Breaking the Mold

Is there a nurse in the house?

Is there a nurse in the house?
Who: Home Health Mates
Where: 1215 Livingston Ave., #306
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
How much: $27,000 to $30,000 franchise fee; total cost, $89,900 to $134,400
What makes it different: Professional medical care at home

As difficult as the economic climate is, Jonathan Herman sees a silver lining for franchisors.

"A lot of people are tired of working for big corporations," he says. "They want to take control of their lives." He ought to know; he left a career on Wall Street to become CEO of Home Health Mates.

Herman's uncle, Joel Markel, spent 20 years building a home health care business up to eight locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But knowing that he couldn't grow any further on his own, he brought Herman on to explore the possibility of franchising. With the U.S. Census Bureau predicting that one in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2030, there was no doubt that a business serving the elderly made sense. Of course, Markel and Herman were not the first to realize this: Senior care franchises are already plentiful; 16 were listed in the 2009 Franchise 500.

Most of those franchises focus on nonmedical companion care, and that's what sets Home Health Mates apart. Depending on the laws in their state, franchisees can also offer in-home nursing care and facility staffing for hospitals and assisted living facilities--and they can even work with Medicaid and Medicare. The diversity of services Home Health Mates provides gives franchisees "a cushion in uneven economic times," Herman says.

Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

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This article was originally published in the September 2009 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Breaking the Mold.

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