Before Hendrik Botha even began his franchise research, he knew one thing for certain: if he was going to invest in a franchise, it had to be with a company whose mission was to help others in need.
“I knew as an entrepreneur, whatever business I was going to get myself into, was going to consist of long hours and late nights for me to be successful,” he says. “That’s why I wanted to find a business where, if I had to work those long hours, I would be doing something meaningful.”
Enter Nurse Next Door. Founded by John DeHart and Ken Sim, the Canadian franchise has changed the way seniors and their families look at home caregiving since its founding in 2001. With a belief that seniors can stay at home with the right care, Nurse Next Door is dedicated to finding the perfect caregiver for their aging clients and bring “Happier Aging” to the forefront of care.
In the nearly 20 years since first opening, the Vancouver-based brand has expanded rapidly across Canada and the U.S., quickly becoming one of North America’s fastest-growing home care providers. In late 2018, Nurse Next Door made a splash overseas when it awarded its first international master franchise agreement to a master franchisee in Australia.
With over 190 locations, it’s easy to see why so many people, from franchise partners to seniors, are drawn to Nurse Next Door. The franchise’s feel-good motto is a selling point for clients and investors alike, and was the deciding factor for Botha when he invested in the franchise in 2016.
Today, the South Africa-born franchisee is using his status with Nurse Next Door to give seniors and their families a relaxing and stress-free transition into home care services throughout his Halifax community. Finding the Perfect Balance
Botha will be the first to tell you that his responsibilities as a small business owner are much different today compared to when he first opened his Nurse Next Door location. Days back then typically began at 6 a.m. and could last up to 12 hours. At the time, the franchisee couldn’t afford to hire administrative help, which meant he was handling everything from hiring nurses and caregivers to billing and payroll.
These early mornings and late nights didn’t deter Brotha. If anything, he welcomed the challenge.
“When I first started, I never worked so hard in my life,” he says. “It was crazy hours but that’s the thing about starting a business. It requires a lot out of you, but it’s to be expected because everybody warns you about it.”
Today, things are a little different. As Botha’s Nurse Next Door franchise grew, he was able to hire additional staff including an Administrative Assistant and People’s Coordinator to assist with the training and onboarding of nurses and caregivers in addition to continuing education. And with 50 nurses and caregivers on staff, Botha says he is now in a position where he can focus on business development.
“I have people who can work in my business while I work on my business,” Botha explains. “My role really went from doing the actual work to growing our clientele, working on marketing campaigns, and training and managing my staff to ensure they have all the tools they need to help us succeed and continue to grow.”
Botha is just three years into his new career, but is already serving 45 families in his community. When it comes to hiring the nurses and caregivers who will assist this clientele base, the franchisee says he ultimately looks for people who have integrity, are compassionate, and have the proper medical qualifications. Nurse Next Door caregivers need to be Licensed Practical Nurses or a Registered Nurses in the province they are operating and must also be active and in good standing with the College of Nurses.
Botha says recruiting nurses is the most important and challenging aspect of his role as a franchisee, especially in Nova Scotia, where there is a nursing shortage throughout the province. For Botha, this means he is competing with hospitals and other caregiving facilities to recruit nurses.
Though this specific staffing challenge may not apply to all Nurse Next Door franchisees, Botha says no matter what the challenge, the franchise provides of its franchisees with the support they need to find success, specifically through their 24/7 call centre.
Because Nurse Next Door provides non-stop care, franchisees are also obligated to be on-call at all hours. But Botha says calls from any of his clients, including scheduling support, are first directed to the Nurse Next Door call centre, which he says is an added bonus of working with the brand as it relieves some of his own duties.
“Our care services are great because they really help you scale your business fast!” Leading by Example
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Botha has always been realistic in his expectations of what it means to be a small business owner. Still, nothing could have prepared him for joining the Nurse Next Door team.
Having spent over a year researching home care franchises to invest in, when Botha finally discovered Nurse Next Door, it seemed too good to be true. Not only was the brand 100 per cent Canadian – an important factor for the entrepreneur – but it provided non-medical care in addition to medical care, signalling that the franchise was committed to helping seniors live happier lives even if they did not have a serious medical condition. Ultimately though, Botha decided the franchise was the right fit for him because of their stance on revenue.
“When I interviewed with other companies, it was all about numbers and they were telling me how much money I was going to make,” he says. “When I interviewed with Nurse Next Door, all they talked about was how they cared about people. It was like I ran into a brick wall.”
Feeling compelled to ask about the numbers during his initial meetings with the Nurse Next Door team, Botha was again surprised by the answer he received.
“They just said, ‘Listen, if you care, provide a good customer experience, and are passionate about what you do, the rest will fall into place.’”
The response sealed the deal for Botha and today he is using the Nurse Next Door culture to lead and inspire his own team. He’s also using the franchise’s leadership to inspire entrepreneurs who, like him, want to own a business where they can make a difference in the lives of those they serve.
If you ask Botha what it takes to find success with Nurse Next Door, he’ll say first and foremost you must have a calling for entrepreneurship and an innate knack and passion for caring for others. Ultimately though, he says what helped him succeed was reaching out to as many Nurse Next Door franchisees as possible to hear about their experiences.
“I found great value in talking to other franchise partners,” he says. “But it’s important to not just talk to the franchisees that are doing well. You should be talking to everyone, even the ones who aren’t as successful. This will help you form a picture of what your life could look like as a franchisee. Then you can make an informed decision about whether you want to invest.”
By Kristin Di Tommaso