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So Many Choices in Senior Care Franchising. Where to Begin?

I know when I go to buy a car I like to have a lot of choices: make, model, color, are all important. However, somewhere around the options on seat warmers and navigational systems, I get a little, well, lost. I am simply overwhelmed by choice.

The senior care industry has exploded in recent years leading to an increasing number of choices available to both people looking for services for themselves or a loved and people interested in becoming business owners. While there are many brands to choose from, there are core differences in the models—much like the difference between an SUV and a sports car.

Senior Care

If it Walks Like A Duck…

One challenge in parsing the differences between senior care franchise models is that many of them sound like the same thing at first. The average person may not hear the subtle nuance between home health care and home care. In fact, they are two very different models and provide distinct services (though they might sometimes overlap and complement each other) and consumers have different options when it comes to paying for the services. Assisted living placement is another model in this space.

Each of these models has different costs of entry, different licensing requirements, potential overhead and more. For people looking to invest in a franchise, the differences may be very important depending on where they live, what professional experience they have so far or how much they can afford up front.

Home care is usually non-medical care that relates to Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) like taking a bath or shower, getting dressed, and grooming. Things like going for supported walks, preparing meals, providing medication reminders, and doing light housework are also part of personal and companionship care that rounds out this type of care. Care can be delivered in private homes as well as in assisted-living facilities. Consumers pay for home care services using long-term care insurance, worker’s compensation, Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits, and private pay sources.

Licensing requirements for home care vary by state and so this model is strongly impacted by the state in which it is operating.

The cost of entry for this model is considered low, in large part because the services are delivered at a location other than the office so overhead can remain low.

Home healthcare can be described as skilled care as this relies entirely on people trained in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing. A key difference here is that payer sources are typically Medicare and Medicaid, so this requires someone in the business who can navigate government funding well.

The costs for starting a home healthcare business are higher than home care in part because of higher labor costs and liability insurance premiums. There are some models that combine home care and home healthcare so they are not exclusive of one another.

Assisted Living Placement is the newest of these three models and has a very low cost of entry. Essentially the service is to help people find the right senior living option for a loved one who can no longer safely live on their own. Licensing requirements are non-existent for this model currently, but that is likely to change soon.

Really, this is about hiring the right sales staff and there is minimal overhead.

The services are no cost to the customer as the facilities pay a commission once a new resident signs up. On the one hand, this means that the business does not have ongoing costs with each new client; on the other hand, it means you always need new clients because once they are happily relocated there is no additional income.

Looking Beyond the Differences

What these models all have in common is the feel good factor: each offers the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life whether by matching the perfect caregiver to make someone more safe or less lonely, assigning a physical therapist who helps someone walk again and regain independence or directing them to a wonderful new community where they can be safe. It’s hard to put a dollar value on that aspect of the senior care industry.

Homewatch CareGivers' franchise locations operate home care ​agencies, providing non-medical services to clients in their homes. If you think this sounds like the business for you, please visit our franchise website for more information on our proven model, investment range, territory availability and more.

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