Ricki Wilkins, ComForcare Franchise Development Manager
How has the industry changed from your perspective in the last few years?
The home health industry has grown larger than ever with the expanded needs of the aging baby boomer population. It has also gotten more sophisticated, requiring owners to have depth in management and marketing skills. Compliance and professional standards are becoming the norm in many states. For example, twenty nine states now have licensing requirements. More will come.
What types of candidates are you looking for now? How is this different perhaps than a few years ago?
It has always been a requirement to be caring and compassionate. While there is no requirement to have a health care background, a business background and transferrable skills are important. We still look for passion and compassion. We want team-builders who have great communication skills and who are strong relationship builders. This is a business as much of the heart as the head.
Can you describe your process for identifying and awarding your franchise?
We are not a franchisor focusing on selling the most territories! We are primarily a ‘best practices’ company who takes the time to make sure we are developing good long-term relationships with the right candidates. We have developed a multi-step process to carefully allow our candidates to fully understand the business model and allow us to get to know them, their backgrounds, their motivations, their skills. Being this discerning insures a better match for the franchise owner and us.
Are there any unique things you do to help identify the best candidates?
We have a very detailed and multi-layered discovery process in place to make sure that we are investing our time with great candidates. Being very selective, we have a number of steps in our process to determine that we are a good match for each other’s future. Our process builds to an invitation into validation and to our discovery day. We include a background screening and use a behavioral assessment tool to help us understand the strengths and transferrable skills of our candidates and determine the very best ways to train, support and coach them. We also invest in relationships with very reputable franchise broker groups, who help us screen for qualified candidates.
Talk a bit about the training and support that ComForcare provides new owners. What are the key training and support programs?
We consider ourselves a training and best practices company that delivers health care. Our model for delivery happens to be the franchise model. We are training and support driven rather than sales driven. We believe our training is second to none. Training starts with helping owners through any licensing requirements, coaching them to set up the business properly, then 40 hours of training that our owners take before coming to classroom training at our headquarters. They attend classroom training for two consecutive weeks and then have an additional week when their business coach visits their location. We have myriad webinars, lunch and learn calls, seminars, regional and national meetings, all offered to assist owners develop great businesses. Ongoing training offerings are for owners, caregivers and office staff. Training at ComForcare never ends.
Does ComForcare have a strong technology platform for its members?
Our platform consists of the following:
- Proprietary Business Management & CRM – HealthManager – This is an entirely web-based platform that helps owners with all aspects of their business including CRM and was built exclusively for this type of model. It can and has been enhanced each year to meet the changing needs of our model and of the industry including state specific regulations as required.
- Online Specialized Training Platform – Over 100 specialized training modules for caregivers and key staff designed to allow our owners to continually develop caregivers on a number of fronts. Most of the modules include video so that caregivers can see the proper best practices in action.
- ComForInfo – Comprehensive Intranet Site for franchise members with all proprietary resources available online including marketing materials, training manuals, resources and a forum to encourage communications with other owners. It is available 24/7. We record and archive all our webinars and so much more!
- Robust Localized Internet Marketing Platform – We employ a strong inbound web-based marketing strategy that is rooted in our equally strong national website. It offers a content-rich environment complimented by personalized individual owner-focused websites. The platform is linked in a comprehensive SEO/SEM strategy designed to provide visitors with as much helpful content and interaction as possible while also providing our franchise owners the technology to track activity and follow visitors even after they leave the site.
If you had to sum up what makes ComForcare unique as a franchise and thus unique from the client’s perspective, what would that be and why?
From an owner’s perspective: Our philosophy of franchising is not the same as others – we award franchises that include territories that are typically much larger than others – a second or third are not necessary in order to build great businesses. Our focus is primarily training and supporting our owners – not just selling more territories. Our commitment to owners is renowned – hence our recognition as one of the Top 25 World Class Franchises for the last 7 years – a clear example of the kinds of financial success, retention and relationships we enjoy with our owners. We stay committed to our owners through-out their time with us. We scoop them up when they join our system and stay with them until they sell their business and hand the keys over to the new vetted owners – this is a very big deal because most owners have never sold a business before – we have a process that helps find them buyers, evaluates their acceptability, background, motivation, funding ability and walks them through every step, document and legality to a successful conclusion for all parties.
From a client’s perspective: Our clients experience and value our superior care process. We are committed to actions and procedures that are far above industry standards. Our care oversight is ‘front loaded’ and ‘high touch.’ We are providing care and excelling as care partners in our communities. We have trademarked programs that allow us to provide care and a true partnership with the families of clients suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s. We concentrate on the quality of the clients lives and bring programs and strategies that result in the clients and families having better days together. Another trademarked program allows us to partner with hospitals and nursing homes to transition care from their facilities back into the clients’ homes to make certain they are improving, getting better, not falling back and requiring readmissions. This helps our care partners avoid penalties and fines for readmissions. All of these programs include a great deal of communication and accountability to insure great outcomes.
For more information on becoming a ComForcare Home Care Franchisee, Call Ricki at 937-289-4050