(Ambrosio’s note: Interim HealthCare is the nation’s largest franchisor of home care and medical staffing services. Unlike other popular senior care franchises that offer only non-medical home services, Interim HealthCare provides both home health care and personal care services. Home health care personnel include nurses, therapists, and other specialized professionals who provide clinical intervention such as wound care or assistance with medication. Personal care and support services are non-medical and are usually provided by personal care assistants as well as companions and homemakers.
In his own words, Tom DiMarco shares with us what it’s like to be the majority owner of Interim Healthcare’s largest corporate franchisee, with annual revenues exceeding $100 million. This interview is dedicated to all those who aspire to be successful multiple unit franchisees. Thank you, Tom, for sharing your inspiring journey with us!)
I have a financial and accounting background and worked for a publicly traded company in reorganizations, small mergers & acquisitions, and partnerships specializing in industrial gas.
For the last 27 years, I’ve been with Interim HealthCare through Salo, Inc. (a corporation that owns Interim HealthCare franchises), doing business as TSO Management Company. I was hired as a controller by TSO Management Company, which at that time had 4 Interim HealthCare locations. I first acquired a minority portion of the company in 1986 and through three internal company stock reorganizations, acquired majority ownership in 2004.
We are now the largest Interim HealthCare franchisee by far. We own 14 franchises and 45 locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana. We employ 8,300 people who in 2010 performed 5.5 million hours of service to our clients. In the state of Ohio alone, based on hours of service, we are the 60th largest employer.
After 27 years, a typical day for me is overseeing (from a distance) the operations. We have a very talented management team and support staff that have the experience, dedication, and drive to allow me to be hands off in the day to day operations. Trust and integrity are the most important traits to be successful in this organization. Trust is earned. Integrity is inherent.
Our mission statement is “We are committed to providing the most highly valued health care services to our clients – period!” I attribute our growth and success to the people in our network. We have longevity, commitment, integrity, and people who “get it”! People make or break you. I would stack our organization’s management staff and associates up against any other organization. Period!
We promote employee recognition everyday. We recognize achievement and people at all levels. We just celebrated an office achieving $100,000 in weekly billing. In 2007, when we acquired this office, they were billing $14,000 weekly. We celebrated our success and hard work with a dinner at the Columbus Zoo Polar Bear Exhibit with family and friends. For our management team, we established a stock purchase program for them to be afforded a similar opportunity that I was afforded in 1986. We now have 18 shareholders.
Our goal is to become a $200 million company by 2012. We achieved $100 million in 2005. We have established incentives to share with our employees when this goal is achieved.
The lowest point in our company’s history so far was maxing out our lines of credit and living for about 4 months on day to day cash flow. This was during a time of growth, but we were horrible at collecting our money. In the days before banks were globally connected, we literally did check deposit runs picking up a deposit from our Cincinnati office and depositing it in our bank account in Columbus to meet payroll. Things have improved dramatically since then.
One of our biggest mistakes has been having policies and procedures in place but not following them. When you don’t verify internal controls consistently, things can get out of hand real quick. We have tightened controls significantly and our results have improved dramatically.
Home care is a great business to be in. Average ownership of the franchise is over 20 years. This has led to solid businesses and personal relationships developed over the years.
If you want to succeed in this business, most important is that you are in it for the long haul. If you are looking for quick success, this is not the business for you. Profits are built on long term relationships and your integrity. There is nothing short term and there is no magic formula to success. Set your expectations high but don’t be disappointed if you fall short.
To learn more about Tom DiMarco’s Interim HealthCare franchises, please visit the Interim HealthCare website of TSO Management.