The International Franchise Association predicts the franchise industry will grow by 2 percent this year. And thanks to the growing senior population, one of the biggest growth niches for franchising is senior-related businesses. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that by 2050, the population of Americans aged 65 and older will more than double, from 39 million today to 89 million.
When my company, GrowBiz Media, compiled the AllBusiness 2010 Franchise AllStars, we definitely noticed growth in the senior-related category. Elder care was one thriving area. According to SeniorJournal.com, more than 90 percent of seniors would prefer to “age in place” by remaining independent and in their own homes rather than move to a nursing home or other assisted living facility. Home Instead, Comfort Keepers, Home Helpers and Homewatch are just a few of the thriving franchise companies in this industry.
While in-home senior care might be the most obvious growth category resulting from the growing senior population, it’s not the only one. Durable medical equipment is expected to benefit from demographic and healthcare trends and is projected to expand rapidly through 2012. Capitalizing on the need for equipment as well as older Americans’ desire to age in place, Mobility 101 is a new franchise company that provides full-service sales, service and installation of mobility and accessibility products and equipment including stair lifts, auto lifts, ramps, porch lifts, power wheelchairs and scooters, plus medical equipment such as walkers, hospital beds and more.
Mobility 101 co-founder and CEO Dave Pazgan said the company, which launched in 2008 and recently started franchising, expects to award 12 franchises this year.
Along the same lines, AmRAMP is a franchise company whose core business is installing modular wheelchair ramps, but which has expanded into providing other solutions for aging in place, including offering portable showers and free-standing patient lifters to transport people who can’t move on their own.
In fact, your franchise doesn’t have to be senior-oriented to benefit from the growing senior market created by aging in place. National handyman franchise House Doctors says it’s been getting tons of inquiries from clients seeking to “parent-proof” their parents’ homes with safety equipment like grab rails.
As someone who knows firsthand the challenges of helping an elderly parent age safely at home, I can attest to the need for these services. If the idea of working to help seniors appeals to you, check out the AllBusiness.com Franchise Directory to look at the many options available in this promising industry niche.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva on Twitter at Twitter.com/Rieva. Visit SmallBizDaily.com to read more of Rieva’s insights on small business and to buy her newest book, Marketing 101: Quick Tips for Marketing Your Business.