Franchise owner in Jackson, MS, Ken Anderson and Director of Franchise Development Scott Suryan were featured in an episode of the Franchise Findings podcast by Visa Franchise. Learn from their expertise and discover what it takes to build a successful home care business.
Listen to the podcast below or read the full transcript.
In season for franchise findings we are going to go through the 2022 data that we collected from franchise disclosure documents, FDDs, SBA franchise loans, franchise conversations and directly from franchisees themselves so we will give you an update on what franchises have emerged from the pandemic like a phoenix and which ones have really struggled and got hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast as well as leave a review on Apple or Spotify.
0:37 Patrick Findaro
Hey! Patrick Findaro here cofounder at Vetted Biz. Very excited to have on the Director of Franchise Development as well as a 10-year plus franchisee of Caring Senior Service. Today we have Scott Suryan who is the Director of Franchise Development at Caring Senior Service as well as Ken Anderson who has owned a Caring Senior Service franchise for about 10 years and he actually started at the corporate side in Huntsville, Alabama as an intern. So we will hear all about Scott’s path in franchising in the multiunit space and then going to the franchise development area as well as Ken’s transition from working at the franchise or to owning his own franchise, as well as information on the home care industry and also what the franchise cost if you are considering investing in a Caring Senior Service and get into all those details today. So first off, I really appreciate both you guys joining.
1:34 Scott Suryan
Thank you. Glad to be here.
1:36 Patrick Findaro
Scott, we will start with you. How did you get into franchising. I understand you have been a multiunit operator of three plus brands?
1:43 Scott Suryan
Yeah, so for me I knew out of college I always wanted to own my own business but I didn’t know what it was going to be. I came from a military background. My dad was career military 30+ years and I work well within systems. I love sales, love the interaction with people but again I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I knew one thing that I wasn’t smart enough to come up with the next greatest widget but I could follow systems.
So, my very first franchise was a 7-Eleven about two and a half years out of college, maybe three years out of college from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It literally was the 7-Eleven I used to go to when I was in college for all my college needs, if you will. So anyway, one became two. We were slow in the summertime. I didn’t want to micromanage my people so then I picked up another brand by the name of Maui Waui, which focused on smoothies and coffees. I picked up another brand called Doc Popcorn, and we did a ton of events. And I figured it was just going to be a summer thing and then when the 7-Elevens picked up when school started I would go back to 7-Elevens and we would shut down the summertime event business. But the event business really grew, so we went from one cart to seven in a matter of about eight months, and we did everything from NASCAR races to high school sporting events and major cheer competitions, things like that. So, we actually became busier in the winter than we were in the summertime because everyone wanted to get a fun umbrella drink with a tiki hut, right, so that’s what we did.
And after that my wife and I made the decision that hey if I start missing things — at that point our daughter was born in 2004 and if I started missing some things — then I was going to get off the road and do something that was more, more focused on, you know, things closer to home. And we had the opportunity to get into Tim Horton’s, and we sold 7-Elevens. We kept the event business and we went full bore into Tim Horton’s. Then we sold our Tim Horton’s back in 2020 right before the COVID lockdown, but by then we had had systems in place, and I had taken what I had learned in the franchisee side of all the businesses along with my sales skills and decided to go work for franchisors. The first one I went to was Pet Supplies Plus, a fantastic company. They are the largest pet retail franchise in the country.
4:29 Patrick Findaro
Yeah we just did an analysis on that brand. It’s pretty profitable business.
4:31 Scott Suryan
4:31 Patrick Findaro
And it seems like it well suited you.
4:36 Scott Suryan
It’s expensive. Margins are not super high but I mean it is what it is, right? People still want to socialize their pets and they need a place to go and location is everything and if you’ve got something that makes the customer back if it’s really sticky then you have a good mine.
Then last but not least I got recruited out of Pet Supplies Plus to come to Caring Senior Service, where I met Ken and the rest of the franchisees, really passionate about the industry, really passionate about the segment of the industry that we focus on which is non-medical home care for seniors and glad to be here.
5:15 Patrick Findaro
And Ken, was this your first internship? Had you worked anywhere else before joining the Caring Senior Service team?
5:23 Ken Anderson
No, I had not been in home health prior to joining Caring Senior Service, so I was lucky to be a part of a team that was able to have things in place. As Scott was saying, there is a blueprint in place that is easy to follow. So, for someone stepping into the industry who had never done home health, it was a blessing to have that example. And then, to have so many individuals who followed that example, it made a lot of it easier for me. So, it has kind of worked out. You know, everything that I was able to get exposed to.
6:03 Patrick Findaro
And your location in Mississippi that you currently own and operate, was that an existing location that you took over from a franchisee or did you start that from scratch?
6:12 Ken Anderson
So, coming to Mississippi for a bootstrap, let’s get in there, figure it out, follow the blueprint, no clients, no referral sources but follow the blueprint. So to answer the question, they were completely blown away when I got here and said, "Hey I’m Ken with Caring Senior Service, let’s get this done." Everything brand-new.
6:38 Patrick Findaro
And how long, what was the scale up like? How long did it take to open the business, break even, and then start actually making some money to provide for your family?
6:48 Ken Anderson
So yeah, everything depends on you working at it, and it comes down to just consistency and when you get the consistency going, I would say with a strong consistent work ethic, it would take about six months to get things going, to get some profit, to get things at a place where you have seen several people, you know, five or six times and you’re branded. I don’t think it for granted because there are times where it is a struggle to get in places but if you just continue with that consistency it works.
7:29 Patrick Findaro
So the key you say consistency and following the blueprint but I’ve heard that a few times now with you as well as just franchising in general and it seems like the franchisees that excel and are able to have a franchise location for 10+ years are really following these two things.
7:46 Ken Anderson
Yeah, I like the term “excel”. I wasn’t going to use that term, but I like it, because I do remember where I was when I first started so I am definitely in a better place.
7:56 Patrick Findaro
And what’s your organization look like now, like how many employees do you have, do you have managers?
8:03 Ken Anderson
Yeah, so now I have an agency director. I have two care managers, and when it comes to the staff, it is so key to have a strong staff because, and I have a good staff, but with that strong staff we are going to combat retention. Health care itself has high turnover no matter what branch of health care you’re in and so we are in a field where it is no different. We have turnover with our nurses, with our caregivers, so with that nucleus staff in place we are able to help keep our good caregivers, help combat retention and it makes it a little bit easier to keep about 35 to 40 nurses on staff and that is about what we are working with right now.
8:52 Patrick Findaro
Solid, And Scott, I am sure you hear the fears as I am talking to perspective franchisees, potential business owners that are looking to enter into franchising at all, everyone is worried about how do I hire people. What are some ways that Caring Senior Service helps from the corporate side to basically get the caregivers hired and help with the retention so they stay on for a while?
9:16 Scott Suryan
Sure, that’s a great question. We recognize that in this industry and in a lot of others too but specifically in this industry, and I am sure Ken would agree with me, that it is all about building the relationships, at the referral source where you get the client referrals from but also the caregivers themselves, right?
So we want to create an atmosphere where a lot of the heavy lifting is put on the franchisor, so we’re going to help do those initial interviews through part of our company, which is called Hub Services. So, we’ll work the franchisee in their market with social media posts, with Indeed. So basically what is going to happen is we’re going to create the job application and then we are going to do the initial vetting of the perspective caregiver. So, literally what’s going to happen is that while Ken’s in the field potentially talking to referrals or on-boarding clients...
10:14 Patrick Findaro
You want Ken selling?
10:15 Scott Suryan
So we’re doing that work internally for the franchisee, and we’re vetting them through so we’re getting that first interview out of the way and then we’re automatically going to send those “hot leads,” if you will, for caregivers and send them to Ken and say Ken, "look, we think we have someone that would be a great fit for a caregiver in your agency. Talk to them" — because time kills deals, right, so if we don’t strike while the iron is hit we potentially could lose that caregiver for Ken. And again it’s the chicken or the egg, what comes first? You always need a bunch of caregivers because you’re always going to have a bunch of clients as well too.
10:58 Patrick Findaro
Ken, what do you see as the hardest part? Is it finding the new clients or getting the right staff to show up for the job and getting that staff initially?
11:09 Ken Anderson
Yeah, you know of course we are providing a service and when providing a service people what that service how they want that service. It takes a good service member or caregiver to go in there and relay what or be an extensive of what our primary goal is. So the challenge for us is finding that service member, that good caregiver, that person who is dedicated to home health and health care and dedicated to helping someone to go in and say, "listen this is a difficult situation but I am going to find a way to get you some help and make sure I’m leaving here with a positive impact." So that is the challenge. But, you know when we do find those individuals as Scott was saying, there are benefits to help keep that person and there are some ways that we are working to keep them.
11:59 Scott Suryan
12:00 Patrick Findaro
And Scott, you mentioned a bunch of brands when we first started our conversation today, Tim Horton, 7-Eleven, Pet Supplies Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, I haven’t heard of those franchisors helping with the recruitment to the extent that you guys do or other franchisors for that matter where they are doing like that first initial vetting of the candidate.
12:20 Scott Suryan
Yeah, I can’t speak for Timmy’s anymore because I’m not a franchisee and have been out since 2020, and Pet Supplies Plus I was on the franchisor side not the franchisee side but I mean we’re very committing knowing that one of the biggest pain points for our franchisees in this industry is literally finding the best help out there. We don’t want someone who is just going to be able to breathe, walk and chew gum at the same time. We need to find people that best represent the Caring Senior Service brand when they’re out in the field talking to their clients on a regular basis. We need to build those relationships.
If I have someone that needs, I’m making this up, but needs a Spanish-speaking caregiver, well I got to make sure I give them a Spanish-speaking caregiver, right? So every client has unique needs, wants and desires and Ken along with all the other franchisees need to find those people and we are here to help, and that is how we really do it. We really want to, and I keep saying this, do the heavy lifting so that Ken and the franchisees can work on creating those client relationships and those referral relationships.
13:30 Patrick Findaro
What kind of makes the most successful franchisees? Is there are a type of personality or career trajectory that they’ve had that the top performing franchisees kind of share?
13:43 Scott Suryan
That is a really great question. Again, a lot of folks think you need to have a health care background to be a great franchisee with Caring Senior Service, and the answer is you don’t. I mean you really don’t.
The ideal franchise candidate for us, and Ken can correct me because obviously he lives it and breathes it every day, I need someone who is going to follow the path, right, to work through the system. Don’t over think it, don’t go outside the system, work within the system. We have been doing it for over 30 years. Trust us to be able to provide you the information you need to be successful. Number two, I need someone who has got the ability to present to groups, that is well-spoken, that knows how to command a room. They don’t need to be the greatest at that but they need to be really solid at it. Also, someone that has a desire to make a difference, and I think that is the biggest thing in general because for a lot of folks this is going to be a passion.
We are true believers that if you follow the system and build the model, the money will come. It is not a license to print money, and Ken can attest I’m sure. It’s hard work so if your idea is grabbing a check from the mailbox every couple of weeks is a way to make money and there are franchises out there that you can do that with, that is great, but that is not Caring Senior Service. We want our franchisees to be dedicated to the business. They can be semi-absentee but they need to be dedicated to the business. They need to have the right people in place but also too I need someone that has got a passion, right?
For a lot of folks like you mentioned earlier, this is like a second career. They’ve made a lot of money in their first career. Now this is getting back to the greater good of society with helping out with senior citizens. Also, we have got folks that are previous teachers or C-suite people. I mean it’s super diverse with the franchisee base. Heck, we have someone that was in software design that just signed up. We have a CFO that just signed up that used to be part of the fashion industry so there is a lot of different folks. Those few things that I talked about are the ones that really just check all the boxes for us and do a great job.
16:07 Patrick Findaro
That’s well said. And then Scott for the semi-absentee model, could someone right away go in and work just 10 to 20 hours a week or do they have to scale up to that period? How does that work? Can you explain the semi-absentee nature of this?
16:23 Scott Suryan
I think from our standpoint, and Ken can give his opinion on it too, with the semi-absentee model you need to have the right people in place that are going to be the three main employees of the agency. Ken mentioned a home care consultant which is the person that goes out and sales. We have a care manager, which manages and schedules the staff, the caregivers that go out to the clients, and then the agency director. If you have those three people in place and you want to scale the business, you’re going to have to be semi-absentee because you’re going to be going to multiple locations as you grow the business. So yes, you can be somewhat absentee. You’ve got to have those right people in place.
17:07 Patrick Findaro
From day one is it feasible or is it more like after three years you can then decide to take a step back or continue opening other locations?
17:14 Scott Suryan
I don’t think it’s day one unless you have really got a core group that is ready to go and you have got the financial wherewithal to do that too, that’s the first thing. The second thing is I don’t think it is as far out as three years because we have folks calling up within 12 months to go to territory #2, territory #3, so the laws of physics kick in and you can’t be in two places at once so they’re going to be semi-absentee just by that. But the really cool testament to our ability to have semi-absentee is that we have franchisees that have multiple locations in multiple states so I have a franchisee that is in Texas as well as Illinois. I have a franchisee that is in Illinois, Texas and is also looking to go potentially to Florida or someplace else on the East Coast. So you can do it semi-absentee but you’ve but you’ve got to follow the rules and you’ve got to have the right people in place.
18:12 Patrick Findaro
That’s well said. So you probably have one key in play on the ground in Florida even though you live 2,000 miles away?
18:18 Scott Suryan
So those same three employees are the core for each agency location.
18:24 Patrick Findaro
Oh okay, yeah.
18:26 Scott Suryan
So you’re going to wash, rinse, repeat. Yep, you’re going to wash, rinse, repeat for every single agency. You’re literally going to duplicate efforts over and over and over again.
18:35 Patrick Findaro
And how are the franchisees composed, like what percent just have one territory that they’re focused on as opposed to other ones that have multiple territories and they’re really in continuous growth mode?
18:48 Scott Suryan
Right, so I think that a vast majority, and I don’t have a percentage, but I’m pretty sure the vast majority of our franchises are single-unit owners and it’s not for a lack of effort by any stretch of the imagination. They’ve just found the ability to scale out in their territory to the point where they’re doing very well with one location and you can definitely do that. I mean, you control the billing, you control the client intake, you control all the variables in order to be successful so if you have a large enough territory and you really go to every corner or every different revolution you can find, you could be very successful with just one territory, and we’re not going to just give you a territory and say, "like it or leave it." We’re going to work with you to really define and shape your territory so you can have multiple revenue streams. You can really expand in that one territory and make a good living.
19:49 Patrick Findaro
Ken, how is it for you? Do you currently have just one territory or are you also in adjacent areas?
19:54 Ken Anderson
Yeah um so I do have one territory, however, we are getting with the information that we are putting out there with the marketing efforts, we’re getting requests from territories that are further out, in other words, the expansion of this. I love the idea of increasing territories but because of the marketing efforts more and more people are hearing about us outside of this territory and we’re looking and finding caregivers close to where they are so it is safe to say that I may have a client that is about two hours away from me and it’s not unheard of. It’s like Scott was saying, you could not be in that state.
20:46 Patrick Findaro
20:46 Ken Anderson
It’s very flexible. You don’t have to be right underneath your office at all times or right over your office at all times. It is very flexible.
20:54 Patrick Findaro
And that’s a beauty as opposed to some other industries that Scott was in where quick-service restaurants, QSR, or in the pet grooming/pet supply space, location is everything where you can’t be that adaptable like Ken’s business is in Mississippi ,where you can service someone that is an hour to two hours away.
21:11 Scott Suryan
21:13 Patrick Findaro
Scott, the numbers have probably changed since Ken started his business in Mississippi but how much does it cost right now if you wanted to open up a Caring Senior Service franchise?
21:24 Scott Suryan
So there is a range and that is part of our FDD, but the range is on the low end at about $110,000 and on the high end about $170,000. That is all inclusive. That includes the franchise fee of $45,000. That includes six months of working capital as well that we have baked into the equation so yeah all in on the high end about $170,000. Maybe it is a little less expensive in Mississippi or Iowa and it is a little more expensive in like Boston, Massachusetts, just to give you an idea but that’s the range between $110 to 170,000.
21:57 Patrick Findaro
That’s great and I like that you bake in six months as opposed to two or three months which a lot of other franchisors do included in your space because it could take six months or maybe a little longer to make that break-even point.
22:10 Scott Suryan
Yeah and as Ken mentioned earlier, it is all about billables, right. You set the price based on your market, you set the price that you pay your caregivers, your hourly billing rate, there’s a lot of different things that go into it so yeah you can be super aggressive or you can be a little bit less aggressive depending upon your competition in that space, and we help you with that as well too.
22:33 Patrick Findaro
And anything you can share in terms of how much the franchisees make or basically how much you could expect to make based on the historics for Caring Senior Service franchisees?
22:45 Scott Suryan
I can’t go into specifics but I can talk a little bit about margins potentially so...
22:50 Patrick Findaro
Sure, that would be great.
22:50 Scott Suryan
Gross margins are probably depending on how your mix is with billing and things of that nature. A vast majority of our clients do private pay. We do third-party pay but a vast majority are private pay so we get that cash flow rolling in every two weeks which is nice so we’re not waiting 30, 60, 90 days to get paid by an insurer although we glad take insurance payments. We’ll gladly work with the VA. We have great regional and national alliances that are like that. But margins can be anywhere between you know low 20s to maybe low 40s. It depends on each one where you’re getting the vast majority of your revenue from. Next are probably low teens to low 20s. So not bad quite honestly and again you can set your rates and go from there but I can’t get into specifics because of legalities but that is an idea.
23:51 Patrick Findaro
Yeah, I guess a key that for someone that is serious about Caring Senior Service speak to Scott first, your time, and then they’ll have validation calls of franchisees...like Ken.
24:00 Scott Suryan
Ken, and we’re an open book. Anybody we’ll validate for sure absolutely.
24:04 Patrick Findaro
Cool. And then Ken, how has it been passing the costs on to your customer like say if the salaries for caregivers go up 10%, 20%, is it a really difficult conversation to have or are there tactics to kind of pass that cost along to keep the gross profit margin high?
24:25 Ken Anderson
Yeah, we do more of a warm explanation of what we are having to do and a lot of times that explanation starts off with just a simple letter to our clients letting them know that this is what we are into and that is great care, and because we are into great care and great customer service and providing you with a qualified individual we are having to do things to make sure that you are getting what you’re needing and what you’re asking for and so those letters that we send out to those clients gives them an idea of what is going on. We give them a little bit of time as far as hey next month or the next couple of weeks this is what is going to take place, just be prepared. It is already in place the wording, the information, it’s just about giving that soft informational to that client and it’s been perceived well especially with the needs that are going on during this time.
25:28 Patrick Findaro
Is the pricing, are you guys price kind of like a premium service in the home caregiver space or how would you say where you are positioned?
25:42 Ken Anderson
I would say after doing what I would consider looking at the competition in the area, looking at just this particular area, I know if I got outside of my particular state i would find that we are nowhere near the high end but I would also find too that we are not the lowest so we’re right in probably that middle point of charge.
26:08 Patrick Findaro
And there is a huge market there, where if you were just high end it would be a pretty small pool and then if you were low end you’re probably dealing with cash flow issues not getting paid for 60 or 90 days.
26:19 Ken Anderson
Yeah but we make our rates based on this location, this particular state, because I know if I was to get out into some of the other states and some of the bigger markets I know the cost would be a little bit different (laughs).
26:34 Patrick Findaro
And Ken how has your business shifted during COVID? Has it been a net positive on your business financials and performance or has it been negative and really tough?
26:45 Ken Anderson
That’s a good question. I was worried that we were going to have some type of drop, some major drop, and that is what I keep looking for. Where’s the drop, where’s the drop? But what I found was that the need was even greater and we just had to tweak how we were providing that need. What I mean by tweaking it is that there were certain people we needed to have on standby. There was certain protective equipment we needed to always have our hands on. We had to I guess now to adopt how caregivers are checking into the home every day, screenings, and our system allows for specific screenings every day that a caregiver is going to a client’s home. We have to communicate those things. We just had to like any business trying to stay afloat and trying to go against the grain when it comes to changes in economies, we had to figure out how to maintain because the need became even greater. People needed more help. No one wanted to go to different homes. Even family members, as you guys are aware, you know...
27:50 Patrick Findaro
For a few months people thought I was crazy meeting up with my brother and dad.
27:51 Ken Anderson
Yeah, leave the groceries at the door, right so, there was a lot of need because people had to distance themselves and it just worked in our favor. I didn’t come up against a drop in our numbers. I found that we...
28:11 Patrick Findaro
Did the franchisee community help you kind of get through it and/or the franchisor from the corporate side?
28:17 Ken Anderson
Oh yeah. Matter of fact we did something, and I have been with the company long enough to know that we have had several meetings throughout the years but Scott will tell you for the first time we were having meetings every week and we were having some like the owners. There was a time when I would talk with owners almost very two or three every year until we get to the owner’s conference. Well, during COVID season all the owners had the opportunity to speak every week which was very unique. How many franchisors out there are getting all their owners together every week to discuss what we have to do to make this work and that is what we did during COVID season.
29:02 Patrick Findaro
That is wild because there is so much shared learning and best practices when you have those repetitions because you’re managing 35 to 40 employees, they have all these caregivers, there is another 50+ folks like your profile across the country that are all having similar issues so that’s great that they facilitate din that and I’m sure every minute that you’re having those calls there is a nice value for your business there.
29:30 Ken Anderson
Definitely, so true, so true. Yeah, it was such a wealth of information to have other franchisees talk about what they’re going through, what they’re having to do. Everything was so, it was like talking with someone that was working in your office because you’re dealing with similar things. I was like “they’re doing that too” or “they’re having to get over that objection or that struggle”. So you hear about the different mentalities and the different takes and people come with different point of views but it i so helpful so that is something I was very impressed with during COVID season and I was blown away with the idea of doing it and realized how much it was beneficial.
30:12 Patrick Findaro
That’s huge. Yeah it seems like the franchisors, the franchise systems that really excelled and grew during the pandemic were the ones that were communicating a lot and had systems that communicate and then adapt to how the market was changing so it clearly seems like Caring Senior Service was in that camp. Scott and Ken, do you have any concluding thoughts? We’ll be sure to leave Scott’s contact for those that are interested in potentially exploring a Caring Senior Service franchise but I am curious to hear from you two any thoughts for someone that is looking into getting into a franchise or entering the home care space?
30:49 Scott Suryan
Ken, you want to go first?
30:51 Ken Anderson
Wow, it’s the obvious thought and that is this industry is going to continue to have this huge need for several years to come and for individuals who want to have, and Scott mentioned this at the very beginning, ownership, if you’re thinking ownership. I thought it. I had that mentality, ownership. For me that was the initial step. Do I want to have ownership of the company? So if you’re thinking and that’s already been embedded in your thoughts the next thought is, is there a need for what you’re trying to own? This industry is a high need and so I would definitely consider pursuing and doing your diligence, looking into where you would like to set up an office, where you would like to work and just be prepared to put in that work ethic and a reasonable work ethic consistent is what it is going to take and the doors are wide open.
31:56 Patrick Findaro
I appreciate that Ken.
31:57 Scott Suryan
I think to echo Ken, if we still have a couple of seconds. I have owned franchises for over two decades and every time I went with a franchise and signed the paperwork and gave my hard-earned cash to the franchisor, the light bulb the proverbial light bulb clicked on over my head and I said “I get it, it makes sense. I want to be part of this. I can see myself doing this franchise for more than 30 seconds." That’s got to happen whether it’s with our industry, QSR, the pet space, it doesn’t matter. The light bulb’s got to click on over your head. Don’t do it because you can make a lot of money. Do it because it makes sense to you and what you want out of your life going forward, and I would say once you’re in the due diligence process trying to vet through your different franchise options, really, really embrace the process of that due diligence and learning everything about that franchise because they’re going to be your partners for the next 10 years and you got to be prepared to be in that long-term relationship, right.
Then I would say for us specifically, we are a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-to-work, blue collar mentality. We work hard. We stay humble. We know there is a need for care of seniors to live and age gracefully in their own homes and not in assisted living facilities where they’re just as much for the family as we are for the client and at the end of the day what we are looking for is a person who shares our commitment to this demographic and what’s to succeed with a company that knows it’s not going to be the Coke or Pepsi of its industry. We don’t need to be the biggest, we just need to be the best, and we can show you that through the track record of having a CEO and founder that has been with the company well over 30 years when he started it when he was 20. We have our own proprietary software platform that he created and built for our company. Ken mentioned GreatCare, which is something that we believe and live by every step of the way and it’s proof in the pudding in the respect that our CEO and founder actually has five franchises within our system and I don’t know anybody else in any C-suite in any industry in franchising that actually owns and operates their own franchise within that family, and then last but not least everybody within the company at least most of the people that I know of have had a personal experience with a loved one, a family member, that needs this type of service. I speak from personal experience with my family. I’m sure Ken has family members that have had to go through this too, and there are a lot of people out there that say they can do what we need them to do but there is really not enough attention made to creating that relationship with the client and I think that is where we are head and shoulders above all the competition out there so that’s my shameless plug for Caring Senior Service.
35:07 Patrick Findaro
Thanks Scott. I just have one followup question. What are the most important things that you need to vet before you move forward with a franchise and hopefully the light bulb went off and you’re all in?
35:20 Scott Suryan
Yeah, I mean for me quite honestly it is you know, is it a profitable business? Does it make financial sense to put the money to work? You want an ROI. This is no different than investing in yourself. You’re just doing it over a longer term horizon and then how dedicated is the company that you’re going to partner with, how dedicated are they to your success going forward? Everyone gives great lip service. Everyone talks the talk but at the end of the day will they be by your side? If Ken has an issue how quickly will his franchisor come and help him out? In our case it’s instantaneous. He can pick up the phone and call the CEO. He has that individual’s number.
We believe that much in the system. If you have a lot of folks that are you know at 30,000 foot and don’t get into the nitty-gritty, I would be a little concerned. Last but not least validate what the franchisees that are already in the system, not just the ones they give you but literally ask for, and it’s in the back of every FDD or should be, start talking. Start talking to those people and have those blunt conversations about how much money do you put in your back pocket? What are the margins like? How is the franchisor with helping you out and adapting to the needs, wants and desires of you or in Ken’s case when we talked about COVID, you know, pivoting on what we need to do with policies and procedures and simple things like going into a client’s home that is already immune compromised. So, you need to see that that investment is made at the franchisor level. You need to see how it comes across to you, and really you know, is your money going to appreciate, is the business gong to appreciate because eventually one day you’re going to pass it on to a family ember or you’re going to sell it and you want to make more than you paid for.
37:15 Patrick Findaro
What’s the return on it, what’s the return on that.
37:16 Scott Suryan
37:19 Patrick Findaro
It’s good we’re doing that vetted biz where if you invest $150k are you going to see it for $100k or you going to sell it for $400k?
37:25 Scott Suryan
37:28 Patrick Findaro
It’s not that hard to know, it’s not that hard to calculate these things and it’s a big thing that everyone should think about before they move forward with any franchise.
37:38 Ken Anderson
That’s good Scott, yeah. I remember, I just can’t help but just think back to that very moment when I knew I was going to be signing on the dotted line and some of the things that popped up in my mind was this location. It really mattered to me. it was a big deal for me, location was huge for me. But the other thing is you know when you’re signing up for something you want to understand what you’re signing up for no matter what it is. If I’m signing up to get a car or if I’m signing up to own a home, what am I paying for, what am I getting involved in? And, Scott hinted around that making sure the team you’re working with is going to support you but take a look at the plan that they have in place and the plan that Caring Senior Service had in place, I bought into it early after looking at it, after hearing about it, after being talked through as far a what that plan looks like. Make sure that plan that you are purchasing and buying into is a plan that you would rain, sleet or snow, we’re going to stick to this plan. And I found that I bought into that plan really early on. So those are the two things that stood out for me, the location and buying into that plan.
38:48 Patrick Findaro
That is really well said. Yeah, location, buying into the plan, on Scott’s side talking to not just the franchisees that that franchisor puts you into contact with but as many as possible. All big things that can help insure that the franchisee is going to be happy for years to come and can go on to the next generation or sell the business for a nice profit when the time is right. Scott and Ken, I really appreciate your time today. Thanks again.
39:14 Scott Suryan
No problem, thank you.
39:15 Ken Anderson
Thanks for having us, Patrick.
39:18 Patrick Findaro
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