Two months ago, Always Best Care Senior Services tapped veteran sales and marketing guru Sean Hart to lead the 25-year-old home care firm’s national franchise expansion. The company hopes Hart can bring Always Best Care the kind of growth he brought to American Family Care, his previous employer. As vice president of sales and development, Hart helped the urgent care franchise grow franchise sales 132% in 2021.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse talked to Hart recently about what it takes to successfully launch a franchise and maintain long-term success.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: When you consider a new franchise, what are you seeking to ensure its success?

Sean Hart: In franchising, you have people who have been successful or they wouldn’t even be talking to you about your business. You have people who have been successful throughout their careers. They’ve been earning money and now they want to invest in you and you have to make clear about what the processes are. They’ve done all of these things on their own and you almost  have to say I get how successful you’ve been, but slow down, take your time, look at the process and make sure this is something that you can do. If we get people on the right page very early, talking about the process and talking about the system we tend to be successful.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: Can any successful business person run a home care franchise?

Sean Hart: If you’re not comfortable with sales, you’re not going to have a great time unless you find someone who is comfortable with sales and can do that for you. The initial part of the  startup is healthcare is local; senior care is local. If you can’t go out and share yourself and sell who you are and how you are going to be a benefit to the community, then that is a recipe for disaster. You have to go out and own your market.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: It’s no secret that this is a tough time to recruit home care workers. How do you help franchisees recruit staff?

Sean Hart: The company itself doesn’t view this as a problem. A problem is something that you can fix and then it goes away. We look at this as part of the business. We base our business on the fact that we are going to have to find good caregivers. We are going to have to train and keep them and it starts from day one. When you sign your franchise agreement, we are already talking to you about strategies. In fact, we do it before you even sign up. It’s baked into the cake and is part of the fabric of who we are. 

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: What are some of those strategies?

Sean Hart: Any technology that we can find to make this job easier, we have been implementing.  Hireology is an option that we are currently using. It integrates into our client care system. It’s a dashboard that you can go in and easily look at the candidates that you have. It pushes out all of your job postings to jobs boards like LinkedIn, Facebook, Indeed and Career Finder. More importantly, as they’re replying, it sends automated responses and has built-in intelligence to make sure you’re getting candidates that you want.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: Are you casting the net wider in terms of the kinds of caregivers you recruit. 

Sean Hart: Sheila Davis, VP of operations, has said at least 100 times it’s not like it was two year ago or five years ago. That whole landscape has shifted. You are going to see every flavor of human in this position going forward. We are stressing that as we are hiring. Of course you want someone with as much experience as you can get, but if you recognize people with the right personality and motivation that is huge now. Anyone who is willing to care for a senior, we should give a chance.