Senior Home Care is Poised to be the Top Franchise Choice of the Future

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Bill McPherson

As American baby boomers continue to age, over 10,000 people a day are turning 65 in the United States.

With an aging population there are health care issues that have to be addressed, and the non-medical home care franchise industry is stepping in to fill the gaps that exist between aging in place at home and going into an assisted living or continuing care community.

Franchise businesses offer many great opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to own a business, but are looking for a business model that is already proven to be successful. One of the top franchise options in this high growth space is in the non-medical senior home care services.

Home Health Care is what People Prefer

The main reason? Studies show that each year, 85-90% of seniors surveyed prefer to stay in their own homes if given a choice. They are familiar and comfortable in their own homes, have memories, friends, neighbors, etc. around them.  Moreover, trends show that seniors live longer and have more productive lives when they can age at home rather than in a senior care facility.

Additionally, the cost of health care is steadily rising. According to recent studies, the cost of senior home care services is one-fifth of what it would cost in a senior care facility. And as medical advances continue to allow us to live longer and healthier lives, the need for non-medical assistance will also continue to rise. While many seniors will need the medical care available only in an assisted living or nursing home environment, many others will be able to age at home, even with some of the problems associated with aging.

Non-medical home care targets the individuals who need to have help with daily activities such as preparing meals, timing of medications, cleaning, washing, bathing, exercising and other daily functions like writing emails, shopping, doctor visits, pet care and just getting around. The need for such in-home help is fueling the growth of home health care businesses. In fact, according to the Department of Labor, non-nurse home health aide jobs are growing at a rate of 69 percent per year.

All these factors contribute to the robust outlook for home health care franchise businesses now and in the near future.

How Do You Choose a Home Care Franchise?

One factor that makes a huge difference in which franchise to choose is company culture. Did the business start with a caring, compassionate owner who had a personal story that propelled him or her into the caregiving field? This is important if you want to work with people who have a passion for caregiving.

Financial stability is another big consideration when deciding which home care franchise to purchase. How has the business grown? What are the projections? How have other franchisees done in the past one, two or three years?

What is the training and support system like? A good franchise will offer solid training at a home office or a successful franchise operator’s location. Having both a marketing and financial services department is another plus, and is a good sign that the franchise is willing and able to offer substantial assistance and guidance to franchisees.

Is there a back-office software system available to franchisees that will handle day-to-day operations? This has become a major selling point for some franchises, as the ability to offer a robust and flexible operations system can make a difference in which business franchisees pick to invest in. A tested and successful system to run the business should win out most of the time.

Who You Hire can Make or Break a Franchise

Some home care franchise businesses leave the hiring and training of senior health care workers solely  up to the franchisees. A lack of guidance from the franchisor in helping franchisees with the hiring process can be a sign of trouble. Best practices and strategies developed by the franchisor should be easily available to the franchisees.  Look for a franchisor that provides extensive help in this area, without of course mandating the actual hiring of a particular candidate. That should ultimately be left to the franchisee.

Some home health care franchises also offer options for hiring caregivers that could include health insurance, overtime, retention programs, continuing education and more.

Pay attention to staff retention rates for existing franchises you are considering and talk to other franchisees to see how they feel about their franchise after they have been with the company for at least a year to get a true picture.

Choosing the right home health care franchise requires in-depth research and planning. But matching your business style to the franchisor’s will increase the chances that you’ll make the right choice. For those who are passionate about building a business that makes a difference in lives and communities, the home health care industry is a natural fit.

Bill McPherson is the executive director of franchise development at FirstLight HomeCare, which has been awarded Entrepreneur Top 500 franchises, Top Franchisee Satisfaction, Franchise Business Review, Top Veterans Franchise, Franchise Business Review and Forbes Top Franchises. If you are interested in learning more about the Senior Care sector, he can be reached at bmcpherson@firstlighthomecare.com