Physio Inq slashes 85% off upfront franchise fee
Australian allied health services company Physio Inq has flipped its franchise model and slashed upfront fees by as much as 85 per cent.
Physiotherapist founder Jonathan Moody believes the time is right to turn the franchise opportunity into a more flexible model.
And with his lawyer, he’s carved the agreement into a more balanced contract, in the process reducing the document from 80 pages to about 35.
“I realised how franchisor-focused it was. This is more about coming to a collaborative agreement,” he tells Inside Franchise Business Executive.
“I am so confident that this system of business, of allied health, and how you can make it a person-centred model with great soft-skills training. And I love it.”
Changes to the existing model includes an 85 per cent reduction in the upfront investment: down to $6,500 from about $45,000.
Ongoing fees are capped each month rather than based on a percentage of revenue.
As Physio Inq slashes franchise fees, it has also introduced a no lock-in contract so franchisees can opt to leave without paying an exit fee.
Another significant change is opening up the franchise opportunity to franchisees who are not qualified physiotherapists.
Moody is confident making the franchise more accessible and helping franchisees invest in themselves will see the Physio Inq brand succeed.
“There’s no catch. Franchisees do not need to pay hundreds of thousands to buy out their restraints. They can leave without having to pay a cent if they are not happy.”
The catalyst for change
When Moody had a conversation with a consultant about whether the pricing model was fit for the goal of empowering individuals it was clear changes needed to be made.
“We were less expensive than our main competitor, however I wanted incredible people to be in the business, not incredible people with money.”
Moody’s realisation “I would never have been able to join the business” hit home.
“I want to come to work and work with like-minded entrepreneurs. I want my franchise fee not to be a tax on business but incredible value add they see they cannot live without.
“If someone could walk away, I need to make sure of my value – internet, SEO, business and cultural coaching, discounts on products and insurance.”
Moody aims to provide a compelling reason for franchisees to stay, outside a financial obligation to the franchisor.
The challenge ahead was to remove all barriers to entry, except legal and training costs – and set an ongoing fee in line with what a business coach would charge monthly.
Franchisees can still expect to benefit from national marketing – YouTube, banner ads, national social media videos for clinics and mobile.
“We supply a local area marketing monthly plan and digital, instruction on everything to do to assist marketing. It’s all about symbiosis, linking organic face-to-face with our back end SEO prescriptive digital stuff.
“This is a people-based business. We’ll be creating almost micro-influencers in their community.
“I just want to empower people to provide service at different level, almost a millennial approach.”
Through this realignment of the franchise structure Moody admits he’s learned new soft skills.
“Patience, historically, is not my strong point, but the mobile and community practices have forced me to be patient with the network.
“I’m happy with the growth because I’ve been forced to be patient.”
The staff-run mobile operations needed a lot of attention, now Moody is confident the infrastructure is in place.
So it’s on to the next goal, building a network of business owners, creating hubs of franchisees.
There’s a long term goal attached to increasing the footprint of the organisation – the opportunity to provide a physio journey for a patient. A good spread of practices and mobile businesses would allow Physio Inq to visit patients just out of hospital, and then transition them to practice appointments.
“We need a large footprint to fulfil this rehabilitation journey,” says Moody.
“We will get to 100 clinics within three years, have to have numbers to get a goal. It’s not financially driven because of the new model.”
Business model shift
The new-look business is the result of a 15-year journey for Moody and the Physio Inq business.
Before franchising two years ago the focus was on the systems required to operate a multi-site business rather than the culture of the business.
“We became a corporate dinosaur, we had lost sight of the true unique differences: autonomy, accountability and empathy, individuality and inclusiveness,” explains Moody.
“Because [as leaders] we’d been removed from the day to day and bolted on a business system the wheels came off somewhat.”
A shift of perception that individuals and an individual touch were crucial to operating a successful healthcare practice brought Moody to embrace the franchise model.
Initially, half the network came from the existing company-owned practices.
As a heavily regulated and specialist sector the aged care and disability practices were not franchised.
However the infrastructure provides for shared training and best practice across all divisions, easing the financial burden on the franchise division and allowing for a dramatic drop in fees.
There are 13 Physio Inq practices, three are owned by multi-site franchisees. Two centres (Alexandria, Wetherill Park) are corporate with the regional manager an operational support coach working alongside Moody.
“I manage the entire network and help coach the franchise team. As we scale, there are triggers in place to allow more staff to come on board, so we have a sensible financial approach.”