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Q&A with Senior Helpers CEO Peter Ross
Q&A with Senior Helpers CEO Peter Ross

Senior Helpers founder and CEO Peter Ross discusses what led him to found the brand and what’s still to come.

What inspired you to start Senior Helpers Franchise?

My partner, Tony Bonacuse, and I were looking for a business that did three things: served a great demographic, generated recurring revenue and involved healthcare. Our inability to meet all of these needs in one place drove us to start our own company. We both had experiences with aging parents and grandparents entering into senior care and home care, and quickly realized the industry checked all of the boxes.

What about Senior Helpers makes it unique within its industry?

When we started our business, we were just like everyone else. We employed compassionate, professional caregivers who were expertly trained to provide clients with great care and fantastic service, but were the same as all of our competition.

We found our hook when we dedicated ourselves to our chronic disease management focus. Our business is equipped to help all people dealing with aging who want to remain in their homes, but people with dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, for example, require specialized care. We’ve led the industry in developing specific programs to address the challenges these diseases present by focusing on what people can do with what they still have available to continue to live a purposeful life at home.

Why is Senior Helpers a good investment?

It goes back to why we founded the brand in the beginning. We saw working under the umbrella of health care as a big win and recognized the growing need for this kind of service. In America today, one out of every nine people are over the age of 60. In ten years, that ratio will increase to one in five. Recurring revenue comes from being able to bill clients for hours served on a weekly basis, plus we do most of our work with private pay. The silver tsunami has arrived, and demand for care is going to be at a premium.

We’ve built a solid company built on great tools and services as differentiators, we have strong brand appeal and employ top-tier training programs to help our franchisees through any and all challenges they may have to become thriving business owners. Joining a franchise system allows you to be in business for yourself, not by yourself. We’ve set people up for success more than 300 times at this point, so we feel like we’re pretty good at it.

What does success look like to you?

Profitable franchisees. Our goal is to help them be as successful as possible and make a difference in their communities. What makes us really different and what has helped us gain success is that we have the best owners in the industry. They are passionate and committed to our core values and mission. We are a family, and they are our best brand ambassadors.
Personally, success to me comes down to helping others provide the opportunity for people to live out their lives in their home, with great quality, while keeping their independence. We help create a great value-added service to help people age in place.

What have been some of the brand's most important milestones since it started?

The first Senior Helpers location opened in Maryland in 2002 and from that point, just took off. We sold our 100th franchise in 2007; getting so many locations up and running as quickly as we did, growing that fast, it was really a point of pride for us. We had to get there to be here where we now sit with more than 300 open locations.

Another milestone in the brand's history came back in 2011 when we launched our chronic care management services. Creating our Senior Gems programs gave us an edge in the industry and helped us develop the breadth of specialized services we offer today. Investing in technology to create the specialized assessment tools we use to assist with transitional care in our daily work has and will continue to set us apart.

What future plans does Senior Helpers have in the works?

We’re in the early phases of launching our latest service, a unique adult daycare concept called Town Square. Staffed by Senior Helpers caregivers, the concept takes a 100-square-foot facility and uses reminiscent therapy to connect with its aging patrons.

We have plans to franchise Town Square in conjunction with Senior Helpers, and I see the potential for it to be as big one day. It will disrupt the market and provide a tremendous opportunity for people to age in place in an affordable manner, making care more accessible to a greater number of people. While most companies would shy away from branching out like this, but we’re always looking at ways to reinvent ourselves and make our offering even better.

Senior Helpers franchise has also begun partnering with providers and payers to become more active in the healthcare system, an industry where home care has always taken a back seat. As more care is pushed into the home and skilled nursing continues to rise in demand, home care and what Senior Helpers does will play an even more important role in this field.

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