is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ken Kuck first began researching the in-home care industry while working in advertising. Two years later, when he was ready to venture out on his own in a new career, he reexamined the industry. He was shocked to see how much the in-home care market had grown in such a short amount of time. Kuck and his wife, Anna, decided the timing was right to get into the industry themselves, as Synergy HomeCare franchisees. Here's what they have learned along the way.
Name: Ken and Anna Kuck
Franchise owned: Synergy HomeCare in Corona, Calif.
How long have you owned a franchise?
Entering into a franchise allows you to work with experts who know what it takes to get your business up and running quicker, thus making your business profitable quicker. While Anna and I (Ken) had over 35 years collective experience with the staffing industry, business marketing and management, we needed help with the subtleties of the home care industry. The people at the Synergy HomeCare franchise support center know what processes and procedures need to be in place. It takes a lot of the guess work out of your business building. It was important to us have this guidance regarding the home care industry’s rules and regulations.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Before I owned a Synergy HomeCare franchise, I was one of the Mad Men. I worked in the advertising industry as vice president of marketing before moving to the staffing side of the business doing corporate recruiting for a host of different industries.
After leaving the commercial and residential building industry after 15 years as an executive, Anna was teaching part-time in the Corona/Norco school district as a substitute teacher.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
One of my responsibilities in my old career was to look for new business opportunities. About two years before I left, I researched the in-home care industry. When it came time to venture out on my own, I looked back into it and was shocked to learn how fast the industry had grown in such a short amount of time. I eventually chose Synergy HomeCare due to its experience in the industry, excellent reputation and room to expand our business with available territory.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
- Franchise Fees: $39,500
- Security Deposit + Last Month Rent: $800
- Furniture & Fixtures: $1,500
- Software: $500
- Computers & Printers: $4,500
- Insurance: $2,900
- Office Equipment and Supplies: $1,500
- Grand Opening: $1,000
- Training Travel: $1,200
- Licenses: $165
- Legal & Accounting: $1,000
- Dues and Fees: $360
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Fortunately for us we had several contacts in the staffing industry that had experience in this area that were able to provide us some guidance. I also had access to marketing resources online that allowed us to research competition in the area and census data relating to seniors in the markets we were considering to purchase.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Our office building was taken back by the bank unexpectedly from our landlord in the first three months we were operational. The new owners evicted all of the tenants from the building without notice and we had to relocate.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Make sure you research the franchisor you wish to engage with. This is a long-term commitment and you want to make sure that their goals, values and experience are in-line with your personal goals and objectives. There are some great opportunities out there with the right franchisor. Make sure you take the time to call on offices already in their network and be prepared to ask detailed questions about their experience in the network.
What’s next for you and your business?
Growth and expansion. I have taken on an active role as a Regional Developer with SYNERGY HomeCare and now have the opportunity to assist new owners in growing their business. We also continue to grow and expand our office with new business opportunities with the county. We have also developed a unique care program for several of the assisted living and independent living communities in our area and we look forward to implementing in more facilities.