Husband-and-wife franchisees of in-home care franchise Senior Helpers, Nick and Desiree Trunzo, have long been driven by a calling to provide exceptional care and support their local community. In their community of Fair Oaks, California, Desiree volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters and Nick volunteers as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Prior to Senior Helpers, the two worked in operations and management roles with veterinary hospitals, finding deep satisfaction in helping families, one (four-legged) member at a time.
“What kept both of us in our careers was just how much helping one member of a family had a huge impact on the quality of life for the rest of the family,” Desiree said.
Then last year, the Trunzos unexpectedly found themselves with a new care opportunity when Desiree’s father fell and broke his hip.
“He ended up in the hospital after falling. I was traveling a lot for work and then suddenly we were in the driver’s seat as kids of people that all of a sudden need care,” Desiree said. “That stress made us realize that there was such a huge need for this because of course, there are other people going through it, too. If we could help, that was huge for us. We want to give back and make an impact on the lives of families.”
Deeply impacted by the experience, in June 2018, the Trunzos began looking for a new business opportunity that would build upon their existing love of helping families, this time in the senior care space.
“When we started looking into doing something with in-home senior care, we happened to visit my brother in Utah. We were on a flight and saw an ad for Senior Helpers,” Nick said. “So we reached out and we were blown away.”
Nick emphasized that what stood out to Desiree and him the most about Senior Helpers was its mission, and just well it aligned with the Trunzos’.
“Their mission and vision really align with ours. Senior Helpers is about improving the quality of life for seniors by helping them remain independent at home. I can tell that every person in the organization speaks from that same place and is committed to that purpose,” Nick said.
Senior Helpers’ commitment to care translated to strong sales in 2018 and the addition of 22 new territories to a system already 300-territories-strong. Next came a record-breaking Q1 of 2019, with 12 new franchise territories sold. In the last six months, Senior Helpers signed on three new franchise owners, all of whom have the intention to grow to additional units down the road. The brand is developing steadily, met with ongoing demand from an aging Baby Boomer generation.
Rob Cantrell, Senior Helpers’ Vice President of Franchise Development, explained that demand succinctly:
“Ten thousand seniors a day are aging in from the Baby Boomer pool, which means seniors will be looking for care consistently over the next decade,” Cantrell said, echoing the Trunzos’ realization about the need for exceptional senior care. “‘The Silver Tsunami,’ as it has been called, hasn’t even hit the shore.”
After their initial contact with the brand, Nick said he and Desiree began their Discovery process, which eventually led them to attend Senior Helpers’ Discovery Day at the brand’s corporate office in Baltimore last October.
“At that time, we signed our franchise agreement, and then in January, we completed a 10-day training. We definitely benefited from seeing the training apartment modeling a typical senior’s environment, including vintage wallpaper and decor, located in the home office—it really drove home the fact that Senior Helpers caregivers must be highly skilled in what they do,” Nick said.
The Trunzos opened their Senior Helpers location in nearby Cameron Park in El Dorado County, California in April 2019. Their territory will service clients in El Dorado County, Amador County and a small section of Sacramento County. Both preceding and following their opening, the Trunzos have enjoyed considerable support from executive leadership.
“Senior Helpers provides a ton of support—more than you would typically find with a franchise. That support is really great and they’ve given us everything we need to be successful,” Nick said.
“A focus on families has really driven us from the start, and the franchisees of Senior Helpers work together as a big network and family,” Desiree said. “You not only feel like you have the support of your franchisor, but also the support of other people that are doing what you’re doing. That’s really driven by the corporate theme to make it a family out in the field. As a franchisee, you quickly realize how passionate the executive team is about making life better for seniors and ensuring that owners are doing everything to be leading the industry forward.”
Cantrell noted that the Trunzos perfectly embodied the drive and the values that Senior Helpers’ looks for in franchisees.
“The Trunzos bring a lot of energy to the Senior Helpers’ franchise family, plus operational and marketing experience from their past careers. Each will excel in their individual roles and both will play a vital part in the business,” Cantrell said.
Bolstered by the training and support of Senior Helpers’ leadership, the Trunzos are now open for operation and deepening their relationships in the Fair Oaks community.
“We recently joined our local Chamber of Commerce, and that was something that really helped us connect with other business partners in the area,” Desiree said. “We’re now working to build relationships with referral centers, places like assisted living, adult daycares, etc. We want to let them know there are resources out there; we don’t just do in-home care, we can be a partner in their industry too and help their senior clientele live with agency and joy.”
With an authentic passion for care guiding them both, it’s no surprise that a focus on the wellness of not only their senior clients but their caregivers and community at large characterize the Trunzos’ definition of success.
“For me, I define success as being a leader of in-home care in our community and being an employer of choice for our caregivers,” Desiree said. “I want ours to be a company that values and invests in them and helps them grow in their career goals, whatever those may be. I want our caregivers to be really excited about what they do every day, and I think that enables them to deliver fantastic service to our clients.”
Nick agreed. “For me, success can be defined in how well we develop our team and in having a team that stays with us. In this industry, there can be caregiver turnover. I want to shift that so we not only have the caregivers that we need, but they are referring to us an employer of choice. We want our caregivers to have a successful career—that’s how I define success.”
The investment level for a Senior Helpers franchise is $103,300 to $142,300, with a $49,500 franchise fee and a 5% royalty. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Senior Helpers, visit https://www.seniorhelpersfranchise.com/.