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Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Home Care Business

Starting a business always involves a degree of risk. As businessman Frederick B. Wilcox once said, “Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.” But that doesn’t mean that aspiring entrepreneurs can’t prepare themselves for common pitfalls. That’s especially true of the growing home care business market.

Home care is an attractive and booming sector of the healthcare industry, where entrepreneurs can drive profits while making a difference for older adults in their communities. But it’s a business that demands attention and planning from the beginning. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons home care businesses fail, and what you can do to set yourself apart.

How to Start a Home Care Business: Top Mistakes to Avoid

Concentrated entrepreneur analyzing metrics on a laptop
Mistake #1: Trying to Go It Alone

When you’re starting a home care business, two of the most important, yet difficult-to-accomplish, tasks are creating your business plan and securing the funds. These two steps are critical to the early health of your business, but they can be tough to get right when you’re starting from scratch.

Your business plan should be fully fleshed out, detailing how you’re going to attract and maintain a solid client base, how you will handle scaling and growing your business, your plans for revenue management, and your goals for sales, marketing, staffing, and so much more. You have to be able to think of nearly everything, and then some, to set a solid foundation.

Many first-time entrepreneurs also fail to account for the amount of capital they will need to secure, now and in the future, to keep their doors open. From finding the perfect location to staffing, having a substantial pot of reserve funds is crucial. But it can be difficult to plan for this when you’re just getting started

How to Avoid this Pitfall

Joining a home care franchise is the best way to set yourself up for success from day 1. When you choose to work within an established brand like ComForCare, you’ll have a proven business model on which to build your dreams. Using our robust pool of resources, you can create a highly detailed business plan based on our corporate team’s market research, your fellow franchisees’ wealth of experience, and your own vision for success.

Joining a franchise takes much of the guesswork out of financial planning, too. While you will be responsible for managing your finances, you’ll have a clear understanding of what the first year looks like, as well as business coaches and training to back you up. 

Check out our start-up costs to see how becoming a part of ComForCare can turn a low investment into high returns.

Mistake #2: Not Having a Strong Differentiation Strategy

Every single home care agency out there says that they have exceptional caregivers who provide the best possible care for their clients. Now, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on quality care or passionate caregivers. But when families are searching for your services in an increasingly competitive market, you’ll need more than your word alone to stand apart from the crowd.

How to Avoid this Pitfall

When you’re searching for a franchise to join, look at their reputation, testimonials, and differentiators. Look for offerings that add value to clients, are unique within the market, and are difficult for other agencies to duplicate. At ComForCare, we have a number of differentiators that help each of our franchisees succeed in their local areas:

  • DementiaWise® training for caregivers: Earning the recognition of the Alzheimer's Association places our DementiaWise program among the most effective and reliable.
  • Connected Care: ComForCare's personalized remote patient monitoring program connects people with diverse needs to continuous support, education, and well-being, right at home. This service opens new avenues for franchisees seeking to expand their client base.
  • Caregiver matching: With our personalized matching process, clients can expect a seamless connection between their loved one and their dedicated caregiver, built on shared values and expertise.
  • Flexible scheduling: Unlike other agencies, ComForCare’s business model allows us to provide part-time, full-time, or around-the-clock care, as well as make short- and long-term arrangements. 
  • Industry awards & accreditation: From Great Place to Work certifications to ACHC accreditation, there are so many ways to set yourself apart from the competition as a ComForCare franchisee.

Senior caregiver pouring coffee for a client at his home

Mistake #3: Not Doing Enough Homework on the Industry

Every entrepreneur ought to know that to succeed, you need to be a student of your industry—and of business as a whole. You can’t innovate if you’re treading water, and this is where many first-time home care business owners get into hot water.

You’ll need to research many different aspects of in-home senior care, such as:

  • Licensing & state-specific requirements
  • Caregiver recruitment & training
  • Services & pricing strategies
  • Care scheduling
  • Outreach strategies for local community partners
  • Setting up your office, including financials
  • Sales & marketing
  • Compliance
  • Competitive analysis for your local market

How to Avoid this Pitfall

One of the most attractive things about joining a home care franchise like ComForCare is that it doesn’t require previous experience in senior care. That’s because we provide best-in-class training programs to educate you on all aspects of running a non-medical home care business that you need to know. 

Franchisees complete five phases of training in their first year, including online, in-person, one-on-one, and group learning sessions for a truly comprehensive approach. That’s not to mention the ongoing support you get from your dedicated business consultant. You can also become active in our network, where franchisees come together to share knowledge, generate thought leadership, and so much more.

Mistake #4: Investing Too Little in Your Sales & Digital Marketing Strategy

Too many home care business owners—especially those trying to start independent agencies—underestimate the power of digital marketing. They may think that because they work with an older population, tactics like paid search campaigns, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and staying active on social media aren’t really relevant for their business. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

According to the 2023 Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Study, 30.9% of marketing sources were past client referrals. The next most popular source was internet searches, at 9.1%. Think about it: your digital presence can make it easier or harder for past clients to share their experiences, generate more interest, and boost your reputation online.

  • There are over 22,000 online searches for “home care” every month on average (Source: Semrush)
  • 98% of people read their local businesses’ online reviews (Source: BrightLocal)
  • 8 of 10 methods the top home care agencies use to market their services are based on online channels (Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Study)

How to Avoid this Pitfall

ComForCare provides marketing training and branding support for all new franchisees to kickstart their journey to success. While some franchisees choose to hire sales & marketing support staff, others rely on the corporate marketing materials we can provide to get them started. 

We recommend a mixture of active, local participation on your social media channels and Google Business Profile. But we’ll always be there to provide you with additional resources as you focus on growing your business.

Don’t Miss Out on the Many Benefits of Franchising

If you’re interested in finally taking your first steps toward owning a business that helps people, don’t be a victim of franchise FOMO. There are too many benefits to miss out on—support, training, planning, and marketing tools that independent home care owners can only dream of. Set your home care business up for long-term success when you franchise with ComForCare.

Choose ComForCare: The Best Franchise to Own in 2024 and Beyond

ComForCare is seeking the next great rising star to build a booming business and help people live their best lives. Interested in learning more about our award-winning home care franchise? Join us for a no-obligation, 15-minute discovery call, or request a FREE franchise information report to get started.