Sometimes military veterans have a difficult time transitioning into civilian life or applying the skills they learned in the service in the private sector. Not so with BrightStar Care franchise owner Matt Hayes, who used that experience to enter the fast-growing home healthcare industry.
Hayes has been so successful, in fact, that he became the recipient of BrightStar Care’s 2015 Rookie of the Year and Customer Satisfaction Awards in his very first year. His clinical, sales, marketing and military backgrounds have equipped him to excel in the franchise business model.
Hayes started his career in the Navy and was there for about six years. After leaving the service, he transitioned into a career in clinical laboratories. “Whenever you get your blood drawn or throat swabbed or anything like that, I was doing all that kind of testing and I managed laboratories. I eventually moved into sales and marketing on the industry side. I called it going to the dark side,” said Hayes.
In the Navy, he served as Corpsman, one of the medics for the Marines. Eventually, he realized that he was not going to make a living being a combat medic, so he enrolled in some advanced training and got his associate degree, then went on to get his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
But throughout these years, Hayes felt a yearning to own his own business and began investigating franchises periodically. He looked into hair care and restaurant franchises, but settled on the home healthcare industry after seeing a presentation at a medical conference he attended as part of his job. Hayes says there was actually a slide on the opening day overview presentation that showed the winners and losers in the changing medical landscape, and at the very top were the Home Care and Home Health categories.
When he got home, he told his wife about what he had learned, only to have her say, “That is kind of funny, because I just saw an Undercover Boss episode for BrightStar Care!” So, they looked them up.
That wasn’t the only reason, of course. “I looked at about five or six home care franchises and, honestly, it wasn’t even a close call as far as the standards that BrightStar Care has. The depth and breadth of the business line they have includes everything from traditional home care to skilled services to temporary staffing. Once I understood all that BrightStar Care has to offer, including their standards for Joint Commission accreditation, I was sold. Coming out of the medical field, BrightStar Care requiring all of its locations to be Joint Commission-accredited was a big deal to me. It has become a huge marketing tool for us.”
Much as in his career as a Navy Corpsman, Hayes enjoys the feeling of making an important difference in people’s lives. He recounts one difficult case involving an elderly patient with advanced Alzheimer’s. Her family lived in another state and he previously engaged other agencies to provide around-the-clock care, but each of them gave up because the patient was absolutely adamant that she did not want anybody in her home taking care of her. Upon learning that the woman had been a former piano teacher, Hayes and his team devised a plan in which two caregivers pretended to be piano students who came over for a lesson, and then just stayed afterwards to help with the dishes or help her get ready for bed. “That broke the ice and it worked. We really made a difference for her and her family because we were able to provide care when others weren’t. That was really fulfilling.”