How Scott Holmes Built a Thriving Senior Home Care Franchise
If you had asked him a few years ago, Scott Holmes would have told you he was a year or two away from a well-earned retirement. And if you’d told him he was mistaken — that in a few short years, he’d be co-owner of one of Idaho’s most successful senior home care franchises — Scott would have hardly believed you.
But a funny thing happened in 2014: Scott’s daughter and his son-in-law, Jake Woolman, started looking for a place to grow a family. When that happened, they moved closer to Scott, settling in the quiet, rural community of Idaho Falls. Soon, Scott and Jake got talking. In short order, they’d decided to open a business together.
Now, just two years later, they’re operating a thriving senior home care franchise under the Visiting Angels brand.
“The rewards literally came day one,” says Scott. “We could not have anticipated how rewarding this business has been.”
A Community-Oriented Business
Despite the success Scott and Jake have seen with their senior care franchise, they entered the business without a lot of experience. “We came into this blind,” says Scott, who had spent most of his career working as a tech and marketing executive. Having worked for so long in the B2B sector, Scott and Jake decided early that they wanted to open a “community-oriented” business.
That decision was tied to Scott’s outlook on life, a “giving back” approach where a person’s net contribution to the world is the ultimate measure of success. “My philosophy is to measure yourself every day and try to give back more than you take,” Scott explains.
With that philosophy in mind, he and Jake began to research opportunities that would make a positive impact on their community.
During their research, Scott and Jake were quickly attracted to the in-home care industry. Home care perfectly fit their desire to serve others. From a business perspective, it was one of the fastest growing market segments. What’s more, the senior care market in Idaho Falls was underserved, making it the ideal opportunity.
“We vetted all the senior home care businesses in Idaho Falls,” says Scott. “We found only one other franchise and a couple mid-sized independents.”
When they looked at the competition, Scott and Jake found plenty of room to differentiate themselves from other senior home care businesses. They found that other businesses were focused on generating hours, but in doing so, these businesses often sacrificed the quality of care they provided. So Scott and Jake took a different approach.
“We asked ourselves: from a client and caregiver perspective, what is the optimal model?” Scott says. “It’s about creating relationships and focusing on companionship. Our research backed that up. Those engagements and relationships are absolutely critical.”
The Ideal Senior Home Care Franchise
Once they had decided to focus on quality of care, Scott and Jake put their vision to paper. They wrote a detailed document that outlined what they thought their optimal model for home care would look like. Then they began to research senior home care franchises.
Despite owning other businesses, Scott was new to the franchise scene. “I had never done a franchise before… But we know that we needed that roadmap to be successful.”
Scott and Jake began researching senior home care franchise brands, starting with a list of sixteen franchisors, then narrowing that list down to seven. After email correspondence and phone conversations, they selected three finalists and booked an in-person visit with the heads of each company.
“We had the model we’d created in our hands,” Scott says. “We were looking for the right fit.”
The right fit was hard to find. After the first two meetings, Scott and Jake felt that they and the franchisors they’d met just weren’t on the same page. With just one franchisor left on their list, Scott and Jake weren’t sure that they would find the match they’d hoped for.
“Visiting Angels was the last [franchisor] we visited,” Scott says. “We weren’t thrilled going in. We were discouraged.”
But when the meeting had finished, Scott and Jake’s spirits had lifted. “We sat down with the folks in Philadelphia, and we explained our model. And on the other side of the table, they were just grinning ear to ear because this is what they were trying to build.”
A few days later, Scott and Jake verbally committed to a Visiting Angels senior home care franchise.
Building Their Senior Home Care Business
Scott and Jake completed their one-week training with Visiting Angels in August of 2014. They started doing business at their Idaho Falls location a little over four months later, opening the doors to their senior home care franchise on January 1, 2015.
With their focus on quality of care, Scott and Jake knew that word of mouth would depend on them delivering their best work from day one. That meant it was important to have the right staff and the right infrastructure in place before they took on their first client.
“We made one commitment to ourselves,” says Scott. “We don’t service our first client until we’re 100% operational.”
In setting up their business, Scott and Jake leaned heavily on their area’s Visiting Angels regional director, Karon Austin. “The support from Visiting Angels has absolutely exceeded our expectations,” says Scott.
Starting with weekly teleconferences, they used Austin’s experience in the senior home care franchise industry to build their business. “The right way to do things is to learn and utilize the proven processes first,” says Scott. “Only then can you know what works best for your business.”
Franchise Growing Rapidly
Success has come quickly for Scott and Jake. Within less than a year, their senior home care franchise was cash flow positive. Then, in their second year, business took off.
“Since this summer, we’ve exploded,” says Scott.
Over the past year, Scott and Jake have seen their margins and profits climb month over month. In May, they added a third member to their management staff. In August, they opened a second location in nearby Pocatello. Scott estimates his senior home care franchise now generates twice the monthly profit of their nearest competitor — despite billing for approximately half the monthly hours.
But even with these financial rewards, Scott says that it’s the way the community has responded to their business that’s meant the most to him and Jake. “The way the community has embraced us, that’s been the biggest reward.”
With business at their home care franchise thriving, retirement has come back into view on Scott’s horizon. Soon — he’s not sure exactly when — he hopes to hand the keys over to Jake full-time. When that happens, he’ll have given back more to Idaho Falls than he could have imagined.
If you’re thinking of opening your own senior home care franchise, Visiting Angels can provide you with the roadmap you need. Contact our team today at 800-365-4189 for information on our franchise opportunities.