CEO of Veterans Home Care LLC
New York is home to many successful entrepreneurs. New York native Bonnie Laiderman achieved entrepreneurial success in the Midwest then scaled her business to serve seniors in New York and eventually from coast-to-coast.
“Bonnie Laiderman started Veterans Home Care in 2003 as a solo operation after her experience as a caregiver to her elderly mother. As CEO and owner, Bonnie has led the company to become one of the largest women-owned businesses in the St. Louis metro area and the largest provider of its kind.”
Her life as a budding entrepreneur actually began with tragedy.
Laiderman’s mother and stepfather were living in California. Her stepfather passed away at age 64 suffering from leukemia brought about, in all likelihood, by chemical exposure during his wartime military service.
Many years later in 2003, her mother, Edith Sperling, passed away from breast cancer. Just prior to her mother’s passing, Laiderman learned about a special pension offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs called “aid and attendance”.
The pension assists veterans and their spouses who served during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and the Gulf War. It provides an additional payment to those who need the aid and attendance of another person to meet the demands of daily living.
“I was very frustrated because by the time I found out about the pension it was a challenge getting all the documents together, and the next day I found out my mother was terminal. We finally found something to help her and she was going to die. I was furious and brought her to our home in St. Louis. She died 11 days later,” Laiderman said.
From this tragedy and frustration Laiderman started Veterans Home Care in St. Louis in 2003. She began with 7 clients, and by the end of the first year was up to 23. As the business grew Laiderman’s husband, Howard Laiderman left their closeout /surplus firm to join the company.
Today, as CEO, Laiderman runs a business that now serves veterans in 48 states with a network of 4,000+ home care providers through its VetAssist® Program.
“Accessing the aid and attendance pension is complicated. Who knew this little girl from Brooklyn would come along and figure it out?”
Laiderman invented Veterans Home Care’s unique business model.
The company now generates over $40 million per year. “It is not about the money, it is all about helping those who served our country”, says Mr. Laiderman. Our team is committed to our mission, and currently helping thousands of families. Veterans Home Care has helped more than 19,000 veterans and their surviving spouses access VA benefits for the care they need.
VHC has a team of over 114 employees and has won multiple awards for both business and personal service helping others lead better lives.
The awards range from a multiple winner of the Inc. 5000 for fastest growing companies to the Torch Award from the Better Business Bureau for outstanding ethics in business practices. In addition Laiderman has served on various committees with different organizations such as Lydia’s House, the American Red Cross and the Jewish Federation.
Bonnie offers advice for upcoming entrepreneurs.
Many young business owners see Laiderman as a role model. For those Laiderman offers this advice, “First of all, learn as much about your business and your prospective clients as you can. I discovered an unmet need in the marketplace, but that’s not enough. Find out how much money you need before you start.”
Laiderman said you will need a passion for your business. “Your passion not only keeps you going, it’s contagious. It helps you build a team of people who will help you succeed with your mission.”
And she said do not be afraid of taking a risk that could result in a mistake. “Don’t take a business setback personally. You have to make course corrections along the way. Mistakes are lessons learned and if you don’t make them, you will never grow.”
Laiderman said continually positioning the company for strong growth is at the root of its success. “We are positioned to meet any unmet need in the senior healthcare market and continue to innovate.”
Innovation includes offering devices that provide seniors with assistance in life-threatening emergencies and entertainment. VHC’s SmartCompanion/VetAssist Companion service provides the latest in voice-activated medical alert technology with the fun, functionality and intelligence of an Amazon Echo Alexa device including video chats.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic VHC has also pivoted to more efficient use of electronic documents and signatures making it more convenient for those who can’t wait to get care started for their loved one.
She also reveals her method for outstanding customer service at the foundation of VHC’s success.
“I’ve told every employee, treat each client like you would your own mother or father, grandmother or grandfather. Put a picture of your loved one next to you. That way you will talk to a client the same way you talk to a member of your family.” That edict from Laiderman augmented her company’s transformation from a small startup to a national leader in its field.
“Many clients are so appreciative, they’re actually crying as I tell them they will get the help they need,” Laiderman added. “More important, they have their dignity, especially knowing they are paying for their own home care through a benefit they earned through military service. They're able to stay in a home they cherish and age in place." IE
Veterans Home Care® is a family-owned company offering the exclusive VetAssist® Program which helps wartime veterans or their surviving spouses access a VA benefit and home care. Our clients are served by our nationwide network of home care providers and our unparalleled expertise with the Department for Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance benefit.