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Senior Helpers Franchise - Interview with Peter Ross, CEO

Peter Ross co-founded Senior Helpers Franchising with Tony Bonacuse in 2004 after a successful and distinguished career in business and marketing that included positions with ADP, Ernst & Young and Intuit. Peter is the CEO for Senior Helpers and has led the organization to become a national leader in non-medical in-home care for seniors. He also serves as the President of the Home Care Association of America’s board of directors. He has devoted his career to helping in-home care excel and to improve service at all levels.

Franchise Expo: Tell us about the Senior Helpers concept.
Peter Ross:Senior Helpers is one of the fastest growing senior care franchises in the world today.  Senior Helpers, with its amazing caregivers, provides home care for thousands of seniors and their families every day.  Senior Helpers has developed unique care programs to help seniors dealing with Alzheimer’s or Dementia as well as Parkinson’s.  In addition, we help Veterans and their families to receive funding from the VA to help with home care costs.   Our goal is to help seniors keep their independence while improving their quality of life.

FE: How and when did you become involved with Senior Helpers? 
PR: I co-founded Senior Helpers in 2002 with my business partner Tony Bonacuse.

FE: What was your background prior to joining Senior Helpers?  
PR: I spent 20 years in senior level Sales and Marketing positions at ADP, Ernst & Young, and Intuit.

FE: What are some of the advantages in being a Senior Helpers franchisee?
PR: Franchisees benefit from a proven business model that comes with world class training and support.

FE: Who is your ideal franchisee?
PR: Franchisees who are willing to be passionate about and have compassion for seniors and their staff.  They have to be honest with themselves when it comes to their skill sets and make sure that they hire a team that complements them completely.

FE: Tell us a little about the Senior Care/Home Care Market?
PR: The Senior Care / Home Care space is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today.  With an aging population, along with seniors wanting to live out their life in the dignity and comfort of their home, demand for our services have never been higher.  The good news is this demand will continue to rise for the next 30 years.

FE: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
PR: Ask a candidate as many questions as they ask you about your brand to ensure that your brand is a great fit for them.  Also, while it would make sense for a franchisor to continue to innovate, be careful on what you roll out to the system as too many programs/services can overwhelm your franchisees.

FE: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?
PR: I have had many, especially during my corporate days.  Also, many friends and professionals I have talked with provided some excellent guidance and examples of who I could become.  The key is to never become so wrapped up in your successes that you begin to lose your edge.  You need to always be learning and listening every day to what is going on in the world and how it can benefit you and your brand.

FE: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?
PR: First off, make sure owning your own business is what you want to do.  Many people who buy a franchise are really buying a job.  That is the wrong motivation and it will come back to bite you in the future.  “92% of people in this country want to own their own business but less than 1% actually does”.  Why is that?  It is tough to take the plunge and risk your livelihood in starting a business.  Understand that while there are risks, the rewards can be amazing.  Being your own boss has a lot of flexibility but it comes with great responsibility.  That is the beauty of buying a franchise as you are “in business for yourself but not by yourself”. 

Once you have made the decision to own your own business, that is the time to really look at your options- whether starting your own business from the ground up or buying a franchise.  Either of those options takes a lot of time and effort and you want to make sure you want to do that before taking on this effort.

FE: In your opinion, why do you think that Senior Helpers would be a great opportunity for someone?
PR: Senior Helpers is positioned perfectly to really grow and expand in this exciting industry.  We have great marketing and training support for people to excel in one of the best “feel good” businesses you can ever be a part of.  You will be helping seniors and their families, hiring employees, and making a difference in your community each and every day.  Come join the Senior Helpers family, it will be the best decision you will ever make.