March 5, 2021
John and Eli Collier, Nashville TN
HomeWell Care Services is on a mission to connect with like-minded individuals that align with our core principles to achieve mutual success. Our franchise owners are motivated for life changing success. They leave behind the monotony of corporate America with conviction and passion to build an impactful business that empowers their employees to make a difference in the lives of others. A great example of these principles and values is our East Nashville franchise owners, John and Eli Collier.
John and Eli have a passion for helping others. John has over 20 years of experience in the health care industry and Eli has over 15 years of Operations experience in the education and publishing industries. In their former lives, John was a baseball player and Eli competed in martial arts. They have brought their backgrounds, and unique skillsets to the HomeWell brand with ambition and vigor which has resulted in an exciting journey with HomeWell. We recently sat down with John and Eli to check in and hear their story.
HWCS: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you did prior to becoming a HomeWell Care Services Franchise Owner:
Eli: I worked with Kaplan Test Prep for 17 years. I worked in operations mostly, but also staffed teachers into classes, made class schedules, secured venues, made run/cancel decisions, worked with budgeting, designed new processes, and helped develop the online program.
John: I have been in healthcare for almost 25 years now. I spent about 15 years with HCA. Much of my time was in ethics and compliance with the most recent role as the Compliance Officer at Parallon.
HWCS: Did you investigate other business opportunities prior to joining HomeWell? Why did you choose HomeWell over the others?
Eli: I looked at tutoring and maid services early on in our search. We have family who are involved with MaidPro and they have a very lucrative business. But in my search for franchises, I came across in-home care. I saw it as a chance to get my husband out of corporate America and let us build something together.
We quickly narrowed it down to 2 home care companies. The other was good, but HomeWell was always a step above. When we asked a question, we got real answers. They never tried to tell us it would be easy. We felt like we were getting the real information we needed to make a decision. We had access to lots of different people at HomeWell corporate and they all knew what they were talking about and were happy to give us their time.
HWCS: What does a typical day look like for you as a HomeWell Care Services franchise owner?
Eli: I work on staffing Caregivers and dealing with any call-outs. I oversee our recruiting team and Care Managers. I check the billing and payroll from the prior day. John works on marketing connections and managing the marketing team.
But there is no “typical” day at HomeWell. Sure there are days that are somewhat routine, but one thing I love about this is that we are constantly doing something new. We always have a new project we’re working on to grow the business and finding new and better ways to run things.
John: I mostly deal with the business development side. Trying to find ways to get new referrals but also meeting with all the new families. I tend to be the outward facing one while Eli makes sure everything runs smooth internally. There is no typical day for me and I enjoy that a lot.
HWCS: You’ve had some early success here with HomeWell, what has been the key to that success?
Eli: It really has been all the support. Starting a business is very scary. But we were confident in our choice because we had HomeWell behind us every step of the way – and they continue to be there for us. We truly do feel like part of a big family. Other owners are always happy to talk and provide guidance, too. Our key to success has been using all the resources we’ve been given.
John: I agree with Eli. I think our comfort level with the larger group has allowed us to be creative in trying new strategies while feeling confident there are experts that support us and offer guidance.
HWCS: Can you share a piece of advice for future franchise owners who’d like to see success similar to yours?
Eli: Follow the program. If you’re joining a franchise, it’s because you are looking for the expertise and support so that you aren’t doing this alone. HomeWell has great programs in place and if you use them, you’ll have a successful business. We still have complete control over our choices, but we listen to their advice and use every tool they hand us.
John: I would add that you have to stay the course. We saw an early challenge with the timing of the pandemic and us being very new. We were willing to try novel approaches but never gave up on more traditional strategies. We’ve found that even when things seemed tough we could always find new things to try. I feel like success has been a product of us not ever doubting the process and where we are headed.
HWCS: What is the competitive landscape like in your market? Do you feel like there is enough opportunity for you to continue to grow?
Eli: There are dozens of home care companies operating in our markets. I see them as friends. We are all trying to do good things for people who need care. There will always be way more people who need care than all these companies can help. We just focus on doing it well, and that has been enough for us to continue to grow.
John: I feel like the number is more like hundreds of other companies most days. The reality is that there are a handful of really good ones and some others that aren’t in the same class. There are certainly enough clients to go around particularly when you are able to make yourself one of the good ones. I love to hear a family or referral source say, “you guys are different.” That is exactly what we want to be.
HWCS: What would you say is the biggest value that the HomeWell brand brings to your business?
Eli: It’s the support system. It’s the corporate staff, other owners, manuals, relationships with vendors, processes – all these things we can easily access when we need it. The collaboration has been the best thing.
John: Expertise, knowledge, and the willingness to share. I would also highlight the quality of the materials, branding, and programs. Our competition does not often match us there.
HWCS: Do you feel like being a part of a franchise organization has helped you grow your business? In what ways?
Eli: I don’t think there is any way we could have done this without the franchise. They provide SO MUCH. Home care is a complicated space with legal issues, privacy issues, hiring/firing, compliance, billing, etc. We wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are today without them.
John: I wouldn’t have wanted to try any other way. With all my time in the healthcare industry, I knew very little of the home care space. The training, coaching, and collaboration is absolutely invaluable. Every time we’ve faced a challenge, there have been people there to help us see other paths and find new ideas. It is an awesome group to be a part of.
HWCS: Along those lines, you did open your business early 2020, pre-covid, then everything changed. Tell us a bit about what it was like launching a business during a pandemic:
Eli: COVID has had many impacts on our business. Most of our activities moved online or “virtual” rather than in-person. The office stays empty many days. We used to be there 5 days a week minimum. Now we are there 2-3 days a week, depending on when we run orientations. Our recruiter and Care Manager can work from home. As the owners, we can do most of our work remotely. Despite the challenges of a pandemic, we have been able to grow our business faster than our projections. We are adding clients weekly and consistently growing month over month. Our long-term plan was to expand, and when the opportunity to purchase an additional territory presented itself, there was no way we were going to miss it. We are thrilled with the growth and progress. Breaking even in month 4 was well ahead of anything we could have dreamed. Even now, in month 8, we are well ahead of where we thought we could be without a pandemic.
John: I would like to add that when we considered franchises, we wanted something that would be as “recession proof” as possible. Although we didn’t really think we would need it, we are so glad we chose wisely. There are more and more people who want to stay home now than ever before. They are afraid of facilities that can spread the disease and limit families’ abilities to see their loved ones. Opening a HomeWell was the best decision we’ve made. We are confident we are on our way to a lucrative business in a shorter time frame than we thought possible.
HWCS: Tell us something about you that most people would never guess:
Eli: I have 2 third-degree black belts and was once ranked number three in the world in sparring and fourth in forms competitions.
John: I played baseball at the collegiate level and also some on a professional level.
HWCS: What’s the number one item on your life’s “bucket list”?
Eli: We want to travel and see the world…. and own a swim spa.
The best part of a franchise relationship is being able to leverage your strengths with the diverse strengths of others to have faster breakthroughs and shared success. If it were not for the unique talents of each of our franchise owners, HomeWell Care Services would not be able to make an impact at the scale we desire. Are you ready to write your story?