How FYZICAL is using franchising to change the landscape of physical therapy healthcare.
Healthcare Franchising 101
Have you ever considered opening a healthcare business, but you’re nervous because you don’t know what’s involved? Or maybe you’re looking to become part of a healthcare franchise, but you aren’t sure of the steps to get you there. If you’re new to franchising and you’re interested in opening a business in the healthcare industry, keep reading.
Whether you’re a clinical professional or an entrepreneur, franchising can seem like a scary process. The idea of starting and running a day-to-day business can feel overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider: how much capital do I need? What are the financial risks? How do I choose a successful company? Who will run my business, and what if I don’t have any experience?
What is Franchising?
First, let's talk about franchising. What exactly is it? In simple terms, franchising is a way to expand business operations into new markets across diverse geographic territories. Franchisors award a license to a franchisee allowing them to use the company's trademarks, branding, proprietary operating processes, training, and access to ongoing support from the startup phase and beyond. To acquire the license, the franchisee pays a fee to the franchisor to secure a territory, along with a royalty fee on a monthly basis for ongoing support.
While the franchisor is "lending" the company's name and resources, the actual business itself is owned 100% by the franchisee. They make all the day-to-day operational decisions, things like hiring and firing.
Finding the Right Industry
How do I find a good franchise? When deciding upon a franchise, it's important to look at the numbers and the growth potential. How many locations do they have? Are they a growing franchise? Is there an opportunity for expansion in your market? Is there a need?
The physical therapy industry is in extremely high demand and is growing at an exponential rate. From 2018 to 2022, the size of the industry has grown from 34.5 billion to 46.4 billion – that’s a $12 billion dollar increase in 5 short years. In fact, Americans 65 and older make up 15% of the population. It’s estimated that by 2060, that number will increase to 25%, and as the population ages, the demand for physical therapy will continue to increase, too.
Physical therapy is also a fragmented industry, which means there is no clear leader in the industry. In fact, the top 20 providers capture just 21% of the market share, which means there are a lot of independent practices out there and room for a growth leader. In short, there is no slowing down in the demand for physical therapy and there is unlimited potential for growth.
Franchise vs. Independent Owner
Why should you consider a healthcare franchise model, as opposed to opening your own independent practice? There are many reasons to consider a franchise. For example, as an independent owner:
- You must be an expert in many different aspects of the business, such as billing/insurance, funding, and marketing.
- You must be an expert in real estate, market planning, and site selection.
- You'll need to secure your own funding, and know where to look for it.
- You must be an expert in treating and diagnosing patients.
- If you aren’t an expert in business, or aren't a physical therapist, you will need to outsource and hire help.
- You must be an expert in where to find the help you need.
How FYZICAL is Different
So you've read a little about FYZICAL and you're intrigued and want to know more. Firstly, if you're thinking about franchising, you want to make sure you align yourself with a profitable brand and a proven business model. Designated by Franchise Business Review's "2021 Most Profitable Businesses", FYZICAL is the largest physical franchise in the world. With over 470 open locations across the U.S., we take the guesswork out of franchising by offering proven business models, hands-on world-class training, and opportunities very unique to the marketplace.
"Our primary focus at FYZICAL is traditional orthopedic therapy and rehabilitation from surgeries or injuries," says Scott Wendrych, Chief Development Officer at FYZICAL. "However, we also have a variety of other kinds of modalities and treatments that we offer should locations want to offer those treatments as well."
Some of these include pediatric physical therapy, hand-specific therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic services, and our world-renowned proprietary Balance Paradigm and Sensory Mismatch Theory.
Types of Business Models
What types of business models does FYZICAL offer? Many, and FYZICAL can meet you where you're at. Whether you're an entrepreneur looking to invest, a clinician looking to partner with FYZICAL, a clinician looking to open a practice, or a clinician looking to add on services to an existing practice, FYZICAL offers a variety of business models to fit your needs.
What's the Big Difference?
In order to be successful in franchising, you have to have a special niche. At FYZICAL, we offer the #1 Balance and Vestibular Program in the world. FYZICAL's proprietary Balance Paradigm and Sensory Mismatch Theory are two groundbreaking services only available at FYZICAL.
“There are very few providers of this type of therapy out there," says Wendrych.
"More than 10 million people go to the doctor for dizziness each year, but finding specialized balance therapy services can be difficult and oftentimes leads to falls," says Wendrych. "Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. Additionally, 40% of the U.S. population will experience clinical dizziness or balance difficulty in their lifetime. Combine that with the fact that physical therapists have very little training on how to deal with balance and vestibular patients so that creates an amazing niche to tap into and help a lot of people and give FYZICAL a competitive edge.”
FYZICAL's Team Approach
In a franchised business, you have a team of experts who act as consultants to the owner and help you with all aspects of starting and running a business. At FYZICAL, this means everything from:
- Startup support - market and site selection within your protected search areas
- Data-driven target profiles - how to find patients in your territory
- Funding support - lending partners with a variety of options
- Operational support - daily management and clinical programs, online learning modules for every role in your organizational chart
- Fyzical College - education and training models, webinars, and online support
- Franchise Regional Consultants for support - including our 10-point management system, daily management reports, daily clinical performance report, and operating budget
- Live Training - a deep dive into tips on best practices,
"We have experts that are specialists in franchising and also experts that are specialists in the physical therapy industry," says Rick Douglass, President of Franchise Operations. "Most of our operations team have been owners or operators of independent franchise locations or they've worked in the franchise industry for years. You don’t have to go about this process alone."
Where Do I Find Patients?
One of the biggest questions often asked when clinicians or entrepreneurs partner with FYZICAL or open a new location is, "How do I find patients for my business?"
There are two major client segments: consumers and referrals.
- Consumers – these include existing patients, past patients, and new patients through local level marketing techniques, such as digital, mailers, community involvement like sponsoring a 10K or the high school football team, becoming part of your Chamber of Commerce, and more. There are lots of ways to become part of your community to drive awareness and gain new patients.
- Referrals - FYZICAL has an abundance of referral sources when it comes to patients. Doctors such as general family practitioners, neurologists, ENT's orthopedics, and virtually, any kind of doctor who sees patients on a regular basis who need PT and Balance therapy. FYZICAL has regular programs through our physician liaison program where practices can get out in the community and meet with physicians on a regular basis. Clinics need patients, and physicians need places to send their patients. It's a win/win for everyone.
How Will I Market My Business?
At FYZICAL, we take a tiered approach to marketing your business to ensure the best possible profitability outcomes.
- Micro – This is clinic-specific, such as website, digital marketing campaigns, community networking, and programs thru your physician liaison program. Our business intelligence program will enable you to view key metrics on a daily basis at your fingertips so that you can adjust your marketing techniques.
- Regional - Practices can form regional cooperatives - local owners coming together - to share marketing resources and dollars. This drives regional awareness, saves clinics money, and it's a great way to grow the brand.
- National – FYZICAL has national marketing methodologies and tools and resources for local clinics that we design and roll out for our franchise locations to use in their local markets. We create all the assets for you and make them available through a marketing hub, an all-in-one spot that offers:
- Local marketing website that you can customize
- Consumer e-mail platforms
- Net promoter score function: get real-time patient feedback on how you’re doing
- Digital marketing newsletters to send to referrals and patients
- Print-ready quarterly digital magazine
- Curated online reviews: we help you gather and capture reviews and make it easy for patients to leave reviews
- Strategic partners for media buying, printing, and graphics
- FYZICAL Business intelligence platform
- And much, much more!
Q & A
What's the timeline from initiation to operation?
A lot of that depends on the time it takes to lease the appropriate space, but on average, from the time you sign the franchise agreement and become a franchisor, to the time you open your doors, it takes 8-9 months.
What are the operational costs?
It's going to vary widely based on your market. Your main cost structure is going to be your cost of labor - your physical therapists, your front desk staff, your liaison and marketing efforts, and your rent. Those will be your largest costs. Other costs will include things like insurance for the property and software costs.
What is the definition of a successful franchisee at FYZICAL?
Your definition of success and FYZICAL's definition of success might look very different. The reality is, that this is your business. For the first 12 months, whether you're in FYZICAL or any franchise system, really follow the playbook. You're getting involved in franchising for a reason, and hopefully, that reason is that you're looking for guidance and a proven playbook. Be coachable.
Also, be engaged. We know the most engaged franchisees that we have are the most successful. Being engaged as a franchisee is going to make you much better at running your business. One of the advantages of being part of a franchise system is that you're not alone. If you were to open your own physical therapy practice, who are you going to talk to? Who are you going to bounce ideas off of? Who are you going to share war stories with? Whose shoulder are you going to cry on? Who are you going to high-five when things are going great?
It can be lonely. But being a part of a franchise system, you've got these people who are in your market. You've got people who understand what you're going through and can help you. Being engaged is a really good measure of being a successful franchisee.
If you have questions about franchising with FYZICAL, we've got answers. Contact us today to learn more about the process!