Tammy and Amir Ghoddoussi chose to leave their previous careers behind and "retire" to owning a Home Instead Senior Care® franchise. They bought a well-established franchise in Wilmington, NC in June 2014. We'll let them tell you the rest of their story.
What led you to owning a Home Instead Senior Care franchise?
Tammy: We looked for a business where we could use both of our talents. I have a medical background in nursing with geriatrics. Amir has his master's in business.
Amir: I was researching different home care franchise opportunities and saw that Home Instead Senior Care was one of the leading home care providers in the country. From my business background and understanding of how top performing businesses function, we determined this opportunity was for us.
Why did you choose to purchase an established franchise over a new franchise territory?
Amir: We didn't want to start from scratch. Buying an established franchise allowed us to immediately start building on the solid foundation put in place by the previous owners.
What was it like walking into an already established business?
Amir: The couple we bought the business from was very supportive. It has been a true partnership with them in the transition. They provided a lot of assistance and a lot of advice. We're still in communication with them and have a very good relationship with them. It's been a wonderful experience.
What role has the Home Office played in supporting you?
Amir: With my business background, I had the basics in mind. I just needed support from business management to understand the details. Home Instead's business and planning group has provided great insight based on the network's collective experiences, including tips on how to run our office efficiently, how to manage staff, and know what to expect.
One of the biggest challenges we had when we first took over was to transition to a new business operating system. But with their support, we were able to manage successfully. They also supported us as we worked through the challenges of working with a new staff and understand their needs. After a year and a half, we feel we have a good pulse on things and what it takes.
Our neighboring franchises have also been very helpful—we interact with each other and give each other information.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Amir: Tammy and I have the same office. She's in one corner and I'm in the other. We work as one. We keep each other abreast of what we're doing but we have divided responsibilities.
Tammy: Amir does the bookkeeping and takes care of the marketing side of things. I'm into the client care, quality assurance, RPNs [referral provider network], client part of things. We report to each other. An average day for us is we are here every day. We interact with the office manager and get a pulse on the care consults that are scheduled. We do rely on her for feedback. We're also doing background work as far as overseeing the operational part of things like insurance. I'm working now on the 2016 handbook, for example.
Amir: We spend most of our time primarily on operations, but we're trying to move away from operational responsibilities toward planning and marketing. We hired an office manager to handle the operations and efficiency activities. After a year of doing this we feel comfortable stepping out of role and into a role to manage strategy, networking, and RPNs.
Our role initially was make sure the machine is oiled and running properly. Now that we have a well-running machine, we're going to start putting load on it.
How is the work/life balance?
Amir: We've done a pretty good job of managing work and home life, but we can do better. We're learning to put more responsibility on staff. Having an office manager is a positive thing when we're not here.
What is something you didn't expect about being a franchise owner?
Tammy: We didn't know we could actually work together. It is kind of fun to be able to work together, solve problems together. That's on a personal level.
Amir: I came in with these wild ideas for growth, but this particular franchise has always been a high-performing franchise, so we didn't want to change much and make huge wild changes because it has already been successful. But we do see a lot of opportunity for growth.
What do you find rewarding about owning a Home Instead Senior Care franchise?
Tammy: We take a lot of pride in the quality of care we offer. We feel like we have a very quality-driven business. Also, the difference we make with our seniors. We both have a passion for the senior population. It's rewarding that we work in this population and can make a difference every day. God has blessed us and led us down this path.
We work the hours we want to work. We do put in a lot of hours, but we enjoy it. We're able to coordinate our time around our family. In the beginning, that was challenge with a huge learning curve. But we've gotten better with time management. We allow ourselves down time. We are own boss. We figured we would enjoy that aspect, but we're enjoying it more than we thought we would.
What advice would you give to prospective owners looking to buy franchise?
Tammy: Definitely do your research. That's a given, of course. Realize that the first year of building your business can take up a lot of your time, so take that into consideration. You do have to dedicate more than 40 hours a week to learn the business. I definitely think it's important to reach out for support to fellow franchise owners. We buddied with local franchises in our area and it was really helpful to get their feedback and their support. When we did our research prior to buying, we wanted to make sure that was the case—that this was a good network of support—and we got excellent feedback that it was.
If you're thinking about following in Tammy and Amir's footsteps, a good place to start is considering which franchise territories are available in your location of interest.