How to Start a Respite Care Service

Anyone can start a respite care service. However, there are a few things you need to know before getting started. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of starting your own respite care business. We’ll cover everything from funding and insurance to marketing and staffing.

Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own respite care business.


10 Steps to Launching a New Respite Care Business

1. Choose Your Type of Respite Care Business

The first step in launching a respite care business is to identify the type of respite care business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others: 

Non-medical home care business: You will provide basic homemaking services like light housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation for primary caregivers who need short-term care. Medical services are typically not included.

Medical home care business: You will provide companionship, meals, laundry and other short-term duties, as well as nursing services for a primary caregiver who requires respite. 

To provide this service, you will need to hire licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), and/or certified nurse assistants (CNAs), depending on the extent of the medical needs of your clients.

Hospice care business: You will provide respite care, such as meals, laundry, and other housekeeping duties for primary caregivers of those who are terminally ill patients. 

You may need to hire social workers, chaplains, or therapists to assist, as needed. 


2. Name Your Respite Care Business

Give your respite care business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your respite care business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.

The main goal for naming your respite care business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so clients will feel confident in your services.


3. Determine Your Respite Care Business Model

There are several possible types of business models for a respite care business including:

  1. In-home care: You will provide respite care services in the client’s home. You will need to have 1-2 staff members who will travel to the homes of those clients on respite care. 
  2. Respite care center: You will operate a facility where people can come to receive respite care services. You will need to find a suitable location and build or renovate the space to meet the needs of your business.
  3. Franchise: You will operate a respite care business that is part of an already-established franchise brand. This option might be the best fit if you want to get started quickly and have access to proven marketing and business methods. 

No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.


4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business

By incorporating your respite care business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.

The business structure you choose for your respite care business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.

Read our article comparing the most common respite care business structures.


5. Write a Respite Care Business Plan

All respite care business owners should develop a business plan. 

A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.

Read our article about how to write a respite care business plan.


6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses

There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your respite care business.

For example, if you will be operating a respite care center, you will need to obtain a license from your state’s Department of Health.

No matter what kind of respite services you offer, you will need to obtain a business license from your city or county.

You must also register your respite care business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.

Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.

Read our article about obtaining the proper respite care business licenses.


7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed

In developing your respite care business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.

If you have your own funds to invest in your respite care business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your respite care business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.

Read our article about the costs associated with starting a respite care business to help you determine if funding is needed. 

Read our article about how to fund your respite care business


8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently

When you start your respite care business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues. 

You may also want to invest in project management software to keep track of client cases and tasks that need to be completed. This is especially important if you have a team of employees or respite care providers working for you.


9. Market Your Respite Care Business to Potential Clients/Customers

Before you start selling your services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.

After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the respite care industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business. 

You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Respite care businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared: 

  • Develop marketing collateral such as an overview of your services, brochures, business cards, etc.
  • Start writing blog posts or articles about topics related to respite care to attract attention from potential clients who may need your services.
  • Attend relevant conferences and trade shows to network with others in the industry and get your name out there.
  • Launch a public relations campaign to get media attention for your respite care business.

Read our article about how to market your respite care business for more tips.


10. Get New Clients & Grow Your Business

When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential clients

Make sure you’re ready to serve these clients. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your respite care business.

Read our article about how to effectively grow your respite care business to learn more.


Starting a Respite Care Business FAQs

The aging population is one of the most important reasons to start a respite care business. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, there were 46.2 million people aged 65 and older in the United States in 2014, which is an increase of more than 15 percent since 2000.

This trend is expected to continue as the baby boomer generation ages. In fact, the Census Bureau projects that by 2060, there will be 98 million people aged 65 and older in the United States.

With such a large aging population, there will be an increased demand for respite care services. Respite care provides much-needed relief for family caregivers who are caring for elderly loved ones.

Here are some tips for starting a respite care business:

  1. Do your research.
  2. Develop a business plan.
  3. Choose the right business structure.
  4. Register your business and obtain the necessary licenses and permits.
  5. Create marketing materials.
  6. Develop a website.
  7. Use social media to promote your business.
  8. Attend trade shows and networking events.
  9. Get involved in your community.
  10. Grow your business.

A simple checklist to use when starting a respite care business is as follows:

  1. Choose Your Type of Respite Care Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
  2. Name Your Respite Care Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
  3. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
  4. Determine Your Respite Care Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
  5. Write a Respite Care Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
  6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
  7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
  8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
  9. Market Your Respite Care Business to Potential Clients: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need. 
  10. Get Clients & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services




Starting a respite care service can be a great way to help out your community and make a difference in the lives of others. By developing a business plan and applying for the necessary permits and licenses, you can set yourself up for success. With the right marketing strategy, technology tools, and client base, you can grow your respite care service into a thriving business.