As Australia becomes a more multicultural society, an opportunity awaits for franchisees to grow a successful home care business that truly helps those in need.
Minh Pham was inspired to buy his home care business almost ten years ago, after a chance encounter with a stranger in a Brisbane marketplace.
Minh, a Vietnamese-born Australian, met an elderly man who spoke little English, had no family and struggled with mental health issues. “His landlord was charging him $150 to live under his house. It showed me how people could be taken advantage of because of language barriers,” says Minh. “I wanted to change careers, so I could do more to help people in a similar situation.”
The rise of multiculturalism in Australia, coupled with a rapidly ageing population who need care, is creating fresh opportunities for franchisees like Minh, who are passionate about giving people a helping hand.
Currently 30 percent of Australians were born overseas, and one in five speak a language other than English. Many of these people from diverse backgrounds need help at home: specifically, culturally sensitive care that helps them connect with government healthcare services such as the NDIS and Home Care Packages.
The Home Caring Group is meeting this need by enabling highly-motivated franchisees to build strong businesses as Australian home care providers. According to Bill Lockett, Home Caring Franchise Manager, the company experienced 200% growth in the hours of service provided from March to November last year.
“Home Caring has succeeded because we’ve found the right franchisees. We have such a diverse range of people from different communities: Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, English, Brazilian, Ghanaian, Cambodian, Nepalese and more,” says Bill.
“Those franchisees have gone into those communities and done a fantastic job of helping them understand the home care and disability care system: discussing with them and their families the details of their plan, then executing that plan and finding the perfect carers for them.”
Sowing the seeds of success
Minh is one example of how reaching out to your local cultural network – a seemingly humble beginning – can lead to big things for your business.
To get his first home care clients, Minh engaged with the Vietnamese community through doorknocking, visiting nursing homes and attending seniors’ clubs. After creating a growing base of clients and expanding his multilingual team to 16 staff members, he went on to launch two more franchises: one in Sydney and another in Perth. “I’m happy with my results, which are more than what I initially expected,” says Minh. “I’ve learnt so many things, and every day is a fresh challenge.”
Minh was able to concentrate on nurturing his business while caring for his young family thanks to Home Caring’s unique 50/50 partnership, which reduces your initial investment and provides an ongoing 50% share of profits.
“In our partnership model,” explains Bill, “an applicant can get into the business at a very reasonable cost, while our salary package takes away the stress of paying the bills so they can focus on growing their business, especially in that vulnerable first year.”
“We’re also now offering suitable health care professionals the opportunity to reduce their initial investment to as low as $25,000. This will help them get their foot in the door, so they can use their valuable health care skills to build something for themselves.”
Culturally diverse care a business winner
Another Home Caring franchisee who grew her business through her community is Sharmila Bastakoti: a former pharmacist and executive member of the Macarthur Region Nepalese Community in Sydney.
Sharmila, a mother of two who migrated from Nepal to Australia in 2007, turned to her local networks when she first opened her home care franchise last year. “My very first client was actually from my community where I’m heavily involved,” she says. “After that, I started getting more clients. I’d meet people, hear their stories and learn about their needs.”
Sharmila also focuses on providing person-centred care that takes a client’s culture into consideration—something that puts her a cut above the competition.
“For example, one of my clients is looked after by his elderly grandmother. The support worker who cares for him can speak her language and understands the appropriate way to greet her. The family was really happy with our services, as we provided them with someone who understood how to respect the elderly in their culture,” says Sharmila.
“In these communities, access to government services is an issue, especially if they cannot speak English. To be able to provide them with those services and help them feel like they belong and are understood is rewarding.”
While the road to success has not always been easy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharmila has grown in her business acumen along the way, with the support of Home Caring’s head office.
Michaela Brown, National Operations manager of Home Caring, says the company collaborates with all of their franchises by providing a comprehensive training program, management tools and ongoing operational support. “We’re always looking for continuous improvement in our services and processes. If a franchisee tells us something is or isn’t working for them, we can change accordingly. We’re very flexible because we really want to improve our services for our clients,” says Michaela.
Sharmila agrees. “Home Caring has been very supportive of me as I’ve transitioned into this new career,” she adds. “Michaela and her team have supported me well with documentation and staffing.”
“This has been an emotionally and financially rewarding step to take, and I’m really enjoying the journey. I only wish I had started a home care franchise earlier! I have been volunteering in the community for a long time, so I’m happy and thankful to be a part of Home Caring. Giving service to people who need it and bringing smiles on their faces… that’s what counts in the end.”