The Right Time to Open a Non-Medical Home Care Business

Elderly Care in the Home
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A Franchise Business Review Special Report on Senior Care Businesses paints a rosy portrait for the home care industry. Franchise Business Review is a national market research firm that performs independent research on franchisee satisfaction. Now is the time to open a non-medical home care franchise.

FBR surveyed 1,348 franchisees from the senior care sector and researched more than 30 brands. Franchisees answer 33 benchmark questions. Companies primarily provide non-medical, in-home care for seniors, and some have recently added new services (e.g., medical care, staffing solutions, child and pet care).


  • The median initial investment required to open a single senior care franchise office in 2012 was $66,148, and the potential return on investment is significantly higher than many other franchise businesses. It is not uncommon among the top senior care franchises to build gross revenues to a million dollars or more, with gross margins of 30%–40%.
  • It is much more difficult for prospective franchisees to access capital than it was five years ago.
  • Franchisees must focus on the business full-time from the start. Franchisees in senior care work more hours (including more nights and weekends) as compared to franchisees in other business sectors. Senior care franchisees also rated their “work-life balance” lower than franchisees in all sectors.
  • On the flip side, it’s getting harder to differentiate yourself because there are over 40 brands now were 10 years ago there were half a dozen.

New or Existing

According to the report, “While young and unproven franchise systems present a higher investment risk to a prospective franchisee candidate, start-ups typically have the advantage of offering more flexible terms and larger protected territories to their first franchisees."

The home health business is extremely people dependent. Caregiver issues, service emergencies, and client deaths can be frequent occurrences. While running a senior care business requires empathy and people management skills, it does not necessarily require health care experience.

What successful franchisees do have, however, are these characteristics:

  • Strong skills in networking, marketing, and operating a business
  • Have been in business for less than five years
  • Are in big markets with a population of at least 250,000 people
  • Are over the age of 45
  • Are female and have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Here is how one survey respondent put it. “You really are starting a business as if you were putting out your own shingle. As a business person, I could look at the model. I understood it from a financial perspective. But it’s complicated. It’s not flipping burgers. Every state has different regulations, a different culture, a different community.”


Senior care consistently comes out as one of the top five sectors for franchisee satisfaction in Franchise Business Reviews. Many franchise companies in this sector offer only an average or even below-average investment opportunity, so it is important to do your homework, talk to current franchisees, and be sure the brand is a good fit for you.

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