1851 caught up with the franchise development professionals of various brands to learn more about the state of the industry and their predictions for the year ahead.
1851: Who is buying franchises right now and what type of activity are you seeing?
Larry France, Director of Franchise Development at FirstLight Home Care: The buyers we’re seeing are a lot of corporate refugees who have perhaps lost their jobs, and they’re now, say, in their 50s and trying to decide what the next chapter of their career is going to be. They're considering going into business for themselves and franchising is an avenue where they don't have to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch. We’re also seeing people who now want to work for themselves and not for other people.
1851: What's the number one thing franchisees are looking for in the conversations that you're having with prospects?
France: In the home care industry, people are looking for a business where they can make a difference in someone’s life. At the same time, they want the ability to make a living. That’s very important to them.
1851: Do you have an ideal franchisee in your system, and what are their qualities?
France: An ideal franchisee in the FirstLight system is someone who’s a team player and has the ability to create a team. They’re passionate about what they do. They want to make a difference in people’s lives. They want to get involved in their community and feel very good about what they’re doing at the end of the day.
1851: What's the biggest challenge facing franchise development right now and how are you overcoming it?
France: The biggest challenge in the home care industry right now is recruitment. We need people who are qualified and want to take care of people in their homes. Finding employees, not clients, is the biggest challenge right now.
In addition to a dedicated director of recruitment at FirstLight, we also have a lot of tools and resources we offer our franchise owners. One of the things that we’re finding that’s working very well is seniors taking care of seniors. A new caregiver in the future is millennials—they’re on that cusp. They still care, and they’re not so addicted to technology. They still have that personal experience with grandma or another senior they care about and want to help them.
1851: What's one thing prospective franchisees should know about your brand and franchising in general before buying?
France: One thing to know about franchising, in general, is that prospects should shop around. They need to find something that best fits their needs, their personality and their desires.
They should know that FirstLight has a wonderful culture of care that resonates through our organization. Everybody shows respect and dignity toward each other. Also, we’re growing rapidly, and we’re growing the right way: through bringing the very best talent into our organization. You are taking care of people and putting caregivers into the home. It’s a very emotional business.
1851: Why should franchisees invest in your industry and in your brand specifically, and why should they invest now?
France: With 10,000 people per day turning 65, business in our industry is not going to slow down for the next 20 years. It’s growing rapidly and it’s highly competitive. At FirstLight, we go after the people who have the “why” behind the business in our culture of care. Our brand really resonates with people’s core values.