An aging baby boomer population and the growing desire to age in place is fueling a business boom for franchises that specialize in home-care giving services.
In January of 2010, after more than three decades in corporate sales and marketing management, Rick Gass of Maple Grove opened up his own BrightStar Care franchises in the west metro and in Carver and Scott Counties.
"Most of my career was in helping small business people and medium and large business corporations, but I've always had a heart for helping people," said Gass.
The BrightStar franchise, which is headquartered in Gurney, Ill., offers a full continuum of care giving services for infants to seniors, as well as offers staffing solutions and support services.
"We service people in wherever they call home, so it could be in their physical homes, it could be in assisted living, it could be in a long–term care facility," said Gass.
Gass's franchise has quickly grown into a seven figure business with 44 caregivers and about 30 clients, mostly seniors.
BrightStar isn't the only home-care franchise capitalizing on the growing population of seniors. Other franchises like Visiting Angels, whose service area includes Wayzata, and CareMinders Home Care offer a variety of at home care services.
With an estimated 78 million baby boomers currently and more than 54 million people who will be 65 or older in the United States within 10 years, home-care franchises offer an attractive business opportunity, said franchise consultant Mike Welch of FranNet Minnesota.
"You're talking about the baby boomers reaching an age where they're going to need some care, and they don't want to go into nursing facilities or assisted living facilities in the same way that my grandparents did," said Welch.
Welch said it's also a franchise opportunity that can be more affordable, some requiring less than a $150,000 investment. However, Welch said it's not a business for everyone, as it requires a strong ability to manage and retain people as well as recruit a larger volume of employees.
"The business model is already proven itself out, people have been extremely successful in this industry," said Welch. "We're reaching a point of saturation, but I don't think that we're there yet."
Business is up 40 percent for Rick Gass's BrightStar franchise, but he's most proud of the customized care he's able to offer people at their homes.
"A lot of those things just help make their life better and easier and allow them to stay independent at home much longer," said Gass.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
Monday, February 11, 2013