We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Lemuel Mascarinas a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Lemuel , looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Owning a business isn’t always glamorous and so most business owners we’ve connected with have shared that on tough days they sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have just had a regular job instead of all the responsibility of running a business. Have you ever felt that way?
There are a lot of benefits of being a business owner. However, together with these benefits comes a lot of responsibilities, expectations, sacrifices and stress. People from the outside looking in are amazed by the lifestyle and perks of having a successful business, but they are not privy to things that go behind the scenes and are not aware of the amount of burden we have to carry everyday. Entrepreneurs don’t work from 8 to 5 nor have weekends and holidays. Every day is a Monday and no matter what time of the day; it can be the middle of the night, we have to be there if the company needs us.
I have to admit that there are days that I wonder what it would be like not having all these responsibilities and just live a simple life as a regular employee. Sometimes I think that by not having all these authority, my life would be undemanding and stress free.
Likewise, being an engineer by profession, there are days that I miss the grind of being in the field, critical thinking when designing projects, and having the satisfaction of seeing your work come to life after being completed. I do have these days especially when I see the tools that I used to work with while I was still practicing engineering.
Nevertheless, whenever I see my kids growing up and excelling in all the things that they are pursuing right now, I am very thankful because having a business gave us something that only a few people have; time. Our business gave us the precious gift of getting to live our lives on our own terms and it gave us control of our own time. As a result, we were with our children every step of the way, guiding them and teaching them how to navigate life.
So to answer your question, yes, I am very happy being a business owner and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Lemuel , before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
My name is Lemuel Mascarinas, originally a Mechanical Engineer by profession, now I am the owner and founder of the Maxicare Group of Companies.
I came to the US in 2005 but because of the recession, I couldn’t find a steady job to support my family. After grinding it out and working odd and blue-collar jobs for 3 years, an opportunity came knocking to start a small business in 2008. With limited funds, knowledge, manpower and skills, I was able to grow this small business into a multi-million-dollar organization armed only with pure determination, perseverance, hard work, sacrifices and a strong never give up attitude. Currently, Maxicare are in 4 different states (Illinois, Nevada, Texas, and Florida) and has grown to 3 different divisions providing services to hundreds of clients all over the US.
Our staffing division provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services for home health agencies and employs between 150-200 employees, with a lot of them coming from the Philippines whom we petitioned with working and/or immigrant visas. Their operations are centered in Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas and Florida.
Our management division manages some of our staffing and outpatient clinics and owns and manages our satellite office based in the Philippines that employs our virtual assistants.
The newest division that we have is the outpatient clinic and we currently have 2 that are operating in Chicago and Las Vegas, with a 3rd clinic being constructed in Houston right now as we speak. A 4th clinic is in the process of materializing in Dallas with a goal to have it up and running by the end of the year.
Unlike other cookie cutter outpatient Physical Therapy clinics, the services we provide are unique and each branch has its own specialization or niche. Our Chicago branch specializes in Vestibular Rehab and Post-concussion rehabilitation on top of the normal physical therapy services we provide. Our Las Vegas branch specializes in Cardiac Physical therapy and is fully equipped to treat patients that have recently undergone heart surgery. Our Houston branch, although still being constructed, are already starting the process of specializing in Vestibular and Pediatric Rehab with a goal of being another Cardiac Physical Therapy clinic by the end of the year. The services that our Dallas outpatient rehab will provide is kind of a secret right now, and the only thing that I can say is that it will be totally unique and something that has never been done before.
But all these branches will integrate both western and eastern medicine to create a product that will produce results that will give not only immediate relief, but help our patients get back to the things that they love doing.
Likewise, we have forged a partnership with Uber Health to transport our patients to and from our clinics who doesn’t have their own personal transportation.
These are huge projects, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my team whom I am very proud of. Yes, I am the face of the company, but these individuals are the people that I work hand in hand with, day in and day out to make all of these happen. They are the people that I am in the trench with and are not hesitant to roll their sleeves and get to work. Adrian, Marc, Jeremiah, Chris, Annabel, James, Jose, Sandra, Mike, Freya, Sharon, Angel, and all our employees are the reasons why Maxicare is where is at right now. We share the same values, determination, drive and hunger for success.
Moreover, we are all still young and we’re just getting started so we’re excited thinking where the company will be 5-10 years from now.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
Just like any other business, our company had its ups and downs. Especially when Covid hit a couple of years ago, our business took a big hit and lost about 56% in revenues. On top of that, we lost a lot of good employees due to attrition and a lot of our clients have either shutdown due to the pandemic and changes in Medicare regulations or were acquired through mergers. Because of these, the morale was really low and the temptation to just close our doors and move on was very high.
However, we all came together as a team, strategized and created a plan to ride out the challenges and put our companies in a winning position once the pandemic was over. It was really difficult but we were able to pull it off through teamwork and trust.
So while other business closed shops during the pandemic, Maxicare expanded to another state and created our new outpatient clinics; an enormous feat considering the current status of the economy.
Do you have any stories of times when you almost missed payroll or any other near death experiences for your business?
When I started Maxicare 13 years ago, my wife and I didn’t have a lot of money to use as capital so for more than 1 year, both of us were not collecting paychecks to make sure the revenues coming in were injected towards our employees’ salaries and vendors.
Likewise, there were a lot of instances during the early stages of our business where I had to give up my own salary to make sure that our employees were paid on time or to make rent because our clients were late on their payments to us.
We’ve had numerous close calls where we almost missed payroll because of our clients not paying on time, but we did everything and went far and beyond not to make that happen. 13 years in the business and we’ve never missed a paycheck despite of all the challenges and I could proudly say that it’s one of the things that we take pride in.