vs. Going Solo
The homecare industry is booming.
you may ask? Two key factors include our desire to remain in the comfort
of our own homes as we age, and the aging of the population.
While the number of people age 65 and older has increased
dramatically, life expectancy has doubled in the last century.
It is projected that this age group will continue this upward
growth curve faster than any other age bracket.
growth has given rise to the need for experienced and compassionate
home care services for the elderly.
In recent years, many people have become involved as business
owners in the homecare industry. Some have chosen to start their own independent businesses,
while others have chosen to partner with an experienced franchisor.
Who is the
Ideal Homecare Business Owner?
interested party needs to decide whether this business is right for
them. Our experience in
this business has taught us to look for particular skill sets in
potential homecare business owners.
A candidate must possess entrepreneurial spirit and a
willingness to take a risk.
we validate people that want to over-analyze to avoid decisions or
commitment. We provide
a structured process to help people explore every aspect of our
business owners need to be compassionate, with a strong desire to
provide valuable care services to their respective communities.
We feel this is vastly more important than the desire to make
In addition to
compassion, business experience is also important.
Risk is inherent in any business venture, and true
entrepreneurs seem to have an innate sense of well calculated versus
poorly calculated risks. Because
of this, we look for people who are entrepreneurs, with sales and
medical experience is also a plus, but not mandatory.
Finally, the qualified candidate should reside in an area
that meets certain demographic criteria, which help ensure that the
business can profit.
an experienced franchisor in the homecare business can offer many
benefits over starting an independent business.
Most important, it
allows a business owner to tap into a proven system.
Franchisors offer structure to enable business owners to
succeed quickly, through training, ongoing support, sharing of
manuals and information and industry alliances.
For example, instead of looking for liability and worker’s
compensation insurance on your own, a franchisor will provide
preferred vendors with whom discounts have been negotiated.
In states where a home care or home health license is
required, a reputable franchisor should provide significant
assistance with the application and licensure process, down to
writing agency policies and procedures.
On the flip side, independent business owner will have to do
his/her own research into regulations to assure compliance and avoid
fines and other penalties.
franchisee becomes a member of a family, with whom it shares
opinions, experiences, pitfalls and best practices.
Franchisors coordinate and hold regional and national
meetings as well as frequent conference calls, in order to
also offer marketing and management expertise, operational support
including the development of forms, branding and public relations.
Experienced franchisors actively help the franchisee navigate
through licensing, business set up, insurance, necessary software,
worker’s compensation, and caregiver recruitment to enable
franchisees to focus on the most important aspect of their business:
acquiring clients and generating revenue.
Going it Alone
owners want to do things their own way, without having to follow a
system. They may prefer
to do everything- branding, developing marketing collateral and
establishing policy and procedures- on their own and answer only to
the independent business owner may prefer to develop local name
recognition, versus taking on a national persona and becoming the
local representative. For
those that have worked in the home care and/or senior care
community, marketing contacts, referral sources and policies and
procedures may already be established, and partnering with a
franchisor may seem unnecessary.
may look unfavorably toward the franchise fee and the 3-5% monthly
royalties that franchisors typically collect.
The freedom and flexibility of independent ownership needs to
be balanced with the risks. Without
a support system, the independent business owner will be more prone
to making the same mistakes an experienced franchisor has already
made and learned lessons from.
What to Look
for in a Franchise Organization
in the homecare industry is right for you, be sure that a franchise
personal visit with corporate staff.
You will be working with these people very closely for many
years, and you want to make sure the chemistry is right.
introduces you to all important corporate staff prior to signing a
Allows you to
speak with a minimum of 3-5 franchisee owners who are in markets
similar to your own.
least one week of training and offers solid, ongoing support and
training on an as-needed basis.
Do they visit you within the first year of operation?
Is committed to
assisting you with federal regulations that you must comply with.
If your state regulates homecare agencies, make sure the
franchisor helps you with compliance.
The decision to
partner with a franchisor or go it alone is personal.
Like any choice, there are pros and cons of both options,
which need to be carefully weighed.
Talk with other homecare business owners who operate
independently, and those who joined a franchise organization.
The key to being satisfied with your business venture is to
have clear expectations up front, so ask lots of questions and
gather information prior to making this important decision.
Morrison, Vice President of Domestic Franchising for Homewatch
Tucker, Vice President of Franchise Support for Homewatch
CareGivers has been involved in providing homecare services for the
elderly and convalescing since 1980. Homewatch began franchising in 1997, and is headquartered in