How do I go about running a business with ambulances?

How do I go about running a business with ambulances?


The transport of equipment and medication is one. The other option is to operate an ambulance service.

“To operate a successful ambulance service you must have has experience in this field, as it is one that carries great responsibility. Firstly you need to buy fully equipped vehicles and you need to be a qualified medic or at least employ staff who are. Drivers of the ambulances must have both a Code 10 and Public Drivers’ Permit (PDP),” advises managing director Jennie Greenhill, of Miracle Medical. Greenhill has been in the business of building and fitting out ambulances for the last 17 years.

Register with the HPCSA

If you want to be paid by medical aids and have the credibility you need, the business must be registered with the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA). On registration a practice number is issued to the business. You cannot claim from medical aids without one.

The market is saturated

“The private ambulance service market is almost saturated at the moment,” says Greenhill. “If you go ahead with an ambulance service the type of vehicle you would choose would depend on the market you are targeting. If you are operating in rural areas, you would need to use 4X4’s, while in the cities a mini van is suitable as it is easy to manoeuvre.

“The cost of a standard conversion of a vehicle is R100 000 and that excludes the cost of the equipment and obviously the vehicle,” explains Greenhill.

Costs are high

“Starting a small ambulance service would cost in the region of R2 million. Two ambulances are needed and one rapid response vehicle. The rapid response car requires another set of regulations. You would have to ensure that rapid response vehicle is driven by and in control of a Level 8 paramedic. Then you have think about fuel, maintenance and insurance costs,” says Greenhill.

Delivery of medical equipment and supplies

This is a little easier. “You still need to have HPCSA approval. Vehicles have to be well maintained, properly insured and because scheduled drugs are being transported, you would have to have security staff and tracking devices on vehicles,” explains Greenhill.

More Information

For more information in terms of ambulance conversions, equipment and the transport of medical supplies you can email Jennie Greenhill at

For more information with regard to regulations and registration refer to the Health Profession Act, 1974 (Act No. 56 OF 1974) and in particular the regulations relating to the registration of emergency care.