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Visiting Angels

Much more than just a business, nonmedical home care eases the burdens of seniors in need.

This story appears in the September 2001 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

Larry Meigs isn't just a co-founder and director of Living Assistance Services Inc.-he also operates one of the company's Visiting Angels nonmedical home-care franchises. A franchise consultant with 20 years of experience, Meigs met with Jeffrey and Therese Johnson about the possibility of franchising their home-care concept a few years back. The three believed in the concept's potential, founded Havertown, Pennsylvania-based Living Assistance Services in 1998 and sold the first franchise to Meigs.

Even after three years as a franchisee and director, Meigs is still pretty amazed he made the transition from franchise consultant to franchisee. But he's glad he did. "If you're looking to go into a business, you need to go into something you relate to personally and you can really picture yourself doing," says Meigs, adding that his hospice background and experience from caring for his father throughout his battle with Parkinson's disease help him deal better with clients and their families. "You have to have empathy for the people who are going through this."

Visiting Angels franchisees refer nonmedical home-care providers to senior citizens. Providers assist clients with tasks like meal preparation, light housework and hygiene. "You're providing a service for people that certainly need this care," says Meigs, who recently brought in a manager to help him run the franchise. "Without this, the person has to leave home."