The private duty caregiving franchise lets potential partners lead expansion, with their interest identifying new markets and territories.
As home care franchises are expanding their reach and presence in different territories throughout the country at varying rates of growth, it’s crucial to temper that growth by ensuring proper support and resources to franchise owners once they join the system, says one industry executive.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, more older adults are preferring to age in place in their homes, and that number is only going to grow along with the demand for home care services, according to Jennifer Chaney, vice president of franchise development for Right at Home based in Omaha, Nebraska.
HealthLeaders spoke to Chaney about Right at Home's plans for future expansion, their owner-operator business model, and the importance of pacing in franchise growth.
The following transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.
HealthLeaders: What is the first step to begin expansion into a new territory?
Jennifer Chaney: We've got very specific marketing behind the scenes, geo-targeted on the exact territories that we have left in the United States that are available. Our website has an interactive map where potential partners can see the territories that are available.
For us, expansion begins when people inquire about Right at Home franchise ownership. That can happen on that very first phone call with one of our development directors where we look at where they live or where they're moving to.
HL: What does Right at Home look for in franchise partners?
Chaney: The on-paper qualifications are that you need to have at least $150,000 of liquid capital readily available. We don't require previous home care or medical experience. It's certainly nice to have, but not a requirement.
What's most important to us is that you have that passion for care. Whether you work for somebody in corporate America or have your own business, what you're looking for is missing from what you currently have—success with significance. That’s what we're looking for.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those we serve and we're looking for franchise partners who have a passion to do the same.
We are an owner-operator business model, so we do require that you as the franchise owner are involved in the day-to-day operations. You'll have to find, and we assist with this, an actual physical office location centrally located in a territory that you purchase, so you can't run the office out of your home. We have all the help and support for that.
HL: How does the owner-operator business model engage with franchise owners to ensure efficient operations and hold them accountable?
Chaney: It's important to us that the franchise owners are highly engaged with us here at the corporate headquarters here in Omaha. We've got a staff of over 90 people that help and assist our franchise owners with their day-to-day operations.
The reason why we have an owner-operator business model is that the franchise owners who are highly engaged with us tend to perform really well in our system versus the franchise owners that aren't engaged. Those who are highly engaged, we have seen time after time perform head and shoulders above those who aren't.
HL: How important is pacing in franchise growth?
Chaney: You have to think about the future in order to implement a strategy for right now. You have to take it step by step.
You can't just have a ton of growth all at once without really having the proper systems in place to support those franchise owners once they're a part of the system. If you grow too much too fast, you've got to make sure that you've got the support in place to properly provide resources and support to those franchise owners once they join the system.
Every baby boomer is going to be 65 or older by the year 2030. Thinking about the future and where we're headed, we have goals that we set every year as far as footprint and franchise growth, stretch goals, realistic goals, and where we want to be with a goal of having all those territories sold by a certain point in time in the future. It's really tough to look ahead even five years from now, because five years ago the world was drastically different.
Our CEO will tell you the same thing. When we're getting together, talking about strategic planning, and thinking about the years to come, things get pretty gray past, I'd say, five years.
If people ask, "Where do you see Right at Home 10 years from now," that's a difficult question to answer because times are constantly changing. Technology is changing, data is changing, the business is growing. We had a global pandemic that, years ago, nobody would've anticipated and put into their strategic plan.
We have to adjust as the world grows, as the industry grows, as the senior population grows and ages. But you also must be methodical and strategic about your growth plans because it can be too much all at once. You want to spread that out to make sure that you're properly covered with all the support and resources in place that you need.
“You can't just have a ton of growth all at once without really having the proper systems in place to support those franchise owners once they're a part of the system.”
Jennifer Chaney, vice president of franchise development, Right at Home
Jasmyne Ray is the contributing editor for revenue cycle at HealthLeaders.