Home Care Franchisee Talks Industry Changes and Challenges
Home care franchise companies are booming, with high demand and even higher valuations. One in-home care franchisee, who has been in the game for a decade, is confident in the opportunities the next 10 years will bring.
Bill and Diane Mathis, owners and operators of Always Best Care of San Diego, have just become the franchisor’s first owners to hit 10 years—an accolade that coincides with Always Best’s 10-year anniversary of franchising. Always Best Care, which has been in business since 1996 and franchising since 2007, is based in Roseville, California, and has nearly 200 total units.
After starting their franchise location in 2007 in San Diego County with two streams of business—home care and assisted living placement—The Mathises have since added home health services.
Home Health Care News caught up with Bill and Diane Mathis to talk about their 10 years of experience in the industry, from what they’ve learned to the biggest opportunities still on the horizon.
How has the in-home care sector changed in the past decade?
BM & DM: The home care sector has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years. Given the aging baby boomer population, it’s a rapidly growing industry with an increased demand, which makes it an attractive business opportunity.
Our industry has been faced with many changes and obstacles. One of the biggest changes for us was the requirement of home care licensing, which was mandated by law in California in January of last year. Licensing requirements, on top of a shortage of skilled caregivers, led us to rethink how we could improve our business and expand our services.
Adding an additional revenue stream like home health care services, which includes medical services such as blood draws and post surgery care, was the natural next step for us. It took our agency to the next level and allowed us to offer a continuum of care, expand our clientele and increase revenue. As a result, we have experienced promising growth over the past three years, which led us to renew our franchise agreement with Always Best Care and continue serving families in the San Diego community.
Why did you decide to add home health services to your business model?
BM & DM: One of the things that attracted us most to Always Best Care’s business model 10 years ago was the services they offered, which were unlike what any other senior care franchise was offering at the time. Since then, Always Best Care has added a third revenue stream, skilled home health care services, which includes medical services.
Three years ago, we helped pioneer the introduction of home health care services to Always Best Care’s business model, as a result of changing regulations. That said, when adding home health, we realized it was an entirely different business that came with its own set of challenges, but are grateful for how offering these services has benefitted our business.
After three years, we are looking at growing it in a slow and steady, yet very profitable manner.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
BM & DM: The biggest challenge we have been faced with is the state’s ever-changing rules and regulations. Luckily, we’ve received unparalleled support and guidance from the Always Best Care corporate office.
Of course, there is the national caregiver shortage, which is being felt industry wide. Finding qualified caregivers has been challenging and remains one of our top priorities to ensure our clients are receiving the best care possible.
What are your thoughts on the current demand of home care, the regulatory environment and potential for growth sector?
BM & DM: It’s no secret that there is a very real demand for home care services. It has been reported that more and more aging individuals are gravitating toward aging in place in their homes versus assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
While the public benefits from state licensing requirements, it has driven up the costs of in-home care and has consequently forced seniors and their families to find less expensive care, and therefore their risk of not being cared for properly increases tremendously.
There will continue to be substantial growth for the home care sector, but business owners must be strategic and be willing to adapt since the industry is constantly changing. and the current demand for services is rapidly growing.
Written by Elizabeth Jakaitis