One senior care-related franchise system has the lofty goal of expanding its national footprint by over a third throughout this year.
Currently, Scottsdale, AZ-based, Assisted Living Locators has 110 franchises in 34 states.
“In 2019, we will continue to focus on building our national presence by growing our franchise locations by 35 percent,” CEO Angela Olea said during a recent interview.
Olea is convinced that Assisted Living Locators can do it. “We grew by 38% last year, and we’ve got an aggressive plan to make the adult children of seniors aware of our service category with new branding and marketing programs in 2019. We’ve only just scratched the surface of the growth potential to help families and expand the system.”
Assisted Living Locators essentially act as consultants who connect families with the right care facilities, communities or homes based on health needs, location, price and activities. When families contact the company, a senior care advisor conducts a comprehensive assessment of the family member’s needs. Then, the company’s care advisors — the franchisees — go through their database of local properties to find the best match for the senior in need. They walk the families through the process of comparing facilities and make recommendations to the family, who are ultimately the ones who choose the location that is right for them.
The service is free for the families, with the franchisee getting paid by the community when a senior is matched with them and moves in.
Despite being around since 2003, many people remain unaware that resources like Assisted Living Locators are available to help with a sometimes difficult set of decisions.
“One big challenge is making sure that senior and families know that our services are available, and provided at no cost to the family,” Olea said. “You don’t even think about this until you might need it so creating awareness that our resources are available is a key marketing initiative for the organization.”
Since many placements occur from local networking, franchisees play an active role in their local communities and by regularly interacting with key local business who also service the same target audience.
Assisted Living Locators online presence also helps as families increasingly turn to the internet to identify resources that can help them with such a critically important decision. When people do connect with Assisted Living Locators, the company and its franchisees get high marks for serving as a valuable resource to families.
The great thing about this space, Olea pointed out, is that with an aging population and an expanding client base, senior placement is a recession proof industry.
The best option
Assisted Living Locators is in the best spot to help would-be entrepreneurs who want to get into this industry, CFO and Chief Strategy Officer for the company Mark Alivero said.
“The franchise model is the winning model in this space,” he noted. “Success in senior placement requires national scope for marketing and advertising coupled with local ‘boots on the ground’ to assist families face to face. Online referral companies have the former, independent agents have the latter, and only franchise models have both.”
What sets Assisted Living Locators apart from other franchisors in the senior placement market is the company’s dedication to its training, systems, processes and lead generation, the CFO said.
Assisted Living Locators has recently hired Southwestern Consulting Services to provide sales training to complement its existing intake and family model. The company has also invested in its own proprietary customer relations management (CRM) software that is customized to the senior placement industry.
Plus, the franchise’s processes are always being refined and streamlined so they work better, Alivero noted.
“In some cases, we are refining existing processes, and in other instances we are creating processes where they didn’t exist before,” he said.
This refinement includes things like revising the onboarding process to make it smoother. Meanwhile, the company has created marketing guidelines and a messaging platform for franchisees.
They have also added Russell Morgan, an experienced COO to their senior leadership team. Morgan is the former President of AT&T – Southwest Region and has extensive marketing, development and operations experience at various firms and was part of a Baldridge National Quality Award winning team while at AT&T.
“He’s helping us create or harden our processes,” Alivero added.
Assisted Living Locators has also invested in several lead generation programs to benefit franchisees.
Fueling the company’s success up until now has been a combination of attracting the right talent, having an excellent franchise development process and the attention that aging has been getting as more Americans retire and enter a new senior living lifestyle category that didn’t exist for the previous generation. Also, Olea noted, franchisees love the fact that they are making a positive impact on people’s lives by helping them find care services for the seniors in their lives.
Future success will depend on the success of the category branding campaigns currently underway and creating strategic partnerships with those who are already in the senior space like non-medical homecare professionals, the CEO said.
“Improving awareness and those layers of support systems around what seniors need will allow us to continue to grow,” Olea added.
As more people become aware of Assisted Living Locators and how it does it, that is sure to help fuel the company’s expansion and help it to reach its 2019 goals.