CarePatrol Franchise Review: Q&A with Mark Sylvester
Owner opens up about life in business with the leading senior placement franchise
Mark Sylvester has helped hundreds of families find the ideal assisted living facility for their loved ones over the course of four years as a CarePatrol franchise owner in Arizona. In that time, his reputation as a subject matter expert and a trusted guide has grown — and there are dozens of online reviews from his former clients that are a testament to how much CarePatrol has helped families through a difficult and stressful time.
The lasting success that Sylvester has experienced might make you assume that he spent his entire professional life in the senior care industry. In reality, Sylvester joined CarePatrol without any prior experience in the senior care industry, a background he shares with the majority of the CarePatrol franchise family. He credits the growth of his business to his commitment to following the proven business model and the exceptional ongoing training CarePatrol provides, as well as his own desire to do right by the families he serves.
This is his story:
What were you doing before joining CarePatrol and what attracted you to our brand?
Sylvester: I was in the construction products industry for 29 years. I served in various roles, and I was very comfortable managing a territory. Ultimately, I didn’t feel like I was making a difference, and I wanted to start my own business that focused on helping seniors and veterans. I loved the idea that with CarePatrol, you could stay small and agile, and also make a real difference in people’s lives.
CarePatrol franchisees are known as subject matter experts, who guide families through the entire process of finding the best care facility for their loved ones. How did you become an expert in your field?
Sylvester: I came to CarePatrol from a polar opposite business world, and I didn’t have any understanding of the industry prior to joining. My ability to become a subject matter expert is a combination of the excellent training provided by CarePatrol, studying for the certified senior advisor exam before the business got going, and on-the-ground training — every time I asked questions I built that knowledge base. Now I feel very comfortable answering tough questions from referral sources and families.
How much of your business comes from referral sources? How did you build those relationships?
Sylvester: 100% of my business comes from referral-based sources. I learned early on that traditional advertising doesn’t work. I focused on getting in front of the referral sources and learning what is critical to them. I found out who the gatekeepers were, who the decision makers were, and booked meet and greets where I could explain what CarePatrol does and why we should be entrusted to take care of such a delicate process for families. When they see how we help families and guide them to safe placement, that’s when they say, “Wow, we need to start sending our families to CarePatrol.”
Once they refer us a family that needs our services, I always make sure they are aware of key milestones, such as when I go out to meet with the family, when I take the family out to tour facilities and when the family has made a decision. What nursing facilities, hospitals and doctors want to know is if CarePatrol has established a safe discharge plan — and being transparent about our process is what builds trust.
Word travels. I’m in a non-metro market, and we cover a large area. If you make a decision that doesn’t do right by the family, it will hurt you. You always want to do the right thing for the family.
What is the benefit of joining CarePatrol over starting your own business from scratch?
Sylvester: The ramp up is much faster with CarePatrol than it would be trying to do this on my own. I know a lot of people that have attempted to do this on their own, and it’s not long-lived. I really believe CarePatrol is a well-oiled system, and the biggest temptation is to say, “I think it should be done this way,” and you have to resist the natural temptation and follow the CarePatrol system because it really works.
What are you most proud of about your CarePatrol business?
Sylvester: What keeps me going is that we’re truly helping families, and when you receive that feedback from families face-to-face or if they leave us an online review about how much we were able to help them — that’s what is really rewarding to me.
Why is now a good time to join CarePatrol?
Sylvester: We really have the wind at our backs. About 10,000 boomers are retiring every day in our country. The demographics are in our favor, and we have to be prepared for that. We offer the services that can help these people, and that is a tremendous opportunity.