3 Important Decisions for New In-Home Care Franchise Owners
To build a successful in-home care franchise, you’ll need to make a number of important decisions along the way. Most of the biggest decisions will occur before you land your first client, and many will take place between the time you purchase your franchise and the date when you open your in-home care agency.
At this point, in-home care franchise owners need to find the right balance between short-term expenses and long-term goals. If you go too big, too soon, you could exhaust your liquid capital before your business has a chance at profitability. On the other hand, a too-cautious approach could lead you to under-invest in your in-home care franchise, leaving you without the resources, staff, and branding you need to succeed.
Should I Hire Staff for My New In-Home Care Franchise?
At the start, many in-home care franchise owners take on multiple roles. Many of these franchisees later shift into a purely managerial role, but in the early months, they’re the ones consulting with families, handling a full range of back-office duties, and — in many cases — providing in-home care services to clients directly.
While it’s common for new franchise owners to fill these roles early on, some choose to hire administrative and/or caregiving staff prior to opening their business. This can make the early months more manageable, improve your early performance with clients, and help you project a stronger, more confident image.
But these benefits come at a significant price tag. They also come with added risks and responsibilities. The increased overhead to your in-home care franchise could make you financially vulnerable and shorten the amount of runway available to your business.
There’s also the matter of staff relationships. If workers are overtaxed, underutilized, or mishandled in the early going, you may face problems with worker morale. Once morale problems have taken root, it takes substantial time and effort to re-establish a positive atmosphere.
Our suggestion? If you think you’ll need administrative or caregiving staff in the early going, be prepared to make this investment. But make sure that you’re building your in-home care franchise in a sustainable way.
What Types of Services Should My Franchise Initially Offer?
At Visiting Angels®, we provide in-home care franchise owners with the resources they need to provide a wide range of care services. Franchisees can choose to focus on core services, like companion care and personal care. Alternatively, they can provide a more comprehensive set of services, including Alzheimer’s care, transitional care, and end of life care, among other offerings.
When deciding which services to offer, there are a few different things to keep in mind. Does sufficient demand exist for these services within your area? Do you have the resources to train caregivers for specialty services? Are their legal or licensing concerns you’ll need to worry about?
As with hiring caregivers and administrative staff, some in-home care franchises find success by investing in specialty services early on. Others are better served by “growing into” these services, adding specialized care options as they gain clients, staff, and resources.
Once again, you’ll want to think sustainably when making this decision. Market research might indicate local demand for certain specialty services or a lack of providers for certain types of in-home care. In this case, it may be worth investing in specialty care programs. Even so, you’ll want to be cautious. Make sure you have the resources needed for these programs, that the investment is likely to deliver a positive return, and that you’ll be able to provide high-quality care in these areas.
How Will I Market My In-Home Care Agency?
As with any other business, the success of your in-home care franchise will depend on how you market your business. Later on, after you’ve developed your business and attracted a broad base of clients, much of your new business will come by way of referrals. But in the first few months, you’ll need to actively market your agency to attract your first wave of clients.
At Visiting Angels, we’ve seen franchisees with a number of different approaches to pre-launch marketing.
Some have found success through traditional, door-to-door canvassing, engaging with seniors and their families on a face-to-face basis. Other franchisees have become active in local groups and organizations focused on senior services. This helped them earn early referrals and build trust with community contact.
In many cases, new franchise owners make aggressive marketing pushes via print, radio, and online advertising. Others decided to soft-pedal their launch, preferring to slowly build their client list and develop their reputation.
Your choice of marketing methods will likely depend on three key factors: the type of agency you’re planning to run, the type of clients you’re hoping to attract, and the character of your local area. If you can triangulate your initial marketing efforts around these three concerns, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success.
Looking to buy an in-home care franchise? Call Visiting Angels at 800-365-4189 or request information online to learn more about our franchise opportunities.