“I Got This Guy Completely Wrong” – A RAL Confession

When people first hear about the RAL Academy and the investment opportunities in residential assisted living they often approach with a dose of disbelief. After all, how can something that does so much good for our senior population be anything more than charity; how can it be such a profitable business?

Simple. It is the very need for this service, coupled with the growing elderly demographic shift that provides the conditions for profitability. Moreover, if you compare residential assisted living with the other options are out there, i.e. the large, sterile, hospital-like facilities, choice quickly becomes clear. As people age, they would rather reside in a comfortable and familiar home-like setting, rather than being just another number in a big box facility. There is enough difficulty trying to maintain dignity and comfort in old age. We don’t need to add to the struggle by herding our seniors into large facilities, isolated from the rest of society.

Residential assisted living seeks to address this paradigm and offer a healthy alternative that most of us would probably prefer. Still there is a great deal of skepticism surrounding this industry because most people are unaware of its existence or exactly what it entails.

Recently, Steve Moran, a well-known writer for the Senior Housing Forum, wrote an article describing his initial pessimism about the RAL Academy; a pessimism that quickly turned to belief as he dug into the facts and evidence supporting this successful business model.

He starts out, “Once in a while, I get something completely wrong.” “In July or August of 2016, a reader reached out to me about this guy, Gene Guarino, who was teaching three-day classes on “how to get rich” by starting residential assisted living communities (think small homes). I took a hard shot at what he was doing.”

“But it turns out……I WAS WRONG.”

Steve went on to explain how he met Gene at the InterFace Seniors Housing West Conference and after a lengthy discussion, came to the conclusion that the RALA business model was not a “get rich” one, but a well-developed strategy designed to meet the real needs of seniors in America.

Gene shared the background of how he started the RAL Academy by creating and running a number of residential-style assisted living communities himself. His initial motivation for the first RAL home came from a desire to provide a comfortable residence for his mother that offered exceptional care. As he navigated through details of real estate, finances, and hiring, training and managing competent care staff, it quickly became apparent that this model, not only offers a better solution for seniors, but it would also be a long-term investment solution for those wanted to begin providing this service in their communities.

Steve went on to learn how Gene took this model and developed a system to teach others to do the same. Now, years later, Gene has taught thousands of people how to open and run their own residential assisted living homes. His training is directly responsible for between 500 to 600 new residential-style assisted living communities across the U.S. that are creating jobs and serving seniors. Additionally, he has developed networks to support these RAL owners, creating a conference to unite investors, suppliers and service providers for all things relating to the building and operating of these communities.

“I have written about this before, however, I am more and more convinced that these small residential senior living communities are going to be an increasingly important part of the senior living/assisted living mix.”

“Traditionally, these small homes have — in many states — represented the last resort for seniors with limited financial resources. Yet, increasingly, they are becoming a boutique option for seniors wanting or needing higher levels of care at a reasonable cost.”

Steve goes on to admit, “What I am really puzzling over right now is whether or not these communities are pulling residents away from large scale senior living or actually expanding the market, by appealing to seniors who would not have an interest in big box senior living.”

The truth, with all the new RAL style home being created, there is not a significant exodus of seniors from big-box facilities to residential assisted living and this is primarily because there is just such a huge demand for senior housing. The size of the senior population in this country is growing at a rate not seen before, and it is only going to increase for the next 25 years.

The demographic boom caused by an aging baby boomer population is going to mean that an enormous number of seniors needing assistance with daily living will enter their twilight years in the next few decades. The demand for assisted living will drive the market to create the supply.

Steve is right though, there is some competition in the market between the big-box facilities and smaller, more boutique-style assisted living homes. Fortunately, this competition will spur both sectors of this industry to raise standards and offer better services to our seniors and at lower prices, which is good for all of us.

We are delighted that Steve took the time to learn about the reality behind residential assisted living and the opportunities it affords. It’s always refreshing when we are able to take a deeper look at something that we previously judged before knowing all the facts, and come to realize how much we appreciate something that we might have otherwise completely missed out on.

For the average person there is so much confusion surrounding assisted living. Most of this comes from a false perception of assisted living as the sterile, institution-like big box facilities that spark notions of isolation and an uncaring staff. Fortunately, the truth is that there are plenty of assisted living homes across the nation that are full of caregivers who love their jobs and love caring for seniors. They are not there just to do a job, but they enjoy engaging with the elderly and partnering with their families to provide exceptional care in a comfortable home-style environment.

According to AARP, there are tens of millions of seniors in America today who will need assistance with their activities of daily living. That doesn’t mean that they are all going to move into an assisted living home or facility, but they will need help. They’re at home all alone and maybe they can take care of themselves, but frankly, many of them would much rather have people around them.

We know that being with others as we age is vital to our health, mental stability and overall wellness. Residential assisted living is making an impact on seniors and changing the face of assisted living for decades to come. We are excited to be a part of this change and we look forward to partnering with any of you who are also interested in Doing Good and Doing Well.

Success Interview with Jeremy Wassermann

Before the holidays, Gene had the opportunity to catch up with a former RAL Academy student who is doing great things with his business in Scottsdale, Arizona. Jeremy Wassermann, who attended the 3-Day Fast Track course in June of 2018, took the training he received and put it to work right away, getting started with his first residential assisted living home in less than two months!

Jumping in with both feet right away is something that Gene and the rest of our instructors encourage everyone to do. There are so many distractions in life and opportunities can come and go, and if we give ourselves enough time, it’s amazing how many excuses we can come up with that will keep us from reaching our potential and making progress toward our goals.

But Jeremy wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass by, so he did his due diligence, did his research and ended up choosing to acquire an existing RAL business as his first care home, which was already licensed for 10 residents. As he set up his RAL home he made the important decision to keep the care staff who were already employed by the previous owner. Many of these employees had been there for a number of years and had developed a familiarity and bond with the residents and their families. This is another tip that we encourage new owners to consider. If the existing care staff are competent and flexible in working with your new operating procedures, then it is usually beneficial to keep them on rather than hiring and training all new staff. As with any new arrangement, there will be a period of transition for these employees as you implement the agenda and goals you have for the care home, as well as additional training to equip them to help you reach those goals. But having a team in place from day one can be a huge help.

Jeremy also shared with Gene some of the things he learned at the RAL Academy 3-Day training that he found most useful as he started out with his first RAL home. Firstly, his decision to buy an existing RAL business and home was far easier than creating from scratch, plus it affords the opportunity to start generating income right away. Although, the down side is that you are limited with the level of renovation and remodel you can do. It can be too much of an impedance with those residents who are living in the home and the disruption to their lives and schedules is something that you will always want to consider.

Another resource Jeremy found helpful in the 3-day course was the detail given to budget and expenses, noting the importance of finding the right balance with things like food costs. Starting out in assisted living, many of these details would not be patently clear, and without someone sharing real world experience with you about how to keep costs low, you could end up wasting a great deal of money. At the RAL Academy, we always encourage our students to raise the bar and offer excellent service and care to seniors, but there are also ways to achieve this without breaking the bank.

Let’s raise the bar by offering superior care for our seniors.

The truth is, you can only learn so much from sitting and listening in a class, but once you get into the actual experience and practice of the business, it becomes very real. The things you learned that you might have initially brushed off as, maybe not as important, you start to see how necessary they are and how each element can impact other aspects of the assisted living business.

There are some details of residential assisted living that you can be told numerous times, but until you get involved yourself, you might have a difficult time understanding just how relevant they may be. Jeremy affirmed a few of these “learn by doing” elements, an important one involving the residents is understanding the different personality types of your seniors. Some residents may have approached senior housing willingly, while other may have been more reticent and encouraged by family to move in. So, dealing with varying levels of positivity and participation is something that will undoubtedly be a hands-on learning experience, for both you and your care staff.

Some residents might need more care in the morning and less in the afternoon, while others might need more assistance in the evening and are fairly self-sufficient throughout most of the day. When preparing meals, some residents might appreciate a more strict regimen and eat at the exact time every afternoon, while others might be more inclined to eating after others have already gone before, where there is more space and freedom to take their time. You will find there is great nuance to dealing with different personalities and the daily patterns to which each resident has become accustomed.

Jeremy recounted additional elements of the training whose importance didn’t become fully apparent until he started actively running the business himself. For example, medication management and doing everything that you can to help maintain the health of the seniors. It is vital stay on top of the resident’s medications as they each have their own needs and health issues. There is little room for error with the scheduling of medication. It is also worth considering that the health of the seniors will vary, somebody might get sick one day and another day it could be somebody else, so being prepared to respond to these changes is crucial.

Train your care staff to be flexible.

These are all areas that you and your care staff will need to learn to navigate, but these challenges are much easier to handle when you can lean on the experience of professionals, like our RAL Academy staff, who have done it all before and are available to assist you along the way.

Currently, Jeremy has a great manager who runs his care home, who he found through a recommendation from Gene at RAL NAT CON 2018. Just another one of the many benefits of networking in the RAL community and getting involved with other RAL owners and employees. You may not have all the connections to find the right people to meet all of your needs, but with the RAL Academy you have a vast network of resources and it’s only a matter of letting us know what you need. We are here, not only to train and equip, but also to assist you in making the right connections and surrounding yourself with the people that are going to help you be successful.

Now that his RAL is up and running smoothly, Jeremy is at the home about three days a week and he is currently looking to buy his second care home and is searching for potential properties within a reasonable distance from his first home. His goal is to start with a 3-pack of homes, all relatively close to each other to aid in the sharing of resources, like care employees who might be needed to assist at one of the other locations from time to time. Once he has his three houses up and running he will assess whether he wants to continue to expand his RAL business further.

His final words of wisdom and encouragement for prospective students…don’t jump in with a small RAL home. Get right in with a 10-bed home, or whatever the maximum occupancy that your city allows. While it may seem daunting at first, it is just as much work to do 5 beds as it is to do 10, so “if you’re going to do five or six, you might as well have more revenue with more residents.”

“It makes perfect sense to Go Big.”

Also, “do your research. Take the 3-day training course.” “You will definitely learn a lot. You will meet a lot of great people. And go into it with an open mind.”

We couldn’t be more proud of Jeremy and we are so excited about the success of his RAL business. We can’t wait to see him progress on his journey in this exciting industry and go on to open up his three pack of care homes, continuing to fulfill the motto of Doing Good and Doing Well.

We would love to help you do the same. So why not start your journey toward financial freedom and security today. If you’re interested in checking out what opportunities there are for you and if you would like to learn at your own pace in the comfort of your home, take a look at our home study course. Or connect with our professional experts in person at our Live 3-Day Fast Track event. Get trained by industry leaders who have been successfully operating residential assisted living businesses across the country for years and learn the secrets of the trade. Take it from Jeremy and get equipped for success in this awesome industry, setting you on your path to financial independence and security.

residentialassistedlivingacademy.com/training-programs/live-training/

Take control of your future! Join us at the Live 3-Day Fast Track training course held in Phoenix. We would love to help you get started with Residential Assisted Living and write your own success story like Jeremy.

Contact:

support@ralacademy.com

or call us at 480.704.3065

Sign up today!


Success Interview with Hal Cranmer

Recently, Gene had the chance to sit down with Hal Cranmer, the owner and operator of A Paradise for Parents Assisted Living Homes in Arizona, who came through the RAL Academy training four years ago. After the training, Hal got started right away and purchased an existing RAL home and business and has since gone on to open four more assisted living homes in his local area.

As part of the early crop of students at the RAL Academy, Hal joined our community before we had set in place all of the extensive support, follow-up and extras that we now offer to our students. Although he has been able to keep in communication with Gene and our RAL experts and apply what he learned from them, there is an extensive amount of insight into the assisted living industry that Hal gleaned through personal experience.

His commitment to offering superior care to local seniors has afforded him the opportunity to turn one RAL home into a thriving Residential Assisted Living business with five homes and secure a bright future for he and his family.

Of the many lessons that Hal has learned along the way, one of the more important ones that he wanted to pass on to other students is the importance of the business partner relationship and how to navigate it effectively. Partnering with another individual or organization can be a great way to secure the funding for a brand new or newly acquired RAL home and business, but it also comes with a set of challenges that may not be readily apparent if it is your first time with a business partner.

In Hal’s case, he found partners who had the money to invest in his first RAL home. They had just sold a property and were looking to do a 1031 exchange, which allows an investor to sell a property, reinvest the proceeds in a new property, and defer all of the capital gains taxes.

After a few years of working with these out-of-state partners it became apparent that running the RAL home would be easier if he was able to make all of the decisions without deliberation and oversite. After all, Hal was the hands-on manager and knew exactly what was needed and was in the best position to immediately react to decisions that were in the best interest of his residents. Another important tip that Hal would pass on to students new to assisted living:

“When starting out with a business partner do your due diligence. Write everything out.”

Hal Cranmer

Make sure you are all on the same page and in agreement over all of the terms. From Hal’s personal experience, he can attest that partnerships have their difficulties. For example, unless everyone understands how the profits are structured and what the liability and exposure are if things don’t go how everyone expects, the business relationship can be strained and create more obstacles than necessary.

Hal also suggests not to make a percentage of profits agreement, because what your partners think are profits after expenses may not be the actual profits, especially when unforeseen expenses arise, like a leaky roof or a refrigerator that stops working. So, it may be better for all involved to settle on a fixed monthly return for your business partners. This way everyone knows exactly what is expected.

Another key component in establishing business partnerships is going through the 94 questions you want to ask someone before you partner with them in any business. This is a tool that had not yet been developed when Hal initially went through the RAL Academy training, but it is something that we go through with our students now. It is an invaluable tool to help create a healthy working relationship with your business partner and you will be glad that you address all those questions up front, before things potentially get more difficult and everyone’s assets are on the line.

Business partners can be great if you find the right fit for you, but as Gene often encourages students, you need to be very careful when looking to establish those partnerships. Gene’s personal advice is to:

“Only partner if you need to…if they have something you need and you can’t just hire them for it.”

Gene Guarino

In Hal’s case, with the first home and business he purchased he is currently in the process of buying out his original partners and refinancing the loan. In addition, he found a healthy partnership with his parents, who are silent financial partners. They agreed on a fixed return and interest rate, so it is more like a debt than an equity payment. He sends a check every month, they’re happy and they don’t question how he runs his RAL homes. It’s a win-win for everyone.

As far as the financing, of his five RAL homes, Hal owns one outright and he is currently restructuring his other assets with a bank, using separate loans for each of his real estate properties and another loan for the combined businesses of all of his RAL homes, thereby lowering his interest rates on the real estate portion.

This is another area where you will want to do your due diligence, because a little extra time researching financing tools and loan options can end up saving you thousands, and who doesn’t want that? Also, once you do start lining things up for your new RAL, run the numbers by someone who has been there. For example, the professionals at the RAL Academy have decades of experience with this and are here to help. As Hal reminds us, “this isn’t a real estate rental property; this is a business. So put together a business plan and then run it by someone who has done this.”

One thing to keep in mind when building your financial plan is that business loans are traditionally much shorter than the loan on the real estate, and you will need to factor in those numbers up front. For example, with Hal, his business loan has a five-year amortization, so as you are setting up your RAL homes, do your homework on the finances and know if you are going to have the cash flow for that part, because as Hal describes:

“It will be tight for five years,” but then after five years the business loan is paid off, and “it’s going to be a cash cow after that.”

Gene Guarino

Another useful tip as you navigate the financials is that the bank often wants to see a resume. They want to see someone in the deal with experience in a field related in some way to assisted living. This is especially important for new students in the RAL Academy or anyone stepping into the Assisted Living space for the first time. So if, for example, you happen to be a nurse or a doctor, or if you have business experience in a field akin to assisted living, you will be fine. Otherwise, you might consider partnering with someone who has some experience, or possibly, the qualified manager that you hire to run the home, you can use their credentials and resume to submit to the banks or lenders. Either way, the experience doesn’t need to be vast, for example, Hal was eventually able to apply for an SBA loan with only 6 months of prior experience in Residential Assisted Living.

When setting up your RAL home, another important element to consider is resident payment. Knowing which payment types are available to your prospective residents and which ones you will focus on is key. One of the tips that the RAL Academy teaches to set you on your way to success is to aim for private pay with your incoming residents. We realize that this is not always possible, as you may often get referrals from placement agents dealing in Medicare, Medicaid, or other compensation plans.

In Arizona, where Hal runs his homes, Medicaid is known as Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) and Hal has found a way to make the most of that system by partnering with a research organization that incentivizes the best and most effective assisted living facilities. This organization is gathering data about assisted living care and the rate of resident admittance into hospitals for chronic conditions, injuries, and other medical issues.

Medicaid and Medicare have seen better days and with the coming influx of baby boomers entering their twilight years, the government recognizes that the financial expense is soon going to outweigh available funding. One of the ways to tackle this issue is to incentivize care homes to go above and beyond in keeping their residents healthier and out of hospitals. So, one way this works is that health insurance companies connected to Hal’s residents pay his assisted living homes an extra $30 per day per resident above their normal level of pay for all residents who remain healthy and out of hospitals.

This is a wonderful way Hal has found to help increase his RAL’s cash flow. Additionally, he has chosen to use the added funding wisely, by incentivizing his care givers. He affords them bonuses and more overtime, thereby securing their work excellence and loyalty to the care homes, and because of this he sees very little employee turnover. He has also found that with the ALTCS program, there is no need for referral fees, establishing a great reputation with the placement agents, and whenever he does lose a resident he simply needs to contact ALTCS and they find residents for him. This also means that less money and effort need to go into marketing his homes.

So do yourself a favor and check out the Medicare and Medicaid systems in your state and investigate to see if there are insurance programs that will incentivize you to partner with them in creating a healthier and more stable assisted living environment in your homes.

Also, it is worth noting that residents with lower assistance needs might receive less compensation from their insurance plan or from the state, thereby affording less income for your RAL home. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it could mean that even though your RAL might be taking in less money, if the residents don’t need higher levels of assistance, you can employ fewer care givers, which will lower your overhead. There are so many ways to structure your assisted living homes and you really need to do your homework and team up with people who have plenty of experience with assisted living.

The bottom line…this can be a challenging business, but it is also a very rewarding one and quite a lucrative one if you use the tools that are available to you. As Hal can attest, “It’s a great business that makes you feel tremendously proud of what you are doing.”

We couldn’t be more proud of Hal. We are so excited about the success of his five RAL homes and we would love to help you find similar success. We hope you’ve found this content helpful and if you have more questions check out our other online resources:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Yoitsmetv/videos

And be sure to check out our extensive training programs designed to help you get started or continue your already successful journey in this rewarding industry.

Why choose to get trained by our talented experts at the RAL Academy?

Gene, the founder and president of RALAcademy.com, has dedicated tens of thousands of hours to researching and developing strategies for investing in the senior living market and he has a passion for helping people just like you capitalize on this mega-trend opportunity. Take advantage of his hard work and learn what things can help you succeed in this rewarding industry.

Take control of your future! Come to the Live 3-Day Training held in Phoenix. We’d love to help you get started in Residential Assisted Living Homes and become a success story like Hal.


Success Story — Peak Care

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Rocky and Sherry from Peak Care Assisted Living Homes to hear about their journey in assisted living and how they have managed to become so successful. Peak Care Homes is an organization that specializes in providing high quality assisted care to the elderly in the comfort of a beautiful home environment. With three homes in operation and a forth currently being constructed, Peak Care homes is setting new standards of care in the assisted living industry and many are taking notice.

Rocky and Sherry met Gene at a Breakout Session of the Real Estate Guys Secrets of Syndication Seminar in Phoenix in February of 2016, and three months later they found themselves at the RAL Academy’s Live 3-Day course.

They had some real estate experience in rehabbing homes before coming to the course, but they realized that apartments and flips weren’t the right asset class. While they attended the 3-day course they quickly saw the value of assisted living, but with a much greater cash flow potential and community benefit than other real estate classes.

After taking the 3-Day Fast Track Course Sherry recounts:

“I didn’t need to start from the ground up. A lot of what needs to be done, the groundwork, had already been laid.  All I had to do was follow the game plan that was already put in place.”

Sherry, Peak Care Assisted Living Homes

The next step they took was to visit many of the other assisted living facilities in their surrounding area to get impressions of what they could learn from how they are run and what they could do better. It quickly became apparent that there were many ways that they could improve the care offered to seniors and it was this potential that got Sherry excited about getting into the assisted living business.

Doing their homework and recognizing the opportunity to elevate the senior care model gave them focus, a greater sense of purpose and clear vision of how to move forward. It was this purpose that established the foundation of their core principles: Integrity, Astonishment, and Stewardship. The principles that all of their decisions and the management of their business is built upon.

When starting your RAL business, or any business, you need to know your purpose. Your purpose will inform your core values and those values will keep you going in the right direction and help govern the choices you and your team make. Continually refer to them to keep yourself and your employees on track.

It was exciting to hear about their passion, and how it guided them from the beginning. Sherry explains, “my goal within this is to create a legacy,” and “assisted living would be something I could put my heart and soul into.” She continued, “To make a difference within this industry and to elevate it, we need people who have a passion for it, taking care of the elderly,” and:

“If someone is passionate about this industry it kind of just takes care of itself.”

Rocky describes Peak Care Homes’ mission statement as “treating every resident like they are our own mother in our own home.” “We realize that the decision of placing a family member in a care facility is strenuous and it can be very exhausting both mentally and physically on all family members. We work tirelessly to provide the safest and highest quality care to our residents so that both the residents and their family members feel comfortable knowing that they are in good hands.”

As far as the business side, they found their first major challenge was the financing. They expressed their appreciation in being able to consult the team of professionals at the RAL Academy and worked together to create a business plan.

One of the key elements they found was necessary to acquire their SBA loan was advisement from someone who was experienced in the assisted living industry. They were grateful that Gene and Tom were available to walk through all the financing with them and help navigate this crucial step.

“It was really important that we had the team from RALA be there for us to help with the SBA loans.”

Another challenge they ran into was establishing a good reputation. “Being new in the industry and not having much background in assisted living or health care, we had to build up our reputation.” Rocky wanted the people in his community to know “that we’re taking care of the residents, that we love them, and it’s not that we’re doing this just to make a quick dollar.”

Being new to the assisted living industry, Rocky and Sherry found that part of establishing a great reputation in the community was networking with the right people. Using the information from the RAL Academy they were able to hire quality people with the right experience and make connections with people in the industry who could help shine a light on their burgeoning RAL business.

The combination of having a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish with their RAL homes and hiring an extremely qualified team, made it easier to find their place in the industry. It helped them effectively communicate to others why they were different from all the other assisted living options in the area. Their vision and the qualified team that they had put together, spoke volumes, even when their own personal experience was relatively limited. Rocky explained,

“We have advisors with the RAL Academy who have done this for years,” and “so even though we didn’t have the experience, our team did.”

One of the reasons that so many new business ventures fail is because entrepreneurs often don’t have the right team around them and advisors who have gone before them to help navigate through all the hurdles that arise in a new business.  As Rocky explained, “make sure you surround yourself with the team that RALA has put together for you. If you do that, they will help you be successful.”

The team at Peak Care homes are in the inner circle at RALA and as platinum members they find it so encouraging that they can simply pick up the phone at any time with questions they have and an experienced member of the RALA team will help them. Rocky continues, “knowing that that team is behind you to get past any of those hurdles is huge.”

Here at the RAL Academy, we would love for you to become a success story just like the team at Peak Care Homes. So whether you are just starting out in this amazing industry or you have been at it for years, check out our resources available on our website, come to our live training courses, or reach out to us by email or phone and let us know what we can do for you.

We want you to succeed. We want you to Do Good and Do Well.

Branding Your RAL Homes — Success Interview with Purple Angel Homes

Earlier this year, Gene had the opportunity to travel to Overland Park, Kansas to tour Purple Angel Homes. He sat down with Jim, one of the founders, and his team to discuss the awesome story of how they got into Residential Assisted Living and made a name for themselves that stands out from the crowd.

Facing challenges relating to family members who had gone through the assisted living process, Jim and his team recognize the problems often found in the large assisted living facilities. They wanted to get into the industry, but in a way that would be a positive example of how to run assisted living homes with genuine care and priority for the residents instead of profit.

Anne, a member of the founding team, affirmed, “If we’re doing this just to make money, we’re doing it for the wrong reasons.” “If we do this because we want people to be happy and safe and have a wonderful life, then we’re all doing it for the right reasons.”

As they began their journey into residential assisted living, they surrounded themselves with professionals and leaned on the support of the RAL Academy, and we encourage you to do the same. Beginning in any entrepreneurial endeavor it is always difficult starting out. So surround yourself with experienced professionals, network and make connections with people who are in the business and ask questions. The reason that the RAL Academy is here is because there is a wealth of knowledge needed to successfully start out in the Residential Assisted Living industry and our experienced instructors want to help you succeed. And the more answers you have for your questions before you step into this new frontier, the more time and money you’ll save in starting and operating your RAL homes.

Jim and his team have gone above and beyond and in their construction plans and they even included provisions for their staff as they are able to offer on-site living quarters for the care givers. Just another way they are setting themselves apart. They recognized that care givers and assisted living staff are often trying to further their medical education while they work, so offering housing gives them more financial freedom while also ensuring that they are always close to the residents if their services are needed.

Is this an option that you could employ to help set your RAL homes apart from the rest?

What has made Purple Angel Homes so special is their brand. They weren’t looking to simply create an assisted living company, they wanted to develop a brand, something that would be different from what is already out there and let communities around them know that they are unique; that when you entered their assisted living homes, you were entering a space unlike so many of the large, faceless facilities around the nation. They wanted their brand to stand for something as well.  Their inspiration came from the purple angel, which is the international symbol for Alzheimer’s care and education.

Purple Angel Homes is a faith-based organization that has made memory care a priority, with their mission stating that, “Our parents (and any loved one with memory issues) deserve the respect they earned through their lifetimes. They did not ask for their illnesses and family members know who they are, deep inside. They’ve had childhoods, careers, and raised families. It’s in that spirit of honor and respect that we developed what we call The Purple Angel Way.”

Often times, people with Alzheimer’s and dementia are cast aside in our communities because there is a lack of understanding and empathy surrounding their condition and the behaviors that follow from it. Faced with abnormal or difficult interactions with people who suffer from these conditions, it is easy to forget that these seniors did not choose this, but that there is a physical impairment that is out of their control which is influencing their behaviors. Purple Angel Homes has sought to highlight this condition in a beautiful way and their brand is providing a wonderful alternative to the options that seniors have in the assisted living industry.

Their core values of respect, treating residents like family, and regularly creating moments of joy for these seniors is an expression of the many ways their homes are unique. What are yours? How have you set your RAL home apart from the myriad of options that seniors and their families have when choosing a care facility?

Like Purple Angel Homes, when you create a unique brand and mission for your RAL business, you will find that filling your homes and keeping them full is much easier, and you will reap the benefits, not only financially, but spiritually as well.

As we always say, “Do Good and Do Well.”

Take control of your future! Join us at our next Live 3-Day Training held in Phoenix. We’d love to help you get started in Residential Assisted Living Homes and become one of hundreds of success stories like Purple Angel Homes!

Contact support@ralacademy.com or call us at 480.704.3065 to sign up today.

Success Interview with Matt Sullivan

Gene had the opportunity to visit with Matt Sullivan at his RAL home Southern Grace Assisted Living. Located in Kentucky where the state meets Illinois and Tennessee. Southern Grace is in a Frank Lloyd Wright design inspired home built in 1975. Gene returned to the office very impressed with the exceptionally peaceful feeling that the home and caregivers emanated. Recently, Gene interviewed Matt for our Success Interview Series where Matt talked about some of the challenges of updating a large unique home to a residential assisted living home.

Kentucky uses a social model so there is no licensing, just state certification once you meet all the rules and regs, but the state does require larger rooms (minimum 10×20 feet) with an attached bathroom for every resident’s room, although bathrooms can be shared between rooms (i.e. a Jack and Jill bathroom). Like most SFH to RAL conversions Matt had to do some rehab and the state requirements did pose some challenges because even-though the home was 5000 square feet, it only had three bedrooms. He was able to take the master bedroom suite and turn it into three bedrooms, and a den turned into two more bedrooms. There was also a sunken living room that needed to be raised, Matt was a bit sad to lose the beautiful hardwood floors, but he said that it was worth it. As Gene says, “Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do,” and this rehab was no exception. After touring the home, Gene said you couldn’t even tell that it had been raised and a new floor installed.

Gene Guarino and Matt Sullivan from Southern Grace Living Assisted Living

The home had been purchased for $360,000 and sat on 3 acres of land. The rehab was $700,000 completely gutting the home side-to-side. Matt said he could stand on one side of the house and see all the way through to the outside on the far side. At this point, Gene will tell you, “Don’t think that all renovations cost that much!” This was a unique case of renovations, additions, a lot of bathrooms, and some high-ticket items required by the state including a water line out to the street, grease trap, triple sink in the kitchen along with double washers, and everything in the remodel done was with high end materials.

Southern Grace is a mixed 12-bed home of singles and doubles and could net around $12,000 to $15,000 per month when full, but Matt realistically calculates some vacancy and budgets a net of $10,000 to $12,000 per month consistently. In addition, he plans to raise the rates as the word gets around and a waiting list develops.

One of Matt’s challenges is educating the surrounding population about residential assisted living. Many people are just not aware of what it is. One way he has increased awareness is with his ‘Photo Stop.’ If you are in the RALA Inner Circle Facebook Group you may have seen Matt’s great idea for creating a buzz around Southern Grace Assisted Living. He is well known for creating holiday ‘sets’ where the public can take pictures of themselves on the front lawn that corresponds with the current season or holiday. Matt says that it has caused people to slow down and SEE the home, basically become aware of the home, and even stop to take pictures at his ‘Photo Stop.’ In each ‘set’ he makes sure that the Southern Grace sign can be seen or the actual home is in the background. The kids really love it and it creates brand awareness.

Matt is a Worship Pastor at one of the larger churches in the area and along with his wife and son, consider Southern Grace a form of ministry. Running your own RAL gives you the ability to create the culture that you are passionate about without worry of offending a customer or your boss, since you are the boss. The right people will come to your home because you offer unique services that meets their needs. Quite often this is a critical time in the resident’s and the resident’s families lives so Matt and his staff take prayer requests from residents, resident families, and the care giver staff, prayer is said before meals, and many of the residents and staff will join together in bible study and help with prayer groups. The residents love it.

One of the greatest things about owning an RAL for Matt is the moment when a family member comes to him and expresses how having a home like this has changed the resident’s and the resident’s family for the better. Matt tells a story of one moment where the daughter of one of the residents came to him and told him about one of their newest residents – the mother had lived with the daughter for 15 years and was never happy, then went to the other daughter and lived with her, but still wasn’t happy. The daughters had never seen her really happy. One week after moving into Southern Grace, the daughter asked her mother how she liked it (fully expected complaints about food or not it being home). Instead the mother said, “It’s great. All the people are friendly, and the food is so good. It’s normal, good, food!” The daughter who lived 3 hours away said, “Matt you don’t know what that means to me, that my mother is happy in a place like this, it means the world.” Matt says that to hear things like that from the relatives that express that they can go home and not constantly worry about their parents and that we are making a difference in their parent’s quality of life has been unexpected and makes it really worth doing – even more than the money.

This was Matt’s first home and he made sure to use RALA support and watch every YouTube video that Gene ever made, “over and over again,” he jokes. He has worked in a corporate environment in the past, but never as the boss and he said that he had a lot to learn. His biggest piece of advice is to ‘keep on keeping on’ because there will be some challenges. Matt says that when doing something the first time there will be challenges and looking back he wouldn’t consider starting without the consulting that Gene and RALA provided. He learned at the 3-Day Live Assisted Living Business Accelerator course that in this business if there is a problem, identify the problem, and find a way around the problem, and then take action.

As we say around here, ‘the first home is the hardest’ but after that it gets easy. By just taking it one step at a time you will get there. As for Matt, he is already looking for his second home and considering creating a memory care home near Southern Grace. He loves that RALA has shown him a way to make a difference in the world while also creating a strong financial legacy for his family.

Matt is a great example of Doing Good and Doing Well and we couldn’t be prouder of his success!