Terrilynne Young spotted a big hole in the way health care equipment was sold, and Gary Prenevost helped her find the right business to fill the need
Terrilynne Young wanted to open a franchise where she could change people’s lives without having to give up her own.
As an emergency room nurse, she enjoyed a meaningful career, but she was working oddball shifts and not spending enough time with her family. So she decided to shift into management, overseeing standards for a company that provided nurses and home care workers to patients.
“My role would be to go out and do safety assessments with these clients and make sure they got appropriate care. It was there that I realized there was a gap between people who needed equipment and people who were able to get it,” she says.
She was ready to meet the need, but wasn’t sure which company to choose. So she reached out to Gary Prenevost for advice in December 2011.
“I said to Gary, ‘Whatever I go into, it absolutely has to jibe with my family, give me freedom to spend time with my daughters during the day and my evenings with my husband,” she says. “I couldn’t compromise family time.”
With Gary’s guidance, she interviewed several healthcare companies and began to gauge their responsiveness, business models and backgrounds.
For Young, Premier Mobility and Health Products stood out — but the franchise was just getting started. If Young signed a contract, she would become Franchisee No. 1. The situation called for a different research approach than Gary typically recommends. Gary usually advises clients to interview at least 8-10 existing franchisees to get a full picture of the business they are considering, but that wasn’t an option.
Still, the business concept looked promising to Young. The company sells walkers, wheelchairs, bathroom safety equipment, scooters and other items that help people stay active. Premier Mobility uses a large van as a mobile showroom, which allows franchisees to take the equipment directly to people’s homes.
“I think of it as selling freedom and independence,” she says, noting that many of her clients would be unable to get to a retailer to find the necessary equipment and would thus be “trapped” in their homes.
Gary advised Young to carefully interview the management team at Premier Mobility for their expertise and market insights, and also check on their financial resources. Starting a new franchise system can be expensive, and Gary advised Young to be sure that the company had the resources to grow its system without running out of money.
Premier Mobility won her over. She started Franchise No. 1 in May 2012, servicing clients in two sales territories north of Toronto. Her business is growing and the franchise system is growing, too — there are 14 operating now in Canada.
Young says the franchise is helping her change lives.
One of her clients is a couple in their 80s. A stroke made a wheelchair necessary for the husband, and the couple had been using a manual wheelchair to go to church and meet with friends, with the wife pushing the chair and hoisting it into their vehicle. It was a challenge, and they were curtailing some of their activities as a result. Young helped get the couple of power wheelchair.
“It was extremely difficult for them,” Young says. “This man was more than 6 feet tall, and you can imagine how hard it was for his wife to help him get around. Now they get to church more easily and they are going out for Sunday dinner and socializing again. This chair has changed their lives.”
“I love it, and I’m very glad to be part of this company,” she said. “I’m glad Gary helped me find it.”