Home Care Franchisors Overcame Obstacles to International Expansion
by Ed Teixeira
A number of U.S. home care franchisors have successfully exported their franchise concept to other countries despite the differences among health care systems.
While in the process of completing a soon to be
published report entitled A Report on the State of the Franchised Home Care
Sector 2013. I found one of the more revealing statistics is the number of
U.S. home care franchisors with international operations. Given the unique
aspects of the U.S. health care system compared to other countries itís
interesting to see how many home care franchisors have successfully gone
international. Of the top seventeen home care franchisors with 100 hundred
locations or more:
- Four franchisors are in multiple countries ranging from five to fifteen
- Six are in Canada
- Of the remaining seven, four are actively seeking international
A number of years ago, when the franchised home care
sector was in its infancy one of my responsibilities as senior VP was to export
our home healthcare franchise to other countries. We were able to license our
franchise in several countries including transacting the first U.S. home care
franchise in Japan. Although we provided a full range of skilled nursing
services, it became apparent that given the health care reimbursement systems in
other countries ("Socialized Medicine") the best market opportunity was for
non-skilled private pay services. Nevertheless, franchising home care in other
countries was a real challenge.
There are a number of lessons we can learn from the
success of todayís home care franchisors going international. These lessons can
be applied to other franchise concepts.
- Determine if there is a market for the franchise products or services by
utilizing a knowledgeable advisor thoroughly familiar with the target
country. If possible try to find someone located in the target country.
- Target a manageable foreign market at the beginning. A number of
franchisors go to Canada or a small country in Central America first.
- Consider unit franchises in the small country. The franchisees can be
serviced from the U.S. corporate base.
- Be flexible and willing to adapt the franchise program to meet
differences in the foreign country. There may be certain attributes of the
franchise operation that if properly tweaked would be successful in another
- Target a limited number of specific countries that most closely match
the market characteristics and demographics you are looking for. I can
recall franchising in Indonesia which today still lacks many of the
attributes necessary for a successful franchise concept.
- Be willing to invest some time and money in order to visit and become
familiar with the target countries.
A number of U.S. home care franchisors have been able
to successfully franchise their concept in other countries. Despite the
differences that exist between health care systems in the U. S. and other
countries these franchisors were able to execute a successful strategy for going
international. Finally, as a reminder, be sure that the key components of an
international development program are in place before executing the franchise
© 2013 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC
Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org