July 15, 2012

NEMT Business Idea #2: Wheelchair Accessible Luxury Services

CASE STUDY - Alliance Limousine, Inc. of Los Angeles, California operates a fleet of luxury vehicles that includes limos, SUVs, vans, and wheelchair accessible vans. Their Mercedes-Benz accessible vans can accomodate a group of people with extra space for luggage, as well as the kind of luxuries you would expect with a first-class limo service such as climate control, leather seats, stereo with CD/satellite radio, reading lamps, bottled water, magazine/newspaper, and cellular phone. These are not the kinds of niceities that wheelchair users are used to seeing on ambulettes or paratransit buses, but there may be occasions when they wish there was just such a service available for graduations, weddings, funerals, or special events; the same reasons that anyone would consider a limo service. For a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) company looking to diversify, this could have some potential if you are located in a market large enough to support such a specialized service. One potential drawback to providing luxury services such as this is the investment involved. Vehicles like the one shown in the video are more expensive to own and operate than a regular ambulette. They could be leased, but weather buying or leasing; you have to consider if there will be the demand to keep the vehicle busy enough to pay for itself, although when it's not in use you could think of it as a back-up or spare vehicle to the regular fleet; to be used in case of break-downs. Just as NEMT services that are operated by ambulance companies tend to be perceived as more qualified and knowledgeable, so too could a NEMT company that provides luxury services be seen as providing a more personable and professional service than an ordinary ambulette company.  Even if you don't opt for a full accessible limo service, incorporating select luxury components into your regular fleet services would set you apart from competitors. This could include chauffeur-like uniforms for drivers and air-conditioned vehicles with a discreet paint job and logo. Branding your company image in this way could also attract accounts from companies requiring shuttle services, groups requiring excursion trips, and other private-pay non-medical transportation needs that fall outside your core NEMT client base.

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