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.
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.
or call us at 480.704.3065
Sign up today!