Michael DiAsio on Buying an Existing Elder Care Franchise
Michael and Jackie DiAsio have been elder care franchise owners since 2010 when they purchased an existing Visiting Angels franchise in Las Vegas. In the years since, Michael and Jackie have tripled business in the face of growing competition. They’ve also watched as the senior care industry entered the digital age — a change that the DiAsios were quick to leverage in their marketing and advertising efforts.
Recently, Michael spoke with Visiting Angels about what led him and Jackie to purchase their elder care franchise, how entrepreneurs who purchase existing franchises can position themselves for success, and where the elder care industry is headed in the next several years.
From Banking Exec to Elder Care Franchise Owner
Unlike many Visiting Angels franchise owners, Michael and Jackie weren’t pursuing an elder care franchise when the opportunity presented itself. When the couple moved to Las Vegas in 2006, Michael was working as a Senior VP in the banking industry. Meanwhile, Jackie took a job with the local Visiting Angels office, working as part of the administrative team.
It was three years later, in 2009, when Jackie’s bosses came to the DiAsios with an offer. Over the past ten years, they had turned one of the earliest Visiting Angels franchises into a thriving location. Now, they were ready to retire and wanted to sell their business. Given Jackie’s experience as part of their administrative staff, they thought the DiAsios would be the perfect fit.
The DiAsios had their reservations. The cost was substantial, and the recession had hit the Las Vegas area hard, affecting their target market. But when they looked at the market’s trajectory, they felt they had to take the offer. “The industry had a lot of opportunity,” Michael says. “More and more seniors were getting to the age where they needed some help. So, the growing market was the biggest attraction.”
Elder Care Franchise Has Seen Robust Growth
Since finalizing the purchase in January of 2010, the DiAsios haven’t looked back. In the seven years since, the couple has more than doubled their elder care franchise’s staff, from 150 employees to well over 300. Despite increased competition and lingering effects of the 2008 financial recession, the DiAsios have also tripled their business since buying the franchise.
“In hindsight, it was a no-brainer,” Michael says. “This has been a life-changing event for my wife and I, and our family.”
Jackie’s familiarity with the existing business’s back office helped the DiAsios make a smooth transition. When Michael and Jackie hit areas where they needed assistance, their regional director from Visiting Angels was on hand to help out. “Our regional director was extremely knowledgeable,” Michael says. “We started out with weekly conference calls. As we became more familiar with the business, those calls turned into monthly calls, then quarterly calls, and then finally annual calls.”
Michael credits strong existing word of mouth and the brand recognition that comes with a Visiting Angels elder care franchise as key to his business’s success. “It’s our longevity and the name Visiting Angels that’s driven a lot of our business,” he says. “The brand has great national name recognition.”
He also credits his and Jackie’s early adoption of internet marketing as key to the expansion of their business. While benefitting from Visiting Angels’ national advertising efforts, the DiAsios have used online advertising to harness local leads. “Our internet exposure has made a big difference,” Michael says, noting that he’s seen a bigger bang-for-the-buck impact in online marketing than anywhere else.
Michael says entrepreneurs who are thinking about buying an existing elder care franchise shouldn’t take the opportunity lightly. But he notes that when the potential is there, it’s a leap that’s “absolutely” worth taking.
“You need to look at the cost. You need to look at the market. But with the right franchise, the rewards can be substantial.”
Market Continues to Grow
In the seven years that he’s run his elder care franchise, Michael has seen big changes in the elder care market — many of which he expects to continue. “The market will continue to grow in upcoming years,” he says. “It’s not just that there are more seniors. It’s that people are also getting more and more comfortable with the idea of home care.”
While he says that elder care will always be a person-to-person industry, he expects that technologies will reshape elements of the home care industry. “It’s always going to be very labor dependent, but technology will play a big part in the future of the business.”
One major change Michael expects in the near future: the impact of self-driving cars.
“I think that will be the biggest change in the next five to ten years,” he says, explaining that it’s a change he and Jackie will be happy to see. DiAsio notes that getting around town is one of the biggest challenges for the elderly, but that driving is one of the more difficult services for caregiver agencies to provide. With self-driving cars, DiAsio envisions a time when his caregivers can focus on at home care, while their clients can easily run errands, visit friends, and make appointments without driving assistance.
As for the future of the DiAsio’s Las Vegas location, things are looking bright for Michael and Jackie. In the meantime, they couldn’t be happier with the service they’re providing. “It’s rewarding work,” says Michael. “To help somebody’s mother or grandfather, you really feel that you’re making a difference.”
Thinking of purchasing an existing elder care franchise or opening a new one in a location near you? Contact Visiting Angels today at 800-365-4189 for information on our franchise opportunities.