Hiring Care Givers in the Senior Care Industry

Blog story1

 

Hiring Care Givers in the Senior Care Industry

Ask any Senior Care Franchise owner what the secret to the business is and you will get one answer…..the caregivers!

Staffing is a big concern in any business, and it is certainly one in home care. As new home care franchise owners go out into the community to let people know they are open for business and hoping to sign on new clients, they also need to have trained caregivers on hand to work with those clients.

From one perspective, it’s exciting to read the statistics on the number of people who are aging in place and living longer, but who still need some degree of assistance with daily activities.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging found that in 2013, there were 44.7 million people age 65 or older in the country, making up 14.1% of the population; by 2060 they project that figure to more than double to 98 million or 21.7% of the U.S. population. However, it’s like a bar graph with that demographic heading straight up and a question mark below it for the number of capable caregivers to meet the demand.

In addition to the elderly, many people of all ages require assistance to remain at home, including people recovering from surgery, living with a chronic condition such as MS or Parkinson’s, and those who are physically or developmentally disabled. The future demand for in home caregivers is evident in the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimation that they are one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S.

Learning more about people who choose to work in the caregiving profession including their training, professional and personal backgrounds, and why they do what they do, can go a long way toward relieving concerns about staffing a home care business.

Meet Donna

DonnaDonna Barr, 59, got her degree in early childhood education before becoming the owner of a preschool in Connecticut.

“I just adore helping people and helping children,” she says. Ms. Barr has been a caregiver with Senior Care Franchise serving Western Washington state for the past three years of her whole 25-year caregiving career.

“I’ve also worked with a few elderly clients,” she says. “I like to make things easier for them, to get to know them and understand them.”

When it comes to working with young children, Ms. Barr is passionate. “I like it when I win over the parents’ confidence,” she explains. “At the end of the day, I can share cute stories about what their child did.”

Meet Jeannet

JeannetYes, caregivers can and need to be trained, but for many there is an innate desire to help others that enhances their skills. Jeannet Gutierrez, 58, is the mother of two grown children and a full-time caregiver for Senior Care Franchise in Washington.

“When I came to America from Peru, being a caregiver made me feel like I was helping my Mom again,” Ms. Gutierrez says. “People are so lonely sometimes.” In Peru, Ms. Gutierrez worked in her mother’s restaurant and as a secretary for a computer business, but when she came to the United States, she went to school and got a nursing assistant certificate. Now she takes pride in hearing that the families of her clients are happy with her care.

“I have worked with many hospice patients,” she says. “I feel very helpful when I talk to the family and explain how they need to still show their love.”

Ms. Gutierrez is about to celebrate nine years as a professional caregiver. These two women are just a small sample of the many people who seek out work to serve others—children, elders, or infirm—in the home care industry.

Visit the Top 10 Senior Care Franchises website for the latest information on the most profitable senior care franchises in the industry.

Franchising Trends Watch-#Food #Franchises

How eateries can appeal to new parents The things people look for in restaurants shift after they have children, and eateries may be missing out on chances to market to young parents, according to research from The Hartman Group. Restaurants can win over moms by making room for strollers, providing entertainment while kids wait and offering healthy menu options, said Hartman ethnographic analyst Helen Lundell.

 

Franchise Trends-Food franchises

Study: Quickserves strive to cater to drive-thru diners Drive-thru business fuels as much as 70% of sales at quickserve chains, many of which have ramped up efforts to improve speed and order accuracy as the field grows more competitive, according to QSR Magazine’s annual Drive-Thru Performance Study. The average time to fill a drive-thru order was 230.74 seconds, up from 219.97 seconds last year, with burger chains seeing the biggest slowdown, while the accuracy rate improved to 88.6% from 86.6% QSR Magazine

 

Your Small Business Financing Timeline

Your Small Business Financing Timeline

February 20, 2015 by @guidant

They say timing is everything, and nowhere is that phrase truer than in the world of small business — especially when it comes to business financing. If you’re relying on some type of funding to get your business off the ground, your opening date is completely dependent on when you’re able to secure start-up capital. So before you commit to a deadline, make sure your expectations are realistic by understanding the small business financing timeline.

Below is a graph showing the amount of time (in days) it can take to secure some of the most common forms of small business financing. The darker gold bar represents the approximate average time we’ve seen it take to receive funds, while the lighter bar shows the extended scope of how long it could take, depending of a variety of factors. It’s important to note that these are estimates only and your time to funding may vary.

FundingTimeline_FINAL

Clearly, not all forms of financing are created equal and some methods take significantly longer to finalize than others. Leveraging existing assets, such as the value of your investment portfolio or retirement funds, can be the fastest approach to financing, taking as little as two – three weeks to close. However, the amount of financing you’ll receive is dependent on how much you invested in the first place.

If you need a larger sum to get going, SBA loans under the 7(a) program can offer up to $5 million, but they come with longer wait times. Because of the comprehensive application and approval process, traditional SBA 7(a) loans can take 80 – 120 days to close and working capital loans, which offer $150,000 or less, can take 40 – 60 days.

There are things you can do to expedite the financing process. Here are a few tips to help you get ahead:

  1. Understand your personal finances. Review statements from all of your financial institutions, from checking and savings accounts to retirement funds and other investments. By knowing where you stand individually, you’ll be able to better assess how much you can afford to invest in a business before you apply for financing.
  2. Pre-qualify for funding. Don’t waste time applying for financing programs that won’t work for you. Take two minutes to get pre-qualified online so you can see which methods you’re eligible for, and then pursue the one(s) that fit your needs.
  3. Collect necessary application documents early. After you choose your financing method(s), get a list of the necessary paperwork required for application, such as tax returns, your business plan, etc., and start gathering them as soon as possible. The earlier you’re able to do this, the less likely the process will be held up because you can’t find a certain document.

When deciding on a small business financing method, it’s important to choose the one that meets your financial needs as well as works within your desired timeline. By reviewing your choices early and understanding the time it takes to get funded, you’ll be able to meet your target opening date with open arms — and open doors.

How Much Is Your Franchise Worth?

How Much Is Your Franchise Worth?

valuationWe business brokers use rules of thumb every day to help sellers put price tags on their businesses. Such “rules” are very useful tools for appraising nearly every small business. They can be used to cut through the confusion.

But, rules of thumb are only rough descriptions of reality. They are gross simplifications. In that sense, they are ‘dumb’. When misunderstood and misapplied, they are even dumber!

Earnings Multiplier is Best

If we are going to use a rule of thumb to value a business, some type of earnings multiplier makes the most sense to prospective buyers. It directly addresses the buyer’s motive to make money – to achieve a return on investment. Sales multiples mean nothing unless they can be translated into earnings.

Two areas of confusion are inappropriate comparisons to investment real estate and/or to stock market earnings multiples. Real estate is often priced at 8 to 10 times its net operating income. Stock market prices are often as much as, or even more than, 20 times earnings.

These two comparisons do not work for small businesses primarily because the risk of owning a small closely-held, privately owned business is thought to be much higher than owning either real estate or publicly held stock. Running a small business is also a lot tougher than managing an office building or a stock portfolio.

But, even if we settle on an earnings multiplier, we are not even able to start the valuation process until we decide which earnings figure we are going to multiply. Is it last year’s earnings? This year’s? Next year’s? Is it the last five year’s earnings averaged? Is it the next five year’s projected?

The next issue is our precise calculation of ‘earnings.’ Should it include or exclude the owner’s pay and perks, interest expenses, depreciation and taxes? What about those one-time expenses that may be on the books?

But, What’s the Right Earnings Multiplier?

After we define which ‘earnings’ we should use, we still have to choose the right multiplier. How many times are we going to multiply earnings to get to a value of the business? Is it 1, 3, 5, 8, 10 or 20? Based upon what? Figured how? Most people can agree that this multiplier will vary based upon the risk of the business, but how can that be measured?

What about the various tangible and intangible asset values? Do we include the real estate, equipment, vehicles, inventory? Is there a separate value for a seller’s agreement to consult with the new owner after the sale? What about non-compete agreements? What about patents, franchises and other extraordinary intangibles?

Finally, how do we define ‘value’ itself? Do we want ‘fair market value?’ Or, do we want a specific value for a specific circumstance?

Estimating the market value of a business is difficult when we can’t observe a marketplace of buyers and sellers. Sometimes, there aren’t many buyer prospects for a given small business.

When no active market seems to exist, buyers pay prices that are unique to their circumstances, sometimes considerably above or below any so-called ‘fair market value.’

Let Common Sense Prevail!

We must allow our common sense to prevail if we are to make our way through these issues. Let’s not forget that potential buyers create the market. We have to place ourselves in the positions of would-be buyers for the business we’re trying to value.

Let’s start with the issue of which earnings to use. It would be easiest to use the most recent year’s earnings directly from the latest tax return. But, does that make any sense? Not in my opinion.

A buyer is buying the future, not the past. Projected earnings, therefore, is my answer to which earnings figure to use.

The obvious problem with this is that it is difficult to estimate. But, it’s still the right figure to use. It makes sense to most buyers as long as the projection looks realistic.

For most small businesses, I believe a one year ‘normalized’ earnings projection is in order. But, if one could realistically project five years ahead, I could be persuaded to use such a projection.

Use Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT)

The second issue is the specific calculation of what constitutes ‘earnings.’ I vote for a simple definition here – one used by accountants for businesses large and small. I’m referring to ‘Earnings Before Interest and Taxes’ (EBIT) as it is known and defined by accountants. Again, I defer to buyer preferences here. Their advisors are often CPAs and EBIT is an understood norm.

What’s the right multiple? Well, it depends! For most businesses, it’s somewhere between 3 to 5 times ‘normalized’ EBIT. But, it can be less than that when there are few tangible assets and it can be more than that when the business is uniquely attractive.

The right multiple is, in the eyes of buyers, a matter of assumed risk. Buyers feel better about buying tangible assets that they can appreciate with their five senses – things like real estate and equipment. On the other hand, one can entice them by offering a clearly attractive opportunity to make money, regardless of the tangible assets included, as long as it’s believable.

Why is it 3 to 5 times earnings? Well, to buyers, such a multiple represents getting your investment back in 3 to 5 years from profits. That’s equivalent to a projected annual return on investment between 20% and 33%. That’s the type of return rate that encourages buyers to take the leap of faith to buy an existing business.

What About Other Assets?

Tangible and intangible assets often seem to have a value separate from the business. The test of whether or not the value of an asset should be included in the multiple-derived price is based upon whether or not it is needed to generate the projected earnings. If it’s needed, it’s included.

Exceptions to this are most often real estate and inventory for re-sale, because owning real estate and inventory items is theoretically less risky than owning the other assets of a business.

This is especially true for the valuation of businesses which occupy and own buildings which could easily be sold on the open market if the business failed, or businesses which have large amounts of inventory for re-sale which would be easy to liquidate.

Care must be taken, however, not to double-count assets. In the case of real estate, for example, we separate it by making appropriate expense adjustments in the business expenses. If the real estate value is to be added back to the business value, then we must subtract a real estate rent expense when we calculate business earnings. This will lower business earnings and the business entity value. But, we can then add-back the real estate value as a separate figure.

The handling of inventory values can be equally tricky. Inventory is almost always valued at cost, but we have to carefully consider the effect that adding-back inventory value will have on the buy-sell transaction. How inventory is purchased and financed by a buyer has a dramatic effect on the economics of the transaction.

Generally, intangible assets like an owner’s agreement not to compete, or to consult during a transition period, are included in the value of the business derived by using a multiple of earnings, even though such assets may well be treated separately at a business closing for tax purposes.

How Can You Be Certain?

After reading and re-reading all the material on business valuation that you can find, you may still wonder how you can be certain that the price you’ve chosen is correct. Unfortunately, you can’t.

Using and applying the multiples described in this article is uncertain and imprecise because buyers are uncertain and imprecise. Most buyers use some type of valuation approach based upon the multiplication of earnings, but they don’t all use the same procedures.

Progress is being made at collecting nationwide sales data on small business sales. One of the most interesting results of this new data, so far, is that it confirms the above rules of thumb, if used and applied properly, are fairly accurate

Good News For Finance Seekers

Good News For Finance Seekers

With the recession in the rearview mirror, operators finally have more financing options available to them. Finding those options, though, is another story.

downloadLet’s talk money.

First, the good news: There is plenty of money available for foodservice operators and brands looking to grow or strengthen their concepts. Stakeholders from across the restaurant financial services spectrum agree on that. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) financing is at a five-year high. Hospitality is a hot industry again for private equity firms. Alternative funding options are becoming more common and regulated. And, more importantly, consumer disposable spending is back up.

“There’s a huge amount of money in the market,” says Ed Prensky, CFO of Plamondon Hospitality Partners, operator of 20 Roy Rogers, “both in equity and lending.”

Signs of this abound. GE Capital, Franchise Finance (GEFF), for example, announced in October an initiative targeting “entrepreneurial” multiunit brands and franchisees in the mid-market space. Soon after, GEFF loaned Specialty’s Café & Bakery Inc.—a 50-unit, fast-casual bakery/café chain—$37.5 million to refinance existing debt and provide funds for growth. That announcement was followed in January with news of a $7.6 million loan and $2 million revolving credit line granted to Milano’s Restaurants International for the development of a new fast-casual pizza concept, Blast 825° Pizza. (GE Capital announced after this story was written that it would sell its finance division.)

Now the bad news: The outlook is not as positive for those new to the industry. Post-recession, banks and investors are more cautious with whom they do business. Unless an operator can demonstrate proven restaurant experience or partner with an established enterprise brand, raising capital in this financial climate is tough—but not impossible.

“It’s more challenging for the little guy to get into the restaurant business than it was in the past,” says Tom Finn, vice president of franchise development at The Greene Turtle Franchising Corporation. “Bankers are sensitive; they still view the industry as a risky environment. It’s hard for the entrepreneurial types to raise capital. But there’s more than one solution.”

To get a sense of what is possible and what makes sense at which stage of the growth process, we talked to franchisors, franchisees, operators, bankers, and investors about three of the top ways to raise capital—commercial lending, equity investment, and alternative financing.

images (2)Working with banks

Matt Andrew, CEO of the 29-unit Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint, uses phrases such as “cautiously optimistic” when talking about today’s commercial lending environment. One can hardly blame him for being reticent. Andrew was president of Moe’s Southwest Grill from 2001 to 2006 and started Uncle Maddio’s one year after the Great Recession began. He’s seen how quickly fortunes and tastes can turn in foodservice.

“I’ve never seen before—and probably shouldn’t—the types of deals we were seeing in 2004–2006,” Andrew says. “A fifth-grader could have gotten a $300,000 loan. But it’s a new day.”

Andrew is referring to increased scrutiny and lending requirements by both federal and banking officials. The bank-financing climate has loosened, but it’s still tight compared with pre-2008 levels—especially for emerging brands and new operators. It’s no longer enough to have a good idea. Operators hoping to get a capital infusion from a bank also need a good business plan or track record to tell their story.

“Money is there for the right candidates,” says Jeff Jackson, president of Billy Sims BBQ, a Tulsa, Oklahoma–based fast-casual franchisor with 44 units. “Banks are looking for personal wealth and experience. They’re looking at the concept, too: the training available, the track record, how many units. The franchise has to be solid.”

Even with a solid franchise behind them, entrepreneurs new to the foodservice world will find that conventional loans are virtually impossible to secure. That’s where SBA loans come in.

Since 2009, the SBA has approved through commercial lenders more than 30,000 general small business, or 7(a), loans in the foodservice space, with an average deal coming in just under $300,000. Last year, 5,784 restaurants received SBA funding, a 9.7 percent year-over-year increase from 2013.

“Our business banking division has seen an increase in SBA lending activity since 2011,” says Cristin O’Hara, managing director and Restaurant Finance Group head at Bank of America, the No. 1 lender in the SBA market. “We’re working with operators with less than 10 units and $50 million in revenue.”

The SBA offers a variety of loan programs for very specific purposes. The four main categories are: general small-business loans, or 7(a); real estate and equipment loans (CDC/504); microloans; and disaster loans. Approval for 7(a) general business loans, the most common type used in foodservice, is weighed against several factors, including a would-be borrower’s debt-to-worth ratio, cash flow projections, available capital, collateral, and resource management.

Almost all of Uncle Maddio’s 56 franchise groups got their starts with a SBA-backed 7(a) loan, which makes Roger Wagerman, the chain’s vice president of sales and development, somewhat of an expert. The process, Wagerman says, has its frustrations—significant paperwork and lengthy processing times, for example—but for many operators and brands, it’s the only option.

“Banks are only doing SBA loans for emerging concepts like ours,” Wagerman says. “The good news is more banks are opening SBA programs. We get calls all the time from banks trying to get our development business.”

The growth opportunities banks see in SBA lending means bankers with expertise like Rebecca Grant, vice president of business development at Ameris Bank, are in high demand. Grant is an almost 30-year veteran in the SBA lending space and has a plethora of advice for operators and brands looking to take advantage of the program.

The first step for a franchisor, she says, is registering the brand on the Franchise Registry to streamline approval. The Franchise Registry lists every SBA-eligible franchise in the U.S. and is run by FRANdata. Registration is free. Eligibility is determined based on franchise’s submitted disclosure documents. Inclusion on the list is an indication that a brand’s franchise agreement allows an operator to qualify as a small business owner. Participation is voluntary—sort of.

“You have to be registered for most banks to even consider doing an SBA deal with your franchisees,” Grant says.

Once registered, smart franchisors should do everything possible to pre-qualify and prepare candidates to expedite the SBA loan process.

“You can’t close an SBA loan without a lease in place,” Wagerman says as an example of the type of knowledge he shares with franchisees. “You can’t have any bankruptcies or felonies on your record. You need to prove bankable assets … and be able to defend your projections.”

download (1)Still, strict criteria aside, the dollars for growth are there.

“It’s a borrower’s market if you’re an established brand,” says Pierre Panos, founder and CEO of Fresh To Order, a 14-unit fast casual based in Atlanta. “Banks will lend to their good customers and strong operators.”

To keep Fresh To Order on the minds of the three to four banks with which it has relationships, Panos sends regular updates on Fresh To Order’s performance and growth. “The best thing you can do for your brand is know your bankers,” Panos says. “Maintain a connection even when you don’t need money. It takes time and work, but it’s worth it in the end. Well-managed debt is a great asset.”

Investor dollars

Private equity firms are increasingly hungry for hot foodservice brands.

“If I wanted to do a private equity deal today, I could,” says Uncle Maddio’s Andrew. “I probably get a phone call a week.”

And he’s not the only one. Panos at Fresh To Order says he receives almost weekly calls, too. Both attribute the interest to their place in the fast-casual category, a segment that is very attractive to investors.

“The country is still wide open for fast casual,” Panos says. “Fast food is saturated. Casual dining is dying, and fine dining suffers when the market is down. Fast casual offers great store-level profits inside a smaller footprint.”

Neither Fresh To Order nor Uncle Maddio’s is ready to take on additional partners right now. But for those facing a liquidity event such as a merger or buyout, or those looking for debt-free growth capital, opportunities abound.

Cohnreznick, the accounting services firm, included the restaurant category among “Industries of Particular Interest to the PE Space” in its Momentum 2015: Middle Market Private Equity Outlook report. The report cites record-high quick-service restaurant valuations of 14 times EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and improved credit terms, low interest rates, and economic stability for the increased interest in the segment. Investors are both buying and selling interest in restaurant companies at top dollar.

For many, the exit strategy is an initial public offering. Restaurants IPOs raised more than $440 million in 2014. Cohnreznick predicts 2015 IPOs will be just as strong. If Shake Shack’s January IPO is any indication, Cohnreznick is right. Shares of Shake Shack went from $21 to $49.50 on the first day of trading.

“There’s a lot of equity interest in foodservice overall because consumers are coming back,” Prensky says. “Investors have taken note of the industry’s focus on maximizing sales and ROI and developing steady performance and a steady customer base.”

The interest goes both ways. New York–based Alliance Consumer Growth (ACG), whose $44 million debut fund helped Shake Shack grow from a food cart to a 60-unit global chain, regularly fields unsolicited inbound calls from investment bankers hoping to bring them in on the next big restaurant deal. But ACG does not partner with just anyone. It proactively seeks emerging brands in the restaurant and consumer product goods categories. ACG’s sweet spot is deals in the $5–$15 million range where the firm can come in as a minority stakeholder and help a brand with 15–20 units grow through ACG’s access to expertise and resources around site procurement, financing and reporting, executive and board recruitment, and exit strategies.

Tampa, Florida–based fast casual PDQ is another of ACG’s investments.

“We spent a lot of time identifying and building relationships with Shake Shack and PDQ,” says Josh Goldin, ACG cofounder and managing partner. “We view them as best-in-class concepts in their categories.”

The need for knowledge, not capital, was the catalyst for both the Shake Shack and PDQ deals.

“There are places to go if you just want money,” Goldin says. “A good investor should be a value add, providing resources and opportunities to network with other emerging concepts. Do your diligence. Investment firms are very different culturally and philosophically.”

Bob Barry, CEO of The Greene Turtle, echoes that sentiment.

“The money is the easy part,” Barry says. “You’re really looking for additional help.”

Barry speaks from experience. The Greene Turtle partnered with JPB Capital Partners, a Columbia, Maryland–based private equity partner for lower- to middle-market companies to grow its franchisee base. JPB Capital is the majority stakeholder in The Greene Turtle Franchising Corp. Its restaurant portfolio has included brands such as Kenny Rogers Roasters, Baja Fresh, La Madeleine, and Caribou Coffee over the years.

“My interest was finding somebody who understood the consumer business,” Barry says. “I want an outside perspective. You have to go surround yourself with people smarter than you.”

To gauge whether a specific private equity firm is the right partner, Barry says, operators should ask the firm the following questions: What is your focus? Why are you interested in my brand? What is your fund philosophy? And, what are your performance expectations and the time frame around them?

In cases where the equity firm takes a majority stake, alignment on goals and expectations is particularly important before signing over a portion of the company.

“You have to understand they’re purchasing your brand,” Barry says. “You will be working for the private equity group. You are no longer the final say and can even be ousted if they don’t feel they’re getting the ROI they want.”

images (3)Non-bank loans

For operators without enough cash on reserve or an established line of credit, or those without enough buzz to attract investors, alternative lending—non-bank loans—is increasingly becoming a solution to access capital. Approval and terms are based on transactions and revenue versus credit worthiness and assets, which means a start-up with little credit history can find funds. Other advantages include greater flexibility to manage cash flow and quicker access to cash. In some cases, business owners can be approved within 24 hours and receive funds the next day.

“We are not going to provide the long-term dollars that are going to help somebody open a multiunit operation,” says David Sederholt, executive vice president and COO at Strategic Funding Source, an alternative funding company that works with small and midsize companies. “Our average loan is $35,000–$40,000 and is used for all kinds of things.”

Though it’s estimated to be a $3 billion per year market, non-bank lending is relatively new. CAN Capital, another alternative lender, began operations in 1998. New players to the market include PayPal, OnDeck, Square, Kabbage, and Lending Club. Each uses its own unique algorithm to determine financing pricing, amounts, and terms.

Products in the space fall under one of three categories: merchant cash advance, which is a pre-paid purchase of future credit or debit card receipts, wherein financing is based on average credit card sales; working capital loans, which offer money to operate the immediate and short-term needs of a business, such as payroll or other reoccurring payments, but is not intended for investing or buying long-term assets; and social lending, in which investors bypass financial institutions to lend directly to borrowers, often through online portals.

The easy access to capital that these products and companies provide does come with a price, though. Interests rates can be up to 30 percent.

“Our funds are much more expensive than a traditional lender,” Sederholt says. “But it’s available.”

Sederholt also cautions would-be borrowers considering alternative funding to take a hard look at the lenders—especially since legislation and regulation has yet to catch up to the industry’s growth.

“There are many reputable firms out there,” Sederholt says. “But there are also those who are not. Do your homework. … Are they transparent around their operations, their officers, where they are based? Are they receptive to your needs? Do they have a restaurant specialist on staff?”

The most important question operators should ask before seeking capital from any external source, experts say, is: Why do I want to grow?

“You have to have a plan,” Plamondon Hospitality’s Prensky says. “And then you have to take the time to think about every aspect of your operations to make sure your plans are realistic. You can’t be so wedded to growth that you stress your existing operations. Don’t be afraid to step back and say we’re not going to do that just because the money is available. That’s what separates the good operators from the bad.”

Take Control Of Your Health Care Expenses-Buy A Franchise

HSAHealth savings accounts have exploded in popularity in recent years, but experts say they’re not living up to their potential as savings vehicles for retirement healthcare costs.

At the end of 2014, U.S. health savings accounts (HSAs) held $24.2 billion across nearly 14 million accounts, versus $19.3 billion across nearly 11 million accounts in 2013, according to Devenir, a Minneapolis-based provider of HSA investment products. Underlying this rapid growth is the increased adoption by employers of high-deductible health insurance plans, which shift more medical costs to employees and are typically paired with HSAs. Outside the employer market, Obamacare marketplaces offer individual and family high-deductible plans that are HSA-eligible.

Under high-deductible plans, consumers must pay for most medical expenses out-of-pocket until their spending hits a deductible of at least $1,300 for individual coverage or $2,600 for family coverage. To fund these expenses, consumers can sock away money in their HSA, which is a dedicated, tax-advantaged account for medical needs.

HSAs have only been around for about a decade, so even the earliest adopters aren’t ready for retirement in great numbers. Yet research suggests that HSA holders aren’t thinking of their account as the long-term, retirement savings vehicle that it could be. Only 16% of employees who are contributing to a health savings account plan to use the funds for future healthcare costs in retirement, according to the 2015 Employee Financial Wellness Survey by PwC.

What’s more, less than 5% of all account holders have invested their HSA in mutual funds or other securities. The vast majority of accounts are in cash equivalents, which imply a more short-term focus, according to Devenir. “People just don’t appreciate the full benefit of HSAs at retirement,” said John DiVito, president of Flexible Benefit Service Corporation, a Rosemont, Ill.-based benefits administrator.

The big benefit of HSAs is one that even the 401(k) can’t match: a triple tax advantage. Money in HSAs isn’t taxed on the way in, it grows on a tax-deferred basis, and it can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualifying medical expenses—now or in retirement.

Retirement health-care tab

Many people think that Medicare will cover all of their healthcare costs once they turn 65, yet this isn’t the case. Original Medicare, otherwise known as Part A and Part B, covers about 80% of medical costs — beneficiaries are responsible for the remaining 20%. The most comprehensive Medigap supplement plans will cover most if not all out-of-pocket costs, but they can run upwards of $300 a month.

Fidelity projected that an average couple retiring last year at age 65 will need $220,000 for healthcare costs during their retirement years. The study assumed that the hypothetical retiring couple has original Medicare. The $220,000 total includes monthly premium payments for Part B and Part D drug coverage, plus Medicare cost-sharing requirements. This estimate excludes most dental services, which Medicare doesn’t cover.

This whopping amount also excludes long-term care expenses such as nursing home or assisted living costs. Medicare does not cover this so-called custodial care. (Medicaid will, but only for those who have exhausted most of their assets and meet strict income and other criteria.) The national median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $91,250, according to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

HSAs can help with long-term care costs. Premiums for qualifying long-term care insurance can be funded with HSA money while people are still healthy. Once HSA holders reach the stage where they need help in old age, they can tap their HSA funds to pay for qualifying long-term care. (The Internal Revenue Service outlines requirements in Publication 502; generally, the portion of a nursing home or home health aide bill directly attributed to medical or nursing care counts toward eligible medical expenses.)

If workers fully recognized their exposure to health and long-term care expenses in retirement, they’d be more likely to sock away long-term money in their HSA, DiVito said.

Maxing out the accountHSA2

For 2015, the IRS allows HSA contributions of up to $3,350 for an individual and $6,650 for a family. Those 55 and over can add an additional $1,000 in “catch-up contributions.” As with an IRA, account holders have until April 15 to contribute to their HSA and realize tax savings in the prior year.

The small subset of HSA holders who max out their accounts each year tend to be high earners, DiVito said. They see the account as another retirement savings vehicle, and their high tax bracket means they especially can benefit from the savings at tax time when their HSA contributions are excluded from their annual income.

Instead of tapping their HSA for medical expenses, these people pay their medical bills with after-tax dollars until they reach their deductible. Eric Remjeske, president and co-founder of Devenir and himself an HSA holder, has found doctors and other providers readily agree to charge his credit card a fixed monthly amount until his bill is paid off, without interest or other fees. Not only does this break the bill into manageable monthly chunks, but it also allows him to earn rewards points on his card.

HSA accounts are still relatively new, and it’s understandable that workers are still learning their ins and outs. When more do, DiVito said, they’ll realize that the HSA is “the quintessential vehicle for retirement healthcare costs.”

How To Start A Staffing Agency

How To Start A Staffing Agency


A Step-By-Step Guide

Helping people find work and delivering quality help to companies in need can be very rewarding. Yet temporary staffing is a complicated business; getting it all set up and functioning is a lot of work. When economies turn around and grow, demands for temporary staff rise and those capable of delivering the right staff can do very well for themselves.

peopleStep 1. Incorporate or establish your business entity with a unique and memorable name. You’ll need something that will help you stand out and build name recognition down the road. If you intend to serve a specialty industry, consider incorporating something from that industry in your name.

Step 2. Obtain a business license for any city or county in which you operate. If you operate multiple offices, this may mean multiple licenses. Keep your operation legal, as staffing is an industry where litigation can easily happen and you don’t want to be found with anything out of order.

Step 3. Secure sufficient financing to operate without revenues for at least six months. You have to be able to make payroll for your temporary staff as well as any recruiting and sales staff in your office. Clients don’t always pay their invoices as quickly as you would like. You have to be prepared for a significant gap in cash flow. You will also have all your start-up capital and marketing expenditures to consider.

Step 4. Purchase liability insurance for your business including worker’s compensation insurance. Your temporary staff may be performing important functions for your clients. Their mistakes are your mistakes. You don’t have direct supervision of your employees and anything can happen to them when they’re at the worksite. With so many variables beyond your control, you need good insurance.

Step 5. Set up a system allowing for frequent payroll; staffing agencies pay their temporary staff weekly. While you can purchase payroll software or start with manual checks, many start-ups and small businesses choose to outsource to payroll services.

download (3)Step 6. Purchase mailing lists and phone directories for the industry or industries you intend to serve. You’ll need materials both for recruiting and for soliciting clients. Consider resources such as professional licensure lists, trade association directories and mailing lists purchased through list brokers.

Step 7. Open accounts with social media sites, as many companies use them as a successful recruiting and marketing tool. Social media — particularly business oriented sites — allow you to seek out recruits who meet your needs as well as connect directly with key decision makers and managers of potential clients. If you can get prospective recruits and clients to link to your account, you have a solid avenue way to disseminate new recruiting needs and staff availabilities.

Step 8. Plan your recruiting and sales strategies. The best methods vary based on your target industry and types of positions you intend to fill. Cold call both clients and recruits. Employ direct mail, advertising in trade publications, advertising in newspapers, sponsoring local or industry events, posting to job boards, “drop-by” visits to potential clients, attending trade association events, email blasts and soliciting referrals from current contacts.

Step 9. Secure office space if you intend to have staff and a place where clients and recruits can come visit.

Step 10. Hire sales and recruiting staff if you plan to be more than a one-person operation. Both recruiting and selling to clients involves good sales talent. Look for someone with a successful track record in staffing or the industries you intend to serve

How To Start Cleaning Business

How To Start Cleaning Business

 

House Cleaning Franchise Opportunity

images (1)House cleaning business opportunities are a great way to help busy homeowners create more time for their favorite activities. Owning a house cleaning franchise often provides steady work as a result of this growing market of time-starved homeowners.  Find your perfect house cleaning franchise working with Lewis Trio Senior Franchise Consultant. We use sophisticated tools to determine the best  franchise that is a great fit for you.

Buying a franchise house cleaning business means having a successful franchisor to back your efforts. Established business plans, marketing strategies and brand reputation take away struggle often experienced by business owners who start their venture from the ground up. At The Best Franchises to Own, we help connect you with like-minded franchisors so you find your ideal house cleaning business faster.images

We help you to review all the cleaning and maintenance franchises to discover all your home cleaning business opportunities.