Right at Home is a provider of personal care, companionship and skilled nursing care ... but with a twist: It’s a franchise.

Along with cleaning, fitness and restoration services, home care is among the fastest growing businesses in the franchise sector, which is still dominated by quick-serve restaurants.

Founded by a former hospital administrator in 1995, Right at Home started offering franchise opportunities in 2000. Today, it has 332 operating territories in 43 states, with 20,000 employees nationwide, said Brian Petranick, president and chief operating officer.

In South Jersey, Brian and Christina Maroney acquired the Right at Home franchise for Atlantic County (a territory that stretches to Vineland) in 2008.

Brian Maroney, 43, of Moorestown, said he previously had a retail business but wanted something with more flexibility that would allow him to spend time with his twin 8-year-old sons, Connall and James.

He said he saw how home care could help while watching his mom take care of his grandmother in the last years of her life. After reading an article in the Wall Street Journal on home care and researching Right at Home, he went to its headquarters in Omaha, Neb., and was impressed with the people and program.

Petranick said Right at Home teaches franchisees home care and the health care system, assigns businesses coaches to them and helps with marketing.

The company also looks for new ways to help franchisees and help them better serve their clients. For example, several years ago it found a Philips machine that dispenses multiple medications accurately throughout the day, and negotiated preferred pricing for it and made it available to franchisees, he said.

The Linwood firm’s certified home health aides provide personal care — help such as changing, showering or toileting that allows someone to remain in their home — or companionship that includes light help around the house and running errands.

Maroney said licensed practical nursing care is for someone with a serious medical condition that needs monitoring around-the-clock.

He said most care is privately paid, but Right at Home also provides care through Medicaid to people who need help but can’t afford it and to veterans through federal Department of Veterans Affairs programs.

Demand for care has been strong, he said, and in January he added another territory: Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties.

In addition to a very long name now, Right at Home Atlantic-Cape May-Cumberland-Salem Counties has 150 employees and 150 to 200 clients at a given time, he said.

To find “really good quality caregivers,” Maroney puts applicants through three interviews, background checks and a probationary period.

To hold onto good staff, he said, he tries “to pay them a little bit higher than the going rate” and provide perks such as lunches, giveaways or even a stress-busting treatment from a licensed massage therapist.

Right at Home franchise documents recommend potential franchisees have “at least $150,000 in liquid assets,” and estimate total initial investment at $72,200 to $126,100.

Petranick said he hasn’t been surprised by the growth of Right at Home, but thought it would take off elsewhere first.

“When we first started franchising, (founder) Allen (Hager) and I speculated Arizona, Texas and Florida would be the states we’d get a strong presence in initially,” he said. “Turns out it was in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Illinois, where there are a lot of people who want to age in place.”

Maroney said he’d like to further expand his operations, which probably would involve acquiring existing adjacent territories.

“When the twins get older, we want to have something we can hand over to them,” he said.

Contact Kevin Post:

609-272-7250

Right at Home Atlantic-

Cape May-Cumberland-

Salem Counties

Location: Central Park East, Route 9, Linwood

Owners: Brian and Christina Maroney, of Moorestown

Started: 2008

Employees: 150

Phone: 609-788-8236

Been working with the Press for about 27 years.