Non-Medical Home Care
Non-medical home care industry is estimated to be in the vicinity of $80 billion nationwide. The bulk of sector revenue comes from population of 65 years and above (which is about 34 million individuals or 12% of entire US population), and it is estimated to grow to 70 million in next 25 years.
We are living longer, and a vast majority of the seniors prefer home care to institutional care. In the past, it was not uncommon for the seniors to live with their adult children; however, the vast numbers of working couples have made it a rare occurrence now.
The non-medical senior home care is generally not covered by medical insurance or government reimbursement plans like Medicare and Medicaid. It is a private pay service. As disposable income levels have risen over the past five years, this segment’s share of total homecare industry revenue has grown as well.
Beyond the demographic revolution that is spurring growth in senior care, there are various home care concepts that cater to individuals of all ages. Some of these are:
- Caring for new or expectant mothers,
- Disability support for children and adults,
- Caregiving for those recovering from serious injuries (including injured veterans),
- Childcare for working parents, and several other specialized segments.
The range of activities includes transportation, bathing/toileting, errands, light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, general companionship, and assistance with activities of daily living. These types of home care are sometimes referred to as custodial care or personal or companion care. It can be a boon to those recovering from an illness or injury, or who are less capable of getting around independently.
Owning a Home Care Franchise
According to Franchise Business Review (FBR), franchisees in senior care work more hours (including more nights and weekends) when compared to franchisees in other business sectors. Ideally, franchisees must focus on the business full-time from the very start. Senior care franchisees also rated their “work-life balance” lower than franchisees in most other sectors.
At the same time, it has been constantly rated among the top 5 sectors for franchisee satisfaction and the licensing requirements are far lower than health care franchises, in general. The cost of entry into non-medical home care sector is low, and yet, given the nature of work, the profit margins of a well-run operation can be very lucrative.
The most successful franchise operations do share characteristics like:
- big markets with a population of at least 250,000 people
- strong franchisee skills in networking and word-of-mouth marketing
- high-quality training of caregivers, which makes referrals so much easier
To be successful a franchisee in home care,
- prioritize the hiring and training of caregivers. The caregivers determine the reputation which drives sales.
- determine key sources for referrals in the area – local physicians, rehabilitation centers, religious institutions, discharge planners, medical home care companies, elder law attorneys, estate planners, bank trust officers, geriatric care managers, among others.
- get involved in the local community, and adopt strategic public causes.
- finally, the most successful home care agencies do an excellent job of treating their patients’ families like their own.
Many of the best practices in operating a home care business are embedded in the franchise operator’s manual. This can make it easy for an industry outsider to start and dominate the local home care market. In Washington, the combination of demand for non-medical home care services and an increase in the labor pool makes it a perfect opportunity for franchising!