Charlie YoungEarlier in 2021, SYNERGY HomeCare announced it had sold 13 territories during its first quarter, up 116% over the prior year; it sold 35% more territories in 2020 overall compared to 2019 and now counts more than 180 franchisees around the United States. The Arizona-based agency, which provides personal care, launched its franchise system in 2005. CEO Charlie Young came on board in April of 2020. HomeCare talked with him about the growth and potential for homecare. 

HomeCare: We’re hearing a lot that the pandemic is an accelerant for agencies. How is that manifesting for you at SYNERGY? 
Young: It has just provided the rocket fuel to the growth of our business and for our existing franchisees around the country. Communities are seeing greater demand for the services that we provide. Overall, what we've seen is that our franchise development organization is seeing the highest level of demand and we've seen the last year, just terrific growth numbers—we’re seeing those numbers continue. What that means is that the footprint for SYNERGY HomeCare is going to continue to grow from 379 territories. Our pipeline of great candidates is strong.. 

HomeCare: I know SYNERGY has been experiencing phenomenal growth, something close to 20% year over year. What's the plan to keep that going or increase it going forward? 
Young: There are two significant elements of our growth plan. One is to have new territories; in 2020, we added 38 new territories—no other national franchisor came close to that number.We are well well-positioned for continued growth in 2021. We're going to keep investing in bringing people into our brand . The second part of it is driving the organic growth by prioritizingcaregiver recruiting We have a culture that is focused on the enrichment of caregivers and we will continue to utilize our knowledge of the business, our size and our scale, to recruit. 

HomeCareAre you doing things as you move forward to try to reach new audiences and especially new generations? We talk so much about the silver tsunami and the baby boomers, but there's going to be a lot coming up in terms of the next generations making care decisions, right?
Young: I think the first thing I would say to that is that we provide care for everyone. care for everyone. We don’t see this solely as an elder care or senior care business. We think that there are many populations of people that need assistance at home to thrive. And we're very intentional about making sure that we're reaching out to all. But there’s no denying that the baby boomer population is re-defining aging and will for years to come. And that brings us to a third group—often referred to as the sandwich generation. They are adults who have children of their own at home and careers at the same time they are dealing with the needs of aging parents. They're getting squeezed from all sides. We're very focused on meeting the needs of our senior clients and helping them maintain their independence while also focusing on their families. 

HomeCare: Do you think there might be new ways of generating business or of reaching clientele in the future? This is a bit of a stretch because I think this happened after you left your previous position at Realogy, but they made a partnership with Amazon to create a storefront. Do you see something like potentially happening with homecare? 
Young: I think that the next 10 years or longer we'll see tremendous change. At the end of the day, consumers drive these changes, so if a consumer is experiencing, Amazon, they're experiencing Airbnb, they're experiencing Uber, even something as simple as Uber eats or grocery delivery. It will be interesting to see how these consumer behaviors will impact our business.

HomeCare: Do you have anything you’re focusing on specifically going forward? 
Young: I think that one of the things for SYNERGY that we're really focused on going forward from a strategic perspective is how do we create a better sense of ease in the process? The time between when you identify the need for homecare and when you get homecare is not so simple. And then the process of managing the homecare while it's happening, is that as simple as it should be? How do we create ease in the process? The second area is this notion of what is really the role of the homecare industry? I think unintentionally, inadvertently, those in the industry may have done a little bit of a disservice because they talked about independence, but some of the people that we’re serving actually see homecare as a threat to their independence. What we really need to be focused on is how can we help people thrive at home. Every person is in different stage of life, is in a different place with their situation. And our job is coming in to recognize—in a very intuitively personal way—the needs of that client and help them  live their best life. Wherever you are, our job is to be there and meet you at that place. The result of that is that people feel more confident. They feel better, and the families feel better as well.