With the aging population in the US continuing to grow and more seniors preferring to age in place, the demand for home care services is greater than ever before.
The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 70 percent of adults aged 65+ will need home-care assistance at some point – representing many challenges and opportunities for both independent agencies and franchise owners.
In this article, we look at eight steps home care franchises can take to overcome their unique challenges – and make the most of every new opportunity – to guarantee success across locations in 2023.
1. Streamline day-to-day operations
For franchise owners, effectively managing multiple locations requires streamlined, standardized operations that can be consistently applied across all franchisee units. This not only simplifies your business practices, but also reduces overhead, and puts you in a strong position to successfully open up new franchise sites in the future.
While it’s certainly possible to achieve this step with a range of software tools and add-ons, long-term success will rely on having an all-in-one solution, like Smartcare Software. This facilitates the smooth running of all your day-to-day business operations across all locations, including:
- Better care coordination
- Secure communications between your teams, clients, and families
- Coordinated sales and marketing
- Improved accounting and finances
- Enhanced caregiver recruitment and hiring
- Advanced caregiver engagement and management
Another advantage of partnering up with the right software provider is that when your business operations evolve as your business grows, you will be in a stronger position to seamlessly accommodate any changes needed.
2. Measure and monitor operational success
A key benefit of standardized operations across all franchise units is that franchise owners can better oversee and manage each site’s performance against the same measurable criteria.
Ideally, you need business intelligence tools with a real-time KPI dashboard that lets you easily see how each franchisee is doing, identify any issues before they become more significant, and leverage data to make clear business decisions.
Tracking KPIs at an enterprise level with a software solution like Smartcare will also help you identify successes in individual locations, like increased client satisfaction scores, reduced turnover, and profitability – so you can recognize and reward positive contributions and drive engagement.
3. Stabilize cash flow
Cash flow is the money moving in and out of your business, and constantly monitoring this is essential for running a profitable business in the long term. Franchises must stabilize cash flow in order to cover payroll, upgrades, equipment, loan repayments, and other essential business needs.
However, this can be an incredibly time-consuming task for franchisees and franchise owners alike without an effective strategy in place.
Top tips for better cash flow management include:
- Stay on top of billing and receiving payments
- Generate cash flow statements
- Monitor where your money is going and look for ways to cut spending
- Find efficiency gaps in your business operations to increase savings
- Make analyzing your statements a regular part of your daily/weekly routine
- Take advantage of technology solutions to streamline financial processes and increase efficiency
The right technology combined with the right business strategy can significantly impact your home care franchise’s bottom line. For example, running financial reports at franchise and independent levels will allow you to spend less time crunching numbers and more time focused on successfully growing your business.
4. Remain compliant with federal, state, and local regulations
With home care industry trends continuing to evolve, businesses expect to see further regulation changes at the federal, state, and local levels. This will likely include changes to worker classification rules, licensing requirements, and background check requests.
Home care franchise owners managing multiple locations across multiple states need to pay close attention to ensure every franchisee remains compliant.
The simplest solution to staying compliant in every aspect of your home care business is to invest in a home care software platform — like Smartcare — that includes a complete admin dashboard to keep you informed in real time.
5. Make caregiver recruitment and hiring a top priority
The rising demand for home care services is positive news for franchise owners and franchisees alike, but it does mean an increase in demand for skilled caregivers.
It’s well known across the industry that finding and securing high-quality, dedicated caregivers is becoming increasingly difficult. It requires a well-thought-out hiring strategy along with a fast and efficient hiring process.
Many home care franchises will have an applicant tracking system (ATS) in place for recruiting and hiring caregivers – like Smartcare Software’s ENGAGE Hiring Hub – which will help to effectively grow their talent pool and ensure their brand is being represented accurately across sites.
However, for those that don’t, it’s essential to prioritize caregiver hiring in 2023 to secure a steady supply of reliable, loyal, hardworking employees.
Our recent article on how to increase your chances of hiring top-quality caregivers and ensure your franchise is providing a positive candidate experience is a great place to start.
6. Reduce caregiver turnover
Another ongoing theme in the home care industry – affecting independent agencies and home care franchises alike – is how to reduce high turnover.
High caregiver turnover can have serious consequences for home care franchises, including hard and soft costs – like caregiver hiring and recruitment costs – which are well documented in published industry benchmarks.
Reducing preventable turnover is the place to start facing this challenge head-on in 2023. The good news is that effective caregiver retention strategies can be relatively cost-effective and straightforward to put into place – even across multiple locations.
It’s vital to place emphasis on the caregiver experience your home care franchise provides across all sites, paying particular attention to the following:
- Training and development, including caregiver career paths
- Recognition and reward
- Unique, high-value benefits
- Better client-caregiver matching
- Caregiver referral programs
- Effective communication
- Asking for and acting on feedback
As you can see, you don’t necessarily need to pay more money to retain your talented caregivers, but you do need to pay more attention to their needs.
To significantly improve caregiver engagement and productivity, reduce turnover, and potentially see up to four times more profit across franchise locations in 2023, investing in the right solutions for caregiver retention — such as Smartcare’s proven Caregiver Rewards system — is definitely worth consideration.
7. Build a profitable client base
Most franchisees will have a head start in growing their client base if buying into a well-known home-care brand but building the competency of their team and earning a good reputation in their local area still requires a lot of effort in the early stages.
You can’t afford to wait for referrals to come to you and may need to invest more time and money at the start of your venture to generate business and grow your client pipeline.
A crucial part of the strategy will involve building relationships within your local community to secure strong partnerships with referral sources while at the same time delivering consistent, high-quality care to existing clients/patients.
Read our recent blogs on strengthening your referral partner relationships and creating a successful client referral program for top tips and innovative ways to get valuable new leads for your home care business.
For franchise owners, it’s essential to track, nurture, and onboard clients consistently across franchise locations. Doing this at an enterprise level with tools like Smartcare Software allows you to do this all in one place. It also allows you to keep a close eye on those all-important client satisfaction ratings.
8. Broaden the range of care services offered
As more businesses enter the home care space, it’s becoming increasingly important for franchises to differentiate themselves and rethink how they package their services and pricing in 2023 and beyond.
Many have already begun experimenting with new business models and expanded services to better align with the growing needs of today’s seniors, identifying niche areas in the market – including specialist dementia care, companionship services, subscription-based services, pay-per-visit pricing, and teaming up with senior living communities.
One of the biggest ways this will likely impact home care franchises is how they market themselves from the corporate and franchisee levels. Having a robust, integrated CRM and marketing platform, like Smartcare, can provide an all-in-one solution for both, minimizing disruption to workflows and helping you snap up new business ahead of your competitors.
Fortunately, standardizing and managing operations across multiple locations, tracking and monitoring progress, overseeing caregiver management and care coordination, and organizing training, support, and resources across sites can be met with an all-in-one solution such as Smartcare Software.
To learn more about how Smartcare Software can help you manage your home care franchise more efficiently and effectively, reduce overhead, and overcome any challenges the industry throws at you in 2023, please call us today or request a free demo.