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In-home care company is planning major growth in N.J.

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Eric Little is vice president of franchise development for Right at Home.
Eric Little is vice president of franchise development for Right at Home. - ()

Right at Home, a national provider of in-home caregivers with a big New Jersey presence, is embarking on a major expansion in the state to meet the demand from an aging population that wants to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

Eric Little, vice president of franchise development, said Right at Home’s 10 New Jersey franchise owners serve 18 geographic territories around the state, from Cherry Hill to Cliffside Park; some franchisees have more than one territory.

Right at Home has been in New Jersey since 2001 and will sign up franchisees throughout 2015 in eight new territories: Franklin (Sussex County), Oxford (Warren County), West Milford, Clifton, Kearny, Newark, Jersey City and Elizabeth.

Founded in 1995, Omaha, Nebraska-based Right at Home is in 44 states and nine countries, and Little said its franchisees collectively billed $265 million in home care services in 2013.

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Franchisees pay $125,000 to purchase a franchise, and Little said the biggest challenge is finding people who combine the entrepreneurial drive to be successful in business with the desire make a difference in the lives of other people.

He said plenty of people are eager to start a small business because they want financial success.

“And believe it or not, there’s a whole lot of people who just want to do something that matters but they don’t really have that competitive edge that makes them want to be successful,” he said. “So we work hard to try to find people who want both.”

Little said that, in the New Jersey/New York area, Right at Home tends to attract people leaving the financial services industry for a new career.

“We talk to people who are at a fork in the road,” he said. “Unusually they are people who have managed people or departments, but for the most part come in having never owned a business before and having no medical experience whatever.”

Right at Home franchisees do tend to share a common experience: “They’ve taken care of their mother or father or grandparents, and they’ve seen the kind of impact this business can have on the client and their family,” Little said.

Some individuals seek to launch a Right at Home franchise in part because they hope to gain some work/life balance, and spend more time with their family, by owning their own business. Little said in the first year or two, the franchise owner should expect to work 60 hour weeks to get established; over time, the owner “can hire a staff and build the business in a way that does not require the owner to be there every hour of the day and make every decision in the company.”

Right at Home is in the private pay side of the home care business, providing aides who help seniors with activities of daily living — such as bathing, meals, medication or doctor visits — with clients playing $20 an hour, on average.

Little said Right at Home expects to face increased competition to recruit the caregiver workforce in the years ahead. To that end, he said Right at Home helps franchisees recruit and train workers.

“If we provide caregivers with the training that’s necessary to make them effective in their jobs, then they’ll stay,” Little said. “But if we don’t do this well, they will be unhappy in their work environment and they’ll go somewhere else. And there are plenty of opportunities for them to go somewhere else, because there are so many baby boomers out there who are aging and are going to need care.”

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