By Josh Robinson
In an economic downturn, franchise business leaders inevitably describe certain industries, such as healthcare, as being “sustainable.” But what do they mean by that?
“Sustainable” simply describes something that possesses staying power. A sustainable business is something that is relevant and necessary.
Healthcare franchises are considered sustainable by business leaders because the need for good health is a constant.
We believe the optical industry provides a great example. Healthcare needs such as eye exams and corrective lenses do not vary as the economy ebbs and flows. Additionally, as people age, vision care becomes more critical and they are more likely to require glasses or contact lenses. And the population is aging: The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there will be 84 million Americans aged 65 or older by 2050.
“We provide a service that customers and patients want and need, even during an economic downturn,” said Alex Wilkes, general manager of Pearle Vision. “And we have the added bonus of being able to help patients see better and live fuller lives, which is very rewarding.”
The healthcare industry is not only sustainable but also expected to grow. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. healthcare spending reached $3.6 trillion in 2018, the most recent numbers available. At an expected increase of 5.5% annually, healthcare spending nationally is expected to be almost $6 trillion by 2027.
Successful healthcare franchises offer scalable business models to accommodate the potential for growth. For example, the hallmarks of the franchise business model — an integrated operating system, established supply chain, strong buying power, and corporate support — provide tools that help licensed owners to build a scalable business quickly and operate multiple locations efficiently.
Many franchise systems also offer area development agreements that provide exclusive territory rights and other incentives in exchange for the owner’s commitment to open a certain number of locations in a particular area within a defined timeframe. At Pearle Vision, we believe area development agreements provide excellent opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs who are interested in multi-unit ownership in a particular business, like the optical industry.
Whether an investor is a doctor or simply someone who is intrigued by the healthcare industry, healthcare franchises present an ideal opportunity to diversify an investment portfolio in an industry that is sustainable and has growth potential.
Josh Robinson is vice president of licensing and development at Pearle Vision. To learn more about the Pearle Vision franchise opportunity, visit ownapearlevision.com.