Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"There is a point in life where you no longer seek that validation, but instead you want to feel good about what you do." Or so says Dan Roda. For Roda, that point was when he ended his 31 years in surgical implant sales and became a Nurse Next Door franchisee. Roda chose the franchise because he believed it would make an impact in a way other jobs could not. Here's what he's accomplished and learned after one year as a Nurse Next Door franchisee.
Name: Dan Roda
Franchise owned (location): Nurse Next Door, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I’ve owned the Nurse Next Door Colorado Springs franchise since May 2013. Our first month of operations was September 2013.
I chose to go with franchising because the processes and systems were already in place for me to hit the ground running and build market share more quickly than if I had launched independently. I think a lot of people choose to purchase franchises because it’s easier than reinventing the wheel. Also, the Nurse Next Door brand is a trusted name and the company’s philosophy and core values line up with my own.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
For the larger part of my life, I spent 31 years in surgical implant sales. I stepped away from the role and consulted with a spine company, setting up their distribution network across the US. After that, I dabbled in real estate for a bit, but I was still looking for work that was more meaningful and fulfilling but could also leverage the skills and experiences of my career.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Nurse Next Door stood out as a perfect fit. First and foremost, the company’s core values and philosophy really spoke to me when I was researching different companies. With my own personal experiences, I knew I wanted to not only build a business but also do something good and meaningful for my community. Providing home care to seniors spoke to me, and Nurse Next Door’s approach I knew would allow me to differentiate and make a strong impact.
What’s more is that Nurse Next Door has a proven track record that I knew I would be able to leverage. The brand, the systems and the support would all help me in my own community. It also offered a 24/7 call center to manage a lot of the logistics – something that is very unique in the home care franchise industry.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The initial franchisee fee was $40,000 plus an additional $11,000 for the sufficient operating costs. I spent $8,460 on initial marketing, including local ad purchases and print materials. So, along with additional investments in people, infrastructure, operational costs and insurance, my initial investment was approximately $80,000 prior to launching.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I did the bulk of my research online. I looked up all the different home health care franchise options and just didn’t see the upbeat attitude that Nurse Next Door had. Everyone else looked and felt the same and I knew it would be imperative to stand out in this market. During the discovery process with Nurse Next Door, the management team made me feel very welcome and also ensured that I spoke with several other Franchise Partners so I could make the best possible decision.
One of the key differences I saw between Nurse Next Door and other home health care companies was that their competitors were more businesslike and profit oriented, whereas Nurse Next Door’s culture was more geared towards providing care and being a caring company overall. This was an important factor in my decision. A lot of times, you see home health companies say they’re all about caring but it’s very obvious that Nurse Next Door truly celebrates aging as a whole. I knew it would be a sound business but I also wanted to make sure I would love running it.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
I didn’t expect licensing and acquiring insurance to be as big a challenge as it was. Licensing for home health care businesses vary from state to state and while the team at Nurse Next Door was very helpful, acquiring both the license and the insurance was challenging. Fortunately, we got through it and are stronger now as a business for having gone through those challenges.
The other challenging aspect of opening this franchise is hiring personnel. Finding the right caregiver to be a part of my team can be challenging, but we’ve managed to hire on some real hidden gems. Another challenge I’m looking forward to tackling is keeping these hidden gems with my franchise – but I’m not too worried. Nurse Next Door has some great tactics to retain good people. Having said that, we’re always looking for new people.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Since I come from a sales background, I can confidently say that salespeople are almost always looking for acceptance of their product, themselves and are working to gain the trust of their potential customers. There is a point in life where you no longer seek that validation, but instead you want to feel good about what you do. Whether it’s driving a pink car or wearing a pink shirt, you’ve got to have passion in what you do and more importantly, believe in what you do.
Do not underestimate the time commitment. This is not a 9-to-5 job. Opening a Nurse Next Door franchise does take a lot of work, but the profitability and success of a franchise will follow if you fully commit heart into the services you provide for your clients. There isn’t a more fulfilling purpose than Making Lives Better.
What’s next for you and your business?
We currently service the Colorado Springs area and surrounding communities. Business is good, we’ve had a terrific start, but we’re always looking to accept more clients. As the business grows, I am also looking forward to growing my team and making full utilization of my great caregivers. The more I have them working the more lives we’re making better – our clients and our staff.
I’m currently working from home, but based on our initial success we’re hoping to move to an office in the coming month, so our focus now is growth and creating partnerships with hospitals and assisted living facilities. I can’t wait to keep growing this business.