How Home Care Became The Final Destination For New Franchise Owners

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Working in home care wasn’t the original plan for many of the leaders and entrepreneurs that are now operating in this space.

But life circumstances, the business opportunity in senior care and a greater call to aid others meant home care became their ultimate, and likely final, destination. In many cases, being an outsider coming in granted them skills that became unexpected advantages.

Home Health Care News caught up with three more home care franchisees to learn about how they are leveraging their past experiences in order to see success in home care, and what goals they hope to achieve in the future.


This is the second part of a two-part series. You can read Part 1 here. 

Jeff Rigler, Senior Helpers

If Jeff Rigler had to identify a common thread in all of his work, it would be that all of his roles have to do with investing in others.

Rigler spent most of career in corporate human resources. He also had a five-year stint as a U.S. diplomat. He served as a foreign service officer in Zagreb, Croatia, and Belgrade, Serbia.


This is a path that began during Rigler’s undergraduate years. He would eventually earn a master’s degree in human resource management.

“I did a couple of mission trips as a student,” Rigler told HHCN. “I loved cross-cultural work. I had the opportunity for five years to then be the director of the missions program and facilitate those trips for other students. During that time, I realized that I also love the leadership, training and development aspects of being the director.”

When his last employer was acquired by another company, this gave him the opportunity to shift gears and look for something new.

“I looked at a number of businesses for sale, and asked myself, ‘Would this business inspire me to get up every morning knowing that I’m making a difference?’” Rigler said. “Just by asking that one question, I was able to weed out a lot of businesses for me personally.”

When Rigler watched videos of families talking about the difference home care had made in their lives, he knew that it was the right move for him.

Currently, Rigler is the owner of Senior Helpers of Overland Park in Kansas. He became the owner and operator in 2021.

One area that has been shaped by his background is the way he approaches caregiver orientation and training.

“I know what bad training looks like, and I know what boring training looks like,” Rigler said.

He noted that the ability to lean on Senior Helpers’ Center of Excellence aligns perfectly with his approach to caregiver training.

While learning about the many facets of home care was daunting at first, Rigler had found his industry peers to be a great resource.

“I’ve found that people who are working in this space have been super helpful and very collaborative, even owners of other home care agencies,” he said. “I’ve struck up friendships with them. We refer to each other. There’s so much business and so much opportunity. The common denominator is that we’re all in this to help provide the very best care for the seniors and the clients we’re serving.”

Another great resource has been Senior Helpers CEO Peter Ross.

“While he was in town visiting a family friend, he had lunch with me over the holidays,” Rigler said. “What other CEO would take the time out of a personal trip to come have lunch with me, provide some mentoring and hear about my experience?”

In his time as owner, Rigler has been able to double the number of caregivers and the number of clients at his franchise location. Revenue is up almost 50% year over year from a growth standpoint, he said.

“I’m thrilled with the growth that we’ve had, and there’s still so much more opportunity,” he said. “We’re positioning ourselves for future growth. I’m not concerned about recessions because the service that we’re providing to seniors to help them live independently and safely in their homes is something that’s here to stay.”

Linda Craig, Always Best Care

Linda Craig had been in the pharmaceutical field — specializing in oncology — for 35 years.

First she worked on the sales side as a specialty sales representative. She’d eventually become a district manager, and then regional manager working in laboratories. Oncology remained her specialty.

“That pertains to the deep-end molecular tests that had to be conducted for a patient in order to find out, maybe, what type of cancer they had, or the specifics about the tumor in order to give the right medication,” Craig said.

While Craig loved her work, and its ability to help people, she wanted the opportunity to help people more directly.

“[Home care] was a direct way to touch people’s lives,” Craig said. “I think what really made me realize that was the fact that my parents were getting older. I saw that my dad had dementia. [My parents] wanted to stay in their home, it was their castle. It put me in a whole different world of how to take care of seniors — the first two being my parents.”

Craig looked into a number of home care franchises and landed on Always Best Care. She has been the owner of Always Best Care of Wallingford and New Haven in Connecticut since 2018.

The biggest challenge of stepping into the home care space was simply understanding the business, according to Craig.

“Coming into the business arena, it’s just a matter of taking things one at a time, and maybe breaking down the model and putting it back together,” she said.

However, Craig had the advantage of understanding disease states in her back pocket.

“When you’re in oncology, that’s sort of the top rung of pharmaceutical sales,” she said. “You have to really understand how the body works, and the different disease states in order to promote your medications. [In home care], knowing the disease states enables me to go back to write a very good robust care plan, so that the best care can be delivered.”

Her sales background was also an asset when she first started out in home care.

“I knew you had to be out interviewing, introducing yourself, asking for business from Day 1, so that’s what I did,” Craig said. “I hired one person to be in the office, and I was out calling on every referral source possible, going to every networking event, being involved everywhere, in order to make the business grow. Even to this day, I believe that sales is vital to growing your business.”

And this belief has resulted in success for Always Best Care. In the first year, Craig was able to double her business. In her second year, she increased the business by 65% over the previous year.

Craig views her growth goals as “lofty.”

“I’m almost looking to increase my business by 150% more each year, so making my quota and then doing it again the following year, and adding 50% more on top of that,” she said. “Do I think I can achieve it? Absolutely, I’m ahead of my goal right now.”

Moving forward, Craig hopes to expand the other part of her location’s business.

“We just don’t do home care, we also do placement into assisted living services,” she said. “It’s like the second half of our business, and I will be expanding this because the baby boomers typically have money at their discretion. They’re going to stay at home, or they’re going to go into assisted living, so I expect growth to continue at a very sharp, increasing uphill rate over the next five years.”

Amar Patel, Right at Home

Amid the COVID-19 emergency, many were forced to leave the hospitality industry as restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels shut down temporarily, and in some cases, permanently.

It was around this time when Amar Patel considered his next career move.

“COVID kind of proved that the hospitality industry is definitely at risk,” he said.

Throughout his career, Patel held a number of positions in hospitality. His more recent role, prior to entering the home care sector, was the food and beverage manager at Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.

Patel is fond of saying that hospitality is in his blood.

“I actually pretty much grew up in the hospitality industry,” Patel said. “My parents, along with many uncles and other relatives all work in the industry, specifically hotels. Since I was born, my dad’s been owning and operating hotels of different levels. In my middle school and high school years, I would spend my weekends at my dad’s hotels, helping clean rooms, doing maintenance and all sorts of things.”

He would eventually go on to earn a degree in business management with a minor in hospitality management, as well as a masters in global hospitality management.

Now, Patel owns Right at Home Eastern Worcester County. He’s been a franchisee for five months.

His attraction to home care was partly influenced by his cultural background.

“I was born and raised into a Hindu culture and household,” Patel said. “In our culture, we don’t really like to, or are not familiar with, sending our loved ones into nursing homes and other other facilities. This type of industry, and Right at Home specifically, tied all those things together.”

Looking ahead, Patel has plans to grow his territory and he is looking into bringing on more skilled services.

While Patel stressed that he is far from having mastered home care, he has been able to connect the dots between franchise owner and hospitality manager.

“I look at this as a new product, or a new service, but the same kind of concept, in the sense of building relationships and providing the best type of service that you can,” he said.

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