When ComForCare is selecting its Franchise of the Year honorees, a lot goes into the decision. First and foremost, the winners must represent all that ComForCare stands for as a superior in-home care franchise. They also must have consistent revenue growth and diverse revenue sources alongside a proven ability to overcome expected and unexpected obstacles,
This year’s winners, Hayley and Ryan Murray, who own ComForCare North Metro Indianapolis, do all that and more.
“Hayley and Ryan embody the ComForCare values within their office and to the population they serve,” said Steve Greenbaum, CEO of ComForCare and At Your Side Home Care. “They care for their clients as family, serve the community passionately, realize that dignity matters, are present and engaged in managing their internal and external staff, and have fun while doing it.”
Meet the Murrays, and learn how they built their highly successful ComForCare in-home care franchise:
When did you open your ComForCare? What were you doing before you decided to start your own business?
Hayley: We opened in June 2009. Before that I was working in physical therapy, and Ryan was a teacher. We were in the process of starting a family and wanted a business of our own, something that would provide flexibility and allow us to try something new. We knew that something involving senior care would be a good fit with my health care background, and with the growing area we live in.
Why did you gravitate toward in-home senior care, and what made ComForCare stand out as a strong brand?
Hayley: We were impressed with the way ComForCare does business. We liked the business model, and we also liked the approach to people and taking care of them. The corporate team was a group of very down-to-earth people and we liked that.
That first year was overwhelming. New business, new baby and a first-time mother! But over time we built on our client base, and we never lost sight of the potential.
What is your territory like? What are the challenges and opportunities?
Ryan: We’re mostly the northern suburbs of Indianapolis, and it’s a very diverse market. There are very affluent areas here, and we also have part of the city where a lot of the population is older.
We have a lot of assisted and independent living facilities now, and more are popping up right and left and we are reaching out to them if we don’t work with them already. We also have a lot of home health agencies who have skilled Medicare and hospice clients, and so we are able to connect with them as well.
Hayley: This is a growing market, and there is competition all over the place. When we first began there were a lot of bigger names here, and since then more franchise brands have come into the area alongside the mom-and-pop operations that have always been here. We have seen a lot of them come and go, because they don’t have as good a business model as ComForCare does.
Describe how you carry ComForCare’s platform of services to your various clients.
Hayley: A lot of what we do is basic in-home care and assistance. We also train all our caregivers in the DementiaWise® program so that we can offer that individualized care, or some element of it if a patient doesn’t need the whole program. Everything we do can be altered and customized to fit any client’s needs, and we make sure we bring some aspect of all our unique offerings into each case.
How do you go about getting and keeping the best caregivers?
Hayley: That’s a hard one. It’s always a struggle to find good people, and one way we sort them out is to make sure that they are in it for the right reasons. We live by our core values in the way we treat our caregivers as well as our clients, and we work hard to make sure they are having some fun, and that they know how much they are appreciated.
What’s your favorite part about being a ComForCare franchise owner?
Ryan: We both love hearing stories from caregivers and meeting the clients. We have open houses and the clients come, and that’s great. They tell us stories of how a caregiver helped them do something fun, and we love hearing those. Once a caregiver took a client to a sporting event, just so the client could go, and we love knowing that we are helping create that kind of bond between people.
When you speak to potential new franchise owners, what advice do you give them?
Hayley: I would say the No. 1 thing starting out is to make those relationships with referral partners. You have to get those and getting those people to trust you takes time. From there, you need to work to provide these services say you are going to provide. Train those caregivers to go that extra mile, and make sure they have all the support they need.
ComForCare is a successful, multifaceted business that offers peace of mind and improved quality of life for senior citizens and their families through support around life’s everyday tasks, and also through exciting and innovative programs such as DementiaWise® , a comprehensive care approach for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia that focuses on accentuating the positive by supporting and encouraging remaining skills and abilities; and Joyful Memories, an interactive, singalong program that uses the power of music to create connections and positive outlets for emotional expression. ComForCare’s other differentiators include in-home nurse assessments, customized care plan development and ongoing evaluation to anticipate and plan for changes, all based on the client’s interests, hobbies, skills and abilities that provide joy and purpose in their life.