Physio Inq carves franchise fee back to $6,500 – and opens up to non-physio franchisees

Sarah Stowe

Everything is new at Physio Inq as the Aussie healthcare chain makes mega changes to its franchise model and welcomes non-physio franchisees into its network.

Physiotherapist and founder Jonathan Moody believes now is just the right time to flip the franchise opportunity on its head.

“COVID has been a great catalyst. We went up 15 per cent revenue growth in May. Most clinics have rebounded to pre-COVID levels,” he says.

He has shifted the mindset, introduced a more flexible model, and the changes are significant:

  • a massive 85 per cent reduction in the upfront investment (now $6,500 rather than about $45,000)
  • ongoing fees are capped monthly, not based on a percentage of revenue
  • a no lock-in contract so franchisees can exit without a financial penalty
  • franchisees don’t need to be qualified physiotherapists.

Jonathan is confident making the franchise more accessible and helping franchisees invest in themselves will see the Physio Inq brand succeed.

“We’re looking to get our economy back on track and people back into jobs. The reality is starting a small business post-covid will be tougher than ever but at the same time it might be a real option for those who otherwise are recently unemployed and finding it difficult to get back into the workforce.

“We have a proven franchising model at Physio Inq that demonstrated its solidarity during COVID, so we have decided to reduce the barriers to entry for those interested in running their own business and will provide the necessary training and education to help them succeed.

Physio Inq carves franchise fee 

Jonathan didn’t believe that the existing model, while less expensive than its main competitor, was fit for purpose.

“I wanted incredible people to be in the business, not incredible people with money.”

When Jonathan looked at the franchise and realised he would never have been able to join the business as a franchisee, he knew it was time to overturn the model.

“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.”

He aims to provide a compelling reason for franchisees to stay, outside a financial obligation to the franchisor.

“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.”

Now franchisees pay an ongoing fee in line with what a business coach would charge monthly. 

Franchisees can 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.”

The infrastructure provides for shared training and best practice across all divisions, including the non-franchised aged care and disability division. Shared resources allow for business support to continue despite the dramatic drop in franchise fees.

As a result of taking a fresh look at the model, the franchise agreement has been slashed from a mind-boggling 80 pages to about 35 with the franchisor-focus replaced with a more collaborative mindset. 

“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.”

He is also confident the business will get to 100 clinics within three years which will help his goal of providing a full rehabilitation service to patients, across corporate mobile services and franchised practices.

There are 13 Physio Inq practices, three are owned by multi-site franchisees. Two centres (Alexandria, Wetherill Park) are company-owned with the regional manager an operational support coach working alongside Jonathan.

What makes a good Physio Inq franchisee?

There are two distinct models: a pure investor model based on a clinic profit margin – once that point is reached, a particular percentage is maintained under management.

The second option is a non-phyiso franchisee as front of house, cutting out the cost of a receptionist. 

“You can imagine how well clients will be looked after in that capacity,” he says.

Franchisees need an ability to connect and to exhibit leadership values and integrity, Jonathan says.

“An owner has to have the highest moral regard with EQ front and centre in terms of capability. That’s what matters in an industry driven by people’s health,” he points out.

“Our dream is to create a business environment that wonderful people can come together and create happiness in every interaction with clients.”