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How to Start a Residential Care Home

Transitional Season Appeals for a Realistic Solution

Imagine you’ve noticed your grandparent or parent having difficulty accomplishing regular personal tasks and self care practices. They’ve been doing well up until recently, and it’s become a concern for you. 

The love and respect you have for this individual feels indescribable, and their everyday needs are becoming your primary concern lately. It could be that a mental illness has been diagnosed, a physical ailment or illness has been diagnosed, or they’ve somehow just hit a wall and seem to be declining in stamina overall. 

Or, perhaps you’re just being proactive and want to have a plan in place for when your loved one reaches this point in their retirement years.

Their need for care is definitely obvious, but you don’t know where to turn. You wish you could accommodate them in your own home and care for them personally, yet it’s simply not a realistic option in your season of life. 

A nursing home is out of the question unless extreme medical attention becomes a necessity. Assisted living feels better, yet something about it still isn’t good enough. 

You care deeply about this person, and you want them to enjoy and thrive as much as possible in their golden years. You envision having to tell them they need to leave their beloved home and familiar routines, and all the change and unknowns brings heaviness to your heart.

If only there was a way you could be sure they were comfortable, cared for with sincerity, and their individuality would be honored and protected. Loving attention would be a constant, even when you weren’t able to visit in person. 

Their medical, nutritional, and active needs would be taken care of with detailed attention. Their interests and personality would be celebrated, their need for fresh air and fun activities provided for. Does such a dream answer exist?

Now, this may not be your personal story yet, but after reading that example and putting yourself into the situation, you can identify a bit with the high percentage of people who are experiencing these concerns and feelings every day — and the need is growing. 

How Residential Home Care Benefits Seniors

Let’s face it – assisted care for seniors is essential. As we age, our ability to care for ourselves gets more difficult. This can simply be due to a decrease in energy and dexterity, physical limitations and illness, or sometimes mental illness. 

For some individuals, the need for help is quite high, and the ability to manage one’s own ADL (activities of daily living) can quickly go from increasingly difficult to downright impossible. 

One of the worst experiences of getting older is losing independence in these areas. When one realizes they’ve lost the ability to perform some of these basic things, the potential of spiraling into depression is common. 

For most older seniors, it’s a time of loss and grief. This season of life, when their mental and physical functions slows down significantly, presents many fears. They face loss of freedom, pride, friends, home, opportunities, familiarity, and even identity. Their sadness includes grief over the loss of independence and privacy, and having to accept the humble state that aging brings us all eventually. 

Think of activities of daily living as those essential things you do on a day-to-day basis from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. These activities include:

  • Brushing your teeth
  • Combing your hair
  • Making a meal
  • Washing dishes
  • Using the bathroom
  • Bathing

There are many more activities that classify as ADL, but these give you a general idea of the basic needs that aging seniors require assistance with. And most often, the day-to-day care they require goes beyond what their loved ones can provide. 

Many families have the desire to provide and care for their aging parents or grandparents themselves, but end up realizing there comes a point when they cannot fulfill their own personal and family obligations AND provide the hour-by-hour service and assistance their loved one truly needs every single day. 

This is where residential home care facilities come in. Finding a RAL home for an aging family member is attractive to most people for several reasons. There are many benefits of residential assisted living homes, which we’ll uncover in depth here.

RAL is the Best Option for Seniors

When surveyed, many seniors commented that safety, security, and socialization are the most valued attributes they require in their golden years. With a cozy homelike atmosphere and friendly, attentive staff, residents of residential assisted living spaces have a much higher probability of finding these values continuing in their later years. 

Alternatively, these things are not as likely in a nursing home or even some assisted living facilities. It could be that it’s not as high of a priority for some of these big businesses, or it’s not a possibility due to the large building they use or lower quality of care simply due to the high amount of people to care for in less time. 

Presently, residential assisted living homes are succeeding in meeting this value proposition mentioned above (safety, security, and socialization). Imagine your loved one in an actual home with only a few other residents, receiving quality care for their individual needs on a regular basis. 

They benefit from more attention and more opportunity for continued growth and interaction with other people. Also, they experience deeper comfort and calm in the transition they have to make from complete independence to a higher level of personal assistance. It’s not an easy transition for most, yet when families observe them move from a personal or family home to a shared residential home, the fear is significantly less.

Residential Assisted Living homes offer a space for older individuals to keep some of their individuality and independence because there is a limit to how many residents are allowed to live in one home.

What Sets RAL Apart from the Other Assisted Living Options?

Nursing Homes Vs. Residential Assisted Living

You may be envisioning nursing homes as essentially the same thing as residential assisted living facilities, but there are some major differences.

Nursing homes are generally designed for seniors who require 24-hour medical supervision due to physical or mental conditions that leave them unable to care for themselves. 

Residential assisted living is a completely different option. In general, these homes do not provide the constant, serious medical attention that a nursing home provides, but they can offer basic medical assistance like monitoring of medications. 

Some RAL homes have a specific focus for residents with certain medical issues, such as Memory Care. It really depends on the type of home one is looking for and what is available in their area. 

The cost of nursing home living is typically covered by government assistance for low-income individuals, whereas residential assisted living home care costs are usually funded by private sources.

Residential Assisted Living homes offer a space for older individuals to keep some of their individuality and independence because there is a limit to how many residents are allowed to live in one home. This provides them with daily and nightly experiences in a more familiar setting — more like home, because it IS a home. 

This differs from nursing homes and traditional assisted living facilities because they typically take in a high number of residents. The amount of residents alone directly impacts the level of service and care to the individual. 

Opportunities for meaningful interaction and participation in engaging activities are greater in a RAL home due to the lower amount of shared space and more attention from caregivers and activity directors. 

Generally, medical needs are fairly low within a RAL home, whereas a nursing home takes in people that need extensive medical care. Although, some residential assisted living homes purposefully cater to specific care needs.

An overwhelming 95% of family members comment that the experience is positive within the RAL model. What does this mean? It means residential assisted living homes are outperforming other assisted living options in the industry. It also means these homes are the optimal choice for seniors in need of support. 

Most family members of seniors who are thriving in RAL homes are overjoyed that their loved one is happy. It’s an option that brings peace and comfort to both sides experiencing this major life transition. 

Retirement Home vs. RAL 

The term “retirement home” can mean a handful of different things to different people. A common description is that it’s a large facility (or individual apartments) with many residing singles or couples that have minimal medical needs and are content with experiencing their golden years within a community that offers custodial services, meals, transportation, and social opportunities. Some might call it an assisted living community. These are an option for older adults who are mostly independent, but require some basic assistance with day-to-day living. 

Because of the varying economic circumstances of elders, some have to live in subsidized senior housing supported by the government, while others can choose active assisted living environments. Why would someone consider the positive option of a residential assisted living home? 

If a senior does not want to live in a big-box facility, RAL homes are the best alternative. A comfortable home environment can be found within an RAL home, and they are usually able to provide a greater level of care than a large assisted living facility due to a lower staff-to-resident ratio. 

Because of this, RAL homes enable staff to help manage residents’ medication and their other activities of daily living. In residential assisted living homes, the senior residents are more than just a number. They are known personally by their caregivers and staff. 

Medical assistance can be given as effectively and efficiently as a traditional assisted living home, but with even more personalization and time. It doesn’t have to be hurried or forced. It’s not just a job to people who truly love their role as caregiver

Experienced, gentle professionals can be found and hired to insure the best personal and medical assistance for each individual senior taken in as a resident. Plus, quality caregivers seek out such job opportunities because they are able to do what they enjoy in an environment that is positive, and does what is best for both residents and employees. 

Advantages of Residential Assisted Living

  • Optional private rooms or roommates are available in RAL homes.
  • RAL homes have lower staff-to-resident ratios than nursing homes or large assisted living facilities, which enables caregivers to offer more individualized care and service.
  • Fixed cost per month in most RAL homes is preferable to the added unexpected costs for every additional service offered, such as the case with many big-box nursing homes.
  • Seniors love the family-oriented lifestyle of residential assisted living. It feels like home.
  • RAL homes are smaller, so the distance required to move around the home is much less, unlike larger facilities that require a lot of motility.
  • Each RAL home is different and offers unique experiences.

Consider these other imperative reasons why seniors and their loved ones prefer RAL homes over big-box rest homes and assisted living facilities: 

1.     Better safety and security

In appropriately modified RAL homes, senior residents benefit from secure entrances and exits, accessible bathrooms, and medical alert systems. Additionally, RAL residents have help readily available if they need it.

2.     Delicious and nutritious meals

This is a health need that is often lacking when seniors live alone. And eating alone every meal is saddening for most. In most RAL homes, mealtime is a vibrant social experience, usually prepared by a chef and can be catered to individual dietary needs. 

3.     Less worry

Residential assisted living offers people a chance to enjoy the comforts of a residential home lifestyle, but without the stress of daily housekeeping, laundry, and common necessary repairs. Most RAL communities also offer transportation services for elders to experience more freedom in a safe way.

4.     Opportunities to try new things

An empowering way to provide seniors with independence is to create opportunities for them to try and learn new things such as art & craft classes, fitness clubs, social events, and off-site trips. There is no reason for any individual in such a home to be bored; it doesn’t take much for them to experience the benefits of  maintaining optimal mental and social health.

5.    Close friendships

Developing meaningful friendships with other residents and staff that are in close proximity is a major plus to RAL homes as opposed to large numbers of seniors constantly coming and going from larger, traditional assisted living facilities. 

You can also read about common misconceptions associated with assisted living.

It may be that you’re interested in investing where you’re not only able to grow your wealth, but add tremendous value to other’s lives and make a difference. The RAL model is perfect for that as well!

Why should you choose the RAL model?

RAL is the Best Option for Investors

There are many investing options out there. As you start to think through your personal retirement and what it looks like to set up a lasting legacy, it would be wise to evaluate what your priorities are. 

Perhaps you’re looking for something simple and rewarding – a more hands-off approach to building wealth. There is opportunity for that within the Residential Assisted Living model.

Maybe you’re looking for something more meaningful than typical investment opportunities – something that has an impact and adds value to your life and the lives of those you love. 

It may be that you’re interested in investing where you’re not only able to grow your wealth, but add tremendous value to other’s lives and make a difference. The RAL model is perfect for that as well!

Either way you choose, the RAL business opportunity is an impact investment that not only builds wealth, but benefits and adds value to others at the same time.

RAL is a great opportunity for investors because the authentic need is current, and it will only increase as time goes by because of the high number of people that will be hitting their retirement years in the next couple of decades. 

Specifically, the Baby Boomers generation! We call it the Silver Tsunami because it is inevitable and it will be massive. All of these seniors and their families will be looking for quality living options.

RAL is the Best Option in Real Estate

Those who are interested in a more hands-off approach to creating a profitable business by owning a RAL facility can clearly see that the opportunity has high capacity to deliver, it’s not just a dream. Investing in an RAL home is one of the newest possibilities in our country that presents high potential for success and expansion. 

The opportunity for investing in a residential assisted living facility is so great because the need is on a path of continued growth. This paints a picture for what your future could look like in regards to income and is unlike any other real estate investment opportunity

For example, big-box nursing homes or assisted living facilities have a lot of money to spend, and they’re only looking to make a 5% return on their investment. If you are looking at assisted living as an investment, that’s way too low of a return, which is why you’d be wise to pursue assisted living from the residential angle. 

With residential assisted living homes, you can start investing with just $100,000, you can even do it with someone else’s money, which is something we’ll teach you through the Residential Assisted Living Academy. The fact is, there are a few different ways you can get involved, depending on the level of participation you want to have in the business. 

There are many different real estate opportunities for investors to consider, such as the list below. Here’s a very brief overview of how Residential Assisted Living real estate compares with the other options.

  • RAL vs. Single-Family Rental: RAL’s typically have a five-year lease, whereas single-family rentals sign shorter lease commitments. So with a RAL business, you have good potential for higher income for a longer period of time.
  • RAL vs. Fix & Flips: Fix & Flips are not considered long-term investments. The RAL opportunity provides long-term, lower risk income, and at the same time, offers a solution to a substantial need for a growing demographic.
  • RAL vs. Multi-Family Homes: Rental rates are much lower than residential assisted living homes, but purchasing prices for multi-family structures are much higher. Also, multi-family buildings are harder to find due to high competition and reduced capitalization rates.
  • RAL vs. Wholesale: In real estate wholesaling, a wholesaler contracts a home with a seller, then finds an interested party to buy it. The wholesaler contracts the home with a buyer at a higher price than with the seller, and keeps the difference as profit. With wholesale, it’s a one-and-done type deal, and there is no long-term investment or steady income generated. There’s higher risk involved due to the fluctuating market, and the time it takes to find the right property and clients. 
  • RAL vs. Vacation Rentals: These owners are faced with trying to offset slow seasons with lowered rates and strategic marketing tactics, plus having to consider the risk of possibly hosting high-impact tenants that damage the property.
  • RAL vs. Mobile Homes: This choice usually presents lower-income markets, which means the return is lower. You’re also restricted to location, which limits your ability to grow your investment. 
  • RAL vs. Storage: Storage unit businesses bring in much lower profits compared to residential assisted living, and they require a demand which can fluctuate from geographical area and season. 

If you would like more details on how Residential Assisted Living stacks up against the other real estate investing options listed here, we invite you to read this article about investment plans.

Getting Started in RAL: What You Need to Know

Now that we’ve explored the need, benefits, comparisons, and advantages of the RAL opportunity, let’s unpack the fundamentals of how to start your own. Roll up your sleeves and keep your mind open to the possibilities! You’re on the right track.

Investors want to see a clear vision, and a business plan proves it. A well thought-out, solid business plan allows you to communicate that vision so that others will ultimately buy into you.

Develop a Business Plan 

A business plan is necessary to ensure business success and to secure funding for your business. It provides a roadmap and helps determine two things: where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. 

The business plan explains the layout of your assisted living home, as well as how many people you plan to occupy. The plan should be as specific as possible, outlining emergency procedures, state and federal funding, and grants. 

It also demonstrates to others – primarily investors – that you know what you’re doing and you know what you’re talking about.

The Top Two Reasons You Need a Business Plan:

#1) Clarity of vision

To formulate your vision clearly, identify these four elements:

  • What it is
  • Who you are
  • What you’re doing
  • Where you’re going

Obtaining clarity of vision will communicate that you understand where it is you’re starting, where you’re going to break even, where and when you’ll become profitable, what your reserve is, and all the details that support these elements.

#2) Raising Capital

Investors want to see a clear vision, and a business plan proves it. A well thought-out, solid business plan allows you to communicate that vision so that others will ultimately buy into you.

Without a business plan…

  • No bank is going to give you a loan
  • No private investor or lender is going to give you money
  • People are not going to take you or your business seriously
  • Investors will believe that you have unclear ideas about what it is you’re doing and where you want to go with it

A business plan shows that you are serious about doing the real work of owning and executing a successful business – it allows you to level up, and separates you from those who are thinking about starting a business. 

To see Gene’s short video about the importance of a business plan, visit this link.

Now that you know the top two reasons for why you need a business plan, let’s break down the essential components of a successful business plan!

The Essentials of a Successful Business Plan and How to Apply it to a RAL Facility

Here, we’ll briefly list the 5 P’s of a successful business plan. For more in-depth information on developing a business plan, visit this article.

1: People — Identify the People Directly Involved with the Business

In any industry – especially in residential assisted living – it’s all about the people who are involved. 

Investors will want to know about the people who are involved in this business. Experience and knowledge is what prospective buyers or lenders are going to be looking for. So it’s important to surround yourself with others who have done this before, or something like it. 

Build a smart team that not only compliments your strengths, but can offer obvious and applicable experience to your business and balances out what you may be lacking in experience. 

2: Product — Spell Out What Your Product Is

What is it that you do? It may seem self-explanatory, but it’s really crucial that you spell this out clearly in your business plan. It’s important that you go into a great amount of detail here.

This is your chance to show that you know what you’re doing and you have a plan for your product or service.

The RAL opportunity is a truly intricate one. and we’ve developed a helpful webinar to give you access to the ins and outs of the business and what you need to know to get started. Click here to access this resource and discover more about the proven RAL formula. 

3: Position — What Is Your Position In the Market

Are you wanting to be on the high end (think Nordstrom) or the low end (think Dollar Store)? Expand on your vision of place in this section.

Your goal is to be in the sweet spot – somewhere just above the middle. Claim your position and be clear about where you want to be so you can communicate a clear vision of your target audience.

Check out this video to hear what Gene Guarino, founder of RAL Academy, has to say about “position” and the other P’s needed to formulate a successful business plan.

4: Projections — Show Profitability Through the Numbers

Projections can look different depending on where you’re starting. Are you buying an existing business or starting from scratch? 

Most potential investors or lenders will want to take a close look at your future projections, so it’s important to be conservative. 

Investors need and want to know their money is safe, there is a purpose, that you know what you’re doing, and you’ve surrounded yourself with the right people. 

5: Plan for Your Exit — Help Investors See When They Will Get Out of the Deal

Lenders who are investing their dollars to support any business want to know what the exit strategy is – they need to know when and how they will get their money back. A two- to five-year exit plan is what we recommend.

When you start applying the above principles to your RAL business plan, you’ll be taking solid steps toward success in this industry. 

Likewise, it’s important to have systems in place. When you run a business, you typically have standard operating procedures (SOPs). In Residential Assisted Living, the SOPs are commonly known as “policies and procedures.” It covers everything from welcoming a resident into the home, medication management, menus, scheduling caregivers, record keeping, and everything in between.

All of those policies and procedures are clearly laid out and are the guide for a home to run smoothly day in and day out. It is the “if this… then that” formula. For example, IF there’s a storm that causes the house to be uninhabitable, THEN this is the system in place to move the residents to another home. 

What happens if the electricity goes out and the food in the refrigerator goes bad? Is there backup food and water? The policies and procedures are the systems that you need to have in place to operate your business.

Through the RAL Academy, we offer a variety of training courses to further break down the steps for developing a business plan and get you started on the right track for starting your very own residential assisted living facility.

We highly recommend starting with the RAL Accelerator Certified Home Study Course, which you can take online in the comfort of your own home. You can learn more and sign up here

Cost to Get Started

There are several things to consider when getting your RAL business going. Cost is a big factor that most people are curious about when looking into the opportunity. 

A lot of people think they have to use their own money to invest. This is simply not true! We show our students how to run a Residential Assisted Living business with their own money OR with other people’s money. 

When it comes down to it, borrowing from a bank is borrowing other people’s money. When you bring in outside lenders, investors, or private individuals, those are all options utilizing other people’s money. 

A lot of times people will think, I have to have skin in the game, assuming they must have their own money involved. That’s not how we think about it. If you’re putting in the time and effort, you have the plan, and you’re willing to do the work, you’re putting a lot of skin in the game! 

Others have the money and are looking for something or somebody to invest in. That can be you! But you need to know what you’re doing. That’s where education comes into play.

Even with the best of intentions to care for the elderly, successful businesses require more than a huge heart. These assisted living homes are expensive to run, have a lot of liability, and require marketing strategies to survive amid competition.

Because costs for the following things vary from state to state, we can provide guidance on what you’ll need to look into, but don’t have current specific costs for each line item. Within our training courses and events, you can obtain much more specific information about how to find investors and start your to-do list.

Here are the things you can look into regarding steps and costs:

  1. Establish a business with the state
  2. Obtain insurance policies
    1. General liability insurance
    2. Business property insurance
    3. Workers’ compensation insurance
    4. Professional liability insurance
  3. Get a license
  4. Become familiar with local laws
  5. Convert your home (remodeling expenses)
  6. Lease arrangements
  7. Expect oversight and inspections
  8. Equipment and food
  9. Marketing
  10. Budget for labor costs and staffing

If you’re still asking, “How do I get started?” The simple answer is really centered on location, location, location. 


Location is critical in the assisted living industry. Even if you already own the property, that doesn’t mean it will lead to success. 

The relationship between the business and the location is all about finding the sweet spot. It’s above the middle, but not at the very top. This means you are designing your business plan to accommodate residents who are able to pay $4,000 – $8,000 a month. As a result, the location of your RAL home can make or break your business. 

Location is also an important component for hiring and retaining quality employees. Depending on what part of the country and the community that your home is in, the sweet spot can go up or down. As a business focused on private pay, clients in certain areas can afford the expense. 

Not every senior that needs assisted living is able to pay for their own care, but a lot of people do – especially in the right communities. Remember, this is another reason why location is a critical component. The blueprint focuses on private pay clients, as opposed to those who are government assisted. 

Our Academy founder, Gene Guarino, started by creating a Five-Level System. It categorizes homes into tiers at different price points. Level five consists of the nicest homes in wealthier areas. Level one homes are in lower income neighborhoods, located in less safe areas – places you probably wouldn’t feel comfortable having your mom or dad live. We advise against starting level one homes. In fact, Guarino strongly encourages students to focus on level three and four homes. This level he calls “the sweet spot.”

If you’re unsure how to start or would like more specific information on the costs involved, we recommend checking out our various training and event offerings. There are in-person and online options with different time commitments; our RAL National Convention is coming up in October. 

Consider what your learning style is and what you’re willing to put into this venture – then take the plunge!

View the different options by visiting our web pages below:

If there is a medical procedure to be performed, it is the job of the LNA to notify and assist a Registered Nurse to get that done.

Finding the Right Caregivers & Staff

An essential part of setting up your RAL home is putting together the best team to run it. Your staff is the face of your business. They are the front-door representatives of your residential assisted living home, not only to the residents and their families, but to the surrounding community. 

Do everything you can to aid their development so they’re more likely to remain loyal to your cause and you’ll be able to depend on them for years to come. Preventing high staff turnover is the key to maintaining continuity, trust, and steady profit in your RAL venture.

You may be thinking that you and your family can run it, but that’s honestly not reality. Even if you’re interested in the very hands-on option, you’ll still need a team to assist in the day-to-day operations of the business and care of the residents. 

Before we get into the specifics of recruiting and hiring employees, it’s imperative that you’re familiar with the kind of help you need for your home. There are different ways that people have run assisted living facilities in the United States. From the hospital-like big-box facilities to the small mom-and-pop style homes, there are various models that have shown to be effective (some more so than others!). 

To help you get familiar with the types of care workers, take a look at the following roles that are found in assisted living facilities across the country. Although you may not be interested in some of the types listed, it’s beneficial to know about the variety of options available. Among this spectrum of care workers, you will undoubtedly identify the ones that suit the needs of your RAL facility best.

Possible Care Worker Types on Your Payroll

  1. Personal Care Assistants (PCAs)

PCAs are not usually certified and can have varied levels of experience. It’s dependent on the years they’ve spent in the industry before coming to work for you. The job description of a PCA usually includes holding conversations with patients, providing companionship, and assisting them on a walk around the home or outside.

They can also help with chores and things such as general hygiene (bathing, using the toilet, etc.), transportation to appointments, helping them shop, and more. 

  1. Home Health Aides (HHAs)

HHAs have to be trained and certified before they can gain employment in this role. Their job description requires assisting with activities of daily living (ADL) such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom. HHAs are also trained to monitor the patient’s vitals and observe their conditions to ensure they are kept in the best of health.

  1. Licensed or Certified Nursing Assistants (LNAs or CNAs)

The certification level of a Licensed or Certified Nursing Assistant is much higher, and that allows them a higher level of responsibility. The personal care provided by CNAs is vital to the welfare of residents of assisted living housing. 

Yes, CNAs help with ADL that can include bathing, toileting, dressing, and mobility. But they are also tasked with the critical role of monitoring the patient’s vitals. They’re trained to watch for health changes and report concerns that could compromise patient safety and welfare. They are experienced in setting up medical equipment, changing dressings, taking care of infections, and offering more intensive care to the patient.

If there is a medical procedure to be performed, it is the job of the LNA to notify and assist a Registered Nurse to get that done.

  1. Skilled Nursing Providers (SNPs)

Like the previous category, SNPs must meet the federal standard for health and safety, then be licensed by the state they’re working in. After training and education, they can offer direct medical care that cannot be provided by any of the professionals listed previously. 

They’re equipped to administer drugs and shots, change wound dressings, care for diabetes patients, provide education for the caregiver and patient, as well as other medically intensive tasks. Some have added skills to buffer their trade such as occupational, physical, and/ or speech therapy.

  1. Registered Nurses (RNs)

RNs don’t often find themselves in assisted living facilities, but depending on the scope of the facility, they can be employed in senior care and deserve to be mentioned as well. These professionals hold a diploma or degree that allows them practice in the medical field. They have passed all the exams and licensing requirements for the board of nursing in the state they wish to practice.

Their job involves providing direct medical care when they can or assisting doctors in more advanced procedures. They also offer guidance to family members in addition to operating intricate medical equipment and administering regulatory level medications. 

A Superior Care Facility & Owner

Having knowledge of the education, training, and experience required of these various service professionals will show greater confidence and proficiency to prospective employees as you sit down to interview with them. 

Although you may not hire all of them as regular employees in your business, you may hire them occasionally as independent contractors to meet with or educate your residents and their families on specific health topics. This would only serve to boost your marketability as a superior care facility to your surrounding community.

The first step is to determine what type of housing and assistance level you want to provide. The beauty of a RAL business is that as an independent owner and operator, you get to determine what types of residents you’d like to market to and the level of care for which you want to hire staff. 

Just because there are seniors in your community who may require advanced levels of assistance, doesn’t mean you need to cater to that level of clientele.

Look for Experience

Generally, you’ll want to seek care staff who have spent at least a few years in the assisted living industry. On the other hand, if your RAL business is relatively new or funds are limited, you might not want to seek care staff with decades of experience because these employees will likely cost significantly more than similarly qualified individuals with only a few years of work history. 

Some states have very little regulation over the qualifications and certifications care staff must possess. In these cases, if you have the desire to start from the ground up and are willing to be patient and pay for new employees to be fully trained, that is also an option to consider. 

There are numerous organizations online that educate care staff. It’s a matter of resources and time to develop a team that provides care that meets the standards you desire.

Check out more detailed information on finding staff for your RAL home in our blog article.

Types of Employees in Assisted Living Homes



  • Oversees day-to-day operations
  • Interacts with residents and their families
  • Maintains standards you’ve set as the owner
  • Provides vision and direction to staff & caregivers
  • Gives tours
  • Develops relationships with prospective residents & their families
  • Fosters a comfortable relationship between residents and caregivers
  • Keeps records, keeps stock of supplies, contracts maintenance and other services
  • Sometimes organizes group activities & volunteers
  • Sometimes finds, interviews, hires, evaluates, and fires staff
  • Sometimes responsible for marketing & finding new residents


  • In control, able to follow & implement systems in place
  • Genuinely kind
  • Fair, but firm
  • Natural interpersonal skills
  • Experience in human resources
  • People person
  • Detail oriented

For more information on how to know if the person you hired is the right fit for your business, visit our article about finding the right manager.



We have already gone over the responsibilities of caregivers above. Caregivers are the heart and soul of a quality residential assisted living home. You want your RAL home to be known as a place that employs the best caregivers who provide superior care to your residents. 

Regardless of your state’s training requirements, you want to make sure they are the right person for you personally and your business, that they treat each resident with genuine respect, that they look for positive solutions when challenges arise, and that how they work with and take direction from the manager is healthy.


  • Natural compassion & patience
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Dedication to residents’ health & safety
  • Flexible within an unpredictable environment
  • Have the correct training
  • Healthy mindset

Independent Contractors

Occasionally outside help will be necessary for things like maintenance or a specific service. You want contractors with a kind demeanor who understand the impact and importance of what your RAL home does. 

No matter the job – whether dealing with your residents or staff, or coming into your home to make some repairs – you’ll want to find professionals who do it with respect, high quality, and the best attitude possible. 

Housekeeping Staff

The housekeeping staff cleans rooms and hallways, keeps the facility free of food and debris to avoid attracting rodents and insects, and ensures that floors and walkways are safe and dry. In a large percentage of RAL homes, the caregivers share many of the housekeeping duties. 

If you have the financial capability to hire an individual or a team to tackle all of the housekeeping duties so your caregivers can focus more of their time and expertise on your residents, that is always beneficial. 

Keeping the home in good shape and of utmost cleanliness is vital for ensuring the health of your residents and preventing the spread of infections.

The advantage of working with a reputable home care employment agency is that they’ve screened each person in their database. They may also provide worker training and occasional on-the-job supervision.

How to Find and Hire the Right People

Home Care Employment Agencies

These agencies give referrals to people seeking home care nurses and health aides. Clients may contact, hire, and pay caregivers directly. The advantage of working with a reputable home care employment agency is that they’ve screened each person in their database. They may also provide worker training and occasional on-the-job supervision. 

Some great questions to ask regarding the agencies you’re looking into include:

  • Is the agency Medicare certified? 
  • Is the agency licensed by the state? 
  • Does the agency carry insurance? 
  • What services are available?
  • How are the caregivers trained?
  • How thorough are the agency’s background checks?
  • How many caregivers are assigned to each client?
  • If the senior is unhappy with a caregiver, can another worker take the shift?
  • How are caregivers managed?

Advertise and Leverage Your Connections

Use all the platforms at your disposal to get the word out: social media, job websites, your personal website, and your network of caregivers, if applicable. The more you can do to get your brand out there, the better off you will be when it comes to finding and retaining the right staff.

Quality caregivers know their worth, so throw in descriptions of the benefits you offer such as:

  • Great pay
  • Flexible working hours
  • Optimum working conditions
  • Possible health benefits
  • Potential training certification to advance their career
  • Possible bonus programs, etc.

Look Outside the Industry

We want competent and capable staff who have the training and certification to be able to do their job with excellence right out of the gate. But some of your best and most loyal employees might be people outside of the industry — people who are caring, eager, and ready to learn. 

In these cases, it is advised to partner with training organizations in your local area to help assist these relatively inexperienced new hires to get the training certification they need. If you are willing to invest in people, they will be much more willing to invest in your mission and vision, and they will probably end up remaining with you a lot longer.

The individuals directly providing care and services in your assisted living home are the most important link to your overall success. In this article, we highlight the key steps to finding, interviewing, hiring, developing, and evaluating qualified employees for your residential assisted living business in much more depth. Check it out for more specifics!

In the RAL Academy training course, we break down the best ways to find and hire the right staff for your RAL facility. The quality of the caregivers will be critical to your success.

There is a precise skill set that you need to learn in order to identify, hire, train, grow, and retain caregivers that your residents will love and you’ll come to consider indispensable. 

This skill set is exactly what we teach during our training courses. The RAL National Association also has resources that will help you process these issues. These resources are equipping residential assisted living owners to build stable teams nationwide.

Getting the Right Education

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the operational details required in the day-to-day business. Learn the ups and downs so that you will know what to expect and how to prepare yourself. 

Gaining experience in the assisted living industry will certainly prove helpful to newcomers. Learn from somebody who is actually doing what you are trying to do, not from people that just talk about it. Learn from other people’s challenges, successes, and failures. 

We have another blog article about investing in yourself that unpacks helpful points about educational necessities, developing goals, and learning from mentors.

We all need experience, so we’ve got to put ourselves out there and try. That is the key: taking a step, doing something. Experience is the result of taking action. Whether it’s good or bad – lesson learned or lesson ignored – the result is experience. You’ve got to start somewhere. 

Wouldn’t it be easier to start your business by following in the footsteps of someone who has done it before? 

You may be thinking that you’ll save yourself money in the short term by trying to figure it out on your own. But saving yourself time in the form of weeks or months or years will be much more valuable than the small amount of money you may save in the short term. 

Learning from somebody who’s done it before and is willing to show you how to do it before you dive in headfirst without a clue where to start can save you from having to experience setbacks that could have been avoided. It is always best to learn from other people’s experience whenever possible.

This is exactly why the RAL Academy exists! It gives you the chance to save time and avoid most of the ups and downs of trial and error. 

We’ve developed the Assisted Living Business Accelerator Online class that will break it all down and equip you to go further in your RAL business. 

Through the Assisted Living Business Accelerator online class you’ll learn:

  • How to find the best opportunities for RALs in any area
  • How to determine if your own property is right for a RAL
  • How to attract investors and partners
  • How to find the right team to make your life easy
  • How to fill your RAL with the highest paying clients
  • How to do it with or without your own money
  • The FAST TRACK to your first RAL in 3-6 months from TODAY
  • How to do one deal and be set for life

You may be looking at this list and thinking, Wow, that’s a lot of information! And you’d be right! But this information is crucial to owning and operating a successful RAL business and these are the building blocks you need to prepare for a lucrative and lasting future in this industry.

Which course should I take?

When selecting a training, it can be easier if you consider how you learn best. Some learners do best in the classroom amongst others while some would rather go step-by-step through videos and learn at their own pace. Either choice will result in you finding the knowledge required for success in residential assisted living.

Follow this link to view all the training options we offer, and commit to get started today!

The new book, Blueprint – get your free copy!

A simple, compact way to gain guidance on how to start your own RAL business is to get Gene Guarino’s new book, Blueprint. It can save time, effort, and money as you embark on the journey to financial freedom through the residential assisted living business opportunity. 

Within his Assisted Living Family of companies, the RAL Academy is the nation’s premier resource for education needed to start, own, or operate RAL homes. With over 40 years of business experience, Gene has trained thousands of people across the country about how to turn single-family homes into financial freedom.

Be sure to grab Gene’s Blueprint today and learn the steps you need to take to own and operate a RAL business.

To help you dive further into some of the people involved in a residential assisted living facility, you may find these articles helpful.

Events concerning the 2020 pandemic have proven that quality care in senior living is more important than ever.

RAL is the Real Estate Business You Want to Be In

As you seriously consider jumping into the Residential Assisted Living model, take to heart that it’s not just about growing wealth or strengthening your investment – RAL is about helping people. 

The “Do Good, Do Well” Model

Events concerning the 2020 pandemic have proven that quality care in senior living is more important than ever. Although residential assisted living is an incredible business opportunity, the motivation for most is not solely to build wealth. 

It is essential that our senior care infrastructure for the aging population transitions into this better model over the next 20 years. This transition includes more seniors opting for smaller residential assisted living homes. As a result, RAL homes are in high demand. As a future RAL business owner or operator, it is important to approach this assisted living business model with an open mind and focused perspective that isn’t all about building wealth. 

Residential Assisted Living isn’t about getting rich off old people. Yes, it’s about investing your time, energy, and money into something that will grow your family’s financial security for generations to come. But it’s also a deeply meaningful opportunity to pour yourself into a mission that has lasting impact for the individuals and families that will take part in your purposeful venture. It’s about putting yourself in the shoes of those who need what you have to offer through your vision.

Four Points to Ponder Before Focusing on Finances

  1. RAL is about caring
  2. Advantages of RAL over big-box or nursing homes are many
  3. Seniors love residential assisted living
  4. Quality care is an opportunity to take care of seniors in your area

On one hand, it requires much more than a big heart to take on an RAL business. There is much to take very seriously regarding financial commitment and management details. On the other, it takes a wider, deeper perspective than money alone to run a successful senior care home… because if your heart isn’t in it personally, people will notice.

Just like the very beginning of this article, it takes a special kind of person to choose empathy for the thousands of families in need of authentic care right now for their aging loved ones, and envision the reality of what your own RAL home could do for many over the next few decades.

The Need for Senior Care: Consider the Facts

By now you’re aware of the huge financial benefits offered through the residential assisted living business, but have you considered the tremendous opportunity this business holds for you to do good by providing a better housing solution for others?

The growing need for assisted living is here to stay. We can’t slow down the need, therefore, it’s an opportunity that’s not going away. We call it the Silver Tsunami of Seniors. The business is good right now and it’s just getting better as Baby Boomers age and live longer than ever before.

Take a closer look at these statistics:

  • There are 78 million Baby Boomers in the US
  • 10,000 people a DAY are turning 65 years old
  • 4,000 people a DAY are turning 85 years old
  • 90% of seniors would rather stay in their own home
  • 70% will need daily care for an average of 3.5 years

It’s an obvious need that just keeps getting bigger. The Baby Boomer demographic is an opportunity to leverage the increased necessity and true desire for accessible housing.

Senior housing and assisted living are the gateway to you being able to turn a single family home into a cash flowing machine. 

But what makes this opportunity so valuable? You have the chance to not only secure your family’s financial legacy, but to become involved in a cause that means something valuable – to participate in impact investing. 

Dr. Bill H. Thomas, an accomplished author and geriatrician, shared these poignant thoughts about seniors in the near future:

  • 78 million people constitute the Baby Boomer generation. They will change senior living as they have in all other areas of American life.
  • What is considered to be the “silver years” will be radically changed by Baby Boomers. This change will affect the way in which coming generations embrace the aging process.
  • The idea of respecting your elders will not be considered a kind gesture. The new elders want to be a part of the community, not statues on a porch waiting for visitors.
  • The values of intergenerational interdependence must be understood. Baby Boomers will be a significant part of their family and community.
  • The culture of America will once again change because Baby Boomers will create another “boom” with the way in which they engage their communities.

This short list of summarized ideas from Dr. Thomas is rather revolutionary! (Dr. Thomas spoke at our RAL National Convention in 2019. Be sure to save your seats for the 2020 RAL NAT CON now by clicking here!)

There is a “boom” coming, and entrepreneurs in the residential assisted living business are poised to be key players in absorbing and caring for Boomers.

To read more, visit our ‘Eldertopia’ article


So, you’ve probably been wondering, “How much money can you make owning an assisted living facility?”

Investors like you are looking for an excellent return on their investment, or high ROI. Owning an RAL home has a high ROI, which is why so many are drawn to the opportunity. 

Right now in the United States, an average assisted living home costs $3,600 per month for each individual. So if you have a home that’s licensed for 10 individuals, the potential gross income is $36,000 per month. Of course there are expenses you’ll need to take into consideration – food, utilities, rent, licensing, caregivers, manager, and more. 

On average, typical expenses are roughly $21,000 per month – and that’s when the home is full and operating at capacity. The last piece to add to the equation is the debt service or rent. Even if you have $5,000 marked as rent for this property, you’re still generating $10,000 in monthly revenue. Also, consider that these numbers are based on an average home. 

Operating a larger, above-average home with more rooms at a higher rate per bed can yield even higher returns.

So your profitability will depend on the level of involvement you prefer to have in your RAL venture. Monthly costs will vary depending on whether you’re acting as the manager or just an owner of the business. 

Three ways to invest in RAL:

  1. Own the real estate but lease it to an operator.
  2. Own the real estate AND operate the business.
  3. Become a private lender or a joint venture partner.

We’ve compiled a more detailed article on these investment points – you can read it in its entirety by going to this link

You can also learn about passive real estate investing by listening to Gene on this podcast.

Build Financial Legacy & Set Up Future Care for Yourself and Loved Ones

Time to imagine again.

When it’s your own parent’s turn to need elder care, where will you turn? It’s often difficult for grown children to make decisions about how to care for their aging parents and what types of homes to consider for their everyday needs.

What about your very own future? What kind of care would you like to receive as an aging senior?

Consider this: Starting and formulating a specific culture in your very own RAL care home means it looks, feels, and is managed how YOU would want to be cared for. The business could easily be passed down to your own children, nieces & nephews, or grandchildren to take over and run when you reach your elder years. One of the homes you started could turn out to be the perfect fit for yourself in the future! Now, doesn’t that make you feel a lot more comfortable?

It’s real. So many entrepreneurs have already gone through our training, attended our events, and taken our advice. It’s your turn to recognize the opportunity to believe it’s possible. Will you make the dream a reality for yourself, your family, or other families seeking quality care? Perhaps it’s your turn to move from dreaming to tangible steps.

Many families facing the reality of necessary care for their elders are choosing residential assisted living options because of the many benefits we’ve reviewed in this article, like smaller number of occupants, better resident-to-caregiver ratio, and more personalized care.

No Better Time Than the Present

Many families facing the reality of necessary care for their elders are choosing residential assisted living options because of the many benefits we’ve reviewed in this article, like smaller number of occupants, better resident-to-caregiver ratio, and more personalized care. It’s clear: RAL is the best option for post-retirement living. 

Opening your own RAL facility is the perfect pathway to do something that matters, all while watching your financial security grow and your legacy built. We’re sure that if you choose to become involved, you’ll gain the tools needed to dive in with assurance of knowledge and confidence as a Residential Assisted Living business owner. 

Don’t do it alone. The perfect setup for learning the perfect opportunity is before you, right now. Start today with one of our courses and make plans to attend one of our events. 

We trust that by taking the tips and advice shared here, plus the training options offered at, you’ll move forward with pursuing your interest in business and passion for service. 

There’s never been a better time to get involved!

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