How to Start a Senior Care Franchise

Written by: Patrick Findaro
Last Updated by María Fernández Amato: November 14, 2022
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This article is based on the video featured above, originally recorded for Vetted Biz YouTube Channel.

Senior Care Franchise

Patrick: Hey, Patrick Findaro here, co-founder at Vetted Biz and Visa Franchise. Today, I’m very excited to have Kevin Tagarao, who’s the COO as well as the head of franchise development for 1Heart Caregiver Services, also known as 1Heart. And we also have Randolph Clarito, who leads 1Heart’s franchise development, sales, and also supports the ongoing coaching efforts of franchisees.


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1Heart Caregiver Services, a franchise that was founded in 2003 and ran their corporate location, really cemented themselves in the Southern California market before beginning to franchise in 2015. In 6 years or a little less, they’ve grown to about 15 locations

That being said, let’s begin. How are you guys doing today?

Randolph: I’m good. Thank you, Patrick.

Kevin: Doing great.

Senior Care Market Size

Senior Care franchise

P: Thank you too. We were talking a little bit about senior care. It’s an industry that more and more clients are exploring, given that it’s a relatively low-investment threshold to get into. But I’d just love to hear from you two the size of the market and opportunities, as you see it, in the senior care space.

R: Yeah. I’m a young baby boomer. Of course, Kevin is the younger generation but, with the 77 million baby boomers, we know that there’s 10,000 Americans that are turning 65-years-old since 2011. Right now, in 2021, there are about 10,000 Americans turning 75 every day

If you’re going to take a look at the long-term care market, which includes assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and home healthcare, etc., the value of the industry is 443 billion. And that’s in 2019. Right, Kevin? And, in 2027, it’s going to grow to 751 billion. That way, there’s going to be an increment of 308 billion dollars over a period of 8 years. It’s going to be not only an attractive industry, but a sustainable industry. And I know Kevin can support it between now and 10 to 20 more years. Right, Kevin?

K: Yeah. I think that’s the defining generation for this industry, which is the baby boomers. When everyone was coming back from the war, we saw an explosion of birth of roughly 4 million every year from like the middle 1940s to the middle of 1960s. And they moved every industry from, especially the baby industry. 

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When they were in their adolescence, we saw jeans and disco exploding. And now they’re in their senior age and we’re starting to see the senior-care industry really explode. And, as Randy mentioned, they’re only 65. That’s relatively young, they’re still getting older. Therefore, I like to say that this market, while it might be competitive, it’s not saturated. There’ are a lot of seniors that need home care.

Senior Care

P: And what would happen in the past? You have the market that’s growing bigger than, with Americans moving around, chasing opportunities. Are the children not caring as much for their parents and relying on other caregivers?

K: Well, we see that a lot of seniors can move to assisted living centers. But a lot of them want to live at home. And that’s something that our service provides by assigning a caregiver to take care of their loved ones at the comfort of their own home. You wanted to add to that, Randy?

R: Yeah. The statistics would show, Patrick, that about an average of 280 miles is the distance of family members who are away from their parents. As I mentioned to you earlier, my mother-in-law is in Miami. We’re here 3,000 miles away. Consequently, it’s a struggle, and that’s why she has her own private caregiver. 

That’s the real challenge. More and more seniors are living longer, but they’re at health risk. As Kevin mentioned, they want to stay in the comforts of their home, but they don’t perform the activities of their daily living. They either go to a nursing home or hire a private caregiver. We’ve had clients who are already 107-year-old. That’s perfect, but they can’t be by themselves.

home care franchise

K: Yeah, it can be difficult. I think it’s like they’re referred to as a “sandwich generation.” Because not only do they have to be a family caregiver taking care of their parents, but they have their own children as well as their full-time jobs. It’s hard juggling all that.

Expertise Needed to Open a Senior Care Franchise

P: And for someone that might be interested in taking advantage of this opportunity and shift and demographics, do they already need to have professional experience? What kind of experience do they need?

R: A lot of our existing franchisees right now do not have healthcare experience. Because 1Heart is a non-medical home care service company, therefore we don’t need to have somebody who has got some healthcare experience, not even a nurse. Because it’s more like an unregulated industry that it only entails companionship, medical appointments, and assistance in meal preparation, a little of the lighthouse keeping. It’s more like a companionship and a simpler, you know, day-to-day assistance to the seniors.

K: Yeah. Well, having a medical background might be helpful, it’s not absolutely necessary. In fact, I think, Randy, that our top franchisee performers didn’t have any home care or medical experience at all.

R: But I’d like to add to that, Kevin, because our group itself has a combined 90 years of healthcare experience.

Therefore, if there’s a need to understand a little about the pathophysiology of the disease, about the care for dementia or mild cognitive impairments, we are the guys that know about it and we can coach them…

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P: It’s being on you?

R: Yes.

P: Obviously, that’d be one of the benefits for opening a franchise, particularly with 1Heart, as opposed to just opening up your own caregiver service. But I would love to just hear from you two benefits from someone doing their own type of business that doesn’t have that franchise brand and systems versus going with a franchise like 1Heart.

R: For the past 14 years, I’ve seen also that there are mom-and-pop home care companies. Right? We’ve studied that and we have seen numerous home care companies fall out. Meaning, getting off the wagon, because the industry is more and more getting professionalized and the market is brand-driven. Whatever industry you are right now, whether it’s a restaurant service, clothes, it’s brand-driven. 

The market is brand-driven. More so, the hospitals and the senior living communities would really ask you, if you’re Mr. Randolph Home Care, or Mr. Kevin Home Care, “Who are you in the field of healthcare?” That way, it allows a question of credibility and authority, whether you’re gonna be good. The brand is very important. The brand name, 1Heart, itself speaks of the heart, that we provide care for the seniors.

K: Yeah. And you have to bear in mind that families, they don’t think about home care every day until they really need it. You know, when their father can no longer remember their name, their own children’s name, or their mom can no longer walk, that’s when they start scrambling for help and looking, you know, “What kind of help do I need to get?” And they usually don’t wanna go with a mom and pop, they wanna go with an established credible business that has a lot of experience and success in taking care of this vulnerable population.

home care franchise

P: Yeah, imagine the sales process in terms of acquiring new clients. They’re going to be a lot easier, as well as potentially marketing, getting those leads, if you’re going to go with the franchise route.

K: Yeah, we don’t do the bare minimum. We uphold the standard. The nice thing about it is that, especially here in California, the legislature is following that imposing more and more requirements. “Are you doing criminal background checks? Are caregivers your employees?” And the nice thing about it is, when that was all starting out, 1Heart was already upholding all of those standards. 

That’s why we were able to glide along easily and the other mom-and-pops were struggling and, unfortunately, a lot of them closed down.

P: And I imagine what’s like, being based in California where it’s generally harder than some of your edition states, like Arizona and Nevada. It gets a little easier when you go and help franchisees open in some of these other states. Right?

K: Yeah. You’d be surprised. Actually, before 2016, it was like the wild wild west here, there was no home-care law. But, since then, there’s been a series of assembly bills and laws that were passed that really regulated the home care industry here in California. But the nice thing about it was that we were able to, like I said, uphold the standards. And the franchisees we had then were able to get their license right away.

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Understanding the 1Heart Difference from other Franchises

P: Okay. And what differentiates you guys from other senior-care franchises? Last count, I think there were over 10 senior-care franchises of all different sizes. Some of them have just two locations, some that have 400 plus locations. I’d just love to see how you guys differentiate and why franchisees go with you guys instead of some of your other franchise competitors.

R: Even before we started franchising, Kevin mentioned that somehow we were prepared. In 2011, I was the co-founder also of 1Heart Caregiver University. Even in that period, without the legislature getting into the industry, we had trained more than 3,000 caregivers. And today we even train some of the competitions’ caregivers. It’s so good to take part in professionalizing the industry. The reason being is we don’t handle products; we handle human lives. It’s very important, on the wellness side, and, at the same time, the continuing education.

With my 39 years in healthcare, I’ve seen that our healthcare industry is defective. It focuses on illness. 1Heart, over the years, focuses on wellness. Hence, we’ve done some brain-health education seminars, aerobics brain exercises, fall prevention. Kevin schedules all the wellness activities and programs, something that not an ordinary home-care company, or even the big ones, are doing. You can imagine…

P: Yeah, preventative care and ongoing maintenance, that way you’re not having huge issues.

R: It’s a phenomenal result that the seniors are really able to experience cognitive stimulation during our wellness programs.

home care franchise

Patrick: People are living well in their 80s, 90s. Where probably, when you first started out in healthcare, they weren’t having as many cognitive issues because people didn’t live that long.

Randolph: No, no. Now there’s a real increase in cognitive disorder, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re locked down, they’re into solidarity, they’re into solo, by themselves. That way, it’s great that 1Heart participates and contributes to the wellness programs of the senior communities.

Kevin: Even before we were franchising we would ask ourselves, “Why franchise when there’s already a lot of home-care franchises out there?” and the answer was we were beating them. Therefore, if we can beat them, we can teach others how to beat them. 

For me, I’m in operations, I’m not in franchise. That’s why I’d rather, instead of having 500 mediocre franchisees, I’d rather have 50 very good franchisees. That’s one of the reasons why we’re right now focused on California, on the west region of the United States. Because we wanna make sure that the franchisees are following the 1Heart system, that they’re doing it our way and they’re maintaining the quality care that we provide out there.

1Heart Franchisee Work

senior care

P: You talked a little bit about the key services that you provide franchisees. I’d be curious what exactly is the franchisee doing day-to-day in the operations?

You alluded to being by the side of the patient, helping with medical-appointment scheduling, but I would love to just hear what day-to-day operations look like for a franchisee.

K: Sure. There’s essentially two functions that a franchise owner would have to fulfill, either they do it with a partner or they hire someone. And the first one is that they would do field work. Then, they would be a client-care manager and they would go out there getting referrals, talking to family members, getting them to sign contracts, and doing case management. Essentially, making sure that the service being provided by the caregiver is up to par.

And then, the other side of that is that you would have someone work at the office. They would do bookkeeping, payroll billing, they would do administrative work, and they would also be focused on recruiting and staffing.

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