Overview of the Medical Mobility Industry
The goal of the medical mobility/in-home accessibility industry is to give patients the means to continue living at home even when faced with mobility issues. Upwards of one-fourth of people living at home and over the age of 65 use mobility equipment of some kind, and 9 percent use more than one device. The need for in-home accessibility equipment is great, both for elderly persons as well as adults and young people with disabilities. The medical mobility industry provides equipment and services to help people with mobility needs to continue to live and thrive at home.
5 Challenges Facing the In-Home Accessibility Industry
1. Hesitancy Toward Change
As stated earlier, many of your clients will probably be older. Having to utilize mobility equipment in their home, though convenient, can be a choice many don’t want to make, despite the fact that having access to quality mobility aids can make an enormous impact on one’s quality of life. The medical mobility industry needs to do everything they can to show clients that having this equipment isn’t an admission of need or defeat but offers a more comfortable, full life.
2. Lack of Understanding of Client Base
The majority of in-home accessibility businesses are not owned by people with mobility needs. This can result in a severe lack of understanding of one’s client base. And when a client doesn’t feel understood—or worse, doesn’t feel respected—then they won’t shop with you.
3. Other Options for Mobility
Though the majority of elderly clients who would need or utilize mobility aids would prefer to live at home, many do not have that option or are not given that option. It is certainly easier, and in some cases feels safer, to move into a facility where a person with mobility needs, among other needs, can be properly cared for. This means that those persons aren’t taking advantage of in-home accessibility equipment, and the medical mobility industry isn’t serving more customers.
4. Lack of Funding
There is a severe lack of funding for patients who need in-home accessibility devices. When someone comes to your business looking for equipment and devices to provide a better quality of life for themselves or their loved ones, they are often limited by income or insurance requirements. Appealing denials and navigating policies are almost a universal given when trying to procure accessibility devices, and even then, getting the lifts or ramps needed isn’t a guarantee.
5. Insurance Confusion
If you own an in-home accessibility business, chances are that many of your customers will be elderly, and many older patrons have a difficult time navigating insurance policies and what those policies cover for in-home mobility equipment. You want to do everything in your power to make the purchase process relaxing and approachable. You might consider offering services that help with insurance confusion.
10 Strategies for Growing Your In-home Accessibility Business
1. Know the Problems Your Clients Face and the Specific Products They Need
One aspect of growing your in-home accessibility business is knowing how to sell to your specific client base. Consider the inventory you carry. Do you know what kind of patients needs your products and equipment? What diagnoses require the equipment and services you provide? When you know the conditions that require special equipment, you can do a better job of helping your customers find products that will most benefit them and give them a better quality of life.
2. Offer Packages
When you’re trying to grow your in-home accessibility business, one thing you’ll have to focus on is outshining the competition. What can you offer that others can’t? Offering packages is a great way to get more customers through your door. Chances are, if your customers need one accessibility device, they’ll need another. For example, if a person needs a stairlift, they might also be in the market for a lift chair. Offering package deals or discounts puts you ahead of your competition and conveys that you know the specific needs of your customers.
3. Support the Community You Serve
Seek ways to make your business more inclusive and supportive of the community you’re serving and selling to. Your company should tangibly support people with disabilities or mobility needs. This could be working with disability-owned suppliers, employing people of varying mobility abilities, offering consulting services to your local recreation center, attending community meetings or even presenting accessibility equipment benefits at community meetings with your client base in attendance.
4. Partner with Local Disability Organizations
Networking and serving with disability organizations in your community provides an opportunity to interact with the very people who will utilize your mobility products. By volunteering, donating, and partnering with local disability organizations, you go the extra mile in seeing your customers thrive, and your client base will notice.
5. Showcase Real Clients
Potential customers want to be able to see themselves—or their loved ones—in the products you offer. It’s important to showcase real clients and accessibility equipment users in your marketing campaign. Consider who is buying your ramps, lift chairs, etc., and use either your own clients or hire models who use these items on a regular basis. Your target demographic will take notice and appreciate that you are supporting people who need and use your equipment, and they’ll opt to choose you over area competitors.
6. Get Professional Consulting
If you want to know how to target a specific user in any industry, professional consulting is an excellent option, and the in-home accessibility/medical mobility industry is no different. A professional marketing consultant with a focus on reaching this specific community is a great investment for you to grow your business. They provide an outside perspective on ways you can be more inclusive and better meet the needs of your customers.
7. Provide In-House Consumer Financing
Consumer financing for medical mobility products makes sales faster and easier—both for your business and for your customer. If they don’t have to leave your store to cover the cost of their accessibility equipment, a customer is more likely to commit on the spot, giving them peace of mind and providing you with the ability to serve one more customer! Implementing consumer financing can help you grow your business by 32 percent.
8. Offer an Expanded Selection
If you want people to shop with you, you’ve got to give them what they want: a variety of quality accessibility equipment. Offering one or two types of stair lifts is not enough for you to outshine competing businesses and grow your own. Consider offering an expanded selection. This doesn’t mean you need to bring thousands and thousands of dollars worth of inventory into your store, but you could offer a larger catalog of equipment that you can order for your customers.
9. Put a Marketing Plan in Place
Customers coming to you for lifts, ramps, lift chairs, and the like, are going to continue needing accessibility equipment in the future. People often add additional ramps, lifts, or transfer devices to their homes as time passes, or as they realize how helpful these aids are in their everyday lives. Create an organized database of your customers and take the time to follow up with them to make sure their medical mobility and accessibility needs are met.
10. Provide Maintenance and Repair Services
In order to really grow your business, you want to offer as many goods and services as possible. By providing maintenance and repair expertise for the products you sell, you’ll give your customers another reason to choose you over another company that might offer the same equipment but without the friendly service. When you market yourself as a full-service business, you take care of your customers by saving them time, money, and hassle—and who doesn’t want that?