Homewatch CareGivers Beefs Up its Franchise Presence

More than halfway through 2017, Colorado-based Homewatch CareGivers is aiming to add more franchise locations and continue its growth spurt. Over the past 12 months, the non-medical in-home care provider has seen 15 new franchisees purchase Homewatch CareGivers offices, with seven new locations opened in the first half of 2017.

The recent growth is part of President and COO Julie Smith’s vision to both support its current franchisees and expand simultaneously, she told Home Health Care News. Smith’s addition to the 40-year-old company has coincided with more rapid growth, and it currently has 200 locations in 33 states.

“I joined in 2015, and I believe that you can deliver value to everyone who touches the business,” she said. “You can provide amazing care and grow at the same time. It’s been taboo [in this industry], but you can feel good about providing care and make a good return as a franchise partner at the same time.”

The taboo Smith refers to is an issue of the possible contrast between running a successful business and offering a service that aims to take care of others. Smith says overcoming this notion and expanding the business is part of the philosophy she has brought to the company.

“Is there a tradeoff?” she asked of the dichotomy. “The answer is absolutely no. This is a very starved industry. We deliver strong strong outcomes, and do good by doing good.”

For the remainder of the year, Homewatch CareGivers aims to open locations in Florida, Texas, California, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. The company’s growth is focused in markets without a Homewatch CareGivers presence, and Smith sees plenty of room to grow.

“We’re focused on filling the white space in the U.S.,” Smith said. “A lot of space in the top metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).”

Smith hopes the company will add another 30 to 40 new locations in 2018. Beyond the U.S., Homewatch CareGivers, which already has an international presence in seven countries, is looking at expanding in Canada, Latin America, Australia and England, she said.

With ambitious growth plans, Smith feels comfortable in the company’s services, particularly amid a contentious debate over health care policy at the federal level. At the same time, the company is looking to become more aligned with other health care providers along the continuum of care.

“We are firmly ensconced in private pay,” she said. “This is a good, smart place to be. We can take outcomes and pull ourselves into the continuum of care without being at the mercy of reimbursed payments. For us, it’s the private duty swim lane.”

Written by Amy Baxter

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