FirstLight Home Care brings caregivers directly to aging seniors, enabling them to stay where they are most comfortable -- while receiving top quality care -- in their golden years. With 145 open units across the United States and 40 more expected to open in 2019, the brand is well on its way to becoming a household name in the senior home care sector of the franchising industry.
Part of the brand’s strategic plans to grow in 2019 and beyond is targeting Minneapolis, Minnesota as a prime market for the brand’s expansion. The brand is looking to open between five and eight franchises in the Minneapolis market, with FirstLight Home Care planning to open at least one office in 2019 and another one or two in 2020.
“Minneapolis is a great, upper-Midwestern city,” FirstLight Home Care Executive Director of Franchise Development Jamie Davis said. “It’s family-oriented and a wonderful place to live. It also continues to grow. Like a lot of the country, it’s getting older as well, and I think people who live in Minneapolis tend to stay there. The city has families who are a little less migratory than in some other cities.”
FirstLight Home Care is specifically looking for prospective franchisees who would open locations in the Minneapolis neighborhoods of Apple Valley, Bloomington, Chanhassen, Eagen, Eden Prairie, Lake Elmo, Maple Grove, Rosemont, Savage, Shakopee, Shoreview, Shorewood and Woodbury. The startup costs for a FirstLight Home Care franchise range from $99,681 to $152,926 and the franchise fee is $44,500.
“Families have their elder members continue to age and they want to age in place,” Davis said. “They’re going to want those family members to remain comfortable and in their homes. It’s not an uncommon story. Family is really important to a lot of Americans and Minneapolis is an all-American city. It’s a reflection of good, solid, Midwestern values.”
Home care as an industry is not really well-known, according to Davis, because when people think of healthcare, they do not think of the home care component. This makes the brand an excellent business ownership opportunity for Minneapolis entrepreneurs.
“FirstLight Home Care is only nine years old,” Davis said. “We haven’t been around that long, and while we have a really well-established leadership team, we haven’t had a chance to grow in the Minneapolis market. It’s a huge, untapped market that continues to grow.”
Davis noted that FirstLight Home Care does not actively seek to attract “huge players” in the franchising space. The brand’s main goal is to find franchisees who are a great fit for the brand and believe in its mission and help them be successful as soon as possible. FirstLight Home Care is also a member of VetFran and MinorityFran. Thanks to these memberships, FirstLight Home Care veteran franchise owners qualify for a $12,500 discount off of the franchise fee and women and minority franchisees qualify for a $2,500 discount.
“This is such a relationship and people business that we really want to make sure our franchise owners get off to a really strong start with their first office and get out and network and just learn and understand the business,” he said.
What sets FirstLight Home Care apart from other players in the senior home care industry is the company culture and solid leadership team.
“The reality is that if you look at our Item 2 in the FDD, our franchise has a really well-established leadership team, not just in franchising, but in home care as well,” Davis said. “Combined, we all have more than 130 years of experience in the home care industry.”
FirstLight Home Care’s Culture of Care also sets it apart. The brand’s Culture of Care refers to its commitment to accountability, personal growth and service excellence.
“That Culture of Care weaves through everything that we do,” Davis said. “It’s not just about customer service. It’s about how franchisees attract and retain the best caregivers.”
FirstLight Home Care caregivers are consistently provided with training and professional development opportunities. Many people might say that the customer comes first, but the way FirstLight Home Care sees it, the caregiver comes first, Davis said.
“This ultimately results in lower turnover, which results in better continuity of care and higher customer satisfaction,” Davis said. “Industry turnover is in the 60 percent range for caregivers, which is not good for customers. Our turnover is in the 20 to 22 percent range, and there are reasons for that. It’s about how we treat our caregivers.”
FirstLight Home Care franchisees should have basic business acumen and be able to lead teams and care for clients. The most important task they will have is managing the caregiver side of things.
“We’re not looking to grow just for the sake of growth,” Davis said. “We’re looking to be around for a long time. We’re a privately-owned company. More and more home care companies are coming under private equity ownership. We are not that and we don’t intend to be that.”
While prospective FirstLight Home Care franchisees must be well-funded, the most important thing to the brand is their motivation to open a home care franchise.
“We want to see people coming through here who are interested in making an impact in their community in a meaningful way,” Davis said. “An ideal franchise owner has to be able to manage a team and be a good leader and be organized and be able to sell. But the real thing that makes a person able to sell is the belief in why you’re doing what you’re doing. That’s the key to FirstLight Home Care, it’s the motivation for franchise ownership.