Quality In-Home Care for Seniors – John Bennett of Sunny Days In-Home Care

John Bennett, the Executive Director of Sunny Days In-Home Care

John Bennett, the Executive Director of Sunny Days In-Home Care, grew his company’s revenue from from $3.9 million in 2014 to $7.8 million in 2017, a 99% increase, and to around $8.3 million in 2018.  

Sunny Days In-Home Care provides quality in-home health care services for seniors.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, John shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Making customer satisfation priority #1.  
  • Creating a scaleable and flexible hiring and expansion process.  
  • Automating with a personalized touch their processes.  

Computer generated transcript - Sunny Days In-Home Care Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the "Computer generated transcript - Sunny Days In-Home Care Interview" audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of Eversprint.com. I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with John Bennett, the Executive Director of Sunny Days In-Home Care, a provider of quality in-home health care services for seniors. Welcome to the show John.

John Bennett: Thanks for having me.

Malcolm Lui: John, you grew your company's revenue from $3.9 million in 2014 to $7.8 million in 2017, a 99% increase, and in 2018 you hit around $8.3 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

John Bennett: Sure I'd be happy to. No we are. We provide nonmedical in-home care to seniors people with disabilities veterans and those with intellectual disabilities as well. And we we have a little bit of a unique model. The market space is kind of flooded there's a lot of there's a lot of senior care agencies out there but a lot of them have someone that does scheduling someone that doesn't take someone's out in the field and it's kind of segmented off. We we have local field managers that kind of manage all of those aspects for us. But with a much smaller caseload than someone that was responsible for an entire company. So our field managers are in the community. They know the clients that we take care of really well. They know that caregivers really well and their personalities that they've interviewed and they're really able to find a good match to fit because they know kind of both sides of the agreement they're between the client the caregiver and that's that's really allowed us to get staff onboard that our clients are happy with. That's also allowed us to find clients that our caregivers are really happy with and really enjoy providing care for.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Awesome. So when you grow a company from three point nine million in 2014 to eight point three million four years later in 2018 what were the three biggest drivers behind that sales growth.

John Bennett: Sure. Yes that's a great question. So my father in law David Ellen would actually started the company and him and I put a couple of different things in place that have kind of a lot of skill. I'd say the three biggest drivers one is client satisfaction and I know that's everyone's goal across the board and businesses to make sure your clients are happy. But we really put that at the top of all our decisions is to make sure client care is priority one and we really want to make sure that our clients are happy with the services that they receive that the caregivers that are doing another are pleased with them. The schedule we're very flexible with our schedule and able to meet people's needs based off of appointments and when they get up in the morning when they go to bed at night when their meals are in and we really try to schedule around and really customize that schedule for the client. So no one is definitely client care number two is scalability because of our model. We have a field managers as we continue to kind of expand our geographical footprint or grow in certain areas where we remain. And once your manager initially and now we have a need for two we're really able to kind of scale and almost get a copy and paste button on what we're doing and that's that's really helped us as well.

John Bennett: And then the third is just efficiency on the back end and automation was as much as possible as you can automate in this industry there needs to be personalization. I know there's been some people who have tried to kind of uber fly home care and that works with some people but seniors seniors really want to make sure that they know somebody that they're that they're comfortable with them and we're willing to have a personal touch. So we really have that personal touch as much as possible on the front end and then on the back and we automate everything the way we collect all of our forms we've designed our own app and just use some different software and just different cloud based systems that have really helped us kind of automate the back end and make everything as seamless as possible. So it's kind of client care be our top one scalability and then automation on the back end. This will be our three biggest drivers

Malcolm Lui: Okay great. Took two to go into a little bit deeper. So clients ASAC and how are you measuring that

John Bennett: Sure. So we every month our staff goes and they meet review what we call a monthly visit. It's basically a quality check with our with our clients to make sure that we're doing well. It's kind of a two fold approach one is that they're doing well that their health hasn't declined or improved and we need to adapt our services in our schedule and two is that they're satisfied and we want to make sure that they're satisfied with our caregivers that we're going in there with the schedule with the tasks that are being completed and then we also do random calls from our office to make sure that our clients are pleased with the services that their field managers is coordinating for them. So we have a monthly visit and then as well as we do random calls from the office just to kind of extra layer there to make sure they're happy.

Malcolm Lui: Okay. I said before in the intro that you were a nonmedical home care service. And then just now you mentioned about assessing the health of the clients if it's better or worse. How do you do that if you're not medically oriented

John Bennett: Sure sure. That's a great question. So we're basically looking for signs to see if someone has a decline you know mentally physically you know maybe it's somebody who is able to you know ambulance move around on their own before and now they need more assistance you know maybe initially are caregiver was just making sure that they didn't fall. And now our caregiver has to kind of steady them as they walk and you know help them help them get up sit down that type of thing and maybe they're not eating. And there's a reason they're not eating maybe they're having issues you know with using the restroom different things like that that we can kind of assess kind of from a high level view and then we can notify you know it's family or the visiting nurse who may be involved with them or hospice in certain situations and they can actually come in and do the full medical evaluation to see if there is a there is a decline in their health. So we're not necessarily doing a full on evaluation but we're looking for signs and we've trained our staff to look for those signs to see if you know if someone's health deteriorating because ultimately if someone is is you know has a service for home care they want to stay in the home they don't want to go in the facility and we want them to stay in their home as well. We want to keep them happy and if there's something that maybe they need certain kind of medication and maybe they need a walker or kind of a different different type of plan we want to try to identify that and help them that prevent them from having to know to go to a facility.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. Got it. Now one of the I imagine one of the key things about client satisfaction is that the help where the the

John Bennett: Caregiver

Malcolm Lui: Staffing

John Bennett: Yeah

Malcolm Lui: Of the caregiver actually comes to the location on time and is consistent on that. How do you ensure that that they do show up on time that they aren't makes

John Bennett: Sure it's a great question. So we have we have a live schedule that's being watched constantly throughout the day by someone here in the office and then the field managers are checking it as well. And then we saw it we also have on called managers that are checking the schedule. Throughout the evening And then through the night and on the weekends as well. And what we have set up is there is a notification if someone is more than 15 minutes late. We get a notification and we instantly are able to call that person find out what's going on and make sure the clients are OK and get that get that shift squared away and maybe the person forgot the clock in you know sometimes we use a tool often use system and sometimes our clients are on the phone maybe they're on the phone talking to their sister who lives in another state and our caregiver is not able to clock in when they get there and that may you know we might get a notification from that because they weren't able to access the phone when other times a caregiver doesn't show up or shift and that doesn't happen often but it does happen and we're able to find out as quick as possible and get somebody else in there to go provide that care. So we kind of a couple of checks and balances in place to make sure that they're getting there on time. And then our system allows us to actually look at lives time and we can see and we run or different in some different reports and are able to identify caregivers that are frequently late which is which is helpful in having a sit down with that person and figure out what's going on. And we've been asked to put their daughter on the bus and it's unrealistic for them to make a Seven thirty a.m. shift. You know maybe we can change it to seven forty five and the clients are OK with that but we really try to stay on top of those things.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. Now what you seeing with caregivers flock in a day literally pick up a phone and dialed in. It's not a you don't necessarily have an app on their phone and they just say I'm here

John Bennett: Sure. So it's a mix. We used to be exclusively too often where someone had to pick up a phone and dialed in and it was the client's phone. But as as technologies kind of progressed we have a lot more of our caregivers who are actually using an app through the the electronic scheduling company that we use and what we're able to do is we're able to put a geo fence around that person's house so the person actually physically has to be in the house with their location services on their phone in order to clock in. So that's kind of given us a way to prevent our concern always was that somebody would be sitting on the street clock in and then leaves you

Malcolm Lui: Right.

John Bennett: Hate to have to think that way but that is just the nature of the industry. So now that we're able to kind of geo fence around someone's house and make sure they're in there to clock in that's that's been really helpful for us.

Malcolm Lui: That your caregivers typically who are they. What. You know what's the background.

John Bennett: Sure. So a lot of our caregivers we're going to have you know three different categories really. We have some CNN is that work for us. We have home health aides which is you know they it's not necessarily they want the schooling for that or anything but they do have a background they've got taking some classes to become a certified home health aide. And then we also have people that just have a passion for the industry. They may not necessarily have a certification or anything like that but maybe they maybe they cared for their grandma until she passed away and they're really passionate about providing care. Or maybe they just somebody who really really likes taking care of elderly people we have a lot of people like out who just they love taking care of elderly people and kind of gleaning wisdom from them and just learning about what you know what the world used to be like and you know those are kind of our kind of our series CNN is HHS and people just kind of have have a background in home care or a passion about them care. And we train them to make sure that they're capable of providing care before they go into someone's home

Malcolm Lui: And what a C and a stand for.

John Bennett: A certified nursing assistant.

Malcolm Lui: Okay so if a nursing assistant had a. Typically get that certifications at a college type program.

John Bennett: Yeah. It's like an ass. Kind of. It's more like a trade school type degree that you would get. So some vocational schools and high school offer that but typically you have to go to some kind of trade school to get that degree.

Malcolm Lui: And

John Bennett: Community

Malcolm Lui: If people

John Bennett: College.

Malcolm Lui: Get into your your caregivers it is do they view it as a temporary gig that they're doing in the meanwhile they're in college or in between permanent jobs. Or do they see it as a long term career path for themselves

John Bennett: Sure. It's really a truly a mix actually. We get nursing students that want to kind of have a background with the elderly and they'll come in the workforce for maybe a year or two either in school for nursing. We have other people in between jobs and we have other people that you know they might work at 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift every day while their kids are at school and they're just doing it is there and that's their permanent job. We have other people that you know they you know we have some of our some of our cases are a little bit more high needs and we have people that we're able to pay a little bit more for those cases and that's I mean that's the person's kind of their full time career. So it really depends there really is a good a good mix and combination of you know people that are doing it temporarily and people that are with us for the long run

Malcolm Lui: Right now in terms of their second drive we talk about scalability almost copy and paste. You talk a little bit more about that.

John Bennett: Yeah sure. So we've we've created a kind of our training manual which might sound like something basic but we really want to make sure that people are trained the exact same across the board. And we've also you know have ability online with our mapping software to kind of figure out the demographics of an area in the senior population of that area and we'll start advertising in that area. And once we get a certain number of we do everything based off of hours of care per week. So once we get a certain amount of hours of care per week in an area we'll look at kind of cutting that off of one of our current field managers and hiring somebody depending on the amount of hours either as a part time field manager or a full time manager and have that person kind of take over that area and then we add just as we continue to grow. That's kind of been our business model is we're able to bring somebody else on board. We have a couple of regional managers that oversee kind of our the southern part of western Pennsylvania and the northern part of western Pennsylvania is kind of where our breakdown. And as we start to kind of you know get too full of clients and hours in one area then we look at bringing somebody else on and you know the training the systems we have in place the technology and everything else it's we just train that person on that kind of thing so I copy and paste you know what we're doing and obviously we have to adapt a little bit in certain areas. You know people might look for jobs on Craigslist another area they might look for jobs on Facebook or LinkedIn. It just it just depends on the area. But for the most part we're able to kind of you know just just duplicate everything.

Malcolm Lui: Maybe I should ask this earlier. Can you talk a little bit about your geographic location. It's kind of brought that up here in the scalability. What areas do you operate in now.

John Bennett: Sure sure. So we cover western Pennsylvania. We go up to not quite the Erie but kind of up to Interstate 80 and then we go out to not quite the Hoy out to state college in the middle of the state but probably by looking at the map of Pennsylvania. We cover about a third the left third quadrant left third of the state is kind of our footprint there.

Malcolm Lui: Now how far can you go before you open up a new management office to help with it.

John Bennett: Sure. So good question. So one of the nice things about her scalability is we just have one central office and we have clients that are you know two and a half hours away from our office. But we have a field manager of our field managers or within at least an hour of their client at the maximum. So if our field managers are kind of our backup to the backup plan if there is a call off they're going in and providing priority care to a client. So we just kind of based it off of ours and in a certain location once we get a certain amount of hours you know sort of 500 hours a week of care that's what we look at bringing on another sales manager in that area. I mean we would say so we have people that are two and a half hours from our office. We're fine because we have field managers that live within an hour of them.

Malcolm Lui: So based on your systems they have in place now could you literally have clients that if you wanted to. Could you have clients in California right now and do everything as you're doing currently

John Bennett: I would say if it was the same state. Yes because the same rules and regs. But that's something that we've kind of taught back and forth with with the state here because they're they kind of want us to have an office but whenever we explain that we have you know so managers that are in that area they seem to be satisfied with that. So yeah I mean I feel like that we could expand it some point because we do have people that they have to come to the office you know for certain certain things once a month you know to pick up the big gloves for our caregivers we have I.D. badges that sometimes we mail out sometimes people pick them up from the office. I would say at some point once we start the clients maybe at least three hours three and a half hours in the office we will look at you you need to open an actual physical location

Malcolm Lui: Just to handle the logistics side of things

John Bennett: Just just completely for logistic it wasn't for for you know the actual physical items that needed to be picked up and exchanged. I mean we could we could expand it you know across the country without actually having to have a you know because we're able to collect everything kind of on the back end the systems we have in place so

Malcolm Lui: Right now. As per your hiring process do you need to do the whole fingerprinting background check and all that sort of stuff

John Bennett: Yeah. So we do background checks fingerprinting depends if there's children in the home or the person hasn't lived in the state for two years. It just depends on we need to do fingerprinting a background check. We have to have that in order to bring somebody on our team

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. Now is that a state regulation or something that you guys just do just to make sure that everyone is you

John Bennett: Shorts

Malcolm Lui: Know

John Bennett: Are

Malcolm Lui: Quality

John Bennett: State regulations. But if it wasn't it's something we would still do. Just because I mean someone could have a great interview and tell you they're the best person ever and seem like the greatest person and then when you're on a background check and you see that you know they've got you know two two different shoplifting charges on the record from three months ago you know then you find out that this is somebody.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

John Bennett: So

Malcolm Lui: Exactly. Reputation is everything. I mean

John Bennett: It's an industry it is everywhere. It could kill us if you know if something like that happened and we hired somebody and then something was stolen from a client's house and it was found out that we hired somebody that that had that history that would really be damaging to our brand.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely I can see that. And then number three driver number three. Automation automation with a personalized touch. Can you talk a bit more about that

John Bennett: Sure. So we we were looking at a few years ago we had to collect everything by paper. You can imagine having you know people around have two hours away they would either have to drive to our office or mail something to our office and we didn't we didn't really like that a driving because you know that's not efficient with time or money because you have the gas aspect of it and be with mailing stuff out. I mean you're mailing something that's supposed to be secure but it still might have somebody's personal health information on there and that's not something we necessarily want to mail because it could be it could be taken. So what we did is we looked at some different apps. We ended up having a company built out kind of a basic layout for an app for us. And then I've kind of taken that and our team has kind of doubled in size and just we have everything on this app now and we run everything. We use Apple so we run everything on our iPads and all of our managers have an iPad out in the field kind of how it works as if we were hiring you for example we would sit down and we would interview you at a Panera Bread or the food court at a mall or a Starbucks or somewhere like that and go through the interview process. You'd sell everything out on our on our tablet. We kind of that's you you obviously could interview questions as you fill out the paperwork. And then as soon as you hit submit that goes you get a copy as a person and filled it out and it automatically goes into our cloud and then it also goes to whoever the person is in the office that's responsible for that documentation.

John Bennett: So we've got everything everything segment is someone our office is responsible for all new hire paperwork. So that e-mail goes to that person. If we're doing a client evaluation that the monthly visits there's someone our office who checks them. So that e-mail goes to that person. Same thing whenever we're doing an initial client paperwork. We talk to client intake a copy of that gets emailed to either that client or the family member that's responsible for that client and into our office and it also goes into our cloud. So we're able to act on things extremely quickly if we're trying to hire somebody fairly quickly. You know maybe it's somebody that this client you know maybe they want their next door neighbor to take care of them and they need to get all the paperwork done. I mean they love to ask in the office. We get that paperwork done have it in the office instantly we're able to run the background check and fingerprint it's necessary. And it's just it's just allowed us to you know keep keep our managers as efficient as possible with time as well because they're out in the field and they don't have to worry about how am I going to get this paperwork down to the office. You know they just it's a bit and I know it goes so it's that's really allowed us to expand

Malcolm Lui: Very cool now. I think the paperwork for onboarding a new client is similarly done

John Bennett: Yes. Yep. It's pretty much the same type of process except that you know it'll go to what you said sometimes it'll go to the client sometimes it'll go to the family number of a client you know a lot of situations we may have somebody who has dementia or isn't 100 percent capable of making all these decisions and maybe their daughter is there helping do this initial client intake and a daughter once a copy you know to them. So that's it would go to some of the clients. Yeah same. Same process.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. Looking ahead live it for 2019. Say we were having this discussion again one year from today and you looking back over the past year what has to have happened in your business for you to feel happy with your company's progress. Specifically what problems do you have today that need to be eliminated. What opportunities you see that need to be captured and what strengths you have that need to be maximized

John Bennett: Sure. So some questions. So just looking at it from a financial aspect. We're we're currently doing about 11000 hours of care per week right now which when you're talking about revenue we're about a thousand hours of care equals about a million dollars a year revenue. So we're at about an 11 million dollar a year run rate currently. We started the year at about 10 million dollars a year run rate. Our goal was to be at 13 at the end of the year which means we need to grow another two thousand hours of care per week on a regular basis in order to hit that goal. So that's kind of how everything is kind of predicated off of that goal. So what that means is there's gonna be a couple more field managers that need hired didn't you trained that need to spend time kind of shadowing our current field managers. So that's one of our one of our biggest challenges is finding you still a manager that we'd like to find people that are in that area that we're looking to expand. So we might find somebody that's great awesome person that would be a great fit for us but they live an hour and a half away and it just doesn't make sense because they're not in that community they don't know people in that community they just don't have as many connections. So that's always one of our biggest challenges is finding somebody that that is in that location that we're looking to expand especially the farther you get away from a metropolis like like Pittsburgh would be.

John Bennett: I mean that's not large you know the population really dwindles as you get farther away. And so really getting somebody that's a quality that lives in that area and we need to get at least two of those people are still Banderas typically handle between 800 and some of us on one of our tremendous access to thousand hours of care per week to show overseas. But typically they're between eight hundred and twelve hundred hours of care per week so that's probably our biggest challenge I would say is finding two more people that are going to be really good fits for us to really hire internally a lot. We have 14 so managers and six of them are former caregivers of ours. So that's something that there is definitely an ability to move up in the company. So that's one of the things. And then we switch we do a lot of care through the state waiver system through Medicaid and that recently transitioned and started 2018 in our regions of managed care. So it's a managed care organization which serves some states have some states don't. But it was different for us and 2018 was just a really big adjustment to make sure that we kept our contacts up a referral sources and everything. And as that continues the it seems that they're kind of slowly weeding out some of the companies that aren't performing as well. So one of our challenges there and it's something that we try to hold ourselves to a higher standard anyways is maintaining that high standards so we're able to continue our long term contracts with these companies is definitely another area that that's challenging.

John Bennett: And then you know consistently trying to stay ahead of the game I always say that some people were like What's this have to do with home care. But I never want to become a blockbuster. I want to become a company that was kind of set in their ways and then times passed them by and they weren't able to keep up with them. And then they went out of business and I'm constantly trying to look at ways with our team here of how to stay kind of ahead of the game was technology. One of the things where we're looking at here is kind of I mentioned it earlier. There's a couple of companies out there try to kind of bring the Uber model to home care and it's done OK in some places and not so well in others. And that's something that we're you know we're looking into and trying to do some different different test runs here not not necessarily with our clients but in the office to see how how we can kind of incorporate some aspect to that not because it's the know the catchy thing or hustling to do right now but we do definitely believe that the world is getting more automated and more reliant on technology and we want to we want to be a part of that as we grow.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

John Bennett: So when I was a very long answer but those are kind of the main areas that we're looking at

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Got it. So you talk about the biggest problem hiring field badgers and you also think about staying another challenge is staying ahead of the game in technology and then the second one you actually mentioned the bit out of sequence you at a second one you mentioned is maintaining your high standards

John Bennett: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: Ok.

John Bennett: Yeah.

Malcolm Lui: How about on the opportunity side. I know somewhat you talked about technology offering a bit of an opportunity and it's in your market that you're currently and now Bradley sounds to be still how opportunities for you because you're looking to increase to 30 million this year as opposed to where you ended the year last year at eight point three or that's a pretty big increase.

John Bennett: Yes

Malcolm Lui: Is there any pocket within your market that looks especially attractive

John Bennett: Yeah. There's there's an area kind of in the northern northern area of Pittsburgh. Cranberry the population there is growing pretty rapidly and that's kind of an area where we want to be if you kind of ran a heat map of where our clients are. That's kind of a blue area kind of a dead zone for us. And you have to you have to really kind of when you're when you're looking at this you want to look at areas where there's a lot of clients. So we know there's a lot of clients there potentially right. I mean that's that's the first thing you want to look at. The second thing you want to look at is to make sure you have staffing our caregivers are really great people. A lot of them are just there. They're wonderful caregivers typically make anywhere from nine to 12 dollars an hour. So certain areas that we go there might be a lot of potential clients there. But it's a very high income area and it may be really hard to find staffing in that area that we could get somebody to you know want to kill you for nine to twelve dollars an hour.

John Bennett: So we have to kind of look at the pockets and figure out you know kind of from those both aspects is this somewhere that there's a lot of clients. Yes. OK. Is it somewhere that we can make sure we have enough staffing to keep up with the client demand. And if it's not then you know are there ways that we can get clients to travel there. Are there ways that we can possibly incentivize. You know I mean skilled caregivers travel there. Is there ways that we could possibly incentivize caregivers and pay them more. We'd have to build clients more but maybe they can afford it if it's a higher income area we try not to price gouging. We really try to stay consistent with that regardless of who you are or where you live. So is kind of a lot of things that that play into kind of looking in those pockets but the really big one is if there's client potential guests but if there's not staffing potential then it might not be someone that we want to try to expand into

Malcolm Lui: Right now when you you quoted the nine dollar to twelve dollar per hour amount a thought occurred to my mind is that in today's world and today's cost of living that's not a huge amount but it

John Bennett: Grant.

Malcolm Lui: Is a job if you paid me for eight hours of work. But the nature of the work is such that I'm not really working for the entire eight hours. It might kind of make sense for me. So is that the case when it comes to caregiving are they on the go for the entire time they're at the at the client's home. Or is it more on the man whether they're

John Bennett: It depends on the case to be honest with you it's definitely I'm not sure there's this boy it's really a combination. You know we have some caregivers that are there for companion care that they might you know they might you know microwave lunch and play some cards and sit down for the afternoon and watch Oprah and just relax with the client and the client may need them to help do their laundry or something like that and it's nothing too serious. And then we have other clients that you know they're bed bound and you know a sponge bath every day. There may maybe a bed pan involved maybe somebody that you know an hour person maybe we have to help them transfer everywhere they're going help them get in and out of seats and out of their wheelchair. Help them go to the bathroom. Help Feed them. And it's very serious and it's not much of a break at all.

Malcolm Lui: Right

John Bennett: So it really does depend. In those cases that there is more intensity. Typically we tend to pay our caregivers more because there's you need somebody that's able. You know those are people that are making more money an hour because they need to be able to you know to be somebody it's able to handle that A and B that's qualified to do that. The unfortunate part is sometimes wear handcuffs you know when we work with the state our reimbursement levels are very low for the state. So there are certain cases where the most we can pay is maybe 10 to 10 50 an hour in order to keep a profit margin at all there. So really there's really a lot of different factors that go into that. I mean there are some some caregivers that you know they just kind of spend time with companionship and you know the people that were taking care of it. They want someone they're kind of help out with some things and make sure they're they're OK and they're not lonely

Malcolm Lui: Right now you make you send them at the state compensation levels. Can you share a bit more about that

John Bennett: Yeah sure. So the state clients that we take care of there's a certain rate that we get reimbursed and it's anywhere from like 1750 to 1950 an hour which you're getting 1750 you're paying a caregiver 10 bucks an hour you know a lot of people think oh well there's a seven door fifty dollars a margin there there is you know as far as you know overtop overhead margin but then you get into all of the cost of insurance and and all the back and costs of management and office and those type of things and the margins you know almost disappears. So that's an area where you know we're somewhat handcuffed with those clients just because we literally can't pay caregivers anymore. Otherwise we would lose money every hour and it's not something obviously that makes sense. And that that also factors into overtime as well. We look at certain cases like that maybe a caregiver cut off in our priority once again it's making sure the clients are happy. So if the caregiver calls often we can't find any other staffing maybe we have to ask know another caregiver to work overtime which we don't like to do that obviously because that cuts into our margins. But just to make sure the client has care and they're happy and they stay on as one of our clients and that's worth it. But that's a lot that gets into a lot more trickiness when every year reimbursed at such a low rate by the state

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah Tony can see that. Now how about in terms of your company's strengths what are they. And how would you like to see them leveraged further over the next year

John Bennett: Short. So our biggest one kind of once again going back today is client satisfaction. Our clients are for the most part I mean you know we have a couple hundred clients we take care of over 250 currently on our schedule. You know you figure if you're high if you please ninety nine percent you know that's still two and a half three clients that aren't happy but for the most part our clients are very happy our client satisfaction is a strength and we get a lot of word of mouth referrals someone we do a really good job at someone's house and you know maybe their neighbor down the road or their cousin or somebody else needs care whether and whoever and they let them know you know hey how's sunny days doing for you. Oh we love sunny days you know we love our caregiver Suzy she's great. Our field managers really nice and responsive our calls and everything. You know you'd be if you pick them there'd be somebody there would you be happy with you know that's something that we really really strive for and is one of our strengths and the other one is we always said we have on called managers they handle the phones at night we always have a live person talks and we're not automated at all which a lot of our competitors you know you dial in and you press one for this or two so that and that's great.

John Bennett: And there's definitely pros to that. But when we have elderly people call and they don't want to do that elderly people want to talk to somebody and we always have somebody you know say call it eleven thirty at night and they're upset about something maybe their grandson just lost his job and sometimes sometimes they call or just want to talk. We have somebody that's gonna answer that phone. And people really like that they like having a life personal offense or our personal touch is really really seemed to help us with our clients and our caregivers as well. You know I'm allergic to cats. We have caregivers that we tag everybody. You know what you have and as I say we have a caregiver is allergic to cats. We're not gonna put that person in the home with somebody has three or four cats just because they're not going to enjoy it they're gonna be uncomfortable the whole time and and the clients

Malcolm Lui: It

John Bennett: Kind of pick up on that and that might sound like a really basic thing. But we've had people come to our company. I actually was at a triple play and talking to somebody in line and they saw my little badge and they said all you do home care. I used to work for such and such agency and they put me in a home with cats and I told them I was allergic and they said well that's shift that we have for you. And

Malcolm Lui: Right.

John Bennett: She says that's why I'm late I'm working in play now because. I couldn't do that and I would love to get back into home care. So of course I gave him my card to me and my partner.

Malcolm Lui: Now

John Bennett: But

Malcolm Lui: Get

John Bennett: You know it's just basic things like that kind of that personal touch and just keeping our clients happy I mean those are our strengths and all the other stuff we talk about is important but if we're able to do that then we're going to continue to grow

Malcolm Lui: Awesome now. I took a look at your your web presence I don't see any paper click ads. I'm not a super strong SEO presence either. What's your take on paper that can SDL when it comes to finding new clients and business where your or your company

John Bennett: Sure. So we actually have a sub site or mini site that we own it's in-home care. Pittsburgh dot com. And that's where we can divert all of our traffic to just because of the keywords. And that's what we run our paper quick ads through. We really try to advertise that way.

Malcolm Lui: Like

John Bennett: We don't necessarily do a lot with our me in our main Sunday site. That site kind of refers to our main site but yeah we do everything kind of through that many sites and we kind of switch we use this company called Rev local which I think is a national company. We kind of switch we've done a couple of different agencies that have kind of manager our on paper click and they did an ok job at any bad. But since we switched to this company at Avon they've really helped us get a lot more web traffic and our big thing that they've helped us with is get people on the phone. We'll let people get our site and fill out forms which is actually the best way for we feel for. For someone looking for a job when someone is looking so care it's just not not as good an hour you know from what we've found with our data but we get people on the phone and we're able to convert those those prospects to clients much more frequently. We feel like our team in place in the office is really good on the phone and it really helps helps the individual on the phone find the care they need because we get calls lots of time and somebody needs hospice or home health care or needs to go to a nursing home and we have a lot of relationships kind of in the industry and we refer them to different people because once again our top goal is to make sure that our clients are happy that they're cared for and even it's not our client that person might tell one of their friends hey I called this person and I didn't need our services but they helped me find somebody it's great you know you should call them if you need care. So

Malcolm Lui: Right

John Bennett: That's kind of kind of our big thing is kind of running through that that many cite and that's that's that's really been well for us. So we do we do put a couple thousand dollars a month in the paper click ads but there's some big franchises in the space that we don't. We don't necessarily want to go dollar for dollar with them on paper correct. It just it wouldn't make sense for us financially to do. But we do think it is important.

Malcolm Lui: Right. OK. And before you talk about your at eleven thousand hours per week right now of client care you want to get up to thirteen thousand hours per week. So how would you do that. Is that purely getting more clients or is are other ways of doing it.

John Bennett: Sure. So there's a couple of factors that play into that. And we start to year out at ten thousand. So we've gone a thousand already kind of and quarter one so we're a little bit ahead of schedule. But like you said we need to have a field manager that's able to manage those hours and our field managers can only handle so many hours before it just becomes too burdensome. We'd like it to be kind of an eight to 5 job with a lunch break during the day and there's certain points where we get too many hours and then our managers working overtime and once again that doesn't make sense financially and it causes burnout. We've we've had it in the past and we've been able to keep our team really consistent over the past year or so out in the field. It is a high stress job so there is a lot of turnover but we haven't had much as far as management goes in the past year. So kind of getting those field managers continuing to build referral sources and then getting those clients from those referral sources are kind of our you know are I guess the the components needed. And then also caregivers no way to make sure we find caregivers we could get. You could say Hey John I'm going to send you 10 clients today and I'd say that's a great I'll take them because that's how we do most the time we try to take every referral we get. But then as soon as I hang up on some of you are going to have a little bit of a heart attack trying to figure out how I'm going to staff those cases so quickly. So we really want to try to make sure that we have caregivers available for you for those cases. So that's why I say that caregivers caregivers like the gas in the car you know you can have the nicest car ever but if you have gas for it it's not going to move.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

John Bennett: So we really want to make sure that we as caregivers and quality caregivers too. There's a lot of people that we could hire but kind of thought processes. But I like this person take care of my mom you know if the answer is no then probably not want to hire them

Malcolm Lui: Right

John Bennett: You know. So we get some caregivers and clients we get maybe you get some clients it's a you know pretty tough elderly person like my granddad he was he was in World War Two and everything. And the type of caregiver we need to hire to go in there and kind of put him in his place and be gruff with them sometimes isn't the type of caregiver necessarily want to put my mom but that person you know we would need that person there's a little more strong willed and pushy with my granddad because you know that's that's the type of caregiver he needs so we you know we're that's the biggest thing is you know giving caregivers some board. So there's a there's a lot of different factors that go into getting those additional two thousand dollars

Malcolm Lui: Right. Now you talk about building referral sources. Are you talking about kind of ad hoc referral sources or or more so on a structured basis

John Bennett: More. More honest I'd say a little bit of those to be honest with you. But ad hoc. Definitely. I mean we get people that you know that maybe come to us once and we prove ourselves to them and then they send us another person and another person or connect us with somebody else. So kind of building or for a source. And we've had clients we have we have a referral program with our clients and caregivers if they send us you know another caregiver we hire onboard or another client we'll send them a referral bonus. Once that person has been with us for a certain amount of time and we've had a couple of clients that have sent us three or four or five family members because they were so happy with our services and we view that as a referral source in and of itself right there you know somebody that's happy

Malcolm Lui: Maybe

John Bennett: With our services. So but when we have structurally to just with the state they have different coordinators coordination agencies and we really try to target certain areas and we'll go in and there might be a client. You know the shorter the shift of care is the harder it is the staff. So there might be somebody that they say hey you know this person wants a male caregiver which it's you know the industry is predominantly female and this person wants a male caregiver and they only want you to come in two hours in the morning and two hours at night on the weekends. And that's like the hardest shift ever to staff.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

John Bennett: So we'll say Yeah we'll take that case. And once we're able to staff it improve it kind of prove herself to that person that that referral source then they might send us you know hey we have a case that's Monday through Friday it defies you know so we kind of have to prove ourselves. But one of the ways we do that is kind of a structured approach to take on those tougher cases and prove that we can handle them

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. Three last questions for you. First one if

John Bennett: Sure.

Malcolm Lui: You were to have a billboard somewhere in Pennsylvania talking about your company. What would be your company's billboard message. And keep in mind that most billboards on a road or freeway that's running again that you only have six seconds to see the message before people drive by. So what would be your six second message.

John Bennett: Sure. So it's a great question there. I would say probably you know looking for quality care and then caller number just keep it simple. Maybe even quality quality in-home care looking for quality in-home care and then have our phone number on that. I know it's not fancy or anything else. That's pretty basic but we really try to be quality and that's kind of one of our our slogans is we provide quality in-home care. So

Malcolm Lui: Right

John Bennett: It's not too fancy not too profound or anything but that's what we have put out there.

Malcolm Lui: Right. And my final two questions for you. Who are your ideal clients and what's the best way for them or their family members to reach your teen

John Bennett: Sure yeah. So our ideal clients are somebody that's looking for care either for themselves or you know for or for a loved one and they want to get a peace of mind. We'd like to give people a peace of mind so you know if you're gone to work maybe you have an hour commute and your mom has a caregiver coming over wire at work and she can't be left alone that you have the peace of mind and knowing that that person is going to be taken care of. So our ideal clients are anybody that is in need of care that's in need of nonmedical care. Obviously we have to have a nonmedical component. And we like to have people that are happy and they want to they want to have a relationship with their care.

Malcolm Lui: Right

John Bennett: We really like to get clients that are happy as well because we may hire a caregiver who's a great person. And if the clients measure more and some of our clients are measurable in general and we just deal with that in some of our clients are visual because there a lot of pain

Malcolm Lui: Yet

John Bennett: You know and they you know they can't help themselves but we try to brighten our day. You know it's kind of you know like corny that you know going with that that we try to brighten someone's day with our name being sunny days at home care but it's really the truth. You know especially here in Pittsburgh it's cloudy a lot. And if we can make somebody you know when you have sunshine and a nice day out that makes you happy. And if we go in and provide somebody some happiness then then then that's what we want to do. So we're looking for clients that are that want that but they want somebody that's coming in and taking care of their needs and it's going to make them happy.

Malcolm Lui: Right now for sure I understand who your clients are your end consumer of your services. But is that decision really theirs to make or is it the family who typically makes that decision as to which home care provider

John Bennett: Sure

Malcolm Lui: They go with

John Bennett: Sure. So lots of times it's the family. It's probably I'd say 50 50 between family and the client themselves but as you get older I would say for our clients who are over 75 it's probably 80 percent of the time it's the family making the decision. I mean oftentimes in the family it's the daughter that's making the decision. I'd say about 75 percent of our cases and those numbers right there are between 70 and 80. It's a daughter who's reaching out looking for care for their parents. You know there's that saying a son's this until he finds a wife. The daughters of daughters of life. That's that's kind of a true true and home care. So that's kind of you know what we target as far as our SCA and paperwork we typically target you know the daughters of these clients because they're the ones that want to make sure that their moms are OK and taking care of them not to knock on ISIS as guys but we're not typically as caring and compassionate as you know our sister might be if we have a sister. So yeah that's typically the family is involved typically with a lot of these cases and figuring out how much care is needed and a lot of times our clients that we're be taking care of that the family is involved with the clients don't think they need care.

John Bennett: And the family's stepping in and I just literally dealt with a phone call on Thursday. We had an intern in here over Christmas break and his grandparents. They were trying to get his grandparents care and they refused care. It's a very unfortunate situation but as Grandma slipped and fell about two weeks ago and hurt her hip to a point where she can't go back home now and she's going to need to be in a facility. And you know there intern's mother called me and just said you know I really wish that they would have listened to us and came came and got home care because this could have been prevented. So you hear tough stories like that but the family families don't want that to happen. They want their loved ones to stay at home because they know that's what their loved ones would be. So they're really trying to push oftentimes for us to go in their

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Yeah definitely. It's like a you know parents or one's parents can be stubborn a bit in terms of how

John Bennett: Yes

Malcolm Lui: They want to do things.

John Bennett: Yes.

Malcolm Lui: All right and what's the best way for the family members or for your the seniors out there who need assistance or then to contact you and your team.

John Bennett: Sure yes. I would say that the best way is to call her office if you don't mind talking on the phone and our numbers 7 2 4 2 6 0 5 1 8 6. We have a really great team in place and love to talk with you and figure out kind of what your what your needs are and if you're like me and you're you don't talk on the phone as much necessarily and you'd rather go online you go to Sunny Days and care CARICOM and there's a link on top looking for care. Click on that and it'll kind of prompt you to get an information over to us and then we'll reach out to you about that. That's that's the best way to get in touch with us and we love to speak with you further and figure out how we can help you or your loved ones.

Malcolm Lui: All right. John it's been great having you on my show today. I really enjoyed hearing how you grew your company so fast.

John Bennett: Yeah. Malcolm thanks a lot for having me. I have really enjoyed speaking my show.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with John Bennett, the Executive Director of Sunny Days In-Home Care, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit Eversprint.com.

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