In his 10 years as Executive Director with Retire-At-Home™ in Ottawa, Jonathan Martin was responsible for the company’s operations, including the development of the operations manual, corporate policies, staff recruiting and retention activities, marketing programs and back-office systems. During this time, the company grew from 15 employees to over 150 under his operational control and won awards for client service and business leadership. This operational expertise in a scaling environment will be passed on to the Retire-At-Home™ franchises as he works one-on-one with franchisees.
As a franchise applicant, you will work with Jonathan at each stage of the franchise selection process. His goal is to ensure that you understand the Retire-At-Home model and properly prepare your file for approval by the final selection committee. Retire-At-Home is committed to awarding franchises only to those people who meet the highest standards and have the desire and ambition to succeed in providing quality service to seniors. Jonathan is looking forward to working with anyone who feels that they meet these criteria.
BeTheBoss - What’s the story behind Retire-At-Home?
Jonathan Martin - Retire-At-Home was founded in 1994 by Irene Martin, a registered nurse in Ottawa for over 40 years. Over the years, we have established ourselves as a premium care company that focuses on the quality care, and the health and safety of our clients and employees. With our wide range of in-home health care services, clients come to us when government subsidies run out and more care is needed. The majority of our business over 15 years has been referred to us by industry professionals, a reflection of our outstanding reputation for quality and client service. In 2007, we were nationally accredited by Accreditation Canada and have since been offering a franchise program that trains and supports franchisees to provide a full-service business to seniors at the highest levels.
BTB - What made you decide to franchise?
JM - We built a strong reputation over 15 years of providing a premium service to seniors and their families. With a nationally-accredited program, we felt strongly that we could provide our service to more seniors across Canada who are truly looking for a better alternative. At that point, we knew that our system was ready for expansion. Franchising was a good fit for us because we wanted someone at each Retire-At-Home office to be directly linked to the success of the company. Each franchisee is responsible for building a quality service and a strong reputation in their community – by doing so with our support, they will each be successful.
BTB - Tell us a little about the Home Health Care Market?
JM - It is no news to anyone that this is a growing market and will continue to grow for the next 30 years. The oldest Baby Boomers are just in their early 60s, our average client at intake is over 80. We have many years of growth ahead. What is still lacking in this industry in a single point of contact for seniors and their families to call and get a complete home and health care solution. Retire-At-Home does just that. Because we are a Canadian-born company, we understand our health care system and what it takes to properly manage every aspect of our clients’ lives. Every senior care company provides housekeeping or companionship, most provide personal care, but the majority of companies end there leaving many seniors looking elsewhere for the
BTB - What have some of the challenges been in growing your franchise?
JM -Finding the right people for our franchise system. We have received thousands of enquiries and applications for our franchises in Canada. We have only chosen 18 franchisees. We have a rigorous application process because we want to ensure we find the right people who are ready to work hard, dedicate themselves to providing a great service to seniors and who truly want to make a difference.
BTB - Who has been your greatest
JM - Personally it has been my mother, Irene. She founded this business after being laid off from a nursing home that was in financial trouble. She only had one goal in mind – provide a customized service to seniors and help them retire at home. Her focus on quality of life for seniors, and her commitment to excellence in this industry is second to none. She continues to advocate for seniors and is heavily involved in community organizations. She also founded Laughter Day and regularly promotes the healing benefits of laughter. Her positive outlook and drive are very inspirational.
BTB - What are some of the advantages in being a Retire-At-Home franchisee?
JM - You learn from an Accredited system that is Canadian-owned. Our eight volumes of operations manuals, training programs and support programs have all been through the rigor of accreditation standards. Not only do franchisees learn how to lead a health care team, ensure they provide premium care to their clients, hire and retain the right staff and build community partnerships, they do so on a proven, Canadian system.
Being part of the family. When you join the Retire-At-Home family, you are just that…family! We ensure that you receive constant support and that we are always there to help when the need arises. Our business development programs, marketing plans and weekly coaching calls help franchisees develop a strong presence in their community.
Wide range of services. We don’t say “no” to our clients. We have the widest range of services including basic companionship, housekeeping, personal care, nursing care, total case management, property maintenance, medical supplies and so much more. If someone truly wants to retire at home, they need more than just companionship or a bath. We’ve been able to provide these greater services for over 15 years.
BTB - What “Gadgets” (Blackberry, Iphone, Ipod, etc) can’t you live without?
JM - I personally can’t live without my iPhone. It is my everything gadget including email, phone and the many great apps including maps, weather, exercise programs and, of course, games for the kids. It helps me stay in touch with all parts of my life, whenever I can.
BTB - What do you do in your spare time?
JM - I spend time with my wife and kids either at the park or at the cottage. I also love to run and stay active.
BTB - What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
JM - For the Home Care industry specifically, if you are looking at entering this market as a franchisee you need to research the industry and understand why you want to get into it. Although this is a growing industry and there is a lot of demand, there is also a lot of hard work involved. Picture yourself being in the business – do you love the idea and truly want to make a difference with seniors? The money will come, but the focus has to be on the senior clients you will be servicing. Your desire to enter this industry has to come from a place that says I want to make a difference out there. Every one of our franchisees has had an experience in their lives as to why it is important to them – that reason is personal to each one and helps them drives the business from the heart.
BTB - In your opinion, why do you think that Retire-At-Home would be a great opportunity for someone?
JM - If you are ready to make a life change and start a business that truly helps people through tough times, this is a great opportunity. Success comes in many different forms with our company, including the satisfaction you get from helping someone die at home comfortably, or helping someone recover from surgery. If you want to join a family of franchisees who care about being successful, not just financially, but with a reputation of quality, this is a great company for you.