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Private Equity Firms vs. Owner-Operated Franchises in Autism Services

by | Apr 3, 2024

QUALITY IS AFFECTED BY OWNERSHIP. ABA therapy centers that are owned by private equity groups have low quality ABA services and high staff turnover.

In the ever-growing world of businesses catering to children with autism, greedy investors gather. With an estimated annual revenue of $7 billion, services tailored to support children on the autism spectrum have garnered significant attention.

Private equity firms have made substantial waves in the autism treatment sector, responsible for a staggering 85% of autism company buyouts between 2017 and 2022. While these firms bring financial resources and strategic expertise to the table, concerns arise regarding their prioritization of profits over the well-being of their clients.

While private equity firms bring financial resources and scalability to the table, their profit-driven motives can sometimes conflict with the ethical and compassionate care that individuals with autism deserve. According to Jon Bailey of the ABA Ethics Hotline, the profit-centric approach of private equity can lead to the erosion of the value systems essential for providing ethical and effective autism services.

Check out this story on NBCNews.com https://www.nbcnews.com/now/video/experts-warn-of-the-impact-when-private-equity-firms-buy-companies-that-serve-children-with-autism-206481989709?fbclid=IwAR2O6tUvLT6WhRT4MiU2-hyTMItResz9zirgkJxjACo8-4YGdHJ_FYCqquk_aem_AZRLL24Nvt1G4KPunOqhXE5qAuPHLpv9Hayoh9hoL0UGUwzQxPntkfACH9Tqk-65QNbbwdmQXlsVYyyYiMtONyUM

In stark contrast, owner-operated clinics offer a different perspective. These businesses are often driven by individuals who have a personal connection to autism, whether through family members or personal experiences. As a result, their decisions are grounded in a deep understanding of the needs and challenges faced by individuals on the spectrum. Unlike the profit-driven model of private equity, franchise owners have the autonomy to prioritize the best interests of their clients above all else.

One of the key advantages of owner-operated clinics lies in their ability to foster a sense of teamwork and accountability in their staff. With a personal stake in the success of their business, franchise owners are deeply invested in building long-lasting relationships with the staff and families they serve. This level of dedication and commitment often translates into a higher quality of care and a more personalized approach to therapy and support services.

Furthermore, owner-operated clinics are better equipped to adapt to the evolving needs of the autism community. With the flexibility to implement innovative programs and tailor services to individual preferences, these businesses can provide a more comprehensive and effective support system for their clients. This adaptability is essential in an ever-changing landscape where new research and best practices continuously emerge.

In 2018, Success On The Spectrum entered the market. As the first ABA therapy franchise in the country, SOS is creating a new model that has the support of a big company with the attentiveness that comes with each location being individually owned.

Owner-operated franchises offer a more personalized, community-oriented approach that prioritizes the well-being of their clients above all else. As the demand for autism services continues to grow, it is crucial to consider not only the bottom line but also the values and principles that guide the care and support provided to children on the spectrum.

Ultimately, nurturing the needs of this community requires a delicate balance of business acumen and heartfelt dedication.