Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – January 29, 2024
CEOCFO: Ms. Deanes, what is the overall vision behind UltraCare Services, and what is your focus today?
Ms. Deanes: At UltraCare Services, our primary goal is to ensure the happiness and well-
CEOCFO: How have you developed that balance and what was your idea when you started UltraCare?
Ms. Deanes: We do a lot of training but most importantly UltraCare Services had to realize we cannot teach a caregiver to be compassionate, so we are very decisive in who we hire. They must be extremely compassionate and willing to help others if they want to be an outstanding caregiver. It is not a strenuous process, but it is more of a personal process. Conversations and skill tests during interviews are mandatory because it shares more than just reviewing resumes; we assess a potential caregiver as someone we would trust in our own family’s home. I think that is the most important thing.
A caregiver's role is somewhat like a roommate situation, but with a notable distinction – you have the option to adjust as needed. In college, being stuck with an incompatible roommate can have repercussions, even if only for a semester. What sets our approach at UltraCare Services apart is our commitment to collaborating with the clients and caregivers. We ensure they are comfortable with their assigned responsibilities, avoiding the practice of merely placing someone to fill a position. If necessary, we are transparent about our capacity, informing individuals when we don't currently have a suitable match. This transparency is a key factor that distinguishes our approach.
CEOCFO: How do you recruit caregivers today and what type of people are looking to provide this service; it is not the highest paying job?
Ms. Deanes: Caregiving is known for having the highest turnover rate globally. I categorize individuals into two types. Initially, I took a hands-
Our primary source for finding caregivers is through word of mouth, which we consider the most effective. Referrals from our existing caregivers are the best, as they provide firsthand information about the job and qualifications. Many are hesitant to vouch for someone without assurance of their reliability. Additionally, my intuition plays a significant role; upon meeting someone, I can usually tell if they possess the qualities needed to be a successful caregiver. This intuitive ability, while a bit daunting, is a valuable gift of discernment, because you don’t work with them in an office setting and it’s so crucial to feel comfortable with sending a caregiver into an elderly person’s home.
Despite not being a caregiver myself, I am inherently giving and compassionate. As an owner, I've had to assume a caregiver's role multiple times when caregivers requested time off, acknowledging the inherent challenges. It's not the most financially lucrative job and dealing with sometimes difficult or even mean-
In assessing potential caregivers, qualities such as coachability, trainability, and compassion are paramount. We often encounter individuals transitioning from roles like housekeeping, where they had minimal interaction. Clear communication during training is essential, as even those who enjoy cleaning may initially resist tasks outside their perceived job description. We emphasize that caregivers are not there to function as maids but rather to provide quality in homecare so that they are able to maintain in the home, fostering a genuinely happy living environment for the elderly. Our overarching message to caregivers is that our primary focus is on being there to help while still providing quality care.
CEOCFO: What is your geographic range?
Ms. Deanes: I cover the majority of Los Angeles County.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the business side of UltraCare?
Ms. Deanes: UltraCare specializes in non-
Many individuals lack awareness of the caregiving industry. Although I am regarded as a veteran in this industry, I have a village of owners that I can communicate with as well as learn from. I am continually learning. Surprisingly, the State of California only mandated a state license in 2016; prior to that, agencies relied on background checks. It took until 2018 for widespread adoption of these regulations. Notably, I established and operated my business since 2011, navigating the industry's evolution for years before mandatory regulations were fully implemented. Originally, I started as a homecare franchise, I made the decision to leave the franchise two years ago.
Ms. Deanes: While there's nothing inherently negative about the franchise, it became clear that it wasn't the right fit for the evolving landscape of our industry. I received a lack of adaptability to rule changes, and it became apparent that there were aspects that needed reevaluation. Choosing not to renew my contract was a strategic decision, driven by the belief that I am self-
CEOCFO: Business is going well; we saw your recognition in the INC 5000 and the VET100!
Ms. Deanes: Yes, business is AMAZING!! I’m pinching myself as I see my hard work being recognized by the country. To be ranked #927 overall on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list for the first time submitting and being selected was such a magical accomplishment. I also am ranked #144 for the state of California and #79 overall in Health Services. INC 5000 is for the fastest-
CEOCFO: What have you learned about the business side, how have you developed the business sense so that not only are you helping people in a meaningful way, but it is positive in the financial realm?
Ms. Deanes: I did pharmaceutical sales for 25 years and loved that career. After being laid off during the recession in 2010 I started researching businesses. I bought this company on my 16th year of being a pharmaceutical rep. I worked both full-
My mother was from the corporate side, my father was from the entrepreneur side. At five or six years old, my dad owned candy stores, lounges and different things. I remember at 5 to 7years old, I was behind the cash register ringing up and selling candy to people, all while I was standing on a crate to reach the cash register. It was crazy because it was what I wanted to do. I remember being in his lounge watching sports games. I laugh now about it when talking to my dad because I don't think I was supposed to be in there. While working at the lounge " People asked if they could have some Coke and I said, "Yes, it is 0.25$." I wanted the quarter to have money to play Pac-
The biggest lesson I would tell anybody who is an owner/operator is you just cannot do it all. Even though they say in the first five years most businesses are forced because they might not have the finances to pay for a team. I was able to operate all by myself while working a full-
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the UltraCare Charitable Foundation?
Ms. Deanes: UltraCare Charitable Foundation started about six years ago, I was using my own private funds to provide care to seniors who could not afford care. When I would do home assessments, they did not understand the process of them having to privately pay for care. They were eating cat food, they did not have any diapers, and they did not have any cleaning supplies basically in need of daily essentials. I never raised a bunch of money for the organization, I created it to donate money from my company and gift it to UltraCare Charitable Foundation to help seniors who were in need in communities that could not afford care.
It was created for indigenous elderly originally; however, it has been for everybody because there are people in poverty throughout Los Angeles County but may not fit the “indigenous category” but needs some type of nonmedical homecare. It came from me walking into multiple homes and I was like there must be a nonprofit who does this. I searched for a few years and then decided to start my own foundation. I do not solicit or promote the nonprofit as I should because I just love giving back; however, I have hired someone who focuses on nonprofits to grow the funds to help as many elderly who are in need.
CEOCFO: What is next for UltraCare?
Ms. Deanes: I think what is next is expansion. I see global in my future, and I have been approached by government officials to start that process. This year 2023 I made a comment to myself that I was going to choose me and go above and beyond for the business. I took a severe hit during COVID, but it later became a blessing, my rewards have been reaped. The things that you are seeing from 2022, and 2023, have doubled. There has been a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, working most of the time during my vacations and sacrificing quality time that should have been spent with my husband and children. I think what is next is expanding my internal team so that I can have more clients, which will lead to hiring more employees. Continue to Elevate my Empire. Start building more business friendships. When it comes to business I tend to move in silence. Most of my family and friends really can’t explain what type of services UltraCare Services provides, which makes it hard for them to recommend my company. This is the first time this year I have done interviews since being in business. I have built a team that will continue to help me grow and develop new niches within this industry.
I looked at UltraCare Services as a business for extra income for my children’s college funds and extracurricular activities from the beginning of starting this business, because I loved being a Specialty Pharmaceutical sales rep. After working at my company full-
The key is being in rooms where only God has placed you. Therefore, when I say global, that is what is next for me because I asked God to place me in rooms that only He could place me in. This year that was my prayer for me to start the new year. He has gone above and beyond. I pinch myself on days, not that I am not deserving, but as a black woman those opportunities are not always given even when you have the resources to make it happen. This industry is predominantly male-
UltraCare Services | Home Care Services | Senior Care Los Angeles | Help With Daily Living Activities | Leslee Deanes | Services – Specializing in Non-