Michigan Home Care Service Turns to OnDeck for Business Growth
Meadowlark Home Care of Oak Park, Michigan has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for September 2018. The home care service is the first small business in the State of Michigan to earn the OnDeck customer spotlight award.
DeVoughn Owens founded Meadowlark Home Care in 1997 after a long career as an intensive care nurse in the Detroit area and more than 20 years of service in the Air Force Air National Guard. Her nursing career prompted her interest in starting a group home business to care for individuals with special needs. Initially, she explored residences in Detroit, but most were not eligible to be grandfathered in for use as group homes, which would have been more cost effective to launch the business. Ultimately, DeVoughn took a leap of faith and decided to transform her own home into a group home. By October 1997, she was licensed and Meadowlark Home Care was up and running.
Today, Meadowlark Home Care operates two group homes in Oak Park and Southfield, Michigan and employs 14 caregivers. The business specializes in home care services for patients with mental illness, dementia, and developmental disabilities
“Our goal at Meadowlark is to meet the mental, physical, and spiritual needs of all of our patients,” says DeVoughn. “We have strong relationships with agencies such as Macomb Oakland Regional Center (MORC), Easter Seals, Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN) and the families of the individuals that we provide services for. Once we get to know each other and they are able to see how the clients’ progress and how comfortable they are with our services, a level of trust is established. My vision is to treat people like they are my own family.”
Meadowlark Home Care has now been in business for more than twenty years, but as DeVoughn relates, obtaining financing to grow was not always easy. In 2017, she was denied for a loan from a local bank who said her debt ratio was too high.
“It came as a shock to me because I had banked with the institution for so long, and they knew the strength of the business and how much capital I had,” says DeVoughn. “It was very frustrating. I began to look around for alternative financing online and was referred to OnDeck.”
DeVoughn received a term loan and a line of credit from OnDeck in 2017 and now uses them to sustain her business when there are unforeseen vacancies in the group homes.
“Any business owner knows that your revenues can change over a period of time, but expenses do not. So how do you meet the expenses when the revenue goes down? You need to borrow a little until you fill that vacancy so you can keep paying your bills, make payroll and address all the other items,” says DeVoughn. “It’s smart business. I thank God for OnDeck because they were willing to give me a chance when no other lender would. I will always be grateful and thankful for OnDeck.”
“DeVoughn Owens is the embodiment of a hardworking small business owner whose efforts directly benefit others,” says Andrea Gellert, Chief Revenue Officer, OnDeck. “In every successful small business, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision. In DeVoughn’s case, that mean literally opening up her own home to help and care for those in need. We are proud to play a small part in supporting the crucial and inspiring work of DeVoughn and her staff at Meadowlark Home Care.”