For home health providers considering entering into the franchise model, a number of issues crop up at the point of launch. There are entry fees, limitations around territory and a lack of organizational support.
These are the exact encumbrances that Salem, New Hampshire-based Certified Homecare Consulting has eliminated. Here is a look at the four ways that Certified Homecare Consulting is disrupting the franchise model through its unique consulting practice.
No franchise fees
For most franchisors, ongoing franchise fees are a critical piece of their business model. But Certified Homecare Consulting’s business model is built around a one-time upfront payment, without the ongoing fees.
“Franchise fees are an additional overhead expense off the top, which are ongoing as long as you operate the business,” says Marcus Ponce de Leon, chief operating officer at Certified Homecare Consulting. “What are they really giving you (for ongoing royalties) — a name or branded marketing materials? These are things we include so that you wouldn’t have to worry about them at all here.”
While there are other consultants that do not collect franchise fees, there are few the size of Certified Homecare Consulting doing that kind of work, Ponce de Leon says. Certified Homecare Consulting launches over 125 agencies annually in nearly all 50 states.
“We’ve got the startup process down to somewhat of an assembly line,” he says. “We then continue supporting our existing clients through everyday operational challenges for as long as they own their agencies.”
No territory restrictions
Franchisors commonly work with restricted territories, assigning each franchise a geographic area. The thinking there is that franchises want to carve out their own space, but as a consultant, Certified Homecare Consulting does not restrict franchises by territory — proving a successful strategy for the home health agencies.
“We have quite a few agencies in the same cities doing quite well, because as best we can, we do work with them to figure out ways to differentiate what they are offering,” Ponce de Leon says.
One approach they use is to establish care delivery by cultural needs. Certified Homecare Consulting has proprietary agencies of its own whose service areas overlap in the metro areas of Boston, Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia. In the Boston area, they have a home health agency that focuses on seniors who speak Vietnamese and Russian as first languages, while another agency they operate focuses on those communities where seniors speak Spanish or Swahili as first languages.
Certified Homecare Consulting then works with the agency’s marketing teams to teach them how to market their specific capabilities and find their customers.
Ongoing, targeted client support
While there is no ongoing franchise fee, the client support remains running for the life of the agency. Certified Homecare Consulting has found ways to support both startups and existing agencies, and the support work they do has a wide range of areas, starting with regulatory policy and procedures to case advice.
They also provide support for specific patient diagnoses, driven by their clinical team, which works with clients day by day as necessary.
“We have clients who I’ve worked with personally that are still calling me now as they are taking on patients,” Ponce de Leon says. “You might have a patient with a trach tube and hypertension. An agency with nurses new to home health might not know how to handle that. They would call us for guidance on those scenarios, and we consult with them on scope of services required, then whether they have adequate staff and training to support the patient at that time, or whether they should pass on that admission.”
There are also policy questions. When Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in late 2017, the federal government enacted emergency preparedness planning for the health care industry. Certified Homecare Consulting was early on rolling out these plans, and they have continued working with their agencies as these policies have evolved and expanded.
Marketing and branding
The last major area that Certified Homecare Consulting helps with is in marketing and branding, supplying all necessary customized marketing materials to promote and grow new agencies. Certified Homecare Consulting provides three main areas here:
— Business cards and brochures
— Individualized logo design and delivery for each agency
— Customized website
“I’m actually quite proud of the work we’ve done with the websites,” he says. “Our designers continuously turn out unique, beautiful websites and customized web forms while managing to satisfy the aesthetic each of our clients requests.”
To Ponce de Leon, the advancement that Certified Homecare Consulting has made in its web work for franchises is indicative of the 360-degree service they provide in all areas for home health providers.
“Through creating an avenue into home health ownership where our clients are able to diversify and control their own trajectory while not having to give up hard-earned profits in fees and royalties, starting up a home health agency with Certified Homecare Consulting is definitely the better value for your money over a franchise operation,” he says. “If you’re interested in getting started, definitely give us a call.”
To learn more about how Certified Homecare Consulting can set you on the path to success, visit CertifiedHomecareConsulting.com.