. This business structure also allows you to split shares among people or companies.
Sole Proprietorship: For single-owner businesses that don't specify another business structure, a sole proprietorship is an automatic classification. You may want to explore more about why this could be an appropriate choice for you. If you plan to operate under a name different from your legal name, you'll need to register a "Doing Business As" (DBA) in the state of Ohio.
Partnership: If you plan on going into business with two or more people, you would enter into a general partnership. This will need to be registered with the state.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): For those in businesses with multiple partners who want an extra layer of liability protection, an LLP can be a suitable choice. It's commonly adopted by professional practices such as law or accounting firms. For more information on how an LLC differs from an LLP read this article.
Whichever structure you decide on, be sure to seek advice from a business attorney or accountant to ensure it’s the right one for your business.
Insuring Your Home Care Business in Ohio
Insurance is essential for any company, but a home health business is particularly vulnerable. The right insurance will protect you, your clients, your staff, and your business.
Depending on the insurance package, you can opt for coverage for medical equipment and compromised data coverage in addition to general liability. Make sure you choose insurance designed for home care agencies; the Ohio Department of Insurance is an excellent source of further information.
Obtaining Your Tax ID and EIN Number to Start Your Home Care Business
You’ll need to apply for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), either online via the IRS’ website or by fax or mail. For online applications, your EIN will be issued immediately. Once you’ve got your EIN, you can create your business bank account and register for an Ohio Tax Identification Number.
Ohio Home Care Policies and Procedures
Ohio has strict regulations governing home care businesses. Since these are liable to change, it’s best to turn to the state website for up-to-date information. You can review Ohio’s home care policies and procedures online via codes.ohio.gov.
Obtaining Licenses and Permits
Before you can begin advertising your services as an Ohio home care agency, you’ll have to obtain your licenses and permits. Here’s what you need to know about the process.
Home Care License Requirements in Ohio
Since July 2022, Ohio state regulations for home health care mandate that all agencies obtain a license from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Whether you’re a skilled or non-medical home care business in Ohio, you must be licensed.
Obtaining an Ohio Home Care License
You can apply for your Ohio home care license online via CertLicensure or by mail. You’ll also need to pay a $250 application fee and renew the license every three years.
Obtain Local Business Licensure and Prepare to Open Your Home Care Business
Most Ohio home care businesses will need a vendor’s license, which costs $25 and can be obtained via the Ohio Business Gateway. You may also need additional licenses, depending on your location, so make sure to check your local state website.
Laying the Groundwork for Your Ohio Home Care Business
So far we’ve covered the legal and financial aspects you need to consider when setting up your home care agency in Ohio, the next steps are to consider your branding, marketing and recruitment. These are like the building blocks for your business that'll help you stand out and get set up properly.
Figuring Out What Makes You Special (USP)
Your USP, which is short for Unique Selling Proposition, is basically what makes your home care business different—and hopefully better—than the others out there. Maybe you're offering some super-specialized services, or your staff has training that no one else has. Whatever it is, it's going to help you grab people's attention and set you apart from the other options out there. If you're a bit stuck on how to figure out your own USP, check out this article for some tips.
Time to Kickstart Your Home Care Business in Ohio
Now comes the official part—setting up an office. You'll need to register with the state of Ohio, get your Federal Tax ID, and make sure you've got all the licenses and permits you need. If you need some pointers on what licenses and permits you might need, Ohio's Business One Stop Portal has got your back. You could also meet with a business lawyer just to make sure you've got all the correct information.
Finding the Perfect HQ
You may want to consider an office space that you will operate out of. There are lots of factors to consider when leasing an office space. Be sure to explore all options and get advice from a business accountant or real estate agent. Depending on how many staff and clients you are starting with, it’s likely that you don’t need an office to begin with. There are pros and cons to both sides. For more advice on how to make the right decision for your new home care business, the Ohio Small Business Development Center can help.
Create a Business Plan
Creating a business plan for your home care agency will help you to create a map, a way to see where you want to go and how you're going to get there. Your business plan should contain elements such as an executive summary, company overview, market research, organizational structure, services, marketing strategy, and financial projections.
Your business plan is a living thing that you'll need to update as you grow and learn. If you need help getting started, the U.S. Small Business Administration has a guide that can help you out.
Building Your Home Care Team
Your caregiving team will be the heart and soul of your home care business. They're the ones on the front lines, making a difference in people's lives and showing the community what your brand is all about. Get your recruitment strategy right from the start, make your new employee onboarding process smooth, and ensure everyone on your team has the training and certifications they need.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the task of recruiting, we've got a guide to help you out: The Comprehensive Guide to Recruiting Caregivers: From Job Ads to Retention
Finding and Training Your Caregiver Team
It will be important to find care aides who aren't just good at what they do, but also really care about helping others. Look for team members who are reliable, compassionate, and can handle many tasks at once.
There are various places to focus your recruiting: online job platforms, local newspapers, or even healthcare job fairs. Think about partnering with local schools or colleges that offer courses related to home care. That way, you'll get people who are already interested in this field.
Training will be crucial to a well-prepared and professional team. Make sure your team knows the ins and outs of their roles, understands your company rules, and knows what Ohio law requires of them. In Ohio, certain training standards must be met by home care aides. You can find these guidelines by visiting the Ohio Department of Health website.
Managing Staffing and Payroll in Ohio
Scheduling and managing your team
Even a few staff can quickly become a headache to manage manually. It’s smart to plan for growth, even if you think that growth won’t happen for a few years. To avoid scheduling mishaps, and compromised data and to ensure you can provide top-quality care to your clients, we suggest you look into a care management platform. This will help you automate tasks and reduce manual steps that can produce errors and wasted time.
ShiftCare offers you an easy-to-use platform that makes scheduling easy (even split and group shifts), offers a caregiver mobile app with voice-to-text capabilities for care notes, a place to store documentation and much more. There are lots of platforms to choose from, so make sure you do your homework. Opt for a platform that offers a free trial and a helpful customer support team that can help you along the way.
This guide will walk you through what to look for when choosing a home care scheduling software.
Paying Your Staff
Even before your team is in place, investigate how to pay them. This includes setting up pay rates, scheduling payments, and taking out the right amount for taxes.
It’s not advisable to do this manually, even when you are starting. You might consider using payroll software or even outsourcing this job to a specialized payroll company. If you'd rather manage it yourself, it's crucial to be familiar with Ohio's specific laws around wages and tax deductions. Websites and resources from the Ohio Department of Labor can help you get this right.
Mistakes in this area can cost you a lot of money and legal headaches. It’s always a good idea to meet with a human resources advisor or an employment lawyer to make sure you're doing everything by the book.
Strategies for Marketing and Business Growth
Launching a home care business in Ohio is only the first step. The next phase involves strategies to market your home care services and find new clients.
Effective Marketing Strategies for Home Care Services
Success in marketing is pivotal for reaching the desired audience and for achieving a competitive edge. Marketing strategies for a home care business often encompass the development of a robust online presence, forming partnerships in the community, and utilizing referral websites and different advertising avenues, both digital and traditional.
Quick tip: Online advertising isn't solely about paid promotions through platforms like Facebook or Google. Establishing a Google My Business account for the home care agency is an efficient and cost-free step.
Marketing a home care business involves more than just paid advertising. You will need to develop a strong understanding of the potential client's needs, along with a well-defined brand and a strategic marketing plan. While it’s impossible to get all of this right on the first try, strategies will adapt as the business matures.
Considering the significant role of marketing in the growth of a home care agency, an exhaustive guide has been created to assist with this vital aspect of business. The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Home Care Agency is the foundational guide for marketing your home care agency, covering everything from SEO to social media to referral sites to Google My Business.
Professional Help and Resources
Ohio Council for Home Care & Hospice
The Ohio Council for Home Care & Hospice (OCHCH) provides home care businesses with educational resources, regulatory and compliance support via a Help Desk Online, and advocacy work.
Ohio Health Care Association
The Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) supports healthcare businesses in Ohio, including home health businesses, through advocating for regulatory change.
Ohio State Chapter: Home Care Association of America
The Ohio chapter of the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) provides local resources for home care agencies, in addition to publishing general educational resources and advocating for policy changes.
Ohio Home Care Consultants
Home care consultants can support your business in regulatory compliance, improving quality standards, achieving business growth, and more.
What licenses do I need to start a home care business in Ohio?
To start a home care business in Ohio, you’ll need a home health agency license (even if you’re providing non-medical care) and any applicable business licenses.
How do I get an Ohio home care license?
You can get your Ohio home care license either electronically, via CertLicensure, or by mailing your application to the Ohio Department of Health.
How much is a home care license in Ohio?
The Ohio home care license fee is $250.
Do you need a license to be a private caregiver in Ohio?
While agency caregivers in Ohio don’t need a license, private caregivers and home health aides working independently must apply for a license from the Ohio Department of Health. Caregivers must also undergo training and pass both an exam and background check.
Do I need a business license for a home-based business in Ohio?
You’ll most probably need a business license for your Ohio home-based business, although the type of permit will depend on your business activity and location. You may also require a home occupation permit.
How do I become a home care provider in Ohio?
You can become an Ohio home care provider by achieving your home health agency license and all relevant business licenses, advertising your services, and hiring qualified staff.
How much do home care providers get paid in Ohio?
According to self-reported data from Indeed, home health workers in Ohio earn on average $13.07 an hour. Most workers report wages of between $10.13 and $16.86.
Can a non-resident start a business in Ohio?
Non-residents can start a business in Ohio, but unless they’re doing business under their own personal name, they must register as a foreign entity with the Secretary of State.
How long does it take to get a business license in Ohio?
If you use the online Ohio Business Gateway, you’ll receive your vendor’s license immediately. Other licenses may take longer to process.
Final Thoughts on Starting Your Home Care Business in Ohio
Launching a home care business allows you to improve the quality of life of older Ohioans and Ohioans with disabilities. You’ll support them in living independently, improving their health, and remaining active members of the community.
Starting your business can be hard work. It requires filing for your business and home care licenses, creating a marketing plan, recruiting and vetting caregivers, and more. But once your home care business is up and running, you’ll discover that the financial and emotional rewards far outweigh the initial challenges.
Schedule, Invoice, Track, and Manage - With ShiftCare’s Complete Home Care Software
Ensure you lay the groundwork for a successful home care agency with ShiftCare's HIPAA-compliant home care software. Created to fit the unique demands of home care businesses, it makes daily tasks simpler for your team. Our mobile caregiver app lets staff easily jot down care notes while on the move using the handy voice-to-text function.
ShiftCare is full of must-have features such as scheduling, time-keeping, and invoicing that are designed to help you run your operations smoothly while you build and expand your home care business in Ohio.
To discover how ShiftCare can help you run a successful home health business, Start your free trial today.