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Fyzical Therapy finds balance in the medical space


Among Fyzical’s offerings are therapeutic options to resolve balance challenges.

Balance issues are big business in healthcare and an increasingly serious problem as the U.S. population gets older, grayer and less sure-footed. With more facets of traditional healthcare being franchised every year, Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers’ rapid growth is a reflection that an increasing cohort of independent doctors are seeing value in converting to a franchise system, rather than staying on their own in an unsteady medical landscape.

CEO Brian Belmont was with Planet Fitness corporate before joining Florida-based Fyzical in early 2018. He was drawn to Fyzical by his affinity for founder Jim Abrams and the rest of the leadership team, and characterized the business as an inspiring brand with massive growth potential.

“We change people’s lives every day,” Belmont said. “We have folks that, especially through balance and our vestibular therapy, who couldn’t work for months if not years and, through some of our diagnosis and ultimately our treatments, help them get back into an independent life. And when you see that happen right in front of you, it’s an amazing thing.”

Finding lost patients

Now in its seventh year, Fyzical is up to 350 locations in 41 states, with a total estimated initial investment that ranges from $138,750 up to $399,000 according to its latest franchise disclosure document.

Belmont said the highly fragmented physical therapy space is ripe for the type of structured professionalism, standardized systems and national brand recognition that Fyzical has created since 2013 when it had just a handful of operating locations.

Matt DiMauro, Fyzical’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, said the United States spent a collective $70 billion because of falls in the last year, adding that such incidents don’t need to be an “inevitable” part of the aging process.

“What we found looking at these macro healthcare trends is that the true dizziness or balance-related patient out in the world is lost,” DiMauro said. “They have nowhere to go for therapeutic options to resolve balance challenges like dizziness or vertigo, so as we launched we were looking at tackling some major macro healthcare burdens.”

Fyzical CEO Brian Belmont was attracted to the company by his perception of founder Jim Abrams and the rest of the leadership team.

Rather than just connecting with patients after a fall-based incident, a significant portion of Fyzical’s business plan is working to prevent falls, with the side benefit of differentiating the company from traditional physical therapy centers that are its prime competition.

“Of course, we’re episodic where we will fix whatever is injured, but we take a much broader step past that to take a holistic look at the body, the musculoskeletal system to identify challenges that are about to come into existence,” he said.

Thus far, approximately 70 percent of Fyzical’s business is treating patients after a fall, versus 30 percent focused on preventative medicine, which has become increasingly important to insurance companies looking to save money. Some franchisees also offer general fitness services, which Belmont said can help owners augment their income and diversify so they aren’t completely reliant on insurance providers.

For “direct pay” patients who pay for services without insurance assistance, the CEO added that single visits typically range from $70 to $150 per visit.

Overcoming ‘egocentricity’

Another part of Fyzical’s positioning is what it can offer doctors who are used to operating under their own brand names listed prominently on the front door. To soothe the sting of diminished name recognition, DiMauro said operating under a national brand could boost a location’s valuation when the primary doctor looks to exit the business upon retiring, as an example.

“Each and every one of these business owners will capitalize on their years of effort at some point or another,” he added. “When you look at a business that’s driven by egocentricity or driven by the owner, who wants to buy a business that when the owner leaves there really is no business?”

For new converts, they pay Fyzical a 6 percent royalty fee, and DiMauro said unlike a franchised restaurant that has food cost, shrinkage and waste, its balance-focused therapy centers have relatively few recurring costs other than “really expensive equipment” with a presumably longer shelf life.

Even though the name on the door changes under Fyzical, Belmont stressed the company is careful to help new franchisees retain their independence, rather than taking over all aspects of the business, such as their own profit and loss statement.

“They want to continue to do things how they’ve always done things and be successful, and with all the changes in the healthcare industry it’s almost impossible to do that,” he added. “If they’re true to themselves and look at where the potential is, they’ll see that Fyzical can provide solutions to a lot of those problems we’ve had in the past, and that’s exactly what drew me to them.”

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