Q&A with Ajay Saini, Multi-Brand Franchisee of ComForCare Home Care & Payroll Vault
Name: Ajay Saini
Title: Owner, multi-unit franchisee
Brand: ComForCare Home Care (1), Payroll Vault (1)
Years in franchising: 3
Why did you choose to franchise with a service brand?
Initially, I didn’t look at it from a product or service point of view. The main reason is that I believe in value creation, in providing value. Whatever you are doing, if you can create some value, that makes sense to me. My whole focus was, How can I add some value to the local community? I saw a need initially when I was exposed to home care. I had a lab company where people could order online lab testing. That introduced me to the world of healthcare; my original background in the IT/telecom world exposed to that channel. The reason I moved into healthcare initially was that health is very, very important for all of us. When we are touched with something we just want immediate relief. That pushed me to the testing side.
Then I realized that when it comes to the caring of seniors, there’s a huge demand. Considering our population demographics and all, we don’t have enough people. Even in this pandemic, we are getting so many requests it’s hard to keep up. But we need to do things right for the people who need care at that age. So that’s how I went into the service business – seeing that there is so much demand and thinking that if you do things right it can make a huge difference in the lives of so many people.
Once we started that, I got a taste for the service business. When you do things right, you get instant satisfaction. When you see people struggling and you provide them the benefit, that kick is unmatched. When you sell someone a product you may have to wait one, two, or three months for people to try it out. But here, you get that feedback the very first day you do something. “Oh, you saved my day. I couldn’t get out of bed. I was struggling.” Or, “My mom couldn’t go to the bathroom.” Or, “Your team helped me.” It’s just the sort of instant satisfaction that makes the day, knowing you did something useful for the community and for the people.
So that’s what drew me to start getting the feeling that I could do more. During the pandemic, so many businesses were struggling, with the PPP discussion, with salaries, and with how to keep up the employees. All those kinds of things were happening at the same point in time that I was already starting to chat with Payroll Vault about a franchise opportunity. They explained certain things, how they are helping businesses. Payroll is something that’s necessary, and it needs to be done right. At the same time, it’s not the primary focus. Everybody’s primary focus is their products and services. If I can provide payroll well, it can keep the business owners focused on the core of their business. So I thought offering payroll as a service was a great way to take the burden off business owners’ shoulders. When you see that sort of satisfaction on the faces of the people you are working or dealing with, that’s why I’m here. That’s the main reason.
What different skill sets are required for service brand franchising?
I would say it’s not necessarily different from a restaurant. But in general, no matter what service brand you are dealing with, the biggest thing you need to have is passion and think about how you can make a difference for others. If we have that approach, that’s what will turn into success. If we are thinking about ourselves and “Oh, what’s in it for me?” no. But if we go from the approach of, “How can we help our clients?” we’ll be successful because people will like us because we are really helping them out. Everybody wants solutions to their problems, and if we are thinking, we will always do the right thing. In the service business, it’s extremely important to take care of our clients because we’re interacting with them on a regular basis. I would say that’s the key.
What are the advantages of choosing a service brand?
When you are in a service brand, it’s easier to start. Products have an entire product cycle, especially if you are designing your own. Service is quicker to start: you see a need, and then you have to come up with a solution. Everything requires preparation, but I think that’s where the difference is.
How does having a service brand benefit or complement your two brands?
The very first client we ran payroll for was a home care business. That helped, but it goes the other way, too. If we are running a payroll, we are connected with them. You can always talk to your network partners, you can talk to your clients. Yes, it definitely helps. You are more exposed because you are connected in the community.
What would you recommend to anyone considering a service brand?
I think it’s very important to know what it takes. Why are you doing it, and what are the challenges? I can give a quick example. With Payroll Vault, you have a lot in your control. You can have a team of processors, and you are doing it. With home care, you rely on a workforce and are very dependent on how they are going into homes and helping people. There are a lot of dependencies. There are market situations. For example, right now, there is a shortage of caregivers.
When it comes to a service business, it’s important to know how you will handle all these challenges because you don’t have that much time. If someone needs service today, I cannot say that I can offer them excellent service, but only after two months. I don’t have that luxury. If I am sending a product, I can say, “You will receive this product in one month.” And I can do something in that period. But when it comes to service business, usually it is very time-sensitive.
So how you deliver that service in a timely manner will be the challenge. If you are aware of these challenges, then you can prepare and gear up before you start and ask, “Are these challenges motivating enough to come up with a solution?”
Not every service business is for every business owner. Some people might say, “Oh, this is too much for me. I can’t handle the stress associated with it because it’s so time-sensitive that I may not be able to go on a vacation. I need to get things fixed, whatever it takes.” Understanding these challenges is very important.
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