Eric & Jocelyn owners of Premier Homecare Master Franchise

Date: AUG 13th, 2014

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Jocelyn has dedicated her 28-year career to seniors. She worked as a Clinical Dietitian, a Nutrition Services Manager, and a Nursing Services Manager in long-term care homes in BC and Alberta. She was inspired being part of organizations such as Inglewood Care Centre, Marriott Management Services and ASK (Arbutus, Shaughnessy, Kerrisdale) Friendship Society. Jocelyn has a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Her thesis on BC hospital bed-blockers showed that the number of hospital bed days taken up by seniors awaiting discharge is equally divided by those waiting to go home and those waiting to go to long-term care. Given this information about the real need for home care along with her experience of having her Dad die at home, Jocelyn turned her focus from long-term care to home care.

Eric has over 25 years experience in sales, marketing, and management with companies in Boston, Silicon Valley, Tokyo, and Vancouver. After graduating from UBC he managed computer and high-tech businesses with an emphasis on customer service. Like most sales people, Eric always dreamed of owning his own business, so he partnered with his sister, Jocelyn, to start a Premier Homecare Services franchise on the West Coast. Now as the Master Franchisees for BC, Eric and Jocelyn are responsible for awarding new territories to qualified candidates and supporting those new franchisees as they grow.

Be the Boss: How and when did you become involved with Premier Homecare Services Franchise?

Jocelyn Macdonald: In 2009 our father was diagnosed with cancer and given three months to live. Through the help of some wonderful caregivers and nurses we were able to keep him at home until the end. He died in his own bed with his family beside him and in his familiar surroundings. We were grateful for this experience and it was at that point we knew that homecare was the business opportunity we would feel good about doing. We researched the demographics of the exploding senior market and Eric saw an article in the Vancouver Sun mentioning David Watson, the founder of Premier Homecare Services franchise. We contacted David in Toronto and felt good about him and what we had to say. We chose Premier Homecare Services business in a large part due to their unique accreditation status with Accreditation Canada.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Premier Homecare Services franchise?

Eric Macdonald: Jocelyn and I were both born at the tail end of the baby boom. We both have management backgrounds, and wanted to be our own boss while making a difference with the elders in our community. Jocelyn has over 25 years of healthcare experience managing nurses in medical facilities, is a Registered Dietitian, and has a Master of Health Administration (MHA) from UBC. I also graduated locally from UBC, and have over 25 years experience in marketing and business management with companies in Boston, Silicon Valley, and Vancouver.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Premier Homecare Services franchisee?

EM: The day a new franchisee opens for business, they get instant credibility as part of an accredited organization with over ten years of experience and a proven system. They also have the ability to pick up the phone and get professional advice and share ideas with the franchise team. Our company, Premier Homecare Services, has won awards from the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) for its great communication with the franchisor and amongst all the franchisees. They also get a large territory, local support, and unlimited access to a marketing team who will work directly with them to create a unique marketing program.

BTB: What type of training and support does your franchise offer?

JM: Our training and support is unparalleled. Initially a new franchisee receives up to five days of training at our corporate headquarters in Toronto. Following that they receive weekly phone calls with the local master franchisees and 2 days of hands-on training at the franchisee’s office and in the field. The franchisor holds monthly Town Hall meetings, quarterly educational seminars and a convention every 18 months. There are extensive manuals and supporting documentation to provide them with systems, procedures and tips. There is 24/7 access to an online portal offering updated print materials, forms, and PowerPoints, as well as an assortment of customizable marketing materials, such as brochures, ads, newsletters, tested radio spots, car wraps, and much more.

Franchisees receive support on a national level from the franchisor in Toronto and they also receive local support from the master franchisees in BC. Having local support is one of our differentiating factors and the face-to-face, hands-on opportunities that this support provides a new franchisee cannot be underestimated. So in addition to all of the support, research, and development from our franchisor in Toronto, they have us here in Vancouver, on the ground, to, for example, introduce them to Community Partners, show them how we interview and hire, and walk them through all the day-to-day operations as their business grows. As master franchisees for BC, we are here to look out for the franchisee’s best interests, “their success is our success”.

BTB: Who is your ideal franchise business owner (franchisee)?

JM: A health care background is not necessary to build and run a successful home care franchise. Many of our most successful franchisees come from a business background, such as insurance, finance or human resources. Any type of sales or marketing background is useful. Our ideal candidate is organized, professional, a good communicator, entrepreneurial yet able to follow a system, and eager to make a difference in the lives of seniors and their families.

BTB: Tell us a little about the senior/homecare Market/Industry in BC?

EM: The senior population is the fastest growing demographic in society – it will almost double in the next 20 years – we’re all getting there. As this “grey tsunami” approaches, and the public healthcare system struggles to cope, there will be an increased need for private homecare to fill this service gap. People want to remain at home (age in place) and it’s been proven that they will stay happier and healthier living as independently as possible in familiar surroundings.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise opportunity in Canada?

EM: Buy Canadian, with local support, and a protected territory, from a franchisor who listens to their franchisees.

It’s important to go with a Canadian company. Before you buy a franchise ask if there are any tax issues, since you are paying profits and royalties to a foreign country. Foreigners do not understand the local market, especially concerning healthcare.

Find out if there is any local support in your city. Most franchisors do not have offices in Vancouver. Having someone locally who can meet with you face to face (at their office and yours) is valuable. It’s also important since they have local connections, experience, and know the local laws and regulations.

Get an exclusive (protected) territory. Most franchisors define your territory with physical boundaries (streets, rivers, oceans, or perhaps postal codes). Some don’t. You will want to know the population and percentage of potential clients in your territory. Look for a franchisor who listens to what franchise owners have to say, with, for example, an Advisory Council (committee) made up of franchisees and management who oversee different facets of the business.