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Worth County home health and medical transport company owner gets financing and realizes growth with SBDC assistance


Sylvester entrepreneur Gwendolyn McDaniel would often call Karen Rackley for information or contacts to support her new businesses in home health care and non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services.

Rackley, the top executive for the Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce and the Worth County Economic Development Authority, would, in turn, suggest McDaniel call Rob Martin, a consultant in the Albany office of the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. Every time.

McDaniel refused to make the call.

“I had worked in procurement for the Army and for Proctor & Gamble, and I knew a lot about how to run a business,” she said. “I refused, seriously, to sit down and take the time for the SBDC to help me be successful.”

Until, that is, she sat down with Martin.

“Gwen had been referred to us several times and did not want to do it. She kept putting it off,” Martin agrees. “Then the city made available a revolving loan fund (RLF) she could use to expand her businesses and buy a building. At that pivotal point, her landlord was going to sell her building. She wanted the building and needed three new vehicles. She came to us with five days left to apply for the loan.”

McDaniel had been looking for creative ways to finance her companies, PremiereCare @ Home and PremiereCare Transportation LLC, when she learned about two revolving loan funds – the one offered by the city of Sylvester, the other by Worth County.

“They were both about to lose the funds. No one had applied for them yet,” she said. She chose to pursue the Worth County funding.

The applications were lengthy.

“There were 18 items I had to submit along with my information,” McDaniel said. “They were looking for a business plan, profit and loss statement, cash flow pro forma and a personal guarantee, among others. I had to put it all together, and I had no clue. When I saw that, I knew I needed help.

“So I called Karen and said, ‘Tell me that name again?’”

McDaniel called Martin, and the next day they met for three hours to go over the application.

“Once we had that meeting, I wanted to jump over the table and hug him,” she said. “Rob set the foundation, making sure I understood everything I needed to do for the loan application.”

“We went over what her business plan looked like, and she needed to do her financial projections. Then we put together a rough draft,” said Martin. “We don’t write the plans, but we do show our clients what they need to focus on. I helped her leave with the structure of the plan, and she spent the night writing it. She had it to me the next morning to review and update.”

Within two days McDaniel completed the application, Martin said.

McDaniel had opened her companies in March and April of 2016 with one vehicle and about $1,800 in monthly sales revenues. Upon receiving the revolving loan fund, she purchased five more NEMT vehicles and her building. By June 2018, she was up to 11 vehicles and 12 employees servicing three major contracts. She plans to purchase three more NEMT vehicles, and her sales earnings will double from 2017 to six figures this year. She continues to apply for major contracts and plans to expand her NEMT services to provide rides 24 hours, seven days a week.

Martin encourages small business owners to seek SBDC support earlier than five days from a hard deadline, and he says McDaniel agrees, telling him, “‘If I’d come to you the first time I was referred to you, I’d be six months further down the road today.’”

“I don’t think Rob ever met anyone who fought against him like I did, and now I love him to death,” McDaniel said. “I have sent a few people to Rob, and now they’re doing well, too. You have to go to the SBDC to get that foundation.”

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