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roadside assistance for wheelchairs?

November 20, 2009

An acquaintance of mine is wheelchair-bound. He uses a power chair to get around, and has adapted his vehicle such that he’s independently mobile. A few months back he posted a quick tale on his blog about how he was out by himself and got his chair hung up on the ramp of his vehicle. He had to violently rock back and forth to get off, which did the trick, but could have just as easily found him lying down in the mud. This got me thinking – would a roadside assistance-type service for wheelchair users be a viable business?

Full disclosure here, I have NO data on the number of wheelchair users in Canada – or anywhere else, for that matter. Until such a number can be quantified there is no hope of determining whether this could be a viable business or not. Regardless, I thought it an interesting idea, so I’m putting it out there to share. You want to have a go at making this a business? You have my blessing.

So the idea is to provide assistance to a wheelchair user on-demand. At first glance, this sounds pretty impossible on its own – how could you possibly afford to hire enough people to cover even a metropolitan service area? The idea came to me a few days later – outsource! What you’re aiming to do is dispatch someone on-demand to a known location… which is exactly what a taxicab service does. So instead of hiring your own service providers, you’d contract with cab companies to provide the service. All you have to do is provide the back end – the “emergency” number for members to call for assistance, a membership program, and the payment system (both from members and to the cab companies for supplying the manpower).

From here, there’s a lot more legwork to be done. What kind of membership model would customers prefer? Per use? Annual membership? I’d guess the latter… if you’re looking for peace of mind for your wheelchair use, chances are you’re in it for the rest of your life. What price point would someone pay for such a service? What amount of that will need to go to the cab companies for being at your beck-and-call? Lots of questions… that can be answered by someone wanting to have a go at this as a business.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2009 8:34 am

    Wheelchair Roadside Assistance Company
    I use a power chair and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your services,” reads a testimonial on the Web site of a membership-based emergency wheelchair roadside service company.

    “In August we took a road trip to Northern California to visit family. On I-5, about 30 miles from the nearest town, my van broke down. When I called ADA for help they arranged for a lift van to transport me with my wheelchair to a hotel with an accessible room. Shortly thereafter a tow truck arrived to take care of our van. Thank you for being there for me!”
    The service currently is the only one of its kind in the U.S. focused on drivers and passengers with disabilities and their families.

    In 1999, Patricia Kosta, a veteran of the auto travel club industry, designed and manufactured a wheelchair-accessible tow truck featuring a wheelchair lift to transport stranded wheelchair users. But Kosta quickly realized that it would take more than a few tow trucks to handle the needs of disabled travelers around the country.
    And so she created ADA Nationwide. The membership-based, for-profit travel club works with more than 47,000 towing and road service providers around the country, to offer wheelchair roadside assistance and towing for adapted vehicles.

    The Auto Club Membership provides several Benefits
    Wheelchair Roadside Service
    Emergency Ramp/Lift Service:
    Fuel Delivery
    Tire Change
    Jump Start
    Gas Station Assistance: When traveling, ADA Nationwide will locate a fueling station on your route to assist with pumping gas when you arrive.
    ADA Personal Assistant Hotline: A toll-free number is staffed around the clock.

  2. mike lynch permalink
    January 30, 2010 6:08 pm

    I was in a wheelchair for about four years. After I was able to walk again, I molded my business around providing service and access to wheelchair bound people. My towing company has a rampvan available for towing ADA vehicles. We also provide repair service for chairs, vans and other equipment.

    Cedarcliff towing and Wrecker Service
    937 766 9309

  3. September 7, 2012 8:11 am

    Very nice post. I definitely love this site. Thanks!

  4. Patrician Kosta permalink
    January 7, 2013 11:05 am

    We tried Ada Auto Club once. We had a breakdown on the road and NO ONE answered their 800 EMERGENCY number in a 3-day period. We left messages that were never returned. We wound up having to find our own towing service and asked to have our membership cancelled – by leaving a message. NO ONE called us back. The kicker: THEY HAVE BEEN RE-BILLING OUR CREDIT CARD $140 EVERY YEAR AND WE HAVE TO DISPUTE THE CHARGE WITH OUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY EVERY YEAR. Buyer Beware!!!!!

  5. tecknikest permalink
    February 7, 2013 8:57 pm

    Man muss darauf vorbereitet sein schneller zu lernen als zuvor und bereit sein, bei der Erkundung seiner Karriereoptionen Risiken einzugehen.
    “Manche schaffen es, andere nicht.”

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