Main   /   Blog   /   How to Open an NEMT Franchise

How to Open an NEMT Franchise

Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) franchises provide important services in communities by transporting people to non-urgent medical appointments when they lack accessible transportation. As the senior population grows in the coming years, the demand for NEMT services will likely continue rising. If you’re interested in healthcare, transportation, and managing a service-oriented business, an NEMT franchise may be a fulfilling endeavor to pursue. Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to open an NEMT franchise:

Research NEMT Franchise Opportunities

The first step is researching existing NEMT franchise opportunities. Some medical transportation companies like ModivCare and Circulation offer franchising, while others like AMR and American Medical Response do not. As you research, make a list of potential franchisors and what territories or regions they service. Consider reaching out to any contacts you may have in the medical transportation industry for insights on reputable franchises. Key factors to evaluate are the franchisor’s experience and credibility, their training and support model, expected startup costs, and any reviews from current franchisees.

Choose a Franchise and Territory

Once you’ve researched, compare the franchise models and determine what opportunity fits your goals, budget, and geographic preferences best. Some franchises allow you to select your specific territory or region provided it meets certain population requirements and does not overlap too much with other franchises. If a franchise requires you purchase a predefined territory, evaluate factors like demographics, healthcare infrastructure, public transit options, and competitive landscape. The right territory can significantly impact the revenue potential for an NEMT operation.

Prepare Your NEMT Franchise Finances

Like most franchises, opening an NEMT franchise requires significant upfront capital. Some franchises reportedly require nearly $100K or more in total initial investments. Beyond the franchise fee, factor in costs like vehicles, office space and equipment, licensing, insurance, training, marketing, payroll, and working capital until revenue stabilizes. Create a detailed financial model accounting for all expected startup costs and operating expenses. Identify what capital you can contribute, then prepare to fund the remainder through loans or other financing options. An experienced franchise lawyer can help you fully understand the franchisor’s financial requirements and FDD document.

Complete the Necessary Licensing & Registrations

Well before opening, apply for all state and federal licenses and regulatory registrations required to operate an NEMT franchise. The specific transportation licenses or operational certificates needed vary by state. However, every NEMT provider must comply with federal DOT safety regulations. You may need to register under the USDOT number system and install electronic logging devices in franchise vehicles. Additionally, undergo requisite drug and background screening procedures. Proper insurance is also compulsory, potentially including commercial auto, general liability, property damage, professional liability coverage, and worker’s compensation policies.

Implement Training, Operations Plans, and Marketing

With financing and licensing milestones met, shift focus to firming up day-to-day business operations. First, complete the franchisor’s training program so you fully understand how to deliver safe, reliable NEMT services according to their model. Next, document detailed operations plans outlining vehicles, billing systems, personnel roles, and policies and procedures for transport, schedules, equipment checks, sanitation, customer service protocols etc. Lastly, deploy marketing techniques focused on general visibility as well as outreach to hospitals, home health agencies, elder care centers, dialysis clinics or other facilities that commonly refer non-emergency medical transport patients.

Launching an NEMT franchise is no small feat, but taking these key steps can set your new venture up for success in providing a critical health access service for your community. As with any business, diligent planning, patience securing financing, and passion for the mission make achieving profitability over 3-5 years a realistic target. If you have the dedication and business acumen, an NEMT franchise could prove a rewarding path to entrepreneurship improving medical accessibility for vulnerable populations.