What is a ‘Protected’ Territory?

Grey questThat is a great questions and one that highlights one of the unique aspects of Always Best Care Senior Services’ franchise ownership opportunities.  The answers center around managing the interaction with the referral source and the services provided to the clients coming from the referral source.

Many franchise concepts will ‘protect’ a geographic area for its owners.  This means that residents (or in some cases, businesses) of that geography cannot be marketed to, approached or served by another owner in that franchise system.  This can work for some home-based services like maid services or mini-blind installation  – marketing is targeted, and services are provided, within a defined geography.

A protected referral source, on the other hand, allows an Always Best Care franchise owner (and the referral sources) to feel comfortable knowing there will be a single point of contact, a one-to-one relationship; multiple representatives for the same company will not be calling on the referral source. If an Always Best Care franchise owner has a large hospital, skilled nursing facility, a number of successful elder law attorneys or financial planners, those referral sources are protected from any other owner marketing to them. This is a business based on trust and relationships.  Allowing our owners the ability to focus on their protected sources and build those relationships is a key component to their growth and development.

Better yet, clients referred by the protected source may be served outside of the owner’s territory.  Any opportunities generated from those sources, regardless of location*, are available to the owner.  For example, if Mrs. Doe is discharged from Megaplex General Hospital, the local owner who has developed the relationships with the hospital would have the opportunity to serve Mrs. Doe.  If she happens to live in an area outside the local owner’s geography, he can still provide services to her because she came from his protected referral source.

Protecting the referral source is the ideal way to manage the flow of clients in a system that is based on trust and relationships.  Referral partners know who their primary contact is, and the franchise owner can build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with them.  The ability to follow a client from the referral source allows the franchise owner to remove the limitations of protected geography.

These differences may be too subtle for those outside the industries of franchising and senior care, but they are key, important differentiators for Always Best Care franchise owners.  As always, if you have someone interested in the concept, we will be happy to discuss the details and answer any questions.

*Full Disclosure: some states have licensing restrictions that may limit some services is the referred client lives out of state, county or licensing region.  Those are likely to be a small minority of the referrals.

Q: How soon to profitability?

A:  There is no single answer, as each territory is unique and each owner brings different skills, teams and capital to the task.  Area Representatives, or Field Support Office staff, will work with new owners on office set up and structure, P & L planning and tracking, business generation and most everything else associated with establishing the business, generating revenue and creating profit.

In the end, the timeline is a function of many things including the new owner’s own goals, drive, networking and leadership skills.

We have a goal of generating revenue within 90 days of formal classroom training, and have surpassed that goal with our new, local owners in 2014.  Our local ‘pre-heating’ strategy has proven effective in generating the connections and contacts helpful in jump-starting a territory.

Slide3The best way to gather information on that question is through reviewing the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and speaking with franchise owners during the Validation phase of the structured due diligence process.

 

As always, we look forward to the opportunity to discuss the details with you.

Q: If the business is so good, why are territories still available?

Business Ownership Opportunity

Ask us how you can create your future with Always Best Care in Tampa Bay.

A:  This is an excellent question with many facets: demographics, the award process, the economy, … . ; as does the answer!

It takes a special set of skills, capabilities, motivations and funds to start a Home Health Agency in the state of Florida.  We “award” territories to individuals; it is not just a sales transaction.  We get to know the potential new owners, just as they dive into their due diligence on us.  If someone is looking just to make quick and easy money with little connection with the clients, then this is not the business or industry for them.

When economic times are tough, the funds available for this investment may not be available to some; when times are good, there may not be motivation to leave a steadily paying job, no matter how unsatisfactory that environment is..

Locally, we seek talented individuals with “Fire and Heart,” the desire to grow a business coupled with the compassion to care for people in need.  The combination may be exhibited by an evolving career coupled with a history of giving back to the community,  This is a rare combination, but one that should provide the basis for a successful senior care business.  We have spoken with individuals that have one, or the other, but few who have had both.

We will continue to look for these unique individuals so we can assemble the best possible team.  We welcome the opportunity to discuss this balance of “Fire and Heart.”

Q: Will anyone be available to help obtain clients during start-up?

A:  Absolutely!  Our local, Tampa Bay-area “pre-heating” strategy has proven effective in shortening the time between joining the company and booking the first client.  Our newest owner landed a placement opportunity during the first day of Field Training – talk about learn by doing!biz lunch

As mentioned in previous posts, your Tampa-based AR team has been involved in, and networking throughout, the local community for years.  One of the first steps we take with new owners is introductions to our networking contacts and the community partners already established in their territory.

We welcome the opportunity to explain this owner success strategy in more detail!

Q: How will clients be obtained?

diverse_franchisee_group

A:  Ours is a referral-based business, supported by additional, traditional marketing methods.  Networking plays a big role in building a diverse base of referral sources, as does marketing directly to local hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.  Social media is utilized, as well, to find the right mix that works for the specific territory.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss the details and your specific questions.

Caveat Emptor (Latin for “Watch your wallet!”)

In all seriousness, “Buyer beware” is excellent advice when considering any major purchase or investment – including the decision to buy a business or invest in a franchise.

Some free, unbiased advice:

  • Look at two, preferably three, options so you have something to compare and contrast
  • Consider all the facts, figures and disclosures in total.
  • Study the Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDDs) for franchise comparisons
    • FDDs are mandated by the Federal Trade Commission – this is serious business.

Case in point50142_add_scale_lg

If Franchisor X offers a fully developed, turn-key operation with local support for a $45,000 franchise fee, how does that compare with Franchisor Y who has a $35,000 franchise fee but requires a list of additional costs and obligations which brings their total to the same, if not more, than Franchisor X?

The only way to know is to dive into the FDD (Items 5. 6 and particularly Item 7) and compare the total cost of ownership.

To paraphrase the Capital One ads. “What’s in your FDD?”

Best wishes in your search for a franchise opportunity that brings you personal and financial success.

Q: What training is available?

success-compass

A:  New owners will do a substantial amount of internet- and webinar-based pre-training,’ before attending seven days of classroom training at company headquarters.  Soon after, the owners will have at least three days of ‘field training’ with their local Area Representative, or field trainer.  Additional mentoring and coaching is provided as needed on an on-going basis.  Bi-Annual international conferences, annual regional meetings and regular Area gatherings also provide an opportunity for sharing best practices and learn from industry experts.