Three Steps To Take Before Starting Your Assisted Living Facility

I’m encouraged by the calls and emails I receive from people who want to start their own assisted living facility. There are many people who want to serve older adults and enjoy the benefits of owning their own business. They call me full of enthusiasm and questions.

 

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Sometimes I’m a bit of a wet blanket. People new to assisted living ownership often don’t consider some tough questions. When I ask those questions, their enthusiasm wanes a bit. I’m not trying to ruin their day, but just trying to help them avoid some unnecessary pain and suffering when starting their business.

The conversation with potential assisted living facility owners often ends up with three bits of advice.

#1 – Get a Job

You might be surprised how many people want to buy and operate an assisted living facility but have never worked in one. An investment in a facility managed by someone else is one thing. But to be an owner-operator is quite another.

Whether a would-be owner operator is a registered nurse or an accomplished business person, I always recommend that they find a job at the best assisted living facility they can find. There are two obvious reasons: (A) make sure you really want this type of business and (B) learn as much as you can from someone who does it well. Of course, get a job outside your intended market so you’re not later competing with someone who helped you learn the ropes.

#2 – Get Training and Get Involved

There are many opportunities for training. The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) and its state affiliates across the U.S. are a great source of training for assisted living providers. Visit their websites and look for training opportunities near you.

The classroom is one place to learn but you can also learn through informal networking opportunities offered by these associations. I lost count years ago of the ways that my colleagues in asssisted living helped me with ideas to overcome an obstacle or with encouragement to take a next step. The people involved in assisted living are caring, and they care for each other when you’re willing to get involved.

#3 – Start With a Good Product

As an advisor that helps owners buy and sell facilities, this might sound a bit self-serving. But there is normally no better way to ensure a successful start-up than purchasing a successful facility to start with.

Is it your own creation? Something you developed from scratch? No. But don’t let idealism or ego get in the way of reducing risk and drastically flattening your learning curve. When you purchase a successful facility you have many benefits including cash flow from day one and, potentially, training and support from the prior owner during transition. These assets are almost always worth the price. Purchasing a successful facility can be a springboard to even bigger and better things in your future.

There is so much more involved in starting your assisted living facility. But keep these three steps in mind at the beginning.

 

Do you have years of experience? What do you wish you’d know when you started?

Are you thinking about starting a facility? What’s your greatest fear or challenge?


 

 

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Comments

  1. Hello do I need to get my BA health administrator degree to open a assisted living facility?

    • Lisa, that’s a great question. Every state has different regulations and different requirements for licensees. Most states have some minimum education requirement for licensees, but that requirement can be met in a number of ways. In some cases, it’s a degree in nursing, or a certain number of years experience, or a certificate showing completion of a particular training program. I’d suggest that you check with the ALFA state affiliate in your state to find what is required and what they may be able to provide to help you open your facility. If you want more information about those state trade associations that are a wealth of local information, just let me know.

      • rose johnson says:

        I need information on opening an Assisted Living Facility

        • Rose – Please send any specific questions to me by email – mike@seniorcarerealty.com. And please let me know where you want to start a facility – location matters. Thanks. Mike

        • i live in state of Florida i would like to open alf, i supose to be a nuse to open it or not

          • Rose – I’m not certain of the regulations in Florida about staff and ownership requirements and whether you need to be a nurse. You may want or need some nursing experience or have employees with that experience as part of your team. But please check the regulations for Florida to be sure you know what’s required. I have a found the website at this link to be helpful when I have questions about Florida assisted living regulations: . Mike

      • i seem to be hearing alot of negative comeback when it comes to opening a brand new facility on your own. i have a friend that opened one with only 6-8 rooms and it has made him a huge success, it was a house to start and he developed it into a assisted living on his own, shouldnt say on his own, he did have quite the help, but its beautiful and out in the middle of no where. i have never dabbled in the business but i would love to tun my home in to a assisted living out in the country, walking trails, a lkae, a pontoon etc….

        • There is an endless variety of assisted living facilities. From small homes to large communities. The features you listed sound wonderful. But, like your friend who had some help getting started, make sure you have the right team in place to provide the assistance that your residents need and that keeps you in compliance with your regulatory friends. Please check back often because more posts are coming about starting your own assisted living facility and making it a success. Sign up for our email list for updates when new posts are available.

        • Deborah Sparbeck says:

          I love the idea of a facility in the country which Tania described, but I’m wondering if an ALF would be better if located closer to a hospital. It isn’t unusual for the elderly to need a urgent trip to the hospital occasionally. As for the pontoon, if the boat capsized, the logistics of getting half a dozen seniors safely to shore might be a nightmare. What you think?

          • Deborah – Locations near hospitals or other medical care can be convenient for the provider and family members, not to mention downright essential if there is an emergency. But that’s one factor of many that should go into picking a good location. As for pontoon rides – be careful, and have fun!! Mike

        • Jay Vazi says:

          This is a great site and your post have been very helpful Mike ! I want to pick your brain on something if you would kindly give us advice… we want to build a ( 20 bed ) new construction Private pay memory care / dementia home in NJ. We have everything figured out except for one of the most important things which is LOCATION. I need help with demographics. Except for being in affluent area what else do we look for ? We need to narrow down the town to build in.
          All your help is greatly appreciated !

          • Great question! There is a lot to say about selecting the location of your assisted living facility. I’ll reply with a few ideas but it’s something we will try to cover in a full post soon.

            First, the price of land matters but don’t be shortsighted and select a site that will cost more in the long run. For example, if you build a facility in a bad location, perhaps a site lacking visibility and convenience, you might save tens of thousands now. But you might lose that amount many times over if you suffer from lower occupancy over the life of the facility. We’ve seen this happen many times.

            Second, remember that your customer is often the adult children of the residents you hope to serve. Demographics matter but make sure to consider the right set of criteria. There should be a sufficient number of target residents in the market area but, hopefully, you’ll also find a strong segment of age and income qualified adult children in the market, too.

            Third, look for sites that are in close proximity to health care providers. This helps for many reasons, not the least of which is peace of mind for families and also convenience for facility staff who transport residents to appointments.

            There is much more that you could consider but try to keep these three points in mind.

            Mike

      • I would be interested in obtaining more information for the state of Alabama. I just completed a nursing program and want to know if that is sufficient for the state of Alabama. Email me the info at rush12399@gmail.com

      • Patricia luster says:

        Yes I would. I like all help l can get I’m determined that what I truly want to do

      • Alfonsina Michelle Cruz Colon says:

        hello mi name is Alfonsina Cruz.
        I want to open assisting living and allentown pa.but I not know how to starte I have the experience i am a nurses aide.

        • Alfonsina – I would recommend that you connect with the Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association for tips on starting a assisted living facility in your state. You can connect with them online at http://www.pala.org/. Mike

          • Tonya Goode says:

            hello mike my name is Tonya Goode and im interested in starting my own assisted living facility as well however i need some advice getting things started im from New Jersey my email is Tgoode12@yahoo.com

    • Would like to start assisted living facility in Tampa, Florida for my aging family members. Can you operate a private facility? Need to know what type of licenses and education needed. I currently own and manage another type of business for last 25 years.

      • Michele – In many communities and states, there is no restriction on you operating a facility or home for related family members. Check your local regulations. Mike

      • Michele, Florida regulations are governed by the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA). If you are thinking seriously about this, I would suggest you take the LTC Administrator course. You will need this anyway and you will get a feel of the regulations involved. My husband and I opened a 10-bed in April and are doing fairly well (five beds are filled). There are a plethora of regulations (state and local ordinances), you will need to be detail oriented and have the ability to commit the time. We are a work in progress but learning a lot, enjoying our clients and also learning how to be “house mothers” to various personalities. For the state of Florida, I think you can have two clients in your home without a license, but check that information your self. The regs are listed below. Don’t let the list make you nervous the statutes are the policy and the admin code of the procedural requirements related to the statutes. Therefore, there is some overlap. Good luck and check us out on our website and Facebook. This is rewarding work, but it remains work and continuous monitoring is key.

        Florida Statutes 408, Part II
        Florida Admin Code 59A-35
        Florida Statutes 429, Part I
        Florida Admin Code 58A-5

        Ann-Marie
        http://www.silvershoresliving.com

  2. Hi Mike,
    Great information and tips for those wanting to start an assisted living facility. I work with AssistedLivingFacilities.org – (create the content) for consumers searching for information to become better educated on the industry when seeking a good place for senior living.

    I’ve been involved in senior care for close to ten years and experienced it’s vast growth – which attracts many people to the business. But there is so much to be aware of before getting involved, as you clearly indicate in this article. Good points. I will reference your article. Thank you.

    • Carol – Thanks for your comment. I enjoy your site and have used it many times to find facilities in various locations. Mike

      • Indrani B Singh says:

        Do you Know anyone who wants to buy a property in Miami that will accommodate 8 client this is a 8 bedroom 7 and half bathroom please call me indrani Singh 9548515078 , really good price and great for a Assistance living property

    • Hello will you email me please at maggieortiz73@gmail.com I’m looking into opening up an assisted living facility. I’m an RN with 16 years experience working on my masters in leadership and administration.

      Please help!

      Thanks
      Mags

      • Mags – How can I help? I look forward to your reply. Please leave a comment on the site if there is a specific question and I’ll try to answer it soon. Mike

  3. Jrodriguez says:

    Hi, Im a registered nurse and I am interested in opening my own assisted living facility. Just not quite sure where to start. Need help. Please ! Thanks

    • I’m continually writing on this subject and have many more posts planned, along with some training programs soon too. So please keep coming back to this site and check out my company at http://www.seniorcarerealty.com where we have information about facilities for sale. If you can buy an existing facility, you can make your learning curve a lot less steep. Please reply back or send me an email from my website about any specific questions that I can help with.

      • I am a registered nurse,and live in Denver Colorado ,I am very interested in buying existing home or partnered with someone.
        Nunu

        • Nunu – Thanks for your comment. We would like to help you get your assisted living home started. I’ve followed up in a separate email. Let’s stay in touch. Mike

      • charity mann says:

        I am looking to start a living facility but need a little push in the right direction. i have been in the health field for a few years and find that i have a knack for caring for others. i would like info on licensing and regulatons specifics and about a good facility. any help would be appreciated

        • Thanks for commenting. More information on licensing, regulations and starting a good facility are coming. Please keep checking back, or sign up for my newsletter to receive updates when new posts are added.

          • Derrick Cagins says:

            Hi. I am interested in opening a assisted living facility. Need infomantion on start up and requirments.

    • Hey I saw your post I’m an RN as well and interested in opening an assisted living facility in Cesar Park/Austin Texas. Drop me an email maggieortiz73@gmail.com.

  4. I currently live in Dayton, OH. I am very interested in opening a 5 bed facility/home with a live in cook. I was wondering if you have any homes/facilities available in Dayton, Ohio that is ready!

    • We don’t have anything available in Dayton, Ohio at this time. However, we work with property owners across the country, as well as other real estate agents that have facilities for sale. We will keep you posted on anything that becomes available. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for our newsletter over at seniorcarerealty.com to hear about available facilities. Thanks!

  5. Shey-Marie Posey says:

    As an young adult, 21 years old with no assets and limited funds, trying to buy an established assisted living facility can be more than one can afford. I have been researching establishments that would sale, they range from $300,000 to $6,000,000 for buy outs. In a position like such, how can one get funds to afford and buy an establishment?

    • Great question. It certainly take capital to buy an assisted living facility, and then more capital to make sure it keeps running smoothly. There are many places to find the capital you need. Please check back soon for a series of posts on How to Finance Your Assisted Living Facility. And please sign up for our email newsletter to be updated as soon as those new posts are available. Thanks.

  6. Hola! I’ve been following your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you
    a shout out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to
    say keep up the great job!

  7. Im a cna and I would like to open a 6 to 8 bed home in north carolina. Ive been checking out requirements on line. Its hard to get a face to face with dhhs. Can I just take the 40 hour training class to get my administration liscense?

    • Carol – That’s a great question. I’m not certain about the answer but I do have a few resources that should help.

      First, contact the North Carolina Assisted Living Association. They offer an administrator certification program that may do the job. You can learn more about it here: . Someone at NCALA will have the answer.

      Second, the Division of Health Service Regulations’s website has a lot of information on this topic but it’s not clear to me that a 40 hour class will meet their requirements. Here’s a link:

      Please check back with us and let us know what you find and how you move ahead. I’ll appreciate it and so will other readers on the site. Thanks.

      Mike

  8. Hello, I am interested in starting a small 4 bed ALF, any advise on startups or about facilities for sale in Tampa fl or West Palmbeach, fl

    • Margaret – There is so much to discuss on this topic, but I have two quick bits of advice: 1) If you haven’t worked in an ALF yet, get a job in one to learn the ropes while still making some money. The learning curve can be steep. 2) When you’re ready for your own ALF, buy one that has a good reputation rather than start from scratch for the same reason as #1 above – the learning curve is steep and expensive. I only recommend that experienced operators attempt a start-up.

      As for facilities for sale in Tampa or West Palm Beach, I don’t know of any immediately available. But I work with local real estate agents in those areas. I would appreciate an opportunity to refer you to one of them. Please let me know if that would help.

      Mike

  9. Pam Martin says:

    I am thinking of starting a group home in California. Is it better to buy house and make necessary
    changes or to build one? More over, in your opinion, which is a better choice – Sacramento or Roseville California.
    Thank you for your suggestions.
    Pam Martin

    • Pam –

      That’s a great question.

      I’ve seen many people buy a cheap house or facility, and then spend so much on remodeling that they pay more than building new. A new building is almost always better because it can be built with the latest amenities, meeting the latest codes and just have that new home feel. On the other hand, if you can remodel more affordably and an existing home is in a better location, then buying and remodeling can be a better way to go. So, it depends on the costs and your preferences.

      Just be careful not to spend too much on a remodel. Sometimes, it’s very difficult to recover those costs.

      Sacramento or Roseville? It’s hard to say. I’m not familiar with either market for assisted living or group homes. On the one hand, it’s nice to be in a larger community where you’ll have more potential residents and staff to draw from. On the other hand, if there is already a lot of competition there, then a smaller market may still be more attractive.

      Sorry I can’t be definitive in these answers. But, I hope this gave you some food for thought as you find your own answers.

      Best of luck on your new venture. Please let us know what you decide to do.

      Mike

  10. Hello Mike. I am currently a licensed doctor finishing my last year of residency in the state of Ohio. Soon after I would like to relocated to North Carolina to purchase an assisted living facility that’s already operational. If you have any information or suggestions I would appreciate it.

    • Jessica – Congratulations on wrapping up your residency! There is a long list of ideas. Keep checking back on this site and on http://www.seniorcarerealty.com for more information in the future. But, in your case, I would start by connecting with the North Carolina Assisted Living Association to find out about training and networking opportunities. Connecting with others is a great way to learn what you need to know. Buying an existing facility from a good operator is also a way to increase your chance of success and reduce the learning curve. Please let us know if we can help. Mike

  11. How can I get finance to start assisted living , my passion is so great for this job and I have been thinking about it about for couple of years now . If you don’t have a good credit will be able to get financing, to start ?
    Thank u
    God bless you

    • Good credit certainly helps. And without good credit, your options will be limited. Look into seller financing if you want to buy a facility. Seller financing may be more expensive in some ways but it may be the best alternative available. Talk to some lenders, especially SBA lenders in your area, and learn about their requirements. Maybe you’re closer to getting the financing you need that you realize. Check back on this site and on http://www.seniorcarerealty.com if you would like links to lenders that might be able to help.

  12. It has been a dream of mine to start an assisted living facility. I have worked in several as a nurse and have so many ideas! Are most facilities profit or non-profit? Which is better?

    • Assisted living facilities are both for profit and non-profit. While there are many things that distinguish quality, I don’t think that profit status is one of them. I’ve seen great for profits and great non-profits. You mentioned that you would like to start your own someday. In my experience, most private owners go the for-profit route because it gives them more control over the property and its future. Good luck to you!

  13. Yehia Zakaria says:

    Hello Mike,

    I am Realtor in Los Angeles, California who just listed an assisted living facility that has been poorly managed. The city has not renewed their business license and now the owner wants to sell to someone who will reinvest into the property. I usually sell apartments/vacant land/construction projects so this is a little out of my norm. Any ideas on how to get in touch with any local Assisted Living/Nursing Home owners?

    Thanks in advance!

    • That can be tricky. One way to connect is through state trade associations that may have a list of local groups. Try CALA – the California Assisted Living Association. Beyond that, it’s sometimes a matter of going online and cold calling a lot of owners.

      Senior Care Realty works nationwide and we have a long list of buyers and sellers in many markets. Get in touch with our team and we may be able to help you find the right buyer.

  14. I am a licensed assisted living administrator in North Carolina. I am interested in opening a 3 – 5 bed assisted living home. Can you please lead me in the right direction? This has been a passion for years. I have worked as a CNA, Med. Tech and Resident Care Coordinator.

    • Amy –

      Check back her soon. Many have been asking me the same questions and I’m trying to finish additional posts on the subject. And please, if you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter to make sure you get the news as soon as it’s released.

      For now, please let us know if you’re considering buying a facility, converting a house, or building one from the ground up. Thanks for contacting me.

      Mike

  15. Amin Hemani says:

    Hello Mike, my wife has a degree in Nursing and have worked in Nursing Home and Hospital environment for number of years.

    Now after working for someone for years she is wanting to start, partner or own Senior Living facility or Assisted Living Facility and would prefer to check out an existing facility in or around Austin, TX.

    Please inform if you have any existing facility for sale, thanks.

    Regards
    Amin Hemani
    ahemani@voiptelusa.com

  16. Hi Mike, thanks for all the great information. Interested i opening 25-50 beds ALF with a partner. We have many years experience working at ALF and presently a owner of group home with Agency for people with disabilities in Florida. Any advice on how to get grants or finance to start up?

    • Grants are hard to come by – if you find some, let me know. As for loans, an SBA lender might be a great resource. Check back soon for an updated post on SBA financing for assisted living facilities. And, if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my email list so you receive that update right away, along with other information.

  17. Robin Townsend says:

    Hello my name is Robin T i do have good credit and have always been great at taking care of others. I would like to own a ALF in Cleveland Ohio i do need help with information on lenders who could help me with financing and if there is a small facility running well for sale in Cleveland Ohio. also need information on licensing and regulations to open on in Cleveland Ohio. Thanks so much

    • Thanks for your comment Robin! Stay tuned to this site for a more complete response to your question about licensing and regulation in Ohio. As for financing, an SBA loan may be a good way to go and we know many good SBA lenders. I’ll follow up in a separate email.

  18. Louise Thomas says:

    Looking to start an Adult Assisted Facility. After 10 years of working in the field, I wish to start the process to run one!
    -Thanks Mike

  19. Sean Gowers says:

    Hi Mike,

    My name is Sean and I am an RN. I worked in a nursing home for a short time and also worked on the floors in a hospital when I lived in Arizona. I moved back to NJ and was interested in starting up a personal care home here. Any advice? Do you help people open homes ie consulting?

    Thanks
    Sean, RN

    • Sean – I’m not offering consulting at this time. My plate is full for now but check back for more articles and a start-up package that should be available soon and may help with your new facility.

  20. Clarence Green says:

    We are in the mist of opening an ALF. We are having problems with the financial peice. Can you recommend a good CPA.

  21. Hi,
    I’m planning to open my own ALF and I’m starting for 3 beds as a start. I live in Taylor, Texas and wanted to know all informations about start up business.

  22. Melissa R. says:

    Hi, I currently reside in Jacksonville, Florida and will be taking my classes with ALFA in July to receive my administration license. I have current experience as a certified nursing assistant in long term, assisted living, agencies, and hospice and would greatly appreciate any guidance on starting my business and where to go to get grants to help me out financially. Thank you

    • Missy – Keep checking back here for more information. We are always updating info on starting and financing your ALF. Mike

  23. i am searching for a consultant who will guide from the start to end for starting a new facility of
    24,000 sf. I have a site for eight story medical building for a pharmacy, a assisted living and doctors
    Offices, preliminary approved for construction in year 2016/17. Can you help me to find one locally
    Within metro area of Washington d.C.? Thank you in advance for your reply. Bob

    P.s. Pls. Do provide me with your best advices

    • Robert – I don’t know any consultants who work specifically in your area but your question here may draw some responses from other readers. If I come up with someone, I’ll let you know. Mike

  24. Hi Mike, I am extending my home and starting a 3 bed assisted living business. In this kind of business, is it legal with a CNA license to have a samll facility in here home? If so, What do I to start as far as my extension and getting a license to get started. Lolo

    • Lolo – Assisted living is regulated by states, so it depends on which state you’re in. And if it’s in your home, you’ll also need to confirm that it’s allowed locally in your neighborhood. Having a CNA license may be helpful in becoming licensed but it may not be a requirement or it may not be sufficient, depending on your state’s regulations. Feel free to comment back about which state you’re in, and I’ll try to answer more completely. Mike

  25. mirlande monplaisir says:

    Please I would like to get some information about open an ALF. I’m a RN, I’ve been working as an LPN for 7yrs, I’ved wort in a ALF before I just need some guidance on how to proceed on open up one

    • Mindy – There is a wide range of topics we could discuss if you’re opening up your first assisted living facility. If you’re an RN with experience working in an ALF, then you are probably familiar with the health care side of things. So financing, licensing, staffing and other business issues may be topics for you to explore. One of the best things you could do is network with other assisted living providers you know – ask them questions, find if any could be your mentor, and attend seminars and trainings where you can learn from others. I appreciate you coming to my site for some answers, and I hope you check back as I add content to answer more of these frequently asked questions about starting an assisted living. But also look at your state’s regulations online and check for a list of things you need to open your first ALF. Comment again and let me know what state you’re in – I’ll try to answer your question specifically with answers for your state. Mike

  26. Hi Mike,
    I am a college student getting my B.S. in Healthcare Management. I need to write a business plan and want to do it on starting an assisted living facility. I live in the State of Washington and intern at a small assisted living facility in my town. It is my passion to help our older generation in a respectful, compassionate, healthy environment and I’d like to promote wellness in my business idea as well.
    Can you give me any pointers and information I could use to help me with my business plan.
    Thank you, Debbie

    • Debbie – Good for you! Healthcare management is an exciting field with many changes underway, and great opportunities for innovators to make a difference in people’s lives. A business plan for an assisted living facility is similar to any other business plan, with sections on defining your market, how you’ll attract customers, how much staffing you’ll need, how much your staff will cost, a comprehensive detailed financial forecast, and more. Something that may be more unique about a business plan for an ALF is the impact of regulation, public funding for residents (if you’d have any), and increasing competition. Strategic plans for businesses and organizations often consider the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business. I would encourage you to think through your business plan with these measures in mind, too, because assisted living is a rapidly changing business so contingency plans for opportunities and threats may be a key component to your plan – or help you get an ‘A’. I hope it goes well, and please check back later to let us know how it goes. Mike

      • Debbie Breitenfeldt says:

        Mike,
        Thanks for your informative and encouraging reply! I pretty much have all this down other than the information on contingency plans part of your response. I will definitely check back in when this is all done. It’s a 3 phase project, with peer review and then final draft. The final grade will be posted around the week of August 10th. Debbie

  27. MariaEsmeralda says:

    Mike,
    I want to open an ALF in Jacksonville , Fl.. How can I go about Financing?

  28. Hello…I am an RN/ BSN with 15 years experience working in hospitals, assisted living facilities and home health. I just took my administrative core training course awaiting to take the exam. I am planning to open my own 6 bed assisted living facility on the treasure coast. I will soon start looking for a home to buy. I am currently working closely with city hall zoning, planning and also currently writing my business plan and working with my accountant for my business entity. I am very aware and knowledgeable about the health care aspect and I am learning all the state stature and codes. If you have any info on the business aspect of things please feel free to email me…Thanks..

    • Good luck with your assisted living facility. The ‘Treasure Coast’ is such a great name. Please keep checking back here and sign up for my newsletter on the site to get the latest news and information on the business of assisted living.

  29. Wanted to start my own musing home but do t know where to start. Do I need managerial skills?

    • Yes, managerial skills are essential to operating a nursing home or assisted living facility. If you don’t have them already, I always recommend gaining experience by working for another company to develop those skills and find what others do right – and wrong. Learning on the job in your own facility can be more costly than most can afford.

  30. Mike
    I am looking to purchase a small licensed facility (>10 beds) with real estate in Southern California. Do you know any uptodate, reliable Internet source that I can look into?

    • Are you looking for an internet source of facilities that are for sale? There are many online resources available to help match buyers and sellers, such as BizBuySell.com. I have a team here that helps match buyers with sellers, so you can also send more details in an email to our office and we may be able to help, too.

  31. MIKE
    I WORK IN THE NURSING FIELD AND HAVE THE EXPERIENCE. I AM LOOK FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO OPEN ALF IN UPLAND CALIFORNIA. BUT WHERE TO START? I HAVE THE BACKING OF FINANCING. LD1909@LIVE.COM

    • Laura – There are many things to consider. One place to find answers in your specific area is the California Assisted Living Association. Visit their website, connect with their members, and you should find some answers about starting an ALF in California. Mike

  32. Hi there!
    I’m looking to open a family-type home for seniors in NY (1-4 people). I wanted to get guidance on how to operate it. For example, budgeting, pricing, etc.. I also wanted to know if there are any grants available if you are not a non-profit entity.

  33. roshandra hayes says:

    Info on training I may need to open senior care home

    • Roshandra – There are two types of training: training required for licensing and training you need to stay in business. Sometimes these two types are the same, sometimes not. The training you need to obtain a license depends on the state you live in – find the agency that licenses senior care homes and their requirements. Or get back to me and I may be able to direct you to another source for your state. The training you need to stay in business comes from trade associations, networking with other providers and good old on-the-job training. If you haven’t worked in a senior care home, I’d suggest starting there. Learn how a good operator does their thing and emulate that or improve upon it – don’t copy it – but learn and grow from others’ experiences. Take all the classes you can find that are offered by assisted living trade associations – there are many good programs offered in person or online, including some that may be offered right here soon. Good luck! Mike

  34. Hilda Gutierrez says:

    I like to purchase or start my own ALF. What’s my next step, courses, licenses, etc….
    Thank you!

    • Hilda – The next step may be a number of things. Do you have experience operating an ALF? If not, I always recommend that would-be owners gain some experience working with other or teaming up with a management company or consultant that has experience. There may be some cost but it’s normally cheaper than the ‘tuition’ you pay at the school of hard knocks – trust me, I know. If you have experience, then I would encourage you to find what requirements your state has for owners or administrators of assisted living facilities – in some states, there are very limited requirements but in others, like my home state of Wisconsin, there are many requirements. Find the trade association for assisted living providers in your state and check with them (click here for a list of assisted living trade associations in each state), or reply back here and let me know your state – I can help you out. Mike

  35. Rochelle Horton says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for all the experience, knowledge, and information your bring forth. I am reading through all the information, and it so helpful. I am in the process of opening up a Type A assisted living facility. I have a Bachelors in CJ ;and an Associates in Paralegal Studies. My background to this field derives from me being an investigator for Adult Protective Services In Home and in facilities where I investigated abuse, neglect and exploitation. I have seen so much positive and negative. Again, your information is very helpful. There is a lot of work ahead, and reading information specific to ALF is so helpful. Thanks!

  36. Hi, I am looking fordward to opening up my own assisted living home That sleeps 4 People and I need some Advice in
    how much should I pay a living helper.

    • Hiring staff that live in your home can be tricky. Talk to a human resources professional or your CPA for information about wage laws for live in staff.

  37. hi make my name is joy good to see your site curious to ask on how to continue or obtain a ALF I already start for 2 client for now in my house I want to ask if you can help in how to correctly go on a 5 clients lisc. opening an ALF should particularly that you have to be an RN in order to have an ALF ? Whats the required training to be an Administrator of the facility? is their a required training to be an administratot? right now I may say that my house is good to go for slowly for ALF I just need a little more information. iam base in Virginia beach Va. Thank you and hope you can share me more knowledge.

    • Joy – I don’t have a lot of experience with assisted living regulation in Virginia. So I would recommend that you check with the Virginia Assisted Living Association. I’ve added a link below to a page on their website with information about licensing an ALF. I hope that will answer your question and, if not, get back to me and we’ll try to help. Mike

      Virginia assisted living regulations

  38. Can I take a property with 3 houses and make them all Assisted Livingin Florida?

    • JoAnn – That’s a good questions. I’m not sure if there is anything to prevent you from making 3 houses on the same property assisted living facilities. In some states, there is a prohibition on placing one ALF too close to another ALF, unless they’re part of the same ‘campus’ or larger facility. Assisted living regs may not be an issue but also be sure to check with your local zoning office for any limitations. Please report back here with what you find – I’m sure others may have a similar question later. Thanks. Mike

  39. I am very desirous of starting my own assisted living facility or independent living facility.I have a lot of questions and need help getting off the ground.any help would be appreciated.any advice. Do I rent my first facility or do I try to buy it?

  40. Ursula Brown says:

    Hello Mike, I live in Kentucky and needing to know what qualification I need to open up an assisted living home inside my home.

    • Ursula – I don’t have details on home based assisted living in Kentucky. The Kentucky Assisted Living Association may be a great place to ask the same question. My team and I are researching licensing requirements for assisted living facilities in states across the country (and even around the world). I hope to be able to answer your question about Kentucky in a future post. Stay tuned. Mike

  41. Hello Mike I have a Motel in NY Adirnondack area 7 miles North of Lake George, NY. Few years back I got separated from my wife was thinking to convert this property to Assited living did all my home work and found out it will cost some money to update to the code which I have don’t have. Now I am planning to sell my property if anyone interested please email me jpi@gmail.com thanks

  42. Hi Mike,
    me and my wife, live in Denver Colorado ,and we are interested in buying existing ALF or start a new one.Would you please help us?
    Thanks Mike

  43. JACQUELINE JONES says:

    Email me imformation

  44. I have a corner lot in Oakland california. I have recently lost my mother in law to cancer, and painfully watched her decline. I felt like all facilities lacked newer amenities, and perhaps activities that could keep sick or elderly peoples minds off of the negatives. I know nothing about the assisted living industry, but feel like with the right developer who thinks outside the box, and the right advice, I may be able to start a business that is both lucrative and benevolent. Where do I start learning?

    • Super question Junior. I think the best place to start (in your location) is the California Assisted Living Association. Find if they have any resources to address your specific questions or look into their networking opportunities to help connect with others who can help. Or send me an email over at Senior Care Realty with some more details and our company would be happy to take a look at how we might be able to team up with you. Mike

  45. Dorthelea williams says:

    Hello,
    And great and awesome day. I’m please to have read this information that you have written. So thank you, now I have a heap of questions. I was always told there is no such thing as a stupid question. How, where, and when can I get started? I know exactly what I want to do. I faced with how and where to start. Can you Help Me

    Thank you,
    Dorthelea williams

    • Dorthelea – In my opinion, the first place to start is building a foundation of experience and capital – you’ll need both. If you haven’t worked in an assisted living facility, you may want to start there and learn from others – or connect with a good consultant to short cut the time to learn the hard and long way. If you need capital, start saving and/or looking for a partner who shared your dream of owning an assisted living facility – don’t underestimate the capital needed to launch a facility and to comfortably operate into the future. That’s the starting point – managing experience and capital. Mike

  46. I want to own my own facilityand take care of peple with cancer Ive been a cna for over twenty plus years so i know the ins and outs of patient care and im willing to do my all for my for my residents

    • Renee – Having a specialty, like you’ve indicated, is a great way to distinguish yourself in the market of assisted living facilities. It can also be a very rewarding venture to care for people with special needs, such as those dealing with cancer as you pointed out. I hope it goes well for you. Mike

  47. Martha Corea says:

    I’m looking in starting my own ALF. Where or who can I contact to get info on someone who might be selling their facilty as is?

    • Martha – I’ve added you to our email list so you’ll get an update whenever an ALF comes up for sale. I will also send you an email directly to learn more about the location, size and price range you’re seeking. Mike

  48. Ronetta Knox says:

    Hello, Im a CNA, What steps do I need to take to take care of 2 patients in my home?

    • Ronetta – The answer to your question depends on where you’re located. Please reply to this comment with your state and I’ll try to give you some more help. That covers the regulatory and licensing side of your question. But there are other steps, such as confirming that your local zoning allows this (although that shouldn’t be an issue with just two residents and gets into questions about Fair Housing laws), confirming that you have back up staff for when you can’t be there, considering the financial requirements and opportunities, etc. That’s a start anyhow. Mike

  49. Loretta Hudson says:

    Help me get start

  50. Mike
    I am an RN, been working at SNF facility for over 20 years and interested to ope a new assisted living facility in lasvegas, maybe over 100 beds, any advice?
    will you please drop me an email , thank you 775 750 7373

    • I sent an email with this message too.

      Opening a new assisted living facility is a big project, and there is plenty of advice I would offer. Much of it has been included in blog posts at seniorcaremike.com and seniorcarerealty.com. I’m adding new content all the time, so please reply back here or on the blog with any specific questions that you’d like me to address.

      • Hi Mike i live in NC and i want to start my own assisted living. What degree will i need any info you can give will help alot. I do have my 2 year degree, been a nursing assistant 11 years as well as a med tech in an assisted living. As well as other areas in the medical field.Please email me at tamika.richardson@yahoo.com

        • Hey Tamika –

          Rules for education requirements vary state to state, and they change from time to time too. I’m going to refer you to two resources that should have the answer. And when you find the answer, would you do us all a favor and report back here with a comment to your post? Thanks!

          First, you may want to check with the North Carolina Assisted Living Association. The state trade associations for assisted living providers are generally a great resource for information about your particular state.

          Second, you may find what you’re looking for at this link to the state regulations and requirements for becoming an assisted living administrator. Make sure that these requirements apply to your situation by talking with someone knowledgeable about the requirements in your state for your situation. North Carolina assisted living administrator certification.

          I hope you find what you need, and please stay in touch.

          Mike

  51. Hi i need information about open alf in miami fl I am lpn licensed doing Rn school how I start thanks you for the time

  52. do i have to have experience or can i just be the sponsor of an alf?

    • Antonio – I always recommend that anyone getting involved with assisted living have some level of experience. If you mean an investor or passive owner when you say sponsor, then you wouldn’t need the same experience as someone operating the ALF. If you want to operate an ALF, you’ll need experience – either your own or the experience of a qualified manager, consultant, partner or staff. It’s a big responsibility, so be sure you’re up to meeting that responsibility. Mike

  53. Hi. I live in the state of Florida and currently own a second home that I rent out. I am thinking about turning it into a small ALF but have no idea where to start. I am myself working at an ALF as a CNA so I definately know what is involved but not sure where to turn. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks

    • Rachel – There is a long list of issues to consider, and you may be well on your way addressing those issues. I would start with two things: 1) get up to speed with regulations such as those found here: Florida Assisted Living Regulations, and 2) connect with the trade associations for assisted living providers in Florida, such as or Florida ALFA. Understanding the regulations and getting your facility set up right from the start is important. Please keep checking back here for more information about starting up your ALF – I’m working on a new series of posts to help answer that question better because I get it so often. Remember, it’s a process, sometimes a long process, but keep pressing ahead if it’s your dream – you’ll make it happen! Mike

  54. Hello Mike,
    I have purchased a Assist Living Facility ,its existing ALF in operation for many
    years, approximately 49 beds.
    I need an experienced person to manage this for me,this is in WA State near Seattle ( 1 Hour )
    Please let me know, where would be a good place to start to look for a good responsible honest
    person who has a passion for this kind of life style. Do you think may be a live in mature couple
    would work better? I live out of town myself. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for your
    time.

    • Jayson – Sorry for the slow reply on this one. I would start by contacting trade associations in Washington that work with assisted living facilities, such as . They might have opportunities to post ads or they might have networking opportunities to connect with potential employees. You might also want to consider hiring a third party management company to take responsibility for the day to day operations and put their own manager in place. WHCA.org or similar associations may be a good resource locally. And if you don’t find some ideas there, check back with me and I can contact some management companies I know who might have an interest in working with you. Mike

  55. Good evening, My husband and I (retired US Navy) are “here”. We wrote the business plan, garnered an SBA loan, found the property, renovated and furnished it, went through the city and state inspections and…last Friday, received our license from the state of Florida to operate (Limited Nursing Service license for private pay clients). We will be hosting an open house on April 6th and we are thinking that we should host the open house from 1-3p. Is there any magical time to do these types of events? What would be the two things you would want to share with us as we open our doors? Our website will be released by Saturday, a bit behind since we wanted ready when the license came, but I still work full-time, so we accepted the delay as part of the need. Thanks for your time.

    • Ann Marie – Sorry for the slow reply and I’m getting back to you after your open house. So I hope you’ll comment back again to let us know how it went and what time you chose. In my experience, the timing of an open house depends on the day of week. On weekdays, I think that 3 to 7 works well to catch people after work. On weekends, earlier in the day is better with a start of around 10 a.m. and going until 3 p.m. to catch people who will be out running errands or coming home from church anyhow. The key is to make it easy for them to attend. I checked out your website and WOW that’s a nice site for a start! Well done on that. I may need to follow up with you to find how you did that or who did it for you – there are many out there with sites not nearly as attractive and effective (in my opinion) than yours. I hope all goes great with your facility. Please stay in touch back here, and thanks for serving in the Navy. Mike

      • Mike,

        The open house was OK – yes, just OK. I had a sneak preview during the final staging of the renovations (on Veteran’s Day) last November and I had approximately 80 guests then. For this open house, we only had about 20 people visit. Both events were held at the same time, no statistical correlation on this one! Thanks for the feedback on our website, my goal was clean easy lines, clear and concise content, and, finally, honest communication of why we are here and what we intend to provide. I hired a firm and the website and some great brochures (a trifold and packet contents) were all very reasonable. I am happy to share their content information, send me a direct note and I can tell you the details. Naturally, you can connect with them directly at the bottom of my website as well.

        Thanks for the encouragement! We are nervously excited if that is possible. We have one client thus far, a very charming gentleman. We have a second client moving in in two-weeks. I’m Ok with slow and steady, but you can imagine I would like to get to breakeven and 24/7 hired staff as soon as practical (hubby and I are supplementing the staff for now). Our service in Navy set the tone for our model and the care we intend to provide. Careful compassion with respect. Check us out on Facebook, google plus and, as you know, the website. Have a wonderful weekend!!

        Warm regards,
        Ann-Marie

  56. Melpitiye Wimalakitti says:

    hi Mike
    I always follow up your guidance. My question is How I find residence(Senior adults) for my ALF (3 bed) for which is opening in 25th April in Murphy, Texas.

    melpitiye

    • There is a long list of ways to find potential residents. I’ll give you my top three. #1 Your local senior center – make sure the staff there knows you and has information about your home to share with potential residents. #2 Hospitals and nursing homes – get to know their social work staff that is in charge of finding assisted living for patients needing it after their discharge. #3 A Place For Mom and similar services – they charge for their services but they can be the marketing arm of your business and make you money by filling your home. Hope that gets you started. Mike

  57. Yolanda Lewis says:

    Hi ! I am interested in starting up an ALF, but I need advice on what steps to take first. I have been a CNA for 25 years & have worked in various ALFs, and other geriatric patient care settings. I would greatly appreciate if you would be so kind to sort of guide me in the right direction; in addition to, recommending some start up funding and facilities or homes for sale as well. Thank you. I am located in Deerfield Beach, FL but is willing to consider other cities for my business.

    • Yolanda – I’ll focus on the last part of your question – start up funding. In my experience, grants and loans are a challenge for start-ups. They are out there but, in my opinion, it can take a long time and include a lot of red tape. Something that you may want to consider is connecting with a partner to provide financing. Partnerships can take many forms but one way that works well for many start-up operators is leasing a facility. Real estate investors are often eager to invest in an assisted living facility, especially when they’re just collecting a monthly check and don’t need to have expertise in running the facility. But be careful – the lease shouldn’t give away too much of the monthly income or lock you into things you can’t control. Please keep checking back here for more info on leasing a facility, and other issues related to staring up your ALF. Mike

  58. I am trying to find out what kind of license I need to open a small Assisted Living. I need to know where to start. I need to know where to find this information. What education level do I need to have?

    • Shawna – It depends. Where do you live? Assisted living facilities are generally regulated by each state so it depends on where you’re located. Visit the website for your state’s department of health or similar state agency that regulates assisted living facilities. You should find information there, and you can also check with assisted living trade associations that are often a wealth of information. Visit ALFA State Affiliates and find the association for your state. Or get back to me with the state where you’re located, and I’ll get you more information. Mike

  59. Delcina McMillion says:

    I NEED ALL THE INFORMATION I CAN GET ON STARTING MY OWN ASSISTANT LIVING FACILITY

    • Keep reading and coming back to this site. I’m trying to add posts as often as possible to answer my readers’ questions. Add your specific questions and I will do my best to answer. Mike

  60. Hello, Im in Alabama and i would like to start a senior care agency that hires and send people out to clients home ,my questions are how do i get started and what licenses do i need?

  61. I’m trying to get everything I need in hand to help me with starting a adult day care, and senior home. I need help with what all has to be done in the state of west Virginia….

    • Michele – I don’t have the details on West Virginia but you may find more information by connecting with a few of the trade associations that work with assisted living in your state. Here are links to follow: https://www.wvhca.org/ and http://www.wvala.org/. For more general information about starting up an ALF, keep checking back here or subscribing to our newsletter because we’re always trying to answer questions and add new content. Mike

  62. Shante Ferguson says:

    Hello my name is Shante Ferguson, I have wanted to own and operate an assisted living home for about 10 years now. Life has threw me a few curve balls and I’m still going to school part time to become an RN. I want to find a place, resign from my current job as a Medical assistant and simply jump into the business. What do you think is the best way to do it. I’m thinking I should take a GNA and and med-tech class so I can at least get my foot in the door. I feel if I continue to take classes part time to become a RN, I’ll never get there. Any information you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

  63. Melanie Arceo says:

    Would appreciate to receive more posts anout an assisted living facility as i am thinking of putting up one.

  64. Hello Mike. If you do not mind me putting a link up here, I thought it might be of interest. I am a contractor in CA and had an opportunity to rehab a gorgeous RCFE in Northern CA. It is a very unique property. http://www.sequoiacove.com

    • Hey Sean – Good luck with the RCFE in Northern CA. I’m Ok with your comment including the link to a property for sale – for now. We may be updating some of the terms of service for this site later but I’m happy to help out for now. I hope you get some leads. Please keep me posted on how it goes, and maybe we should discuss helping you more through marketing opportunities at Senior Care Realty. If interested, let me know. Mike

  65. Desyre jones says:

    Hello, I am looking to start a assisted living residential home in VA. I have been caring for my Grandmother and nephew who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia for over 5 years now and love to care for people,please send me upcoming helpful info and posts that can encourage and be a guide to help me in anyway with starting out. Thanks so much

    • Desyre – Caring for a loved one is incredibly challenging – and rewarding. And it’s the same for all who provide assisted living to anyone, whether family or not. We will keep you posted on new information as it becomes available. Mike

  66. Bertha Gonzalez says:

    Im intrested in opening an assisted living facility. But the only experience i have is taking care of my son in a vegestate for 3 years and with my mother with schizophrenia. Would it be difficult for me to open one? I am very eager to help patients like my own family. I was wondering if you could guide me i am located in el paso tx.

    • Bertha – You’re not alone. See Desyre’s recent post here too. Is it difficult to open an assisted living facility? Yes, to be honest, it can be. But many have done it and many more (maybe you) will do it in the future. Keep checking back here and subscribe to our newsletter for more info. And also reply again as you have specific questions – we try to answer those first. Thanks! Mike

  67. Melissa Payton says:

    Mike-
    I am a 45 years old I have recently just became a Self Independant Home health care provider. I started off years ago as an aide in a local hospital, pay wasn’t good at all but I loved my job. I guess you could say I found my purpose. Due to financial issues left for other work. Later on obtained my CNA worked in a Nursing Home. I was glad to be where I belonged but still once again I had to leave. This is my first time as a Home Healthcare Provider also my first time owning my own buisness per say. I live in Southern Indiana and my dream is to purchase a home with 4 or 5 bedrooms and take in long term live in residents. I don’t wish to own a large facility due to the residents would loose their one on one dedicated well needed attention that they deserve to have in their final days. I’m in desperate need to obtain information on how to go about starting my dream. From purchasing a home to possibilities of Gov. Programs to help with the full care of residents if they are unable to do so themselves. Thank You for providing information to others even if you cannot help everyone at least you may be able to point them in right direction. My biggest fear is I didn’t try….

    • Melissa – Good for you!! Way to go for your dreams! And to do so with eyes wide open and doing your research as a starting point. Please keep checking back here for answers to questions that may help. And be sure you’re signed up for the newsletter – we send things first to our subscriber list. Mike

  68. Raymond O Arroliga says:

    I am Raymond and we are interested in renting or selling our assisted living facility, please call me at 786 4438678

  69. Raymond O Arroliga says:

    we are located in Miami Florida

  70. Hello Mike!
    I am interested in opening an assisted living facility in the state of Missouri. I am a physical therapist assistant and have worked in a skilled nursing and residential care facility for almost 10 years. I know MO requires an owner or partner to be an RN. I’m wanting more information on rules and regulations for MO. Who would my best contact be? I’m also curious about what kind of grants and business loans are available for opening an assisted living facility.
    Thank you,
    Katie

  71. Ebony Barnes says:

    Hello my name is Ebony and I’m interested in opening up my own assisting living facility just don’t know how to get started and don’t no how I would build up my cliental with it being so many facilities I’m wondering what would I do to make my business stand out maybe you can help me

    • Ebony – That’s a great question and a very important point. How can you stand out? It’s important to know your customers and know your niche. Maybe it’s residents in a certain neighborhood, maybe it’s a special type of service, maybe it’s a special activity that’s unique to you and your team – it can be anything. But try to be unique without isolating yourself into a small market without enough business. Make your facility as good as all the others, but with something special. I’ve seen facilities that offer transportation when their competitors don’t. I’ve seen facilities with staff that have special language skills to communicate with residents who don’t have English as their primary language. I’ve seen facilities that have special equipment to handle residents with higher weights. There’s an endless number of ways to offer something unique but I think it starts with you finding your niche and something you want to stand out for. Happy to brainstorm more with you if you’d like to comment back again. Good luck Ebony! Mike

  72. Sheila Belton says:

    I have 2 elderly mothers and 3 disabled family members in several differ homes that are now requiring more of my time. With working to pay my own household expenses this is becoming more of a strain on me. My thought is to purchase a care home large enough for everyone to be under one roof. Do you have any suggestion? Do you know of finding I can tap into to assist me? I live in Gainesville Ga.

    • Shelia – I’m sorry, but I’m not familiar with any funding to help you buy a home. There may be funding programs for the services you would be providing to your family members and perhaps others who would live with you. Check with a local or county human services department for funding available to people in need of assisted living care. They might also direct you to programs that help providers like you want to be. I’d also suggest you connect with the Georgia Assisted Living Association http://www.gasla.org/ or the Assisted Living Association of Georgia: http://www.alag.org/. Mike

  73. I my name is Pamela I live in the state of Kansas and I’m interested in opening up a assisted living facility with more no more than 5 to 6 beds I don’t have any actual experience in it per say I do have a master’s in education and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a minor in behavioral psychology I have been taking care of my aunt and uncle for quite some time both have Alzheimer’s and I’m also taking care of my godfather who is 74 so I’ve not been really teaching that much lately I’ve been taking care of elderly and I’d rather enjoy it I think it’s rewarding I think I like them better than I like kids but I would like to open up a small facility so that I could care for those who haven’t quite prepared themselves for the future and get minimal income to sustain life

    • Pamela – Good luck with your plans! It’s interesting to me how many people get involved with assisted living and senior care through their own personal experience with family. That’s how our family business started – we saw the need and filled the need. Mike

      • Thank you for your timely response I’d like to know if you know of any facilities or where I could get some information on working in and environment so that I can get a little bit more experience

  74. I live in Kansas City and I am interested in doing some on-the-job training to become an administrator and I’d like to know do you know of any web sites or sites that I should go on to find out what facilities offer on-the-job training

    • Pamela – This is a late reply but I’m curious to find how you’re doing. The same job sites for other jobs are normally the places to look for assisted living too. Indeed, Monster, etc, etc. You can also try connecting with local or state trade associations for assisted living providers, such as Leading Age Kansas or the Kansas Center for Assisted Living. So, did you find that administrator job? Mike

  75. Hello,
    So my situation is kind of interesting. 9
    I was a former RN student who took a year off working as a supervisor at a ALF then decided to work as a firefighter/paramedic and now I’m interested in owning my own personal ALF. What would be my first step in trying to make this happen?

  76. James Hoobler says:

    Hello,
    I found a building that I want to purchase that was the original Hospital in Daytona Beach, fl. and then an Assisted living facility. It is now zoned for single family because the previous owners lost it in Foreclosure. Do you think the city would allow me to re-zone it back to assisted living? Obviously if we met their requirements and took the proper steps to start a successful business.

    • James – I don’t see why they wouldn’t allow a rezoning. On the other hand, zoning laws may have changed, the property may have been a problem for the neighbors, etc, etc. I hope you’ve gone to the city to ask and received the answer you were looking for. Please reply and let us all know how that turned out. Mike

  77. Aulesshia bell says:

    Im very excited about starting my own assisted living facility to 20 to25 rooms building I think that this is a great jumpstart and I’m loving the comments and they’re helping out with questions that I had thank you Mike

  78. hello Mike
    where would you get information on current state/county needs/defeciencies for assisted living or senior day care centers ?

    • Omar – That depends on which state you’re in – senior day centers, like assisted living facilities, are normally state regulated. I’m assuming that you’re talking about deficiencies such as regulatory violations? Or are you asking about needs and deficiencies in the market, i.e. where assisted living or senior day care is needed? Please let me know and I’ll direct you to the best source available. Mike

  79. Star Loza says:

    Hi there! I’m a registered nurse and I would love more insight on the first steps to take on opening my own assisted living. I’m planning on buying a 3-4 bedroom one story house and using that. Any information would be great!

    • Star – Keep coming back here because more information and Q&A is coming all the time. Any progress on your plans since you posted? Mike

  80. My wife has been in the Assisted Living industry for approximately 13 years. She loves everything about it. She loves caring for and helping the elderly.

    Through the years she has worked her way up through the ranks and became an Administrator (Licensed) three years ago.

    Her dream has always been to be an owner of a facility and it is her number one goal. However, every time she gears up to get started – there is always something to steer her away from ownership. Her top hurdles are finances, and writing her business plan. She has a plan in her head, but putting it down on paper is a stopper for her.

    Every time she talks to people in her local industry, they are amazed of the knowledge she carries about the business and how she knows the state laws regarding Assisted Living.

    We reside in Utah but she is willing to research best locations for her facility and willing to relocate.

    I am supportive in helping to make her dreams a reality. Any guidance that can be offered would be especially appreciated.

    • Eldon – That’s a great story – you sound like a good team. Here is my advice. If your wife has that much experience and that much desire to be an owner, then press ahead with what you have. You mentioned a business plan. That’s important, but it’s not so important that it should be a roadblock either. If you are purchasing an existing facility that is operating fine, that’s your business plan. You’re taking over what’s already been shown to work, and your wife’s resume would seem to be plenty strong to demonstrate her ability to maintain what’s already in place – and perhaps improve it! You also mentioned finances, and that can be a roadblock. I always encourage would-be owners to have sufficient capital to get started, or it seems that many often struggle under the weight of never quite getting ahead. But ‘sufficient capital’ may not be as much as you think. Purchasing a facility may require as little as 10% down payment or less if you were to arrange a lease purchase. The key is to have one or two month’s worth of operating expenses in reserve to give you some cushion when occupancy drops (it always does – even if temporarily) or other unexpected expenses come up. I’m a big believer in Financial Peace (some will know what that’s about if you’re a fan of Dave Ramsey) so, while I appreciate bootstrappers, I’d just caution that you do not use your last dollar purchasing the property and then not have enough to cover payroll later in the month – I’ve seen that happen. Best of luck to you and your wife – please check back here and keep us posted. Mike

  81. Claudia Williams says:

    I’ve been a CNA for 36 years in a nursing home. I have a 6 bedroom home, just my husband and myself. I work as an activity coordinator. I eventually will need to be home to care for my husband. I am thinking I could take on my 2-3 light care seniors. How would I start?

    • Claudia – Look into regulations for assisted living facilities in your state. Which state? We may have some information to share for your state. Also, confirm that you can offer assisted living at your current location with your local planning or zoning office at city hall. It shouldn’t be a problem but it’s better to make sure. I’d start there to make sure your home will work with the city and the state without significant changes to the building. Mike

  82. Sashalee Small says:

    I am thinking about opening my own Alfa but i just need some great encouragement from good source and advice.

    • Sashalee – I’m thinking about starting up a Facebook group for followers of this blog. What do you think? Would you want to connect with me and others on this site via Facebook to ask questions, share experiences, and give/receive encouragement? Please let me know. Mike

  83. Mike,
    I owned an assisted living home which was a group home, I had 3 residence. 2 clients died and i decided to close the business because my partner got married and we decided to go different ways. I want to start another one with about 5 clients, so I need a 4-5 bedroom house. Is it possible for me to get investors who could buy the house for me and rent it from them? Or come in agreement to buy at a later date?

    • Betty – Absolutely! That’s one of the more common ways that assisted living providers handle the real estate part of their business – leasing it. If you talk to a local realtor about buying a house, ask them if they know any investors who might like to rent to you – the realtor will be motivated to help you out and earn a commission. Make sure you get that agreement to buy out the investor at a later day. It’s not always possible but it’s a good idea when you can get it. Mike

  84. I’m interested in opening up my own assisting living facility/memory care in Houston just don’t know how to get started and how to get funds thinking of 16 beds. and am looking for someone to help me write the business plan.

  85. Shavon Smith says:

    Hello my name is Shavon and I reside in Las Vegas. I do not own my home and I am working a minimum wage job. I use to work for a facility in California and I’m also looking for the same job opportunity here in Las Vegas until I came across this website know I’m thinking about owing my own facility. What would it take for me to pursue this.

    • Shavon – Being your own boss and owning your own business can be a great adventure and opportunity. It can also a nightmare. I don’t say that to discourage you but just to help you go into it with the resources you need to help ensure you’re successful. Those resources include both finances and experience. You mentioned that you’re working at a minimum wage job right now. I think a path for you to follow in the direction of eventually owning your own assisted living facility looks like this: find the best run facility in your area that is similar to the one you’d like to own someday, get a job at that facility, work your way into more responsibility, learn as much as you can about all aspects of the business (not just resident care, although that’s obviously critical too), save money, connect with potential partners, keep an eye on facilities available for sale, and eventually buy your own facility. Now that path may seem like a long one, and it might be. But shortcuts often lead to dead ends – I’ve seen it too many times before. Make sure you have the necessary experience and capital (whether it’s your capital or a partner’s), and then you’ll be ready. Hope this helps. One more thing — don’t stop and you’ll get there. Mike

  86. shanae foxx says:

    how do you get started im in wisconsin!

    • Shanae – It depends on your starting point. Have you worked in an assisted living facility? Do you meet the requirements to be an administrator? Take a look at those requirements at the following website from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Start there but come back here with other questions you have. Wisconsin DHS Requirements for ALF Administrator Mike

  87. Wendell Simmons says:

    Mike,
    My wife and I live in California and are interested in opening our own ALF in the near future. She is a NP specializing in Gero. I have the BA in Business so we are wanting to learn more about the business and how to start. Can you give me any info about starting one in SoCal?

    • Wendell – Great question. Two initial pieces of advice. First, connect with the California Assisted Living Association to learn about the training programs they offer that are designed to meet the regulatory requirements of your state. It’s also a great way to network with other assisted living providers who may turn into a valuable mentor. Second, consider buying an existing ALF if you’re able to reduce the learning curve and just take over a property that’s already proven – you can still make it your own over time and the extra cost may be much less than the cost of your learning curve. Let me know if you have other specific questions. Good luck! Mike

    • Elizabeth says:

      Wendell, where in CA are you? I am an interior designer and gerontologist working on opening a 6-bed. I completed my training through Eldercare Training Academy. It is run by a husband/wife team, and they are incredibly knowledgeable and also offer consulting services. I highly recommend obtaining certification through them if you are in Southern CA!

  88. Roxanne Vicencio says:

    I am interested in opening an Independent living facilities in states of Houston, Texas between 10-15 people in residence area and non-medical. As I was reading the requirements, there”s 40 hours class training to start. Where do I attend for the class training in Houston, Texas?

  89. Donita Damman says:

    I want to start a supportive living I know it’s different then assisted clients pay there own rent bills ECT…Is there anything I need to know

  90. KaShauna Hunt says:

    This all seems to be good information and keeps me encouraged because this is what I have been wanting to do for awhile. I will keep looking for ways to get my home opened.

  91. Grace Wamala says:

    Hi Mike, am a Nurse Assistant in Seattle Washington with 3-4yrs experience, I would like to move to Denver Co to open an adult family home. What is the maximum number of residents allowed per small home and roughly how much does each of them pay in a month?
    Thanks
    Grace

    • Grace – That’s a great question. The monthly rates the residents pay very widely depending on factors such as location, services offered, quality of the home, and a lot more. You may need to do some secret shopping yourself of assisted-living homes in the area you plan to open. Likewise, local regulations may place limits on the size of your assisted living home. I would start by looking at similar homes that are already open and then follow up with Colorado licensing authority’s for more information. You may also want to check with the Colorado assisted-living association. Good luck and please stay in touch, I’d like to hear how it goes for you. Mike

  92. Mike,
    Well like the rest on this site, I’m looking to start adult family care home for independent elderly adults. I have work in assisting living in the past, BS is business and MHA Healthcare adm. I’m a administrator in major hospital in NC. I live in the state of NC, and thinking about starting my own business in my hometown where there mostly elderly and retired people. My thought was to buy place to put on some property. Fix it up to code for elderly person to stay and have a care partner hired to monitor part time care as needed. Wanted the place to be just like a home, create a garden etc. Now my concern is how to finance this. Please help with any advise or thoughts.

    • Tanika – How to finance your first ALF — that’s a great question. There are many potential answers but first I want to offer a caution.

      You mentioned a home for independent elderly adults. My question is this: if they’re independent, why would they move in with you? I don’t mean to sound disrespectful but just blunt about an important question that I think some people don’t consider enough. Be prepared for residents that aren’t independent, those who need help with mobility, medication management and more. Most people won’t move to assisted living unless there is a significant need for assistance. Again, sorry if I’m overstating my case and you may already be lined up with what I’m suggesting. Plus, the reply is intended for others who will read this Q&A in the future who think that assisted living is independent living – it’s not.

      Back to your question: how to finance your first ALF. Like I said, there several possible sources for financing an assisted living facility. It depends on how much cash you have to start with. If you have 10% to 30% of the cost of the facility, then most community banks are a great option, even if they also use some SBA funding as part of the financing package. If you have less than 10% of the cost for a down payment, you may need to consider seller financing, such as a land contract, trust deed (depending where you’re located), or a lease-option. If you have little of no cash, then you’ll need to connect with a partner who can help with the financial need while you cover the operating experience to manage the facility. Partnerships can be tricky and, if you go that route, be careful to put everything in writing, think through all the what-if’s, and have an attorney help you out.

      Also, don’t forget about financing your operations. You will need working capital to pay staff, purchase food, buy insurance, make utility deposits, etc, etc. I often visit with many who have enough for their down payment to buy a building but nothing left to open the doors. Prepare a conservative budget of your operations and plan ahead for surprises.

      I hope this helps. Your question is one that we get a lot, so I used this reply as an opportunity to go a bit further than what you asked. Thanks for that opportunity. Good luck with your plans and please stay in touch! Mike

  93. Sharon Weatherspoon says:

    Do you have access to properties in Georgia and Pennsylvania?

  94. Elizabeth Lockhart says:

    I am interested in senior housing facility and how to operate.

  95. Karen Harris says:

    I’m thinking about starting a senior home I have two homes between my mother and my father I want something small because I have a handicap brother and both my parents so just want to start there any type of help please

    • Karen – Offering assisted living in a single family home (rather than a larger, purpose-built facility) can be a great option. But there are a few things to check out right away. First, is this an allowed use at the location of your homes? You need to check with the local zoning office to confirm that assisted living is an approved use in that neighborhood. Many will tell you, and they’re probably right, that you can offer assisted living in any home regardless of zoning laws based on federal fair housing laws — but there are often still limitations on how many unrelated persons may live in a house. Take the time to confirm what is and isn’t allowed. Second, assisted living is normally regulated by states, so check with your state department of health or whichever department is in charge of assisted living regulation. Find out what you need to do if you’re going to offer assisted living in your homes to someone other than family members. Reply back again and let me know what state you’re in and I may be able to get more specific. Good luck Karen. Mike

      • Karen Harris says:

        I live in Georgia

        • Karen –

          In Georgia, assisted living communities are facilities with capacities of 25 or more residents (see this link for more details – Assisted Living Communities in Georgia).

          Georgia regulations refer to an assisted living facility with a capacity of fewer than 25 residents as a Personal Care Home. To learn more about the regulations of personal care homes and a checklist for licensing a personal care home in Georgia, click this link to go to the Georgia Department of Community Health website and scroll to the bottom that talks about ‘Next Steps’. That will give you the next steps for licensing.

          But remember, also check with your local city zoning office to make sure they’re OK with you having a personal care home at your location. Please keep us posted on your progress. Good luck!

          Mike

  96. Hi, me and some of my friends are trying to open up an assisted living facility in maryland but we don’t know how to go about getting started. Would you send me information about the step by step instructions or process on what we need to do. Thanks
    PS. Pls kindly send the info to my email. Thanks

    • Stella – That’s a big question. Where are you at in the process now? If you have money and experience, then the next step might be finding an existing facility. If not, then the next step is a different one. Likewise, if you want to build one from scratch, there is another starting point. Please comment back with more details about your situation and I’ll try to give you more specific ideas. Mike

  97. Hi,

    I am interested in opening up a small ALF in the Los Angeles area. Do you know of any existing ALFs for sale?

    • Leshia – Not at this time but I haven’t been looking in LA lately either. We’ll see if anyone else comments on your post here, and I’ll let you know if we hear about any for sale. Mike

  98. Jamie Taylor says:

    Hi mike. I want to start a small Alf in my home with about 3 patients. I’m a nurse and need guidance on where to start. I’m located in FL and have alot of experience in the geriatric field.

    • Hi Jamie! You’re in the right place. We are working on an article about licensing assisted living facilities of all sizes in Florida. Stay tuned. And keep checking back here or posting specific questions. I’ll do my best to answer your questions and also get help from our community of readers on this site. Mike

  99. Keachia Thompkins says:

    Thank you 😊 there are more things,I wish you could have explain like what do you need, when getting started opening your group home. Do you need to registering for your license.If so do you need a vision statement or mission.

    • It’s a good idea to understand your own vision and mission for your business but those are generally not required for a license application. Mike

  100. BLESSING joel says:

    Hi mike my name is blessing l just relocated to Columbus Georgia am interested in opening an assisted living home or Adult foster home with 4 to 6 client in my own home an have been working with ederly as a CNA for over ten years how do l go about it.

    • We are working on a licensing guide for Georgia. You will learn about it on this site when it’s available, or you will receive an email if you subscribe to our newsletter. If you have other specific questions, please leave them in the comments and we will try to answer them. Mike

  101. Mike – What is the best way to find out the requirements and licencing to own/operate an assisted living facility in Arizona?

    • Holden – The best way to learn about licensing for assisted living in Arizona is to go to the source. Here’s a link to the Arizona Department of Health Services website and the page with all the info you need. If you still have any questions, come on back here and we’ll try to help. Mike

      http://azdhs.gov/licensing/residential-facilities/index.php#providers-application-forms

      • Becky Carranza says:

        Mike what about Wisconsin??? I’m interested in turning my home helping elderly. I’ve been a cna for 30 yrs do I need a nurse???

        • Becky – The answer to your question, of course, is it depends. If you plan to license your home as a community-based residential facility you may need to have a registered nurse involved if you were planning to administer medications for residents. That doesn’t always mean that you need a registered nurse on staff full-time or 24 hours a day. Often, a nurse in charge of certain parts of your program can delegate authority as long as they provide supervision. The regulations are very specific about these needs and I’d refer you to those for the latest requirements. If you are interested, I can connect you with some consultants who have experience in this area and help you with a plan for your home. Mike

  102. Emilio cousin says:

    What are the steps to open a assisted living in TN

  103. Mike,
    My mother already had an assisted living facility in operation here in Philadelphia – cared for only 3-4 patients. Recently, we’ve decided to reopen the facility (same building) and begin anew – totally ‘dissolving’ the previous Name. I’ll be taking over the new operation – recent Drexel University graduate (BS in Health Services Administration). What’s the order of tasks? Should I create a Corp.? What types of insurance should I be investigating.

    • John – Great questions. If you decide to form a corporation or limited liability company (and I probably would), I think you are wise to do that right away. It is also wise to consult with a local attorney and/or CPA for guidance on that question. There are tax and other implications when setting up a corporation or LLC. As for insurance, I would talk to the Pennsylvania assisted living association and get a list of their members who are experienced insurance agents in this area. You absolutely want to have insurance in place when you open the doors and don’t want to leave it to later in the process. Sometimes it takes longer to qualify for insurance and you might expect. Good luck! Mike

  104. Zita Jackson says:

    hi mike! i am interested in opening an assisted living facility in either crestwood or prospect kentucky. i was wondering if you could point me in the direction of getting the certifications i need?

  105. Thank you for all information!!

    i am interested in opening an assisted living facilty in CONNECTICUT… I am a CNA nurse i going to continue my education to a RN

    tell me all inofrmation please

  106. Dayse Hamilton says:

    Hello Mike.
    My name is Dayse Hamilton. I am interested to open an ALF in Texas. I am an occupational therapy assistant working for the elderly population for 12 years. Also I have a certification for dementia practitioner. Can you please provide me information in How to start my business.
    Thanks for any help you can bring to my dream.
    Dayse

  107. Three Links Care Center in Northfield, MN, is rated 5.0 stars overall. It is a moderate facility with 101 beds and has nonprofit, corporate ownership. Three Links Care Center is not part of a continuing care retirement community. It participates in Medicare and Medicaid. Take a look at our Assisted Living options https://threelinks.org/assisted-living/

    • Looks very nice Anna. Want to expand? My team at Senior Care Realty is helping an owner confidentially sell some similar properties in Minnesota and Iowa. Mike

  108. I have years of expeience worked as a CNA for 3 hospitals Iwe have a large Victorian home and would love to open the alraedy furnished rooms to the elderly .I owned a deli catering home cookig for years am a excellent cook. My passion is eldery people.My Nanna lived to be 98 in my home and I took care of my husband with cancer till he died .I learned alotbut have so much more to give😃

  109. Takilya Roberts says:

    Hi. My name is Takilya and I’m interested in starting my own business (alf). I have experience as a Aide, just need to be pointed in the right direction, any suggestions?

    My email is Roberts.takilya@yahoo.com

    • Takilya – There are many ways to answer that question but the one I’ll offer today is this: find a successful assisted living facility that you’d like to own and talk to the owner about taking over. Seriously! If you’re starting out but can just take over something that’s already working, you’ll be years ahead and possibly thousands of dollars ahead too. Starting your own from scratch is possible but much more difficulty. And starting your own is even more likely to success if you’re starting a second facility based on the success of the one you purchased. But, you’re probably asking, how do I buy one? Well, that depends on your financial situation. You need capital to start a facility just like you need capital to buy one. If that’s available, your options are greater. If capital isn’t available or available in a small amount for now, then you probably need to find an owner who is ready to retire, likes you, and trusts you to take over and pay them off over time. It’s possible – I’ve seen it work many times. Hope that helps and good luck! Mike

  110. Mike, Thank you for sharing your wisdom through this blog. Your insight is very helpful. What is your opinion on “The Green House Project”. Please provide your thoughts on their model from a for-profit viewpoint.

    • Hari – That’s a big question and perhaps one that I’ll try to answer more completely in a future blog post. Stay tuned. For now, I’d just say that much of what I understand about their mission is great. Caring for our older population in dignified homes, where they can receive the care they need, and live with a community or even a family of staff and other residents alongside them. It’s very similar to how and why our family business started back in 1988 with a small brand new home designed for just 8 residents. With that said, smaller facilities face some big challenges. First, they can’t achieve the economies of scale that larger facilities enjoy. Second, they often can’t provide the same level of amenities as some of the larger homes. Third, many larger facilities are offering a very home-like setting these days with properties that resemble apartment communities that all ages call home. I think there is a place in the market (for profit or not) for a diverse offering of facility types, sizes, and programs. The Green House Project appears to be doing a great job serving their niche in the market today. But I’d enjoy hearing from others who have opinions on the subject, too. Mike

  111. Sandra Parra says:

    I would like info. on starting an Adult foster home in Texas. Do you have a local number, contact person in El Paso Tx.

    • Sorry Sandra, we don’t have anyone local in El Paso – although I do know some assisted living folks in town. We are working on state by state guides so keep checking back for more news on Texas. Thanks. Mike

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