All numbers on demographics point to the ‘graying’ of America. Senior citizens (aged 65 and older) already consists of more than 45 million out of a total population of 300 million. This is projected to double to over 90 million senior citizens by 2060. This fact presents exciting opportunities for enterprising business people who wish to purchase a Home Aide Franchise. The industry will be fueled by millions of seniors who need aid at home. Many families have working parents and children. The demand of modern life on the younger population often means household members (parents and children) hold 2 or more jobs. This leaves little time to tend to grandparents and any other family member who is over 65 years. Families prefer to turn to in-home care for their aging family members rather than senior citizens home where their family member may be less comfortable and estranged from their loved one. Families find it more convenient, cheaper and humane to keep aging family members at home and then hire a home health aide to make a daily or weekly visit to help in the care of aging family members. The home health aide may assist in transportation, laundry, pill taking, leisure trips, visits to medical institutions and any agreed upon personal care. These tasks are so personal and vital that families search for an outstanding Home Health Aide franchise that can consistently serve up professional aides who are certified and provide exemplary care.
Home aid is not restricted to aging family members. A younger person may have an accident, sudden illness, disability or disease that requires temporary or long term care. Other family members may also be sick or preoccupied with personal or work-related responsibilities. Home health aides can fill this void. There is great potential to keep and recruit customers in a business that specializes in caring and protection of those in need.
Potential franchises in the home health business need to carefully vet the parent organization (franchiser) before making a final decision. Reputation is the life’s blood of this business. The franchisee must do a public records search of the franchiser. Is there any negative news coverage of the franchiser? Has it been accused of poor health practices and/or improper employee screening? What information is available about the franchiser from industry, websites and consumer reporting agencies? Is there any past or present lawsuits? What did the references say about the franchiser’s service (it is recommended that at least 5 former and current customers be called)? How about the financial health of the franchiser? Has it even filed for bankruptcy? Have any of its franchisees filed for bankruptcy? Former and current franchisees should be interviewed by the potential franchisor. The latter can then make a list of pros and cons. It would also be a good idea to hire a certified accountant who can assist with a thorough analysis of all available financial documents (from the franchisor and franchisee). Most like, the certified accountant may not have enough information to investigate to the level of a forensic audit by an expert eye would be able to reveal information that a franchisee may not have the expertise to discover on his/her own.
The potential franchisee must look into territory available. Will the franchisee be restricted to a small area, the county or section of the state? Will the territory be exclusive or can fellow franchisees compete for clients? Was a market study done to project the growth of new clients for the territory under consideration? The national trend to double senior citizen by 2060 may not necessarily mean it will happen in that specific territory being considered for purchase by the potential franchisee. For example, the city may plan to offer tax incentives to attract new factories in the territory. This may entice younger employees who use home aide less than senior citizens. Are there plans to build new hospitals and clinics or conversely relocate or close current hospitals and clinics? More of one and less of the other will impact home health aide needs in the potential franchisee’s territory. Projections need to be made on whether the client base will increase, expand or stay the same during the term of the franchise contract (anywhere from 5 to 15 years).
The potential franchisee needs to look at support offered by the franchiser. Is the home health aide scheduling software open source or proprietary? Can the franchisee use scheduling software or only the software owned by the franchiser? What is the user/customer experience with the software? Does it have good tech support? Is it prone to crashes and glitches? Does it facilitate better communication with the customer and head office? Is it available on desktops and mobile apps? Is there a delay or is communication among all parties instantaneous? In today’s high paced lifestyles, does the software allow for last minutes changes and requests for rescheduling? Efficiency and responsiveness are essential in the home aide business and the scheduling software must flawlessly facilitate the process.
Cost is another major consideration. The franchisee must look at the total cost, not just the one time or annual franchise fee. Does franchisee pay part of their net income to the franchiser? Are there annual licensing fees for the scheduling software? Are there additional costs for advertising? What restrictions are placed on advertising? Can the franchisee utilize social media to promote its product? The current trend is to use social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to recruit new clients. This has proven to be more cost-effective than hefty investments in traditional media such as television and radio slots. Franchisee can target senior citizens via targeted outreach on social media.
Franchise terms must be considered. Is there a penalty for early termination of the franchise? Is there a non-compete clause that prohibits opening a similar business after the franchise is terminated? What does the contract say about poaching former and current customers after the franchise term ends? Does the franchise contract mandate arbitration over the more costly option of litigation when issues arise between franchisor and franchisee? A thorough review of all these issues can save a franchisee much money and headache.