While it’s no secret newbie home care franchise owners are sometimes prone to making a few common mistakes, veteran franchise owners aren’t immune to error, either.
Even well-established franchisees can fall into bad habits or abandon best practices if given enough time.
Here are the top three ways home care veterans can lose sight of best practices, according to a few of the biggest home care companies:
1. Not Having the Right Teams
As a franchise grows, it’s only natural that an owner would want to delegate more responsibilities to their senior employees. But that can get them into trouble if they don’t have the right workers in place, according to BrightStar President and COO Thom Gilday. BrightStar Care is a Gurnee, Illinois-based private duty home care and medical staffing provider with 320 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
“The only issue I see for veterans is if they try to delegate too much responsibility…and they don’t have the right person in the right seat for all the roles,” Gilday told Home Health Care News.
That might include a longtime employee who may no longer be up to the task, Gilday said. Perhaps the job has grown too big for them, or they’re just not the right fit for their current role. In that case, agencies might want to find something else for them to do.
“Find another role for Suzy, who might have been good when the business was smaller, but [who] might not be [good] in that critical lead position ” Gilday said of a hypothetical employee.
Still, there are some cases in which certain employees just don’t fit, according to Barbara Schuh, vice president of franchise operations at Home Care Assistance, a San Francisco-based home care provider with 120 franchises in the U.S. and Canada.
“Everybody on your team needs to know: Are they there to make a difference?” Schuh told HHCN. “If not, they shouldn’t be part of the company.”
2. Not Enough Growth
Expansion should be on the mind of every franchisee, even if they are successful and making money, said Lenny Verkhoglaz, CEO of Executive Care. The New Jersey-based home care company currently has 18 franchises and is on track to hit 20 by the end of the year.
“What we want [franchisees] to do is focus on expanding that business,” Verkhoglaz told HHCN. “What does it take to double your business?”
Executive Care offers its franchise owners guidance on where and how to grow next.
“We can identify where they are and where they can expand to.” Verkhoglaz said. “We may suggest, why don’t you open a satellite office on the other side of your territory?”
That growth should continue well after a franchise hits the million-dollar mark. Home Care Assistance generally considers its franchisees veterans once they’ve hit $2 million in annual revenue, Schuh said. By then, franchisees should already have a good idea of how to grow. It’s not always easy, though: veteran owners sometimes have trepidation about about making the next step.
“It’s about growth and fear and risk. That first year of growth is a lot,” Schuh said. “Sometimes franchise owners… fear that it’s going to be just as hard the second time around.”
When that happens, franchisors should walk owners through their first expansion and tell them it’s usually easier, not harder, to open a second site, she said.
One of the the biggest mistakes veteran franchise owners can make is getting complacent or disengaging over time, Griswold Home Care COO Mike Magid told HHCN. The Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania-based company, which has more than 200 locations in 32 states, returned to franchising in August after a three-year hiatus.
“Too often, it is comfortable for them to fall back on the same playbook they have executed for years,” Magid said. “Also, with experienced franchisees, there is a tendency to rely less on the franchisor for support or to use new programs that are introduced.”
One way to prevent this is to keep franchise owners involved in the franchisor’s processes and decisions.
“Make sure they have a hand in developing news ways to compete. Have them help develop evolving best practices and tools that are relevant to the success and growth of their businesses,” Magid said. “If you encourage collaboration, veteran franchisees, as well as newbies, are ready to serve.”
Written by Tim Regan