As you can probably imagine, no two days are ever the same. Franchise owners wear a lot of different hats: office manager, client care coordinator—even fill-in CAREGiver from time to time. But you also have the flexibility and independence to wear the hats you want to wear and build your staff to wear the others. You are your own boss.
Your experience as a new owner will also depend on the type of franchise you purchase—a brand new territory or an established business—as well as your professional skills and background. To give you some insight into how different your day could look based on your background and type of franchise, we asked owners Lori Reeves and Noel Morris to share what their day-to-day work is like about a year after buying their franchise.
Franchise owner: Lori Reeves, RN
Franchise: Opened a New Territory in Vandalia, OH
Background: Worked in hospice, but saw a lot of patients in need of care that hospice couldn’t provide. Her sister-in-law owned a Home Instead Senior Care franchise in Dayton, OH and encouraged her to purchase a neighboring available territory so Lori could serve seniors and families in a way that fully helped them.
Typical day: “First thing in the morning I’m looking at shifts and any missed clock-ins. No two days are alike. Sometimes I’m heading to an appointment. Yesterday I did a Christian women’s luncheon and spoke at a local country club about preventing senior fraud. Then I came into the office, answered phone calls, Quickbooks, headed back out. I facilitate an Alzheimer’s support group in the evenings once a month. Sometimes I’m talking to the accountant or IT guys. I still go out and do a lot of care consults and quality assurance visits with clients. We are hiring internally so I’m working with staff to hire and train. I have weekly meetings with the staff to make sure everyone is on the same page. I don’t think I’d ever want to do just one thing. I always want to make sure we’re meeting clients’ needs. That keeps me grounded.”
“As a new owner, you definitely have to wear not even 16 hats—probably 1600 hats. You have to know what your strengths are and then hire based on where you are lacking. You have to be comfortable enough to do it all out of the gate, though.”
Division of time: 40% operational, 40% client care, 20% working with key players and helping them grow
Work/life balance: “My husband occasionally comes by the office to see me and remember what I look like! I’ve never been a 9 to 5. I’ve always been pretty much 24/7. I’m used to long hours being a nurse, so that piece was not hard for me to adjust to. If you’re going to commit to your business, you better commit to the business.”
Role of Home Office support: “I had a lot of calls with my business performance coach. After I had been open six weeks, she came out to do business planning with me. Not only do we need Home Office support, but we need support from other owners. I’m very fortunate to have my sister-in-law close. Recently I got a new neighbor to the east and we connected early on. I committed to helping her out the way my sister-in-law helped me.”
Biggest challenge: “Managing all of the moving pieces. Being everything to everybody. Everyone comes with a different skill set. Some owners have a stronger business background but not the connections. For me, I had the connections and the community piece, but didn’t have the strengths from a business perspective. I think I’ve done pretty well from that, but I’ve surrounded myself with an accountant and Home Instead support. You need to surround yourself with people who will shore you up.”
Most rewarding: “Providing much-needed assistance to a family at their wits end, thereby shouldering some of their burden so they are able to relax a bit and spend quality time with their loved one.”
“I’ve been with multiple hospice agencies and national organizations, and I can’t say I’ve ever felt the culture I feel at Home Instead. They have the same philosophy and heart I do. It’s not just about numbers. It’s about human beings who have wants and needs and a family. Let’s forget about numbers. Let’s worry about taking care of people the right way. They’re going to tell their friends and their neighbors, and that will drive your numbers. Lots of big organizations lose sight of that. We don’t.”
Franchise owner: Noel Morris
Franchise: Purchased an Existing Franchise in Mountain Home, AR
Background: Successful career in the banking industry holding a variety of c-level positions at different institutions. A friend was ready to sell his Home Instead Senior Care franchise and offered it to Noel because he trusted him to manage it the right way and take it to the next level.
Typical day: “What I love to do is lead and provide strategic direction. I’m always looking out in the future months and even years ahead. My wife and my staff are great about taking my crazy ideas and figuring out how they might work. Part of my day is what I call ‘incubation time’—thinking about the business, how to lead our staff, all about providing the best quality of care we can.”
“With my banking background, I love numbers. I look at where we are every day as far as results go, but that’s the past, so I use that to determine where we’re headed.”
“I spend a lot of time out of the office too. I’m involved with several different boards—a hospice board, center on aging board, bank board, and rotary club. I enjoy community involvement. It’s good for PR and I enjoy all of it. I do it for the right reasons.”
Division of time: A third spent on operations, a third on outside PR activities, a third on strategic direction
Work/life balance: “I’m satisfied with it. My wife and I were talking about that recently and she agrees we have been blessed with having great flexibility.”
Role of Home Office support: “I couldn’t have done anything without them. They were terrific. Someone from the Home Office was assigned to us and walked us through the transition process. They have a game plan and really it was up to us to follow their game plan. They provided a clear road map for us.”
Biggest challenge: “For us, it was ensuring that we came in and did things the right way to build trust with our office staff, with our CAREGivers, and with our client base. People in general don’t like change very much. I recognized that and respected that. Fortunately the previous owner was terrific in the transition and did everything he could to help. We just came in and spent probably the first 90 days getting to know the team and building trust with them. Because talk is cheap and I just had to show it. Almost a year and a half later, we’ve grown close to the staff and it’s a great team environment.”
Most rewarding: “I feel good about the work that we do as an organization. I think we truly make a difference in the lives of our clients and their families. I think we make a difference in the lives of our employees and their families too. That’s what we strive for every day. It’s very rewarding. Flexibility is rewarding as well in being a franchise owner. We’ve been able to take things to another level as far as growing our business, so we have had financial rewards as well.”