A Note from the VP, Jim Greatorex: September 2023

Published in Home Modifications on September 27, 2023

Jim GreatorexBy Jim Greatorex, VP, VGM Live at Home

We have had a great summer here in Iowa and if you haven’t been here in the summer, let’s face it, most of you haven’t, you have not experienced surprisingly some of the best summer weather around. Nice warm days and not many that are too hot and humid, and very pleasant nights that are bookended by spectacular sunrises and sunsets in a big sky. As much as the winter can be harsh, the summers here are as good as it gets! 

But now we move into fall, and with the change in the season we seem to get busier and back to our routines. The focus now goes to finishing the year strong. We are still seeing the fourth quarter showing growth in a year-over-year view.

This also means football season! Many of us are football fans, and I am no different. My team has gotten off to rough start, and my fantasy team is even worse! I certainly hope your fall and your football team are successful.

We have a few things to share, so let’s jump right in!

Harmar Has the New Uplift Curved Stairlift

Most of you have likely heard that Harmar is the new U.S. distributor of the Uplight stairlift product. It’s a product that you can design yourself and put together out of in stock sections and parts. What makes that awesome is that for curved stairlifts especially, it’s possible to go to clients' homes to take pictures of the stairwell and go back and design and build the stairlift in the shop and install it soon after, the next day even! How many more sales could you close if you had that quick of a turnaround? On Monday, Sept. 25, Harmar presented the product and what’s entailed to become a reseller and installer. They also are looking to host an install training at our Building Opportunity Summit. Limited spots are available, and there are criteria you need to meet to handle the product. Check out the webinar here.

Preview of the Building Opportunities Summit

This is where the home access industry comes to meet! 

It’s great to have virtual meetings and to have folks come into your office, but there is nothing like having face-to-face conversations with industry experts and home access peers. This industry is still evolving, and we need to come together to build the industry so we can make the home access sea rise and sail all our ships.

We have a lot of opportunities and challenges facing us, and the demand for our services is growing. What better way to learn how to make your business better than with other company leaders from all over the country? Here are some of our highlighted tracks:

Creating a Sticky Organization – Strategies for Retaining Home Accessibility Talent 

Martin Simenc, a veteran home access company owner in the San Francisco market, will lead a discussion on keeping your talent. Beyond competitive pay, what can be done to retain and motivate your staff? He will share some creative techniques and solicit contributions from the audience as well. I have heard Martin speak on this subject, and his insight is unique and easy to implement. We promise great takeaways!

Two Tracks on State Waiver Programs 

Katy Dodd from Lifewise will share her experience as her company administers programs for several Medicaid Waiver MCOs. Find our how these payers work, what it takes to participate, and why they need more companies doing the work.

We will back that up with a panel discussion on State Waiver Programs and how to make that work be part of your pipeline. This will be moderated by Kathy Feeney, COO of Omicelo. They are the administrator the UMPC Waiver Program in Western PA. On the panel will be members who participate in waiver programs and a project manager who oversees home access jobs. There is a lot of opportunity in these programs, as in many cases they cannot find enough qualified contractors. This will be a great chance to learn all about how these programs work.

Producing Quality Estimates and Scope of Work 

Rick Lair from Challenge Specialties is an engineer who has more than 30 years’ experience in accessible housing. Rick is a new consultant for Live at Home and has three levels of expertise. One is how to produce professional quotes that will protect you, show your value to your customer, and keep you in the black, and he will speak about that. He also has been involved in many unique home access projects and can help members with any challenging structure or help design modifications for any unique client. He also knows the Bank Trust business and can help members learn how to engage in that market. We believe that you will take away helpful tips from his session and perspective. 

Marketing to the Clinical Referral – A Panel Discussion

Are you comfortable speaking with medical professionals? Would you like best practices for reaching them with your company’s message? How do you do that? What type of messaging resonates with the medical community? Cindi Petito, OTR, and author of our white paper will lead a discussion that asks those questions. Join Gregg Frank, OTR and Owner of Back Home Safely, and Nathan Coburn, SVP for Lifeway Mobility, for an interactive panel discussion on a very important topic for your business.

These sessions highlight a full slate that includes a welcome reception on Thursday, Nov. 9 from 5 -7 p.m. We will have exhibits from 4-6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov, 10 after a full day of sessions. On Friday night, enjoy a fun banquet, raffle prizes and awards, and then hang out and watch your colleagues go up on stage and be hypnotized by our guest entertainer, Hypnotist Joseph Roberts. Better yet, jump up onstage yourself and be part of the show!

Saturday, Nov. 11 has a full slate, and we will highlight the round table discussions in next month’s note.

This is a chance to spend a couple of days spending time on your business instead of in your business. We sincerely hope you can make the time to join us in San Antonio!

As always, thanks for your membership and all the great, meaningful work you do every day for the clients you serve.

Jim Greatorex 


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  1. home modifications
  2. vgm live at home

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