Caring Transitions started out as strictly an estate sale facilitator until a franchisee suggested that the company should also offer senior relocation services based on an assessment of client needs. That suggestion has driven the brand to become a one-stop shop primarily for elderly people who are downsizing, moving into a nursing home or selling the contents of their homes to prepare for a move.
Since it began franchising in 2006, the company has succeeded in becoming a market leader for services needed by aging baby boomers preparing for retirement or changing their lifestyle due to loss of a spouse or declining health.
The baby boomer generation began turning 65 years of age in 2011 and will continue to do so throughout the next two decades at a rate of one reaching retirement age every 10 seconds. That’s 3 million to 4 million Americans a year, and there are 78 million of them.
Caring Transitions has tapped into that market and leads the industry in diversification of services, according to President Christopher Seman.
“We’re on top of that wave and we expect to ride it,” Seman said.
Providing multiple revenue streams to its franchisees, Caring Transitions is a moving, relocation and household liquidation service. A client case study might include an aging person who is moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Caring Transitions can take care of the downsizing and moving process as well as categorizing, packing, organizing, donating and selling household items, and even setting up the new home.
“The challenge is to make people understand all that we do,” says Seman.
The company added 35 new franchise locations to its system in 2012 and experienced a 48 percent jump in system-wide revenue. Liquidations remain the strongest driver of business, but the company more than doubled its relocation and moving revenue in the second half of 2012.
Owned by Strategic Franchising Systems, a development company founded by Gary D. Green and recognized as one of the nation’s top franchisors by the International Franchise Association (IFA), Caring Transitions experienced a leadership transition last year when Seman was named president after serving as COO.
Prior to joining Caring Transitions, Seman held various senior executive positions, including vice president with Mr. Handyman International as well as being a former owner/operator of a Mr. Handyman franchise. His extensive franchise experience matches that of executives who head other brands under the Strategic Franchising Systems umbrella: Home Helpers, Fresh Coat and Growth Coach.
Since taking the helm at Caring Transitions, Seman says he has tripled the company’s investment in software and training. Caring Transitions even has its own auction website, CTOnlineAuctions.com, through which franchisees sell liquidation items.
Those things set the company apart from competitors, Seman said.
“We’re the only one that has all the services and the only one to have a national online storefront,” he said.
The company also “removes the psychological stress” that can often overwhelm clients who are in need of its services, Seman said.
There are 126 Caring Transitions franchisees in 140 locations in North America. Seman’s five-year plan is to reach 425 locations with additional expansion into Canada, where just one unit presently exists.
“We have so much potential for growth, there is so much market available,” Seman said. “We’re finally starting to be well-covered in the United States and will expand into Canada and duplicate the success there.”
The franchise seems especially attractive to investors who want to serve the senior population but aren’t interested in a home health care business. He identifies traits such as compassionate, organized and the ability to follow processes when describing the ideal franchise partner.
“They love people and they want to do something that brings value to the lives of others,” Seman said of the best candidates. “They’re not just about making money.”
Caring Transitions has been recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as a “Top 100 Home-based” franchise. The suggested Liquid Capital Required is $29,799; overall initial investment estimates range from $49,799 to $78,479, including a franchise fee that ranges from $36,900 to $42,900.
As part of a push to utilize the best technology, much of the company’s marketing strategies involve an increasing number of online resources. For example, after thorough training, franchisees have access to mobile apps from Sales Octane to help refresh them on various business skills and sales training. Caring Transitions also revamped its website, making it easier for clients to find it services.
“A lot of people don’t even know this service is out there, so we need a very strong web presence,” Seman said.
Franchisees are also encouraged to implement local marketing and establish relationships with those businesses that could supply referrals: assisted living facilities, real estate attorneys, trust officers and funeral homes.
“This is not the kind of business where you can sit behind your desk,” Seman said. “You have to be engaged with your community to be successful at it.”