CarePatrol Franchise Review: Jacqui Clark
Franchise owner opens up about life in the leading senior placement franchise
Four and a half years ago, Jacqui Clark took a risk that would change her life — and hundreds of lives in her community — for the better: she opened a CarePatrol franchise. Despite not having experience in the senior care industry, Clark traded in her lucrative career in public relations in the literary world to open the first CarePatrol franchise in San Diego, California.
While Clark did not have experience, she has things that were far more important: the desire to help others and the endless desire to learn. Fast-forward to 2018, and Clark is one of the most successful CarePatrol franchise owners in the entire system. Her business is thriving, and her community recognizes her as an expert in senior placement. CarePatrol does, too, and reached out to Clark to help mentor the four franchise owners with whom she shares San Diego, as well as several new franchisees who have joined our franchise family.
In this wide-ranging Q&A, Clark opens up about her early days in business, her love for the CarePatrol brand and her bright hopes for the future.
Why did you decide to join the CarePatrol franchise family?
Clark: I spent 18 years doing PR for books. It was a fun and glamorous life, but I was ready to do something different. Helping seniors really appealed to me.
When my husband and I decided that we wanted to own our own business, we didn’t know the senior placement industry even existed. We hired a business coach to figure out how we could transfer our skill sets into a new business, and one day my husband found CarePatrol. It was a perfect match. Four and a half years later, I love everything about it. It’s such an amazing feeling to be helping families every day.
What it was like to open a business without any experience in the industry?
Clark: If you know nothing about health care, the learning curve is sharp. I knew nothing — really, absolutely nothing. Luckily, the training that corporate provides is outstanding. I became a certified senior advisor, which was a weeklong class. Getting that certification was amazing because I learned a great deal about seniors and how to care for them. Soon after, I also got certified in dementia care. The learning never ends, and I really value that aspect of this business. As part of my marketing and outreach, I always take the time to ask other people in the industry to explain what they do. Every time I get a chance to learn more about the industry, I take it.
I’m an expert at this point — and I amaze myself at how much I know because four and a half years ago, I didn’t know anything. It’s important to have that drive to become an expert and take advantage of every learning opportunity that comes your way.
How did you build a referral network to help win business?
Clark: At the beginning, all I did every day was marketing and networking. I was the first person in my market — and it was good because I had to reach out to the entire community. Today, it’s much different because I’m well established in the community. But I still do outreach every day. I attend events, go out to coffee with clients or industry professionals, and I make a lot of phone calls and write a lot of emails. You have to keep your pipeline full; you cannot be lackadaisical — you have to be committed to growing your business every day.
What is like to mentor CarePatrol franchisees?
Clark: I was able to be a Franchise Business Trainer for one year — I got to go to other people’s territories and understand what they’re going through. It was a great experience because I love helping people — I love coaching. One of the qualities we all share as franchisees are that we’re coachable because we all have a lot of skin in the game. I coach new franchisees when I’m asked, and I love that because I get to share the wisdom and expertise that I’ve accrued.
Now that there are four franchisees in my territory, we all can learn from each other. We’re not competing for business, and that makes it a highly collaborative relationship among the four of us. It’s one of the things I love most about CarePatrol.
Has CarePatrol been rewarding financially and personally?
Clark: Financially, it has met all of our expectations, and we had pretty high ones. I’m not yet where I want to be — and that’s part of the addictive qualities of owning a business — you always want to be more successful.
Personally, it’s the most overwhelmingly rewarding business to be a part of. It’s such an honor to be able to help people at the end of their lives, or to have a family member call you crying because of how much you were able to help their loved ones. I love being able to speak to seniors, especially the centenarians. They have so much wisdom, and I can just sit there for hours on end listening to their stories. It’s amazing to get this personally fulfilling career and be paid for it at the same time.