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Lee Kantor

Lee Kantor here another episode of franchise marketing radio and this is going to be a good one. Today we have with us Namrata Yocom-Jan and Daniel Jan, with Seniors Helping Seniors. Welcome.

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan  

Thank you for having us, Lee.

 

Lee Kantor 

Well, I'm excited to learn what you're up to tell us a little bit about Seniors Helping Seniors, how are you serving folks?

 

Daniel Jan  

Well, for us, first of all, I should thank you for having us here and introducing ourselves as well as a brand we actually are Seniors Helping Seniors, we started seniors something seniors way back in 1998. It was started by my mother, who actually comes from India, work with Mother Teresa for 14 plus years. And out of the mission, she started this because she saw a need for it in the US. So that's how we came about seniors helping seniors. 

 

And we provide non-medical services, such as you know, light housekeeping, companionship services, to keep them up to the doctor, basically anything and everything that a senior might need, in order for them to be able to live independently in their own homes. And in addition to that, nowadays, you know, with the seniors, there's a lot of need for expanded dementia care. And there's a lot of need for personal care, where people need just activities of daily living to be taken care of. We provide all of that. And, and much, much more.

 

Lee Kantor

Now, what was kind of the catalyst for the idea because that seems like that was pretty early in the thinking about serving the senior market in that way. Was this out of this you know what, personal need? Or did this, how did the idea turn from an idea into, you know, hey, you know, people will pay us to help them solve this problem.

 

Daniel Jan 

I will tell you this started as a personal idea, because my mother was completely absorbed by the idea of how seniors are just being asked to go into nursing homes, and there was really nothing for them to be able to do. And in fact, I still remember to this day, when my mother approached a 78-year-old retired nurse, a military nurse to come and work for her. And she said You're crazy. 

 

Nobody wants me to come and work. And she ended up working for us for I think 15 years if I remember correctly. So this is something that was really to my mother's heart, because coming from India, where people take care of, you know, this, their seniors in their own homes, this was different for her, and she wanted to do something about it, where she could help seniors remain independently, living in their own homes while maintaining their dignity. And that's how it really emerged. And then the services I mean, expanded because the clients asked for different services.

 

Lee Kantor 

Now, when you started, there obviously weren’t as many competitors as there are now. And as the aging population just keeps getting, you know, more and more of them. There's been a lot more competition in this space. How do you kind of differentiate yourself from the other players?

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan  

That's a great question, Lee. So when we first started franchising, we were one of the first franchise organizations to get started in-home care. And now there are over 130 franchises in the same space. And it all comes down to differentiation. And, you know, I think that's where we have the market cornered, because we are seniors, helping seniors, which means we hire active, mature adults, typically over the age of 50, helping less active seniors that need care staying in their own homes. 

 

And so we kind of have a monopoly on the name seniors helping seniors and we also recruit a disproportionate number of seniors to come and work for us, I would say, probably 85% of our workforce is 55 plus, we do have some, you know, younger workers in areas like Florida where licensing requires them to be certified home health aides, but we look for mature people because we think it's really important that we match our caregivers, with our clients, not only based on what their needs are and what somebody is able to provide, but based on their personalities, interests, hobbies, life experiences. We want them to be friends. And not only receive care.

 

Lee Kantor

Now, you mentioned earlier that there's a lot of, I think over 100 different kinds of people that are working in this space. But for the people who aren't familiar with this type of service, can you educate people on the importance of, if you can pull this off of keeping your parent or your grandparent in their home, as long as possible that that really is way more affordable and more, it's better for the individual rather than kind of sending them to a nursing home or some sort of facility?

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan  

Yeah, that's good, that's a great question. That's something that we get with a lot of families trying to figure out what's better for their loved ones. According to AARP, 90% of seniors want to remain in their own homes. That's why they want to age in place, they don't want to be removed from their community, from their friends, and move to a facility if at all, it can be helped. If you think about the cost of going to a facility, I would say an average assisted living facility costs around $4,000 a month, and the average nursing home, you know, it's probably in the $8,000 a month range. 

 

What's great about our services is that you know, we can provide as much or as little that someone needs, we can provide 24/7 care, but most seniors, most seniors don't require that, you know, if they get somebody to prepare the meals, or help them in the shower, and they're cognitively all there that they don't need 24/7 care, and so we can keep them at home for a lot longer than what you know, traditionally has been done. So I don't know if that answered your question.

 

Lee Kantor  

Yeah, and I think that it's important, especially a lot of times the younger, kind of the child is making a decision for the parent, and a lot of folks nowadays are living in different places where the parent is, and it's so important to have somebody like your service available to them that is kind of watching over their parent, to let them know that everything is okay. 

 

Because it's hard to know when the child is, you know, hundreds or 1000s of miles away from the parent is the parent throwing out spoiled food is the parent taking their medicine at the right time. You know, all these little things that the parent might say, yeah, I'm good, everything's fine, they may not be fine. And to have somebody in there that's kind of watching that even on a part-time basis, is invaluable.

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan

And sounds like you're speaking from experience. And I've we find that you know, even a lot of our franchise owners have a personal experience with caring for their loved ones. It's one of the blessings and curses of living in a big country, it's easy to be 2500 miles away from our loved ones. And we can't be there every day. And even if we are in the same metro area like Atlanta, you know, it's difficult to drive all the way across town to check on a mom every day. And that's why these services are so critical. We can be there every day and we can provide a lot of comfort to family members who are worried about their loved ones.

 

Lee Kantor

Now over the years, has the business model changed at all?

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan

Yeah, so when we first started franchising and providing services ourselves, we provided mostly companionship and homemaker services. So we would go in and play cards and cook a meal and take someone to the doctor and go on outings, do handyman services, and then want to say about 10 years ago, we got into the personal care side as well. And personal care involves helping with activities of daily living, which includes dressing, bathing, feeding toileting, mobility assistance, and it's a higher level of care. And, and so it also requires additional training for our caregivers. And then over the last year or so, we've expanded our dementia and Alzheimer's care services to be able to tackle you know those clients and that have moderate to advanced dementia. we've rolled out a new service called telecare where we check in on family members telephonically and sometimes by videophone to see how they're doing so if we're only there Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we make sure we check in on Tuesday and Thursday and over the weekend to make sure the seniors have everything taken care of if they need additional services, we'll go out and provide those services. 

 

We've also introduced electronic health monitoring solutions Through a company called electronic caregiver, so if a senior were to fall and can't get up, that the system picks that up, and 911 gets called. And we also expanded into a number of various disease-specific services, including Parkinson's, cancer care, congestive heart failure, and so on. So, over the last 23 years now, we have expanded our services and we continue to look at opportunities for our franchise owners, which is really driven by the need from clients.

 

Lee Kantor

Yeah, it sounds like you're really listening to your clients and adjusting the service according to their needs.

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan 

Absolutely.

 

Lee Kantor  

So now when you're talking about a franchisee is a person, a typical pro franchisee somebody that's been in this space before and now wants to run their own show, or what is the typical franchisee or an ideal franchisee look like?

 

Daniel Jan 

You know, our franchise owners come from all different walks of life, I think one of the most important things is for them to have a passion for this kind of work. A lot of times, in fact, most of the time, our franchise owners will have a personal story as to why they want to help the seniors in the community. And it's that passion, that's first and foremost, the most important thing, but at the same time, it's also you know, making sure that they have the business-minded and have the drive to want to build a business and do good and make money at the same time. So really, that's what it comes down to not so much. You know what degrees they have, or what experience they have. Because if you have compassion in this type of business, that's the most important thing. And combining that with business being business-oriented, just is the icing on the cake.



Lee Kantor  

Now is the typical franchisee someone who is kind of taking over one territory or this is something that a professional franchisee where they're kind of adding this to our portfolio of complementary services.

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan  

He had typically its folks that want to start their own business that may or may not have they have not run a business before. It's typically not added on to something that that they already do. Although we have people that have been in Elder Law, some health-related fields, typically it is, you know, from like Namrata said, from every walk of life.

 

Lee Kantor  

And are you looking for franchisees in a certain region right now? Or are these kinds of countries available?

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan  

We have currently about 100, franchise owners and 170 territories are granted. And we still have lots of space available in every state here in the United States. We also have a few franchise owners internationally, in the UK in Malta. But you know, we still have a lot of open territories. So you know, all throughout the United States.

 

Lee Kantor 

And when someone takes on a franchise, is it all the services available? Or can you choose which services you want to offer?

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan 

So in the past, we've been pretty flexible as to what services our franchise owners would provide. There are certain states that require licensing for some of these services. But at this point, we've really expanded our services. And the reason that we expanded our services is to be able to provide additional services to clients and also increase the number of services that our franchise owners can provide. So we're really, really looking for franchise owners that are providing our full suite of services.

 

Lee Kantor

And the franchise owner isn't the one that's going into the home. They're the ones that are managing the team.

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan  

I would say in the long run, yes, I think we do believe it's very important that the franchise owner understands every part of the business. And so they will be involved in you know, hiring and scheduling and, you know, going out and meeting with family members and marketing and so on. Over time, typically the franchise owner does take more of a management role. There are certain franchise owners that hold on to one aspect of the business because they've really enjoyed doing it. And a lot of times we see, you know, the interaction with the family when they go out and do the home visits or assessments as we call them. That they retain that for, you know, a much longer period than let's say scheduling

 

Daniel Jan 

Just to sum up the franchise owners are not the ones providing the services.

 

Lee Kantor 

Right, so they're hiring a team 

 

Daniel Jan   

that is correct. 

 

Lee Kantor

And then that's what you help them with is to create kind of the processes and systems that make it easier for them to identify the right caregiver and to match them properly with the clients.

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan 

Absolutely, and we have a lot of technologies that help us to do that. We work with a company called Clear Care who has modified their platform too, to the way that we do business. And it has a feature called the care finder which matches people based on their needs based on their preferences, whether it's language or needlepoint, or, you know, so it matches people on a lot of different aspects.

 

Lee Kantor

And then so for the franchisee, the potential franchisee the first step is to reach out to you is our website.

 

Daniel Jan   

We actually have brand one, are you familiar with brand one? Now, we Okay, well, we actually have outsourced our franchise development sales to bring one team which is very well versed in franchise development. And we actually just did that starting last year. We do have a website where anybody who is interested in franchising can reach out to us to a website. And certainly, there are also phone numbers, they can also reach out to us by phone and, and do the different ways of people reaching out to us in the case and just in starting your own franchise.

 

Lee Kantor

And the main website for your organization is seniorshelpingseniors.com. 

 

Daniel Jan  

That is correct, yes. 

 

Lee Kantor 

And that's where folks that are just needing help can find a location near them as well as if you have some questions about the franchising. I think there's a tab for that as well.

 

Daniel Jan  

Absolutely. Yep.

 

Lee Kantor 

Now, what do you need more of right now? How can we help you? Do you need more caregivers? Do you need more? franchisees? What are you looking for?

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan  

We're always looking for great franchise owners to bring seniors helping seniors to, you know, their areas. I think there's such a huge need out there. Especially after COVID as well, right. So we're getting close to the end of COVID, which is exciting. And you, we've had families be much more involved with their parents than prior to COVID. Right. So they're checking animals all the time. And they've really identified that the parents need more care. 

 

So we get a ton of calls from clients needing care. Our business is booming right now. So we're looking for franchise owners that want to take our model to their markets. And we're always looking for great caregivers as well. There are lots of seniors out there that may not know that this is something that they want to do. But maybe they help their parents and need something to do in their retirement. You know, call seniors helping seniors we'd be happy to talk to you and see if we might be a great fit for each other.

 

Lee Kantor

And the folks that are the caregivers, is it available for them to do some of that remote care where they are just answering calls through the telemedicine or tele-health portal? 

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan 

Yeah, in some locations, I would say most of our caregivers still go out and physically provide care. That's really what ideally what they want to do. And that's where most of our need is and some of our locations absolutely provide telecare as well. We typically like to do telecare where the caregiver of that client that they've already built a relationship with calls rather than a random person in the office and makes it much more personable. And they get the companionship even though it's over the phone.

 

Lee Kantor

Right. And they know intimately what the kinda, synchronicities of the client.

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan  

 And that’s exactly what we had 

 

Lee Kantor  

Now, going forward, you mentioned that there's a lot of areas available, is there any specific region that you're targeting? Or is it kind of where there's a need, then there can be a franchise.

 

Namrata Yocom-Jan 

Now it's pretty much throughout the United States, some areas in the northeast, where we got started, we have a few more franchise owners than other areas, but you know, pretty wide open.

 

Lee Kantor

Well, congratulations on all the success. It's great, it's a great story. And it's an important mission that you're on to help folks and to be able to deliver care as needed. And have people age at home is so important in today's world. So thank you for doing what you do.

 

Daniel Jan 

Thank you, Lee, we really appreciate that. And thank you for having us on the podcast.

 

Lee Kantor

 

You got it and that website. Once again is “seniorshelpingseniors” all one word, .com go there check them out and if this is the right fit for you definitely give them a call and see if it's a fit. This is Lee Kanter. We will see you all next time on franchise marketing radio.