By Stephen Tweed
It’s always interesting how much you can learn from talking with your colleagues in the home care industry. By engaging in conversations with other owners and CEOs of home health agencies, hospices, or private duty home care companies, you can learn a lot about how they market their businesses. You can discover what works and what doesn’t work for experienced business leaders.
The other day, I was reading through the posts in our Leading Home Care Network discussion group on Linked In and I came across an interesting conversation among members about good sources of marketing for private duty home care.
The conversation was started by Denise, the office manager of a private duty company in Connecticut who asked, “Does anyone know the best companies to sign up with for home care agency referrals?” As I read down through the 18 or so comments that were listed I gained some interesting insights.
First, there were several people who were interested in a conversation and truly wanted to be helpful to Denise. From the way her questions was worded – “anyone know the best companies to sign up with … “, they assumed she is relatively new to home care and really wants some help.
Diane wrote, “There are two types of home care agencies – one that provides skilled visits and one that provides home care assistance for ADLs. Medicare typically only pays for skilled visits. CareBuilders At Home provides daily living home care – cooking, cleaning, bathing, companionship, shopping, doctors appointments, etc. Our services are typically private pay and Medicaid waiver programs. Hope this helps!”
Frank wrote, “Hey Denise, the following is a list of places that refer to us. We build and maintain relationships with these companies and organizations.
- Hospitals-Discharge planners and Social Workers
- Home Health Companies
- Hospice Companies
- The Alzheimer’s Association
- Area Agency on Aging (In SC this is a state level government program that provides grants to individuals to pay for non-medical home care, they work closely with the Alzheimer’s Association).
- The VA Hospital pays for home care services after discharge for some vets. They also have a program called Aid and Attend that pays vets funds directly that can be used for a number of things, including home care.
- Lowcountry Senior Network, Caregivers Coalition of the Midlands and Senior Care Professional of the Midlands (These are just 3 non-profit groups specific to the SC lowcountry and Midlands. They are more than just referral groups, we provide services and information for Seniors as well as referrals.)
- All Senior Centers
- Your State Medicaid office and Board of Disabilities.
- Workers Comp. Attorneys
- Rehab Facilities
- Diaylsis Clinics
- Out Patient Facilities
- Doctors Offices, especially Geriatricians and GI/Endoscopy offices.
- Geriatric Care Managers
- Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes
- Funeral Homes
- DME companies
- Local Fire Departments and EMT services
- Some police departments have Senior Advocate Departments
- Your State’s Adult Protective Services department
- Adult Daycare Facilities-ones that do not offer home care services
- Banks have different types of wealth management departments. Example would be a Trust Department.
- SC has an non-profit state level organization called SC Aging in Place Coalition.
Last but not least is to have a referral program in place for your current and past clients, managed properly they are a huge resource for you.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Selentria wrote: “Denise, I was going to recommend some the agencies that Frank suggested. I personally would not pay for referrals. I suggest networking…building relationships with medical & senior care agencies.”
Gregory wrote: “Referral sources will use you if you have a service that they can recommend that will also make them look good as well. So instead of jumping out there and bugging the crap out of everyone and hoping you get lucky, ensure you have great care and a fair price or at least you can show value to justify your pricing. Once you have this, get out of your office and knock on doors. Expect many rejections and even rudeness . But if you stay at it you can be successful . Also be innovative. In my market there are several hundred home care companies and even with my great licensed caregivers and the best pricing around there is just to much competition to be like everyone else. But please don’t fall into the unscrupulous practices of some companies. This just makes us all look bad and the cost is paid by our wonderful seniors . That is just not right! Good luck!!!”
Then I wrote: “Denise … there are two major ways to get referrals in home care.
1. Marketing directly to consumers
2. Marketing to referral sources.
For the top techniques on marketing to referral sources, we suggest you get a copy of the 2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study from Home Care Pulse.
Then, explore becoming a Premium Member of The Academy for Private Duty Home Care where you will have access to over 30 hours of recorded programs on how to grow your home care business.
While there are several different points of view, the ideas were generally on target and well meant. There were some other comments, however, that were not on target and meant to be self serving rather that serving Denise. They also showed that the writer did not really read her post and look at her profile to learn more about her agency.
Aaron wrote: “Denise, if you are looking in the Lancaster and surrounding areas or Nelson and surrounding areas please get in touch. I am a care manager for leading homecare provider and on the Lancashire Preferred Providers list.” That was kind of Aaron, but he’s in England and she’s in Connecticut.
Annie wrote: “Wren Hospice is good and they have senior Care that will be perfect for what you are looking for.” I think Annie did not understand the question. She is offering a company that provides care, not a company that could provider referrals.
Several others immediately wrote in to promote their own agencies. Reuben wrote, “Las Vegas it’s Physicians Choice Home Health Care.” Guy wrote, “Caring Right At Home”. Tracy wrote: “Home Instead Senior Care.”
While these members seemed to be more self-promoting that being helpful, I appreciated that they are reading the posts to our group and engaging in the conversation. Most of us participate in social media such as Linked In to promote our businesses. I’ve learned over the years that the best way to promote your business on social media
is to contribute to the conversation and help others. My old friend and professional speaking colleague, Zig Ziglar used to say, “You can get anything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Get what you want by helping others grow their businesses and grow our industry.
What advice would you give Denise about ways to promote her home care business? Join our discussion group, and then let us know. Over 7,850 other home care leaders have already joined the group.
Other Opportunities for Conversation.
While we actively encourage members to participate in conversations in the Leading Home Care Network and Private Duty Marketing discussion groups, there are other ways to engage in meaningful conversations. One is through our Private Duty Field Trips. These are structured visits to a highly successful home care company where owners of growing companies can see how a much larger company goes about growing their business. We have a number of Private Duty Field Trips in the spring and fall of each year where we invite 8 to 12 individuals to come to Louisville or Virginia Beach to visit Elder Care 4 Families or SeniorCorp.
Elder Care 4 Families is a 30 year old home care company that was purchased 8 years ago by Jeff and Rita Pate. They have grown the business to about 3200 hours per week, and they are excited to share their experience with other home care business owners. Senior Corp, in Virginia Beach, is a 12 year old company started by Tom Knox, and has grown to 12,000 hours per week. Yes! That is correct. It’s not a typo. 12,000 hours per week.
If you would like to learn more about how Jeff and Rita and Tom have grown their businesses, and you’d like to engage in conversations with 8 to 12 other owners and leaders, you will love the Private Duty Field Trip.
Another way to engage with other owners of private duty companies to talk about marketing is to attend our Private Duty Marketing Master Class. This is a focused 8 hour workshop over two days in our office in Louisville. It is limited to 8 participants, but most classes are 4 to 6. You’ll not only get the latest techniques in both consumer and referrals marketing from the 2014 Private Duty Benchmarking Study, but you’ll be able to engage in conversation with the other members of the class as you create your own strategic marketing plan. Our next Private Duty Marketing Master Class is coming up in a couple of weeks.
Don’t Take Our Word for It
We have tons of information on sales, marketing, public relations, and community outreach to grow your home health agency, hospice, or private duty home care company. We probably have more facts, data, information, and experience than any other company serving the industry. We regularly conduct our own research, and we actively support the annual private duty benchmarking study. But don’t take our word alone. Talk with other successful home care business owners to find out what is working for them.
We’ve learned that there are may excellent marketing techniques, but it comes down to execution. The company that can execute it’s strategy and really reach out to consumers and referral sources are the ones that grow most rapidly. In this highly competitive home care marketplace, you can no longer grow your business on trial and error. You’ve got to learn from OPE – Other People’s Experience. A great place to get OPE is through the resources of Leading Home Care, The Academy for Private Duty Home Care, and Caregiver Quality Assurance. We’re here to help you grow your business and get ready for the future.