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3. In-home senior care

Home Helpers

Service: in-home, nonmedical care to older people

Founded: 1997

Number of franchises: 600-plus

Headquarters: Cincinnati

Investment costs: $47,150 to $86,400

Fit for 50-plus? As boomers get older, the need for services like Home Helpers will continue to expand. The business can be run from your own home, and there is not a lot of inventory to manage.

But: Business can be difficult because it touches on sensitive subjects, like age and personal independence. Employee turnover can be high.

Spotlight: Myles Showers, 71, Columbus, Ohio.

Ten years ago, a downsizing put Showers, a general plant manager, out of a job. He decided to buy a franchise, considered — and rejected — several retail services, partly because he was concerned about cash register stickups. He settled on Home Helpers.

At the start, he worked more than 40 hours a week. He built up the business, hired staff and bought four additional territories. Today he serves the entire Columbus metro area and works about 30 hours a week. On occasion, he's run his business from his laptop in Hawaii or in the middle of Lake Erie.

"I've had more fun the last 10 years, earning a living, than I ever had," says Showers. More importantly, he says, he's now financially ready to retire.

His advice: Have an exit plan. "Am I going to want to be doing this when I'm 82? Possibly, but I'm thinking maybe not," says Showers. He plans on eventually selling off his territories one by one and serving as a standby consultant to his buyers.

Happily self-employed: auto finance >>

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