Business Q & A

5 questions with Michael Steinberg

Michael Steinberg has traded in his experience in retail and human resource management to become a business owner.

Steinberg, 30, and his wife, Ewelina, relocated to Wichita from Chicago and recently opened the city's sole Home Instead Senior Care franchise, which has 20 employees. Home Instead provides a variety of nonmedical services to seniors, such as light housekeeping, cooking and companionship.

The couple met in Chicago, where Steinberg moved to attend graduate school. There, he worked for a Home Instead franchisee, as did Ewelina.

They ended up in Wichita, Steinberg said, after an eight- month search of available Home Instead franchises.

"It was a research decision," he said. "It was based on the best place to locate this franchise, given what was available from Home Instead Senior Care. And it was also based on the best place to raise a family, the best place to live."

Where are you from originally?

"I'm sort of kind of from Dallas. I moved around a lot. I get a lot of questions about whether that was from the military, but my dad was in retail, too. So I lived in about five or six states before I was 12. I lived in Dallas the longest. I have some family in Dallas and some in Chicago. And we're putting down some roots here."

What was the impetus for becoming a Home Instead franchisee?

"I think that the long-term goal for me, especially after I met my wife, was to own my own business. In considering the possibilities, the idea of doing something like Home Instead Senior Care just made sense. It's a service that has an immediate and direct impact on the community. And it's very easy to feel good about what we do because what we do is help people who are in need."

Had you considered owning other businesses?

"We were looking around at different options, different types of businesses. And we were looking at things like consulting and grocery delivery. But in the end the answer really was staring right at us. It was the company we were currently working for."

Where do you want the company to be a year from now?

"We're at the point where we've been open a month and a half and we've already started helping clients. We're looking to grow, to add about five caregivers a week to our payroll."

What's the revenue split between Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement and private pay?

"Actually none of our clients are Medicare/Medicaid. As a completely nonmedical service, Medicare/Medicaid typically won't cover what we do. So all of our clients are 100 percent private-pay at this point. There would be a chance, maybe in the future, we would look at some of the Medicaid waiver programs. Although many forms of long-term care insurance are happy to pay for our services because it's much less expensive than being in a (health care facility)."