Canadian Franchise

Getting old and trending up.

It is official, whether you reside in Canada or The United States you are getting older! The population of both countries is aging to the point where ‘seniors’ now make up a very significant portion of the population.


We are all familiar with the term ‘Baby Boomers’ but what many people fail to realize is that this group is far from the ‘Baby’ age group tag and much closer to the senior age group. Baby Boomers were individuals that were born in the time frame 1946-1965 and today those Boomers are in the 56-75 age bracket which puts a large portion of them in the senior’s strata.


Baby Boomers do not represent the only senior element in the population as there are two levels above Baby Boomers the most senior of which is The Greatest Generation with individuals born between 1901 and 1924 and then comes The Silent Generation with people born between 1925 to 1945. When you group these three classifications you get a total that represents over 30% of the population.


This grouping continues to grow, and statistics tell us that the trend is for it to be an incredibly significant percentage of the population for many years to come. We are therefore looking at a substantial market that will keep renewing itself for several decades.


From a business perspective, the senior’s marketplace is not only very significant but also very wealthy. Seniors are probably the wealthiest of all age classifications and the trend is ongoing. This wealth factor is predicated on higher salaries at the senior level, and pensions that are geared to those higher salaries making seniors very significant players in the overall national economy.


As the population ages, individuals tend to seek services provided by others rather than undertaking tasks for themselves, and the greater the aging the greater the reliance on third-party providers of goods and services.   The aging process or perhaps rather the wealthy aging process creates a natural conduit to specialized service providers geared to the growing senior marketplace.


How does a discussion on aging fit into a franchise environment-the answer may be quite simple in that the growth in the senior age bracket coupled with their spending power creates the opportunity for franchise operations that are specifically geared to this marketplace. Franchisors have not been slow to recognize this opportunity and there is a wide range of franchise offerings that are very much aimed at the aging population and their needs.


The market sector and the associated buying power are substantial, and they create a serious upward trend opportunity for established and younger franchises that can craft in-demand services, especially for the senior population. Creativity in this seniors sector now goes well beyond a ‘retirement home’ format, in fact, many ‘retirement homes’ could easily compare themselves favorably to a five-star hotel. Such is the buying power in this age sector.


With a greater emphasis on ‘aging in place,’ it creates a vast market for in-home care that covers a very diverse range of services. Seniors choosing to continue living in their family home are likely to need services that go beyond the reach of just one supplier and they could easily employ several vendors to meet their health and property needs. Many of these in-home services already exist, they have been tried and tested and they now exist in a franchise format.


While we see this franchise sector possibly outpacing other more established sectors the sector growth will not come without associated growth problems. One major hurdle that must be tackled is staffing requirements. The majority of franchise offerings geared to the senior marketplace will l be labor intensive at the franchisee level and, in some cases, will require skill levels that may be hard to recruit. Franchisors in this sector may have to consider investing in internal training programs to keep them at the leading edge of the industry with the ability to provide a constant flow of individuals suitably qualified to work in franchised locations.


Readers might be tempted after reading this far to assume that owning and operating a seniors-related franchise is a recession-proof business, or certainly so for the next few decades. While our commentary certainly indicates very positive trends in this sector potential franchisees in this and other franchise areas should always remember that while a franchisor brings a tried and tested business to the franchisee the franchisee is the main component in making that business sound and profitable.


Franchise opportunities focussed on the needs of the growing senior marketplace are definitely here for the long term and becoming more sophisticated as they evolve. Clearly, they will be trending upward in the years to come as the market size continues to expand. For entrepreneurs and those considering self-employment as their next career move the opportunities in this market sector represent an area to definitely explore.


David Banfield

Franchise growth Advisor Applying an extensive background in financial services/franchising to assist emerging organisations/franchisors achieve the gaols ahead of schedule.