Right at Home Franchise Canada - CEO, Chairman, President, Michael J. Martino

Date: AUG 25th, 2014

Topic: Interview with a CEO

With the demographic need and Right at Home’s international success, an expansion to Canada was a logical business decision. To do it correctly, maximizing the opportunity, Right at Home International knew that a Canadian head office would be vital. This foresight should be applauded. Other American home care companies have come to Canada and have run into mediocre success. Canada is different from the United States and it takes Canadians to manage and implement these differences.

Our Canadian head office is made up of a winning team of proven and successful entrepreneurs and business people.

Recently having achieved $1 billion in cumulative care revenue, with 75,000 clients, and projecting to achieve $2 billion by 2015, Right at Home International is positioned to be a major player in the International home care market.

BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Right at Home franchise concept.

Michael J. Martino: Right at Home franchise was founded by Allen Hager. For many years, Allen worked in healthcare as a hospital administrator. While in the hospital environment, he watched many of his patients – especially seniors – leave the facility and return home, but not necessarily return to health. Once home, a lot of his former patients were unable to care for themselves.

Allen knew that with a little help, most of these people could lead healthy, happy lives in their own homes. But he also knew that there were very few companies that offered this kind of help.

Allen didn't just jump in and start a franchising company. First, he talked to dozens of families to understand the different kinds of challenges they faced and what kind of care would help. Then he became a certified nursing assistant so he could experience the needs of people who were still living in their home but who needed some professional assistance.

In 1995, Allen started Right at Home in Omaha, Nebraska. Five years later, he started branching into other regions of the country by carefully selecting franchisees who shared his passion for caring for those in their community.

Right at Home franchise now has more than 350 locations that serve tens of thousands of clients across the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Ireland and, of course, Canada. With our current scale of franchises and our scope of services, Right at Home franchise business is poised for accelerated growth. Sustainable growth requires a defined vision and a plan to achieve this vision. Right at Home franchise has both.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with Right at Home Franchise Canada?

M.J.M: Realizing the needs of an aging population and the lack of quality care in the industry, I looked for a model that met all of the criteria that I would want in a care provider. I researched many companies and found everything I was looking for in Right at Home. With my past experience in franchising and my genuine interest in wanting to provide the best of care for our clients, we created Right at Home Canada. We have been in operation since January 2012. We currently have franchise locations in Ontario and Alberta.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Right at Home Canada?

M.J.M: I have been involved in the business community as a lawyer, a Chief Executive Officer, and a senior consultant in the franchise industry for over four decades. I was most recently the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mailboxes Etc. in Canada, and the Chief Executive Officer of Mailboxes in the United Kingdom and Ireland. I was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Franchise Association for six years and served as Chairman of the Board for two years. I am presently the Chairman of the Board of CAREpath, Inc., a health care company.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Right at Home Canada franchise business owner (franchisee)?

M.J.M: One of the most obvious advantages in being a Right at Home Canada franchisee is working from a successful model. Right at Home International has the proven track record and the years of experience that we all will benefit from. They have learned through experience what works and what doesn’t and they have improved upon all of that experience. We are working closely with them to ensure the success of Right at Home Canada. We are a team.

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

M.J.M: The foundation of becoming a Right at Home franchisee is simple. You need to commit to:


  • Your clients
  • Your caregivers
  • Your community
  • Your business

Why do we ask you to make these commitments? We ask you to make these commitments so that we can accomplish our mission of "adding life to years." As a franchise business owner (franchisee), you are the conduit of care to the adult with a disability or the senior who needs assistance living at home. The care that you can deliver will mean the world to them. We are creating a culture that focuses on the quality of care delivered and received. We truly believe that the quality of care is correlated by one's commitment to the bullets above.

Our franchisees come from a wide variety of educational and business backgrounds. For some, this is their first venture into ownership. Others have run successful businesses before. Within our network, you'll find franchisees who were once in property, hotel management, business management, event planning, engineering, chemistry and accounting. And that's just the beginning. There really is no ideal background. But there is an ideal owner: someone who wants to help individuals and communities. We recruit people who have management and basic business experience, because we need franchisees who understand the value of a good system.

Tell us a little about the home care industry.

M.J.M: The in-home care industry is still in its infancy. Within the last couple of decades, the population of Canada aged 65 and older has started to increase at rates never before seen. That growth will not only continue, it will explode. There are two reasons for this. First, Baby Boomers – the largest section of the Canadian population – are simply getting older. People aren't just growing older, they're living longer. Thanks to an increased commitment to health and wellness, as well as the advancement of medicine, people are living longer. As a result, the average life expectancy continues to lengthen. Since 1960, the average life expectancy has increased by ten years for females and fourteen years for males. This increased life expectancy will lead to a larger population of seniors, many of whom will need assistance in order to remain at home.

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise business?

M.J.M: Unlike many franchise opportunities, senior care offers benefits well beyond the possibility of monetary growth. This isn't just an investment in a business. It's also an investment in your community and your personal fulfillment. You provide better lives. When you leave your office in the evening, you haven't just made money, you've made someone's day. Senior care helps an aging population remain independent. Your care – and the resulting independence – is often the difference between someone feeling happiness rather than helplessness. You provide stability. Family relationships are fragile. When something changes, it can often upset the balance of the entire unit. When someone has a condition that requires Right at Home's services, the entire family is affected. Your presence and services can make a difficult situation easier for the entire family. You provide fulfilling employment. Most franchises create jobs. You create meaningful jobs. You're not just helping your employees put food on the table, you're providing a sense of accomplishment to those who are able to enrich the lives of others. You're also putting money into your community so that it can grow and thrive.

BTB: Do you have a mentor or is there someone you use for inspiration?

M.J.M: Our mentor is Allen Hager. Allen had the vision to create this company and the passion to see it through to its current success.

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

M.J.M: Follow your heart. Money is important, it is part of success, but it is only one part. Do you have a passion for what you are doing? Too many people only focus on the pro formas. Your business needs to provide significance in your life. Look for success with significance.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Right at Home Franchise Canada would be a great opportunity for someone?

M.J.M: Why the Right at Home franchise? There are very few industries that show as much stability in the present and potential for growth in the future. It is predicted that Healthcare will generate more new jobs (wage and salary) over the next decade than any other industry. Baby Boomers are one of the most independent groups of people in our country's history. They also have a higher life expectancy than any generation before them. Put simply, they will live longer and as they age, they will do almost anything to retain their independence for as long as possible.

While technology plays a role in Right at Home franchise, caregiving is our basic service. Care cannot be automated or provided through the Internet. Many other businesses require frequent upgrades and a significant investment in technology. Senior care's most important business asset is its people. Senior care is not transactional. It's relational. Our services are ongoing. They're based on trust and your ability to meet your client's needs. Many of your clients will be referrals from elder care professionals. Once you demonstrate reliability, dedication and compassion, they will continue to refer other clients to your business.