Brand president, Sean Fitzgerald, sits down with 1851 to explain TruBlue's unique approach to home services in the booming senior services industry. See below for excerpts of the interview. 1851 Franchise: Tell us about TruBlue and how you got involved. Sean Fitzgerald: TruBlue Total House Care is a national provider of total home care for both seniors and busy families. I have 25 years of experience in franchising, ranging from small start-ups to multinational concepts in various industries, including the senior care and health care industries. In January 2020, I had the opportunity to assume the role of president of TruBlue. I thought this was a unique and promising opportunity to continue building a brand that was filling an important void in the growing senior care industry. Previously, I was working for an in-home care franchise and realized that physical ailments were only part of the problem seniors were facing as they aged. I realized that aging-in-place becomes increasingly more difficult without proper home modifications and maintenance. It was very difficult to find an in-home health aide who could also take care of the home and maintain a safe environment for aging seniors. I realized TruBlue was the missing piece of the age-in-place puzzle and couldn’t be happier to grow the brand and expand our services to seniors and their families. 1851: How has TruBlue gotten to its current level of success? Fitzgerald: We’ve identified the real challenge that seniors and their families are facing when an aging adult chooses to remain in their home, which sets us apart from other senior service franchises out there. Home modifications, maintenance and basic chores are being neglected when seniors remain in their homes alone, or they try to do tasks themselves that often result in injuries or stressful situations for themselves and their families. The services that TruBlue is able to provide both inside and outside of the home are critical to helping seniors meet their growing desire to maintain independence and age in place. We also launched the “I Care” referral program as a way to break into the senior market rather than following traditional advertising methods. Letting someone into your home is a big deal, so utilizing word-of-mouth referrals has generated reliable business and allowed us to expand our customer base. 1851: What about TruBlue makes it unique within its industry? Fitzgerald: We are the only national provider that specializes in total house care, both inside and out. In addition to ongoing maintenance, repairs, cleaning, yard work and seasonal projects, we are certified to provide home safety assessments, home improvement and modification projects to improve the overall safety and quality of life for seniors at home. We have established a variety of home-care packages that customers can utilize on a one-time or recurring basis. We have a program called “Helping Hands Around the Home”, which can take care of the minor projects, chores and clean up. TruBlue also offers the same great home services for busy families as we do for seniors. TruBlue is a great option for busy families because we provide a “one-stop” shop for indoor and outdoor housework that is often overlooked. TruBlue is an excellent resource for monthly, quarterly and yearly home chores and projects like air filter changes and water heater maintenance. TruBlue has a high standard of service and a strong screening process to ensure that whoever walks through our customers’ door is fully vetted and trustworthy, giving busy families peace of mind that their loved ones and their homes are expertly maintained. 1851: What have been some of the brand's most important milestones? Fitzgerald: Our recent partnership with Right at Home has been hugely successful and beneficial. We had 30 - 40 locations when we first spoke with Right at Home, and they had more than 600 locations. They saw the value in the service offerings we provide at TruBlue and trusted in our growth strategy. We have grown to over 60 locations since we launched our partnership with Right at Home and look forward to expanding our footprint even more to make the Right at Home partnership even more successful for both parties. Additionally, Home Healthcare News featured TruBlue in an article last year, which was a big game-changer for us. An influential industry publication talking about our brand and our unique approach to a growing senior care issue really helped amplify our business and increase general awareness about our services. Post-COVID, we are continuing to hit revenue milestones week after week. Owners are setting new sales records every month, some of them by ten times the amount of previous records. Business is booming, and there is a huge increase in demand 1851: What does an ideal franchisee look like? Fitzgerald: We are looking for sales and marketing professionals who view this as an entrepreneurial business opportunity and are focused on providing a high-quality customer experience. Ideally, we are seeking franchisees who are outgoing, community-focused and want to work with people. Really successful owners have a high level of empathy for helping those in need and are committed to treating people well while also spreading awareness for our services. Technical home services skills are not required to own a TruBlue franchise and the majority of the business management skills can easily be taught through our robust training program and our ongoing coaching. 1851: Why is TruBlue a good investment? Fitzgerald: According to AARP, nearly 90% of seniors want to age in place, and The Population Bureau expects the number of people aged 65 and over will double from 46 million to 98 million by 2060. We have an aging population, and thanks to medical technology, people are living longer than ever. Generally, the biggest challenge seniors have is executing fairly simple chores around the home. Most homes aren’t designed for seniors, which leads to falls and injuries as seniors neglect safety issues or try to fix things themselves. TruBlue is able to help seniors stay comfortably in their homes longer, aging happily in place. There is a tremendous demand for our services that isn’t going away anytime soon. From the business perspective, TruBlue is an extremely low investment with minimal overhead and a short path to profitability. It’s a relatively simple business to operate with a fully scalable model and no brick-and-mortar required. 1851: Do you have growth goals for 2021 and beyond? Fitzgerald: We currently have 60 locations open with another seven in development. We want TruBlue to have 200 locations by 2023, which should cover most market areas in the country. Our larger goal is to continue generating awareness about the importance of taking care of the home and doing regular maintenance to create safer and longer-term environments for seniors.
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