Salario Senior Care
- March 17, 2020
- March 17, 2020
"The advisors at the Illinois SBDC are your biggest cheerleaders."
- Daniellah Salario, Owner
Assisting Hands Home Care, Arlington Heights, IL
Many families have experienced how difficult it can be to care for elderly family and friends. Trying to do it all yourself can be emotionally and physically challenging. But the alternative of moving someone out of their home is often not an appealing option. To assist seniors and their families, Daniellah Salario decided to start her own home care business. Salario Senior Care started working with their first client on Mother’s Day in 2017. The business has steadily grown and currently has about 35 caregivers to serve clients in the Arlington Heights area.
Why did you choose to open a home care business?
I had always wanted to own a business. I knew it could be challenging but I thought it would also give me the chance to be creative. My personal experiences with my own family led me to the idea of a home care business. I had witnessed, firsthand, what it was like for someone to remain in their own home as they aged versus what their life was like within a nursing home. It was very clear to me that home is where they needed to be if at all possible.
What was your background prior to opening Salario Senior Care?
While I knew what I wanted to do, my background didn’t exactly meet my needs. My educational training was in Latin American Studies and I started out teaching English as a second language courses at Harper College. I didn’t know anything about business, or senior care, or care giving. I’ve now gained some experience working with seniors and am finishing up a master’s degree in Gerontology.
Tell us a little about your business and what makes it unique.
We provide one on one care that enables our clients to remain in their own homes and maintain their independence. Our caregivers help clients with activities such as bathing, continence, and eating. They also help clients with tasks like meal preparation, housekeeping, and transportation. In addition, caregivers provide general companionship for clients. We take pride in operating like an old-fashioned business. Caregivers are very hands on with clients. Customer service includes phone calls, stopping by the house, and an attitude that the customer is always right. When it comes to technology, we like to balance its use with the business so that we remain as personable as possible.
How did you hear about the Illinois SBDC at Harper College?
I was doing some online searches for business classes and networking groups. I ended up taking a Quickbooks class at Harper and ran across some information about the Illinois SBDC at Harper College. I knew that since it was affiliated with Harper it would be a quality program.
What was the problem you were facing when you decided to contact the Illinois SBDC?
I was planning to launch my business, but I really didn’t know anything about business in general. Everything was new to me – accounting, marketing, recruiting, leadership, even how to acquire an office space. It was quite overwhelming. Even scary at first. I really wanted to find a way to just get some general guidance to help me start out.
How did the Illinois SBDC help with the problems you were having?
My teaching experience really helped me to recognize the importance of having a mentor. Talking with friends and family is helpful, but it’s good to talk with someone who has the experience you’re looking for and who can offer more objective feedback about what you’re doing. The people at the Illinois SBDC are really excited for you to build a business. They have a good perspective on what it’s like during the early years. You feel like they’re genuinely on your team. They really helped me learn how to talk about my business and helped me to build up my confidence. That was probably the biggest thing for someone like me who didn’t have a business background. They took me through big picture discussions that helped me formulate a vision for the business. They also helped me to reflect on things I had been doing. All this helped to create accountability for me to keep moving forward.
Who did you meet with at the Illinois SBDC that helped you with your problem?
So far, I have met with Tom to get help with financial projections and how to fund the business, and Cheri to discuss marketing. I’m planning to schedule a time to meet with Tony to talk about my accounting.
Would you recommend small business owners use the services of the Illinois SBDC at Harper College?
I would absolutely recommend the services of the Illinois SBDC at Harper College. Everyone needs a mentor. The advisors at the Illinois SBDC are your biggest cheerleaders. And the services don’t cost you anything.
What does the future look like for Salario Senior Care?
I really want to focus on continuing to improve on the quality of our care through caregiver training. Beyond that I want to be able to provide better employment opportunities for staff and caregivers. Right now, the staff wears many hats which pulls people in several directions at once and hinders productivity. We’re so lean that if one person takes time off everyone else suffers. I also want to ensure our caregivers feel fulfilled with their jobs because it offers stable employment at a living wage with opportunities for professional growth. Growing the business to the point where we have a steady stream of clients will enable us to develop a better work environment to offer better employment opportunities.
If you had one piece of advice to give someone just starting out, what would it be?
I would say “just start.” No one knows if they’re making the right decision, but you won’t find out unless you just start. If you’re concerned about quality, things will generally take care of themselves as you go. I like to say that business is series of decisions on how to spend time and money. You are going to learn along the way so just start.