Eric Little, the brand’s chief development officer, explains what’s next for Right at Home as the senior care industry continues to grow.
The aging U.S. population is facing a new dilemma: there are fewer people who are willing and able to take care of them. And with thousands of Baby Boomers turning 65 every single day, this isn’t an issue that’s going away any time soon. That’s where brands operating in the health and senior care industries—like Right at Home—come in.
With an internationally known name and superior senior care services, Right at Home is in a unique position to solve that problem. 1851 Franchise recently spoke to the brand’s chief development officer, Eric Little, to learn more about what’s next not just for Right at Home, but for the in-home senior care industry as a whole.
What are the current trends dominating the senior care franchising industry right now?
From my perspective, there are a few major trends that are really steering the senior care industry. The first one has to do with the overall labor force. Because there are so many people turning 65—about 10,000 every day—there’s a shortage of caregivers out there to ultimately look after them. That means we have to take a close look at our hiring process and make sure we’re bringing in the best possible caregivers to fill that demand.
Another major trend dominating the industry is the fact that franchise brands like Right at Home are taking over more of the market share. It used to be that people would turn to a local company to hire a caregiver for a loved one, but it’s become harder for independent players to compete. Part of that has to do with the changing health care industry—from the Affordable Care Act to general economic pressures, it’s easier for larger companies to keep up with new regulations.
There’s also more room for those companies within the industry—Right at Home included—to grow. We’re living longer than we ever have before in history, and there are fewer adult children to take care of their parents. Not to mention Social Security won’t be able to meet its requirements as they are today, and more people are interested in growing old in the comfort of their own homes. We perfectly fill in that space that leaves a gap—more people are turning to us for help. And it isn’t just hospitals or doctors referring Right at Home’s services anymore. We’ve helped enough families across the world to have a constant stream of referrals from current customers to expand our reach and continue building our brand awareness.
Where do you see the senior care segment heading in the future, and what are your plans for Right at Home?
Like most industries today, I see the senior care segment continuing to gravitate toward bigger brands. Especially from a home care perspective, bigger companies are more likely to have better training and compliance programs for government regulations because we ultimately have more resources. Our franchisees don’t need to worry about following the rules on their own—we tell them exactly what needs to be done in order to be in compliance with the law.
Technology is also going to continue playing an increasingly important role in the senior home care industry. So far, the industry has been largely based on the people who provide home care. But now that’s changing so that those people and technology interact. Take Right at Home’s partnership with Philips—we’ve added home monitoring to our senior care services. That’s a trend that’s only going to grow, and we’re going to continue leveraging technology to take our level of care to the next level.
For Right at Home specifically, our plans are to harness and build on the momentum we’ve already created. We want to be an innovative force in the industry so that we can improve the quality of life for the people that serve. We also want to place more emphasis on investment and training. But we’re already well on our way there—through partnerships with Philips and Harvard Medical School, along with programs like RightTransitions, there’s no shortage of opportunities for Right at Home to grow.
How does Right at Home continue to stand out and differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded industry?
Right at Home’s track record does a lot in terms of differentiating our business model and franchise system. We have a long history of helping people live more comfortably in their own homes—in all Right at Home has helped over 18,500 customers. We’ve also created more than 75,000 jobs since we first started franchising almost 17 years ago. With 500 locations in eight different countries, we’re a substantial player in the senior care industry on a global scale.
But we don’t want to sit back on our track record. Our ability to stand out goes beyond that—it’s hard to compete with the success of our franchisees. The average Right at Home office bills just under $1.5 million. And we’re seeing fantastic growth in the number of franchisees and their performance at each office as well.
What steps is Right at Home taking to engage both its consumers and franchisees?
On the consumer side of our business, we’re taking more steps to enhance Right at Home’s general brand awareness. We’ve learned how to engage consumers directly in order to bypass the traditional referral methods. Right at Home also was one of the first brands in the industry to employ full time social media managers. We have a whole team of people in-house who are solely focused on engaging both current potential customers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Right at Home also has the largest home care group on LinkedIn, where we engage industry professionals and customers about aging issues.
From a franchising perspective, Right at Home also does a lot to engage local business owners. In addition to our annual conference, we offer ongoing training programs to keep our franchisees up to date on best industry practices. We also encourage our owners to connect with one another and communicate outside of regularly scheduled meetings. The biggest thing for us is to be as transparent and clear as possible.
What have been some of Right at Home’s major milestones, and what are you most proud of?
The biggest thing that stands out to me is how many families Right at Home has helped. It’s one thing to list a statistic and say that we’ve helped over 18,500 customers, but our reach goes far beyond that. We’ve helped their families, friends and loved ones too.
Another one of Right at Home’s major milestones is passing the 500-unit mark, which we did last year on the global level. And now, we’re positioned to do that again just in the U.S. within the next 12 months. That growth is due to the brand’s consistent level of care—the dedication from our corporate team, franchisees and caregivers has created a successful system that’s positively impacting people’s lives.