Get All Access for $5/mo

Senior Care Franchises Among the Fastest-Growing Systems With the population aging, home-care outfits move quickly up the list of fastest-growing franchises.

By Jason Daley

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Our list of the 100 fastest-growing franchises is a diverse lot--everything from a floor refinishing company to tax preparation firms to pizza places and even doggie day care franchises are represented. Despite the assortment of concepts, the list, culled from Entrepreneur's 2011 Franchise 500® rankings, still lets us read the tea leaves of the economy and franchise sector.

Most notable this time around is the rise of senior home care, which seems to be reaching critical mass, with eight senior care concepts making our top 100. After a few years of kicking the tires and cautiously watching to see whether senior care franchises would catch on, franchisees are beginning to invest in proven senior care systems.

"According to the U.S. Census, there are roughly 40 million seniors in the United States right now, and that number is expected to double over the next 20 years or so," says Eric Stites, president and CEO of Franchise Business Review, which recently released a detailed assessment of the franchised senior care sector. "From both a short-term and long-term perspective, it's a market where there's a clear need that isn't going to go away. In-home care isn't something that can be replaced by technology. There's a strong need for the services today, and that need is continuing to grow."

BrightStar Care debuted at number 41 after adding 51 new units in the last year. Chuck Bailey, BrightStar's president, says several factors converged to prime the growth of in-home care companies, and BrightStar plans to open 90 locations this year, including units in England, Ireland and Australia.

Baby boomers, who are reaching the age of 65 at the rate of 7,000 a day, have lots of pent-up wealth, he notes, and are used to paying for services. They also have seen and rejected the nursing home model used by their grandparents and parents and want to stay independent as long as possible. "Baby boomers are using whatever means they can to stay in their home and live a meaningful life," Bailey says.

Michael Newman, who launched Always Best Care Senior Services--which made its debut on our list at position 30 this year--predicts senior care will grow even more as institutions see the value and cost savings provided by the sector.

"Legislators are aging and becoming more in tune with the situation. From a financial perspective, it costs a lot to put someone in a nursing home, it costs less to put them in assisted living, and it costs even less to let them stay at home," he says.

"Governments, insurance companies and PPOs are all looking at this as a less expensive option. We simply don't have enough nursing homes to deal with all these seniors. In-home care makes sense."

Despite the meteoric growth of many home-care franchises, the segment is still highly fragmented and dominated by mom-and-pop businesses of varying quality. Bailey says his company and others set higher standards for care, and as consumer expectations rise, home care will go even more mainstream.

"What you have now is an industry that is like the Oklahoma land rush. There are thousands of companies at the border, ready to rush out and take their space. Because of that, the consumer is confused, and there's no expected standard of service," he says. "But people, as they begin to trust us, will start to spend more money. They're going to Google 'home healthcare' and find a national company like ours and know we do it right."

Newman of Always Best Care agrees. "Now that folks see who we are and how long we've been around, we're gaining traction. People are becoming aware of the opportunity in home healthcare."

Jason Daley lives and writes in Madison, Wisconsin. His work regularly appears in Popular Science, Outside and other magazines.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.


Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.