Moving the HME Industry Forward

Manufacturer/Provider

Medtrade 2014 – Home Modifications in the Spotlight

October 27, 2014

ATLANTA – “Seduce them with the grab bar.” It’s not a common phrase, but it set the tone for Bill Stelzer’s day two presentation at Medtrade, where providers heard numerous tips on how to capitalize on the cash business of home modification.

“If you can break even on grab bars, that is a great marketing tool,” explained Stelzer, owner of Bill Stelzer Consulting and Ahia. “In year two, there is not much return, but in years 3 to 5, there is an average of $2,800 per person. The grab bar is your introduction.”

Grateful families benefit from adaptive designs that allow them to remain in the home, while providers derive satisfaction by pleasing customers and avoiding Medicare headaches. Imagine getting accounts receivables down to 10 to 14 days. Stelzer insists its possible through incentives that encourage up-front payment.  

“We took 15% off for people who paid 100% up front to encourage cash flow,” explained Stelzer to a packed house at the Georgia World Congress Center. “Twenty-seven out of 29 took us up on the offer during one month.”

Stelzer insists that providers who change their mindset to a “consumer-driven” philosophy, based on cash/credit, can capitalize on the aging-in-place phenomenon and realize the massive potential of the baby boom generation. Advertising can also help, but it must be done in the right places.

“If you’re doing TV advertising, you want to be on where women watch,” stressed Stelzer. “I would advertise on local news that skewed toward 55-plus women. Pay less and advertise on morning and noon news. These are the cheapest time slots, because the more expensive advertising is targeting the 18 to 35 demographic.”  

Finally, there are some tricks of the trade that can maximize initial capital investments. For example, one $1,800 stair lift paid dividends for Stelzer for more than a decade. “Over an 11-year period, we bought that stair lift back [after the main user died], rented it, and sold it about 16 times,” he revealed. “We had $32,000 income from roughly an $1,800 expenditure.”