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FranDev Players: Jennifer Chaney, Vice President of Franchise Development Right at Home

As the first baby boomers turn 75, Chaney sees major opportunities for the in-home senior care franchise.

Jennifer Chaney started her career in sales with a coffee franchise. After getting her feet wet and learning the intricacies of the brand, Chaney created a process to strategically grow the franchise. From there, it was “off to the races” in her career in franchise development, she said. Today, Chaney is helping to grow Right at Home*, an in-home senior care franchise based in Omaha, where she oversees new sales and resales.

2021 is an exciting year for the in-home care industry; it will see the first baby boomers turning 75, meaning the need for in-home care is about to explode. Chaney and Right at Home are offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow an essential, purposeful business that cares for the aging community.

1851 Franchise caught up with Chaney to discuss the key components of growing a franchise and how Right at Home is positioning itself as an industry leader in the in-home care space.

1851 Franchise: How did you get into franchising?

Jennifer Chaney: I started in franchising nine years ago, working for a coffee company headquartered here in Omaha. At that point, they didn’t have a development team and they were looking for a salesperson. They hired me to create the process. After that, I was off to the races. 

I worked in the real estate part of the business as well, and I worked a lot in construction. That was my role: sales, construction and real estate. When I transitioned to Right at Home, my main focus was resale opportunities. In this particular franchise, owners who join the system want to talk about the end of their experience as well. They want to have a plan of attack for when it comes to selling — what do I need to do now to meet my long term goals? People want to have a plan in place to build their businesses and then sell them after five or 10 years. There’s also a big focus on helping existing franchise owners expand. I wear lots of hats. 

1851: Are there any keys to consistent franchise growth?

Chaney: A pretty common answer is that franchisors need to take advantage of all of the available tools and relationships. They need to have great relationships with their neighbors. Really care for their franchisees and their staff. 

1851: What are the biggest hurdles to successful franchise growth right now?

Chaney: The elephant in the room is COVID. With our franchisees, there is a mixture of people who have thrived with the challenges of the last year and some who didn’t. And it’s ongoing. For Right at Home, a big challenge has been finding top-tier caregivers, but we have a great team at Corporate who are supporting recruitment and retention for caregivers. 

1851: How did the COVID crisis affect franchise growth opportunities?

Chaney: It depends on the concept you’re talking about. The pandemic has affected businesses in different ways. Right at Home hasn’t seen too much of that. We’ve come incredibly close to meeting our goal for growth. We haven’t heard from any prospective franchisees saying they don’t want to buy because of COVID. We didn’t miss a beat when it came to educating our owners on what they would need during the pandemic. We presented so many resources to support our franchise owners. We put together a task force that was meeting twice a day and even on the weekends. We were working double-, triple-overtime to keep owners up to date on what we were learning. 

We tackled this head-on. We’ve very open and honest about everything that’s happening.

1851: Are there any common mistakes you see franchisors making when trying to grow?

Chaney: You want to be strategic about your growth — where are the markets you want to be in? Where are you already? You need to be very selective about the owners you award businesses to. Some make the mistake of awarding franchises to someone who isn’t the best fit. Right at Home is very selective, and that’s something we take pride in.

You have to have a solid sales process in place. Make sure you have all the proper information to share with candidates packaged and ready to go. They need to feel like they are fully supported. The sales process is the start of their journey as a potential franchisee, and you want it to be an awesome process from the get-go. 

1851: What are your biggest goals and plans for 2021?

Chaney: As far as franchise development goes, we have goals both for new sales and for resales, which we expect to become a more prominent aspect of our model. We have a ton of white space throughout the U.S. that we're excited to take advantage of.

This year we’ve been talking a lot about the opportunities available both in our business and in the industry at large. 2021 is a critical year for this industry. The first baby boomers turn 75 this year. The number of clients who will need these services is going to double over the next 15 years. 

I'm 40 and my dad is 70. Most baby boomers have adult children, many with children of their own, and they're living hundreds of miles away from their aging parents. Caring for a loved one is difficult. A professional caregiver can really reduce that burden so that when you spend time with a loved one, it's meaningful and not a stressor.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.