Undeterred by intense competition for caregivers, one home care franchise company is doubling down on its aggressive expansion plan.
Amada Senior Care, a non-medical in-home care franchisor headquartered in San Clemente, California, announced last week that it has opened its 100th franchise location, in Bergen County, New Jersey.
The milestone marks a major expansion push for Amada, which was co-founded in 2007 by Chad Fotheringham and Tafa Jefferson, a former NFL player for the Chicago Bears. Within the next two years, the home care franchisor hopes roughly double its existing stock to 200 total locations, Chief Development Officer Marcos Moura told Home Health Care News.
Amada currently has franchises in 40 states, excluding Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“We’re really excited to reach that  number,” said Moura, who also serves as Amada’s head of franchise development. “I think that growth has been really driven by the fact our franchises are finding success.”
Despite being founded more than a decade ago, Amada didn’t start franchising until 2012, mostly through friends and acquaintances at first. The past three years have brought steady but modest growth for Amada—23 new franchises last year; 21 in 2016; and 19 in 2015.
The time is right now to further expand because of mounting U.S. demand for home care services, Moura said.
Amada has tempered its growth by recruiting solely from within the health care industry. For example, many of the home care franchisor’s partners turn out to be former medical device or pharmaceutical sales people looking to change careers. That’s what happened with Amada’s very first franchisee, Robert Christensen, who previously had spent several years at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
“We really wanted to find people who knew health care or could be easily taught health care,” Moura said. “We wanted to make sure that they would be good at building relationships of trust with hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and insurance agencies.”
Amada will continue to “aggressively advertise” and recruit from health care professionals while pushing for 200 franchises, he said. The franchisor isn’t looking to expand in specific markets, instead taking a more national approach wherever needs arise.
In addition to expanding geographically, Amada also seeks to bring average gross revenue per franchise up to $5 million. Franchise partners are averaging about $4.5 million by their fifth full year in business, according to Amada.
“We believe that if we can help 200 entrepreneurs reach that $5 million goal, then they’ll have more control of the market, and it will all sort of fall in line,” Moura said. “It’s not just about expansion.”
Hiring, retaining caregivers
As Amada ramps up, it is keeping a close eye on trends and challenges when it comes to hiring caregivers, which are increasingly in short supply in certain regions.
With more than 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, home care is among the fastest-growing occupations in the United States. And new franchise partners will need to be competitive when it comes to recruiting and retaining workers.
“It is a concern,” Moura said. “I think it’s a concern for every home care company.”
To help attract caregivers, Amada plans to offer its caregivers higher wages compared to its competitors, he said. Wages are closely linked to caregiver turnover, according to the most recent Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Study.
More broadly, Amada will also work to treat its caregivers with respect, giving them flexibility to juggle the balance between their demanding job and personal lives, Moura said.
“Wages aren’t always the most important thing,” he said. “If a caregiver calls in and says their son or daughter is sick, and they’re not able to go and fill that shift, then we need to be able to work with them.”
Beside expansion plans, Amada is actively “working with national brands and providers” to secure new relationships.
Amada was ranked as a top franchise opportunity for 2018 by Franchise Business Review.
Written by Robert Holly