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Homewatch CareGivers

NEW JERSEY

Larry Aronson zeroed in on Homewatch CareGivers, realizing an aging baby boomer population would result in a large demand for in-home senior care.
Source: Homewatch CareGivers
Larry Aronson zeroed in on Homewatch CareGivers, realizing an aging baby boomer population would result in a large demand for in-home senior care.
Description: Home health-care services for seniors
Owner: Larry Aronson
Years in business: 7
No. of franchises owned: 3
Start-up costs: $83,250 to $137,500, including $49,000 franchise fee; $50,000 cash
Franchisor fees: Royalties 5% of monthly gross revenue; marketing 1% of monthly gross revenues
2015 revenue, 2016 projection: $3.9 million; $4.5 million
2016 projected annual growth rate:

An aging baby boomer population means the need for in-home senior care is only going to grow in the years ahead. That's the primary reason Larry Aronson decided in 2009 to look at this segment of the franchising world for his next career move. He had already spent 24 years in the consumer packaged-goods industry, with companies such as P&G and Revlon, and felt his management experience, coupled with the growth potential in home-based care, was a perfect fit.

Company founder Paul Sauer started Homewatch in Denver in 1976 as a pet- and house-sitting service. As he worked with older clients, he discovered that most senior citizens preferred care in the familiar surroundings of their home rather than in an assisted-living or nursing facility. In 1980 he began offering in-home care for seniors. Now Homewatch Caregivers has more than 110 franchises in 220 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Additional franchisee resources

Home health care is a "very personal business where trust and confidence of both clients and referral sources is critical," Aronson said. Not surprisingly, finding — and keeping — skilled and reliable home health-care workers is one of his biggest challenges. "We have made a conscious choice to focus on retention of good caregivers," he said. That means he offers pay and benefits that are at the "high end" of what's typically offered in the in-home care industry in order to keep turnover low.

The parent company has been a source of support, Aronson said. They continue to market the brand nationally and work diligently to find and vet potential vendors. Aronson's best piece of advice for would-be franchisees: "Make sure you have enough cash," he said. "If you want to put your business on a growth trajectory, it will take longer and cost more than you expect."

When he started, he had enough cash set aside to enable him to wait 18 months before drawing a salary from the business. When that time came, he instead used the available cash to hire more in-home workers and waited another year before taking a salary. That enabled him to grow the business faster, but Aronson acknowledges that not every franchisee can wait that long to take money from their business. "Whatever you budget for getting the business off the ground, add another 25 percent to that number," he advised.

"Whatever you budget for getting the business off the ground, add another 25 percent to that number." -Larry Aronson

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