Medical transportation businesses fall into two categories: emergency and non-emergency medical transport. Everyone is s familiar with ambulances and other EMS services, which usually respond to 911 calls or transport people (usually patients) who cannot be transported without aid of significant medical supervision. Non-emergency transportation companies cater to people who need to get to or from medically related business—from home to a doctor’s appointment, for example. No clinical care is provided, although vehicles need to accommodate wheelchairs, elderly people and medical equipment like dialysis machines. An aging population has created an increase in medical transportation jobs and businesses.
Obtain the proper driver’s license. You may need a CDL (commercial driver’s license) if your vehicle meets certain weight and passenger criteria, in which case you need to pass a medical exam. Wisconsin also may require a limousine tax if you contract with the state to accept Medicaid payments for transport of customers, which requires a Medicaid Provider Certificate.
File all business registration paperwork with the state of Wisconsin. File a business structure and name, register for a tax identification number with the IRS, register for Wisconsin business taxes, file unemployment benefits information for employees, and research and obtain any local permits required by the city in which you’ll do business. All information and forms can be obtained online or by contacting the Secretary of State.
Open a business bank account, secure financing (if you need it), and purchase liability insurance. You’ll be transporting elderly people in and out of your vehicle, so you’ll need insurance. Obtain a location if you won’t be working from home.
Find a suitable vehicle. Depending on the size of your clientele and how many people you’ll transport at one time, it needs to be a large van equipped with seats, handrails, a wheelchair lift, wheelchair securing devices, and any other modifications to meet the needs of your customers. If you’re starting with one van, do the driving yourself. Think about how you’ll display your business on the van’s exterior and hire a company to do any artwork, signage or painting. If you have more than one vehicle, you’ll need to interview and hire employees, perform background checks, and train and insure them.
Address marketing needs. You’ll need business cards, stationary and perhaps uniforms. Advertise in local papers, create a web site and visit locations with potential customers: nursing homes, senior centers, retirement homes, assisted-living communities, shopping malls, doctors’ offices and hospitals. Talk to people and make yourself known. Talk to seniors in your neighborhood.
Set up a payment structure for customers. Cash, credit cards and Medicaid payments all are possibilities. Your clientele’s financial circumstances may dictate your methods. Use vouchers or coupons to attract business. Again, Medicaid requires you to complete a form and meet strict operating procedures to qualify for Medicaid payments.
Establish a clearly defined schedule and hours of operation. A round-the-clock service, especially working alone and from home, may not be feasible.