If anyone knows how to grow nonmedical home care companies, it is Jeff Bevis. The San Antonio, TX, resident helped to transform Comfort Keepers, which now has more than 700 locations, from 2000 to 2006. He then founded a brand called FirstLight Home Care, with his son, Devin, expanding it over 10 years to 234 offices in over 30 states states, plus Canada. Now in his new venture, as chief operating officer of Caring Senior Service, a private-duty home care firm with a focus on tablet-based technology, he is once again looking to change the trajectory of the organization. He talked to McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse about how he plans to do it.
McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: You obviously have the touch for growing companies and making them successful. What are you hoping to accomplish in this new role?
Jeff Bevis: It’s really a combination, I think, of maybe bringing my experiences in the past to bear. This is a great brand, kind of a best-kept secret, quite honestly. I think we’ve been around 30 plus years operationally. But although we have 55 offices across the country, I don’t really think the industry knows much about us. So to answer your question, I really am hoping to expand the brand from an awareness standpoint, leverage the service levels that I think are in place and grow the network much, much larger.
McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: Technology just seems to just be such an important piece of the puzzle, maybe in a way that it wasn’t when you first started. Is that right?
Jeff Bevis: That it is a key piece of operations today. You’re right. Back when I started in the industry in 2002, it was still people doing schedules on whiteboards and flip charts. That’s all automated now, rightfully so. So I think technology has become a backbone of a successful operation in home care today versus what it was even 10 to 15 years ago. I do think also with the caregiver shortage, the challenges we have on recruiting, that any place where we can insert technology [is helpful]. Just to be able to serve more clients and serve more efficiently is definitely a big, big challenge.
McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: What kind of technology is in place at Caring Senior Service?
Jeff Bevis: The tablet-based platform is really a game changer. And that’s something that is in each client’s home. It is there primarily or has been there primarily for the caregiver to clock in and clock out, but now we have more services we’re going to add to that tablet. So things like little 10-minute fitness segments that clients or families can participate in, or caregivers. There’s caregiver training in there. There’s health and wellness awareness to the clients and their family. So I think that tablet platform again gives us a big leg up, is a huge benefit to our clients and their families.
Also, we have what’s called caring rewards, which is an entire rewards incentive program for caregiver training that is unlike anything else out there in the industry, too. So it’s all web-based. It’s a learning management system. That’s behind us. I think those two pieces of technology, the tablet and caring rewards learning management system, are two big, big key technology tools.
McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: What did you learn from FirstLight and Comfort Keepers that you’ll be bringing to your new role at Caring Senior Service?
Jeff Bevis: Boy. I could bore you for hours there. Probably, most importantly, to not second-guess my instincts, in that you can grow even faster when you get the momentum and get the alignment across the organization.
I’ve always been pretty detail-oriented and very much a process guy on the operations side. And sometimes I think I took a little bit extra time crossing T’s and dotting eyes. And not that that’s not important, but I think I gave up a little bit of growth, even though we grew at a fantastic rate.
McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: I’m sure everyone’s asking how did you grow those companies like you did. What’s the secret to that?
Jeff Bevis: I think it comes down to some basic things of people, process alignment culture. Not to sound like cliched phrases there, but it really is getting a really strong foundation, staying true to your values and staying true to what you see [how] you can really differentiate yourself and not spreading yourself too far, too fast or trying to be all things to all people.
Editor’s note: Peer-to-Peer is a feature from McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse in which we talk to the leaders in home care, your peers, about their operational initiatives, efforts and ideas. If you think someone in home care would make a good subject for Peer-to-Peer, please email Liza Berger at [email protected].