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Top Challenges of Opening a Home Care Franchise

By Ian Klaes

Maybe you're considering opening a home care business because you truly care about helping seniors. Or maybe you're considering it because you want to secure your financial future. It's no secret that the health care industry is booming as the senior population grows every day

Whatever your reasons for opening a home care franchise, you should be aware of some of the common challenges that home care business owners face. Knowing these challenges ahead of time can help you be proactive and develop strategies to face them head on.

Staffing Caregivers

Hiring and maintaining caregivers is one of the greatest challenges for a home care business. It's a constant scramble to hire well-qualified candidates to staff new client cases and cover missing shifts.

Here are some of the common staffing issues:

  • Unqualified applicants
  • Failure to show up for interviews without a call
  • Calling in sick or for another reason at the last minute
  • Not showing up for a shift without notifying the client or the office staff
  • Leaving suddenly without notice
  • Quitting after a couple of months

It's a good idea to constantly be on the lookout for new, qualified caregivers from the day you open your doors. By having a large pool of caregivers, you can be better prepared to fill in when caregivers have a family emergency, go on vacation, don't show up for their shifts, or even quit.

On a good note, however, home care is a growing career field. This indicates that, while there may be difficulties staffing, there is a large pool of applicants to choose from.

Obtaining New Senior Clients

Another struggle for a home care business is finding new clients. Even as the senior population grows, it's a constant hustle to find new clients. And unfortunately, senior clients may pass away. It's a good idea to hire a field marketer to do personal visits to local hospitals, nursing homes, and even hospice companies to educate them about the benefits of non-medical home care. After all, home care can helps seniors remain at home instead of being admitted to the hospital or making a move to a nursing home. These in-person visits will hopefully lead to new business and additional referrals. 

When you start planning to open a home care business, you will want to tap into the resources that your franchisor has. You want to effectively market your business to find enough clients and also exceed the number you want to grow your business into a successful venture. These resources could include the website, social media, paid advertising, and more.

However you approach getting new clients, make sure that you're targeting the right demographics, including seniors and adults with senior loved ones who may need home care in the place of hospitalization or placement in a nursing home. 

You should also balance your number of clients with your number of caregivers. You don't want to have many new shifts that you can't fill. Ultimately, that could deter business as potential clients are promised services that you can't deliver, resulting in bad word of mouth advertising. 

Technological Advances

The global smart home healthcare market is projected to generate a revenue of $96.2 billion by 2030. While this sector includes healthcare technology, it also includes home care technology like monitoring systems that sync up to the hospital system and mobile pharmacies to better monitor a senior's overall health and well-being.

With technological advances, you may feel like your business model is being threatened or that you need to invest in the latest technologies. However, seniors will continue to need and want the personal touch that comes from having a caregiver in the home. Technology can't replace the relationships that seniors and their caregivers can build. 

When it comes to investing in new technologies, discuss your options with your franchisor. They may have suggestions and be able to point you in the right direction. For example, Caring Senior Service offers a family portal that connects seniors, healthcare providers, families, and our office staff for seamless communication and 24/7, secure access to client information.

Political Winds

It's no secret that health care and insurance in the United States is a hot-button topic. As politicians and insurance companies search for an alternative to expensive hospital stays, they're looking more and more at the value of home care. Some states are even pushing to have seniors with non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses removed from long-term hospital care and back home with the care of a professional. 

Additionally, raising the minimum wage can have a huge impact on the home care industry as it would impact the budget and pricing of home care businesses across the country. However, amid political talks, it's important to focus on what you do: helping seniors. Changes may come and, inevitably, more changes will come. The constant will be your devotion to your business.

Payments

Whether you decide to accept private insurance or only work with seniors who pay upfront, you'll always spend some time chasing payments. You need to have a water-tight contract that outlines your services and the payment schedule. It's essential that you stay on top of billing and receiving payments. This can be a full-time job, and you might consider hiring accounts receivable specialist to ensure that your clients are paying on time. 

Your contract needs to outline the steps you will take if payments aren't received on time. You don't want to leave a senior without care but you also want to make sure that you're getting paid for the work that you do. It's a delicate balance.

State and Federal Rules and Regulations

No matter where you choose to open your home care business, there will be rules and regulations that govern your company and how you care for the seniors you work for. These rules and regulations are also regularly under review, changing, and being replaced by new ones.

It's up to you to make sure that your company is compliant with all rules and regulations at the state and federal level at any given time. One area that's lacking in the regulation is the certification of home aids. In many cases, these aren't registered nurses but individuals who've taken courses to work as an aid. However, there aren't any rules in place across the country to ensure the level of learning and information learned, leaving the qualified pool a little questionable as to existing skills and knowledge.

At Caring Senior Service, we understand the challenges that new business owners face in our industry. We work closely with new franchise owners to help ensure their success. From finding the right employees to understanding the current regulations, we can help get you started. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help start a thriving business.

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Tags: Home Care, Franchise Ownership