New Owner-Identification Strategy Drives Record Growth for HomeWell

HomeWell Care Services CEO Crystal Franz has a lot to be hopeful for in 2022. After a record-breaking growth year in 2021, Franz said there is no plan for the company to slow down.

In the year ahead, HomeWell is planning for rapid expansion and national brand recognition.

The company is based in Burkburnett, Texas — just north of Dallas — and has about 50 locations across the United States. It provides non-medical home care, including services such as companionship visits at home, specialty assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and everything in between.


Franz comes from a hotel franchising background and joined HomeWell in 2018 to help rebrand the company.

“After that project felt like it was in a really good place, we then set forth to build the infrastructure necessary to support the growth that we knew was going to come organically through the demand in home care,” Franz said.

She then transitioned into the chief strategy officer role before becoming CEO in early 2021. All things considered, it was a good year to be the leader of HomeWell in 2021.


In a year-over-year comparison, HomeWell saw revenue growth of more than 40% in several key areas of the company, including corporate revenue and system-wide revenue. Royalty revenue also grew 48%. HomeWell did not provide the raw financial figures.

HomeWell also signed 17 new contracts, with 15 of those being new owners and the other two being expansions. The company opened up 12 new locations in 2021 and expanded into 26 new territories across the country.

Franz said HomeWell made a “sophisticated effort” to model the traits of the company’s most successful owners and tried to gauge what traits those owners shared.

What she and her team found was that owners with home care experience, a strong business acumen and a passion to want to help people were the most likely to succeed.

“One of the biggest trends that we see are corporate-level folks who want to get out of the rat race and they want something that they can call their own, where they can call the shots and reap what they sow directly,” Franz said. “They have this really great business acumen, but when they wake up and look at themselves in the mirror, they want to feel good about what they’re doing every day.”

Franchise growth was accelerated by COVID-19 across the home care industry. As individuals lost their jobs or decided to change career paths due to the pandemic, home care franchising saw a boom.

On HomeWell’s end, Franz said the company’s entire marketing strategy for finding new and successful owners has shifted because of the company’s findings.

Even if a candidate doesn’t have a traditional home care or health care background, what HomeWell is trying to find is smart, business-savvy people who want to help people and want to better their communities.

With proven owners and a well-established brand, HomeWell was able to put that financially impressive year together in 2021. Franz attributes HomeWell’s agencies, its leaders and their ability to rise to the occasion during the COVID-19 pandemic as the main reason for the company’s success.

“We already knew there was going to be a very organic increase in demand — and the pandemic heightened that helped others really recognize the value of home care,” Franz said. “Our agencies were just exceptional at rising to that occasion, rising to that demand and proving their worth to clients and their families.”

The 40% revenue growth HomeWell saw in 2021 was mostly across the board, Franz said. HomeWell does a lot of private-pay business, and looking at price points, rates and pricing models has been one of the key areas of focus for HomeWell’s franchise business coaches. Those coaches will meet with agency owners regularly to discuss the latest trends in rates.

“In many instances — and from what I’ve heard just listening in to our owners’ discussions — they found that they can raise their rates and the market is supporting the raise,” Franz said. “Our owners aren’t losing any existing clients either from some of those rates being increased.”

The cost of a home health aide saw a 12.5% year-over-year rise to an annual median cost of $61,776, according to Genworth’s annual cost of care survey. Meanwhile, the cost of a home-maker services worker – or a “hands-off” employee that may provide cooking, cleaning and errand support – has increased by 10.4% to an annual median cost of $59,488.

Home care companies have had to raise rates across the board, though demand has not decreased due to those increases.

“Despite the rates going up, in 2021, we had a tremendous increase in service inquiries and new clients,” Family & Nursing Care CEO Neal Kursban recently said. “In fact, we reached a milestone with the highest service hours ever for our company. It comes down to basic economic principles of supply and demand. As long as the demand for private-pay home care services remains high, we’ll continue to increase client rates as needed to ensure the caregivers are proud of what they’re earning.”

For Franz personally, she believes that means the increase in rates is supported by the demand, but also reflects the quality of HomeWell’s home care agencies and the quality of care they are able to provide for clients and their families.

The ability to manage growth from a new hiring standpoint was also something she considers a success for HomeWell. It’s only natural that if a company sees a 40% in revenue, additional staff members need to be hired. Franz said the owners of her agencies have done a tremendous job of hiring and keeping those employees.

“While we’re not insulated from the caregiver shortage crisis in the entire industry, our owners have really done a great job of rallying around that challenge and putting together really great programs to help us try to recruit and retain our caregivers,” she said. “It’s really a testament to the quality of owners that we have that they were able to support that demand and [we] ultimately ended up with the system growth that we have.”

Looking ahead, Franz said HomeWell’s franchise development will be a major focus in 2022.

It plans to invest specifically in training, and HomeWell recently hired a new senior director of training to lead that effort. Franz said HomeWell also plans to expand the franchise business coach team to reflect the growth the company has seen over the past twelve months.

“I think the biggest business opportunity that we are excited about is looking to continue to build those partnerships across the continuum of care with different referral sources,” Franz said. “One of the things we’re focused on is being more data driven and teaching our owners how to be more data driven. And that requires us to be more purposeful in how we do our business.”

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