Industry Booms as Boomers Age

Synergy HomeCare Looks to Award up to 300 U.S. Franchises in Next Five Years as Need for Non-Medical Home Care Increases

Gilbert, AZ, October 03, 2006 --( As the founder of a successful healthcare-staffing firm in Arizona, Peter Tourian was a regular visitor to nursing homes. During one particular visit, a kindly woman reached out for Tourian’s arm asking if he would spend just a few moments with her. 

Tourian obliged the woman, who despite her age was still quite spry. Nobody came to visit her, she told Tourian, who asked why the woman didn’t live with her children. They’re busy, she said. She only needed a small amount of assistance, but didn’t want to bother them. 

“A light bulb went off,” Tourian recalled. “There had to be an answer for people who didn’t need constant care. She basically threw the concept at me. I wanted people to have the option to stay at home and be able to receive quality non-medical care, either for a couple of hours each day or around the clock.” 

In 2002, Tourian founded Synergy HomeCare, which provides high-quality, non-medical home care to people in their homes. Its network of franchised offices provides qualified caregivers on an hourly, daily, weekly or 24/7 basis, 365 days per year to seniors, the convalescing or disabled and anyone else who needs help with daily activities. 

Unlike other home care providers, Synergy HomeCare does not limit its services to seniors. Anyone who needs help with routine daily tasks in order to stay at home is eligible for Synergy HomeCare services including working adults who are injured on the job, working parents who need help caring for a disabled child, individuals undergoing chemotherapy or battling a disease, expectant mothers, those recovering from sports injuries or auto accidents and many others. 

“We’re serving all people with needs,” said the 33-year-old Tourian. “We’re one of the few home care providers that serve people of all ages.” 

After experiencing tremendous growth in its home state of Arizona, Synergy HomeCare is poised for national expansion. Having begun franchising in 2005, Tourian expects to sell up to 300 U.S. franchises within the next five years. 

Synergy HomeCare currently has offices in Arizona (Mesa, Sun City, Phoenix and Tucson); Sioux City, South Dakota.; Bellevue, Washington.; and Houston, Texas. A small group of regional developers operate the offices outside Arizona, where they are also responsible for recruiting, developing and supporting franchisees in their designated territories. The strategy is expected to spur aggressive growth and market penetration in seven states: Washington, Oregon, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas and also Arizona, where Tourian is responsible for franchise development. 

Synergy HomeCare has several targeted areas for growth as it expands to over 300 franchises nationally. International growth through master franchisees is being pursued in Canada and Japan and is also being considered throughout Europe, the Middle East and Australia. 

Synergy HomeCare began franchising in June 2005 and within six months had awarded seven franchises. 

“We’re in the perfect position for growth,” Tourian said. “We’ve assembled a great corporate team and we have a strong structure in place. The industry is phenomenal. The demand for home care services and the continuing potential far exceed the supply.” 

Research that supports the tremendous need for home care services is staggering, especially given the toll extracted from the more than 50 million family caregivers who care for chronically ill, disabled or aged family members, according to research provided by the National Family Caregivers Association. 

Family caregivers routinely underestimate the length of time they will spend as caregivers for a family member over the age of 50, according to a study by MetLife. Only 46 percent expected to be caregivers longer than two years. In fact, the average length of time spent on care giving was about eight years, with approximately one-third of respondents providing care for 10 years or more. The American Journal of Public Health reported that family caregivers who provide 36 or more hours weekly are more likely than non-caregivers to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. 

“Family members who provide care to an ill or disabled loved one face an emotional, financial, and physical roller coaster that can last from a few days to a lifetime,” Tourian said. “Synergy HomeCare is able to send in one of their professional caregivers to assist or take over the daily living duties, allowing the family caregiver to attend to other business or to take some time for themselves to revitalize their mind and spirit.” 

With an estimated initial investment ranging between $42,000 and $62,000, Synergy HomeCare provides an affordable opportunity for business ownership in the burgeoning non-medical home care industry. 

Synergy HomeCare’s current franchisee roster includes a former chemical engineer, IBM program manager and the former CEO of a four-hospital network. Operating a Synergy HomeCare franchise is also extremely well suited for couples, where responsibilities such as marketing and accounting and human resources and scheduling can be divided according to each individual’s strengths. 

Formal hospital or staffing experience isn’t required. Instead, Tourian said prospective franchisees must demonstrate an innate capacity for working in the home care industry that goes beyond management, marketing, sales and customer service skills. 

“You have to want to help people,” Tourian said. “It’s easy to open an auto repair shop because you’re only working with engines. They don’t have a heart. They don’t have the ability to need something. If nobody shows up, nothing will happen to the car. Our franchisees have warm, compassionate demeanors. They want to be able to help people.” 

Tourian also looks for a sense of entrepreneurial zest, since his runs deep. He opened a dog training business when he was only 15 years old and still holds on to the business cards he created for nostalgia’s sake. 

“We’re looking for individuals who want to create a successful business from scratch, those who want a challenge, who want to break away from the corporate world and be their own boss,” Tourian said. 

Before launching Synergy HomeCare, Tourian founded Synergy Staffing, Inc., in 1999, which provided healthcare staffing for permanent and contract positions both in Arizona and nationwide. Today, Synergy HomeCare – using the resources of Synergy Staffing – is the only franchisor in its industry to offer its new franchisees no-cost assistance in recruiting internal staff and caregivers. 

“It is a tremendous tool because we all know how difficult it is to run a business while trying to recruit and hire your staff,” Tourian said. “It also can be a fairly expensive process if you were to use a traditional staffing agency. The service is a great benefit for our franchisees.” 

Synergy HomeCare franchisees also benefit from a leading-edge software package. The Web-based application automates the tracking of clients’ needs and matches them with the appropriate caregiver. 

Tourian’s roots in the home care industry run deep. He is a founding board member of the Private Duty Homecare Association, which is an affiliate of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, the industry’s governing association. He is also chairman of the Legislation and Advocacy sub-committee, which is charged with licensing home-care agencies throughout the country. 

Potential Synergy HomeCare caregivers must pass stringent standards, including an extensive background check that involves thorough checks for felonies, incarcerations, and driving violations. They must be state certified in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and undergo an extensive health screening that includes testing for Tuberculosis. 

“It’s not that I just want to help people, I want to help mold and shape the industry,” Tourian said. “Right now, the home-care industry isn’t governed by the federal government, although some states have adopted their own registration. Senior care has surpassed childcare as a concern for many American families. We’re soon going to have a huge wake up call because of our aging population, many of whom will require some level of home care. We have to start looking at the problem now.”

Synergy HomeCare Franchising, LLC
Courtney Thomas