The best (and worst) types of physician franchise opportunities

Apr 22, 2019

With over 1000 franchise companies in the US, how do you go about selecting which physician franchise opportunities are viable for you? Here are three rules of thumb to start with:

1. Have some level of comfort with the product or service niche.

A great way for physicians to start is to look for businesses which they have some level of comfort in the type of product or service being offered.

As doctors, we tend to be quite comfortable with the medical and health industries. Great news – there are a ton of franchise opportunities in these areas.

2. It cannot be a fad.

Successful franchises address sustainable, growing trends. They require long-term growth. We all know that health fads abound, and some business do really well capitalizing on them. However, it’s best to steer clear of fads when it comes to franchise ownership.

3. It must make financial sense.

While franchises come with a tested product and business model, that doesn’t automatically mean it makes financial sense for you, for your situation, and in your geographic area.

For franchise ownership, passion isn’t sufficient. You may have lost 30 pounds by eating keto, but your enthusiasm alone won’t make a weight loss franchise successful.

The best healthcare and top medical franchises

Generally speaking, the following three types franchises meet all of the rules described above.

Fitness

Rule 1: Anatomy and physiology were our first loves in medical school. We understand fitness and why exercise works for weight loss, disease prevention, and overall health.

Rule 2: The fitness industry has been growing and will continue to grow. There are definitely fads within the fitness industry; however, the industry itself is a sustainable one.

Rule 3: Aside from the big-box gym franchises such as Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym, fitness franchises can be very affordable.

One benefit of fitness franchises is that many people select a gym based solely on a reputable name, so a franchise can often acquire a solid customer base right after opening.

Examples of highly-rate franchises in the fitness niche:

Home care

Rule 1: A sizeable percentage of home care is health-related, though it also encompasses assistance with activities of daily living, homemaking, companionship, and other services. It often doesn’t involve actual medical decision-making and treatment; however, health services that can be offered in the home have obvious overlap with our comfort areas as healthcare providers.

Rule 2: Baby boomers are getting older, and people are living longer. Moreover, there are undesirable high costs associated with providing care in long-term care facilities.

Rule 3: Home care businesses tend to have low startup expenses. Since the care is provided in the customer’s home, the costs associated with a brick-and-mortar store can be minimal or even nonexistent.

Examples of highly-rate franchises in the home care niche:

Urgent care

Rule 1: Urgent care centers are medical practices. This is an area in which a physician franchise owner can truly make the most of his or her knowledge and experience.

Rule 2: The growth of the urgent care industry is being driven by access, cost, and convenience. Some areas and populations face limited access to primary care physicians. Emergency rooms can have long waits and be quite costly.

Rule 3: Though urgent care franchises tend to be on the high side with regard to launch expenses, the revenue generated can be equally high. Physician owners have the topic knowledge to make smart decisions that further drive profits.

Urgent care facilities lend themselves to a franchise model due to brand recognition. Patients in need of urgent medical care typically want to go somewhere that they trust they’ll receive quality care. The name and brand that comes with franchise ownership can assist with this.

Examples of highly-rated franchises in the urgent care niche:

The worst physician franchise opportunities

All of these meet Rule #1 in that they’re familiar areas to us as medical professionals. But they fall short when it comes to long-term outlook and value for the investment.

Health fads

While the health and fitness industries will keep growing as a whole, fads will come and go. If you’re considering a franchise with a product or service that you’re not extremely comfortable with, you must pay close attention when doing due diligence to assess for whether it may be just a fad.

Weight loss businesses are continuously rampant in the franchise market. Weight loss fads include any program or product that isn’t centered around healthy eating, moving your body, and lifestyle changes.

Another current health fad that’s been popping up in franchise opportunities is IV therapy. REVIV and Drip Doctors are examples of this.

Telemedicine

There is nothing inherently wrong with telemedicine. In fact, I practice it myself and think it’s a wonderful thing for patients, physicians, and the healthcare system as a whole. That said, though, telemedicine companies don’t make good franchises.

The best franchises require a physical business location, or at least a physical presence such as mobile units. Telemedicine doesn’t require much more than a strong internet connection and software.

It’s important to be extra cautious when it comes to getting involved with telemedicine companies of any type. Gotelecare is one of the few telemedicine franchises currently available.

Medical spas

As with telemedicine, med-i-spas can make great businesses. They just shouldn’t be franchises. A couple examples include The Laser Lounge and Body Works Ultra Lipo Clinic.

Most med spas offer services that require a physician’s medical license and involve the actual practice of medicine. In this situation, the relationship between the franchisor organization and physician franchisee becomes a bit dicey. The franchisor dictates how you run your business to a great extent, but it’s your (or your employee’s) medical license on the line.

For doctors wanting to start businesses in this niche, hire a consultant and start a business from scratch – exactly the way that you want it.

Other franchise opportunities for doctors

The three top franchise types for medical professionals mentioned above are a only a few options. Physicians might find succsess in other franchise business types. For example, you could use your love of the science of medicine to teach kids through The Little Medical School. Or get into the lab industry by owning an ARCpoint Labs business.

What other franchises do you think are particularly fitting (or awful) for physicians?

5 Comments

  1. Xrayvsn

    Very interesting points LFZ. I constantly see these medical spas popping up which makes me think they must be doing great.

    What is shocking is that what once was in the realm of plastic surgeons and dermatologists has now expanded into other specialties not commonly associated with medical spas (one of my friends is a GI doc and she runs a very successful one and does botox injections, tattoo laser removals, etc (which I never would have associated with GI at all)

    • L4Z

      I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions to these “rules”!

    • AGX

      Woah, that is interesting! I can see why GI would do well in a spa setting – especially from the perspective of fostering certain populations in gut microbiota or some type of gut rejuvenation therapy with nutritious, low-processed foods. Botox is a controlled substance tho and I assumed it was restricted to plastics/derm. I’m not too familiar with the access – can any physician prescribe / use interventions (like botox) that maybe outside their direct specialty?

  2. John Jurica

    I must say that you hit the mark on including home care companies. You listed those that are limited to non-nursing activities, rather than home health. And there is a big demand.

    Most are cash based and don’t qualify for insurance payments (except maybe long term care insurance). But I prefer that model.

    My wife (Kay), and I opened a Home Helpers franchise 10 years ago. My wife is a respiratory tech, I’m a physician. She runs the business.

    Being in medicine REALLY helps generate business. Many of the referrals come from colleagues (internists, geriatricians, hospital case managers and social workers).

    It has taken time to build, but now Kay makes 5 times her previous salary, generates profits of about $100K and has a whole lot more job satisfaction and sense of fulfillment serving hundreds of frail seniors and employing 70 or so caregivers.

    But it took a lot of work and is definitely not a side gig. The HH franchise really helps and if doing it again, we’d still go the franchise route.

    • L4Z

      Awesome example! I’m so glad it’s been successful for you and Kay. Thanks for pointing out that that the difference between home health and non-health home help is an important one, especially for prospective franchise owners with a healthcare background.

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