Franchise Agencies vs. Independent Agencies

As you begin your search for open Caregiving positions, you may find a senior home care company with the same name looking to hire Caregivers for different open positions from different office locations. This is because the agencies are franchisees of the same franchise company, with each agency owned by a different individual and servicing a different territory.

Many senior home care agencies are franchises created to provide non-medical care for seniors and the disabled. The individual owner has agreed to pay a franchise royalty fee to the parent company in exchange for use of the name and the business operating information. The franchise owner has the support of the corporate office for their marketing, sales and operations. The franchisee continues to pay a percentage of their sales to the corporate office for on-going guidance and benefits.

McDonalds, Subway and Dunkin Donuts are all franchise companies who provide their business model to franchisees, who are the individual owners who implement the business. As the franchise business model provides the same information to all of the owners, you should be able to receive the same burger, sub sandwich or donut at all their locations. Senior Home Care Agency franchises seek to deliver the same consistency in service at all of their locations. Over the last decade, more and more senior home care agencies began launching franchise programs in an effort to keep up with the care needs of an aging population.

Popular senior care franchises are Home Instead, Comfort Keepers, Visiting Angels, Senior Helpers, Right at Home, Home Helpers, Homewatch, Comforcare and Griswold Special Care. Some of these franchises were founded by individuals who were involved in caregiving for years and others were founded by individuals who were formerly involved in other franchise companies, and then transferred the model to senior care (Home Instead’s founder, for instance, worked for Merry Maids prior to starting the Home Instead senior home care franchise).

All of the senior home care agency franchises have their own operating models and marketing approach. Most franchisees cooperate very well with their neighboring franchisees. They are able to refer both clients and Caregivers to each other. However, as senior home care is a service industry, each franchise is only as good as the individual who is implementing the agency business model. Because of this, you should be aware that you may run into an occasional situation where the neighboring franchises do not work well together. If you are searching for a new Caregiving position, be aware that usually each franchise location has a different owner, although on occasion, one individual may own 2 or 3 franchise territories. Franchises typically separate their territories according to zip-codes.

Independently owned Senior Home Care Agencies may be part of a larger corporation, such as ResCare or Maxim, with many nationwide locations, or they may be a small business operating in one area. Many of the smaller agencies may be operated by a Registered Nurse or Licensed Social Worker who ventured out on their own after working for a larger corporation.

Because of the wide variety of Senior Home Care Agency ownership, the benefits and training vary. Ask questions at your interview about the agency ownership so you can know what to expect. Find out how they manage after-hours on-call and staffing for new shifts.

Find out how they verify your hours worked for payroll processing. Do they use a telephony phone system for you to call when you arrive and leave the assignment? Does this roll into payroll so your schedule is always accurate? Or will they require you to drop your time-sheet by the office each week in order to be paid? How do they handle over-time pay? When do they conduct employee reviews? Do they have a training program that allows for advancement? Do they provide a referral bonus for Caregiver and Client referrals? Do they staff nursing homes and assisted living facilities?

Most Senior Home Care Agencies will explain all of their benefits at your initial interview. Some states require a certain amount of training hours to be provided by the agency before they can staff a new Caregiver. Ask questions so that you will know what to expect and how to succeed in the agency’s corporate culture.