Finding a Fit With Carepatrol

CarePatrol Franchise Systems, LLC, helps families find independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities for their loved ones. They are dedicated to providing families with the information needed to make educated decisions when researching the many living communities on the market.

Playing the role of social worker, CarePatrol franchisees learn about all care requirements of patients before matching their needs with accommodating facilities. Much like a realtor, CarePatrol takes families to visit the facilities that match the needs of the client.  This gives families the opportunity to experience firsthand what the various homes have to offer before making a final decision, at no fee to the client.

Taking every possible means to ensure patients’ safety, CarePatrol practices thorough background checks on every facility it partners with, paying special attention to its care violation history. CarePatrol has been in business for 20 years and franchising since 2009. Last month, they acquired their biggest competitor, Assisted Transition. Today the company has 120 franchise partners, making it the largest company in the senior care industry. “We’re estimated to grow to 150 franchisees by the end of 2014,” says Chuck Bongiovanni, founder and CEO of CarePatrol. “As we stand we’re currently ten times bigger than our next competitor out there.”

Bongiovanni built the business out of necessity. Previously employed as a hospital social worker, his job entailed visiting patients discharged from the hospital to ensure the transition to their home or assisted living facility was going well. One afternoon Bongiovanni received a call from his boss informing him that a patient was demanding to leave the care facility in which she had been placed. When Bongiovanni arrived at the Alzheimer’s facility, he expected to find a very confused woman. What he found instead surprised him. “The woman was 74 years old, clear as day, and demanding to leave considering everyone else there suffered from severe dementia. A completely justifiable request,” he explains. When asking how she ended up in the home in the first place he was told the facility was the only one her daughter knew.

Recognizing the need for a service that could prevent these types of situations, Bongiovanni returned to the hospital, shared his idea with his colleagues, quit his job, and quickly began marketing CarePatrol. Within a few months, he sold 10 franchises. Today CarePatrol has 75 franchises, and the corporate team consists of 15 members, including Bongiovanni’s wife, Becky, as the Chief Operations Officer.

Equipped with the most responsive and educated senior placement and senior care management team in the nation, families feel comfort in knowing the CarePatrol team is working for them. “There are a lot of assisted living communities out there that families don’t know about, but more importantly, families go out there without knowledge,” Bongiovanni explains. “Often times they [families] will walk into the first place, see a beautiful chandelier and decide it’s the perfect home for their mother or father, they don’t realize that the faculty could have care violations and just because it’s clean and beautiful doesn’t mean they give good care.”

In addition to the lack of knowledge patients’ families usually have when it comes to searching various homes on the market, crisis situations often arise in which seniors require a home. “During these times families are under a lot of stress and pressure and so they don’t always make the best informed decisions. CarePatrol’s mission is to ensure families find the right place, and with all of the research done for them ahead of time, it helps make the situation much smoother,” Bongiovanni says.

Located in 30 states, CarePatrol is currently seeking outgoing franchisees that enjoy helping others and think quickly on their feet to further grow the business. While no prior experience or education is necessary, some popular professions that have switched to the company include medical sales representatives, teachers and social workers.

CarePatrol’s franchising process begins with a webinar and filling out an application. The candidate will take a business skill test, send a completed FDD, and begin the due diligence process with existing franchisees. CarePatrol’s Discovery Day is optional depending on if either party requires more information about the other.

Once the paperwork is complete and the candidate has been approved as a franchisee, the individual undergoes a five-day training program in Phoenix, AZ. Next CarePatrol’s corporate team spends two days in the franchisee’s territory, during which time they assist the franchisee in connecting with surrounding facilities. After about a month in the field, corporate revisits the franchisee to help develop a marketing program for the new franchise partner.  Ongoing support is available online, on DVD, at regional meetings and the annual convention. “We probably over support,” laughs Bongiovanni, adding that franchisees benefit from 24/7 support.

CarePatrol’s franchise fee is $44,500 for a territory spanning a minimum of 100 assisted living facilities. The franchise fee also includes a unique lead program to help generate revenue. If a franchisee utilizes the lead program and places a patient in a facility corporate has referred, the royalties are a 70/30 split with the franchisee keeping 70 percent. Any business franchisees find themselves, they keep 100 percent of the revenue.

“What sets CarePatrol apart from similar companies in the industry is the comprehensive vetting of facilities and educating families of what they are getting into. It’s about making sure their loved ones are going to the safest places available,” says Bongiovanni. A large part of CarePatrol’s marketing involves client and social worker education. “The educational marketing is based on a pharmaceutical model,” he adds. CarePatrol’s most recent development is called the enhanced marketing program and involves the corporate team travelling to the franchisee’s territory to take care of all their marketing for them.

CarePatrol has been awarded Franchise Business Review’s “Franchise Satisfaction Award” for four consecutive years, a recognition based solely on franchisee satisfaction. Proud of this achievement, Bongiovanni believes in the importance of healthy franchisee relationships. “Knowing that our franchise partners feel that they made the right investment and that it is paying off for them in multiple dividends means a lot to our whole corporate team,” he says.  Entrepreneur ranked CarePatrol number 288 on their Top 500 listing of franchises in America, the Number One Assisted Living Placement franchise in America, and Number 13 in Top New Franchise Concepts. They have also been recognized as a military friendly franchise for the past five years.

CarePatrol is committed to outstanding quality and unparalleled customer service in all aspects of its operation. With the senior industry thriving, the multi-billion dollar assisted living industry is growing vastly each year. “CarePatrol offers franchisees an excellent return on investment,” Bongiovanni says, adding, “But the best thing is getting to help people every day.”

-Jessica Spoto

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