12 Years and Growing
Dietitians on Demand Enters 12th Year
I think it’s true what they say that the older you get, the faster the years go by. It’s exciting to reflect and see how far we’ve come, and we are proud to say that Dietitians on Demand recently celebrated its 12th anniversary! While it certainly seems like a blur, I remember every detail of the early days of Dietitians on Demand, even before it was officially called that.
My wife, Alicia Davis, RD, and I started this company after she noticed there were no easy options to find a dietitian to fill in when she needed temporary coverage at the rehabilitation where she worked. While searching for her own coverage, Alicia quickly realized that working consulting assignments at different facilities around our home town of Richmond, Va., could allow her to enjoy a more flexible schedule, a better work/life balance, and even earn more money!
It wasn’t long after that initial coverage need that she became a full-time independent consultant. Her clients loved her, and her schedule filled up quickly, but the calls kept coming in. Unfortunately, she couldn’t be at two facilities at once, so we started Dietitians on Demand, LLC with a small group of local dietitians to address the staffing gap. Our first account was a small community hospital in the east end of Richmond. Alicia heard about the opportunity at a networking event and booked a meeting with the Food Service Director. She was excited but nervous as she went to present her company before a client for the first time.
The Director listened to the presentation and then said something to the effect of: “So, let me get this straight. You’ve got a bunch of dietitians-in-waiting, and when I need one, I just call you, and you send them out?” It was a cringe-worthy moment that might have tripped up less-driven dietitians, but Alicia pressed on and calmly presented the features and benefits of using a professional staffing service.
She won the account and we were underway.
The Very Early Days
In the very early days of Dietitians on Demand, we operated out of the spare bedroom of our house, we had a landline business phone and we kept paper stacks of resumes for dietitians that we knew on the desk. We had my cousin, a lawyer, draw up our contracts, and my father, a printer, do our brochures. A college roommate designed our logo, a friend designed our website and boom, we were ready for business.
Timecards were faxed in, invoices were hand typed in Word, paychecks were hand-written and mailed out, and we definitely didn’t have a job board. What we did have was a white board in our office with the jobs listed, our own version of a “job board.”
We could forward our office phone to our flip phone to receive calls, which was convenient, but even when we got the call, we couldn’t look up anything on-the-go because we didn’t have a laptop and a mobile data connection was, well, non-existent.
We were small, but we didn’t mind because we had real relationships with our dietitians. Alicia often worked with them face-to-face, and they were like family. When our daughter was born in 2006, our dietitians celebrated with us.
In 2007, Dietitians on Demand, LLC was still a side job for me. I worked my regular job during the day and I’d research marketing strategies at night. I found out about something called Google AdWords which would help clients and RDs find us easier online. So, I decided to give it a try. It worked! By 2008 the stacks of resumes were towering, the phone was ringing a lot, and the company’s needs were growing beyond what our spare bedroom could offer.
We’ve Come So Far
Twelve years later, we have thousands of dietitians in our database, almost 14,000 followers on social media and our name shows up at the top of all our targeted searches. Timecards are done online, documents are signed digitally, and our job board works 24/7. In 2017 we do more sales in one day than we did in all of 2005. I estimate that we have employed over 1,500 dietitians and that last year our team did over 250,000 nutrition assessments.
We have built a fabulous corporate office team. Our staff of recruiters work daily building relationships with the RDs they employ, our sales team gets to the heart of our client’s needs, and our support personnel bring it all together. Just like back in the early days, when Alicia had more consulting work than she could handle, it’s now impossible for us to know each of you who are out working in the field. I don’t have your phone number memorized and I don’t know your life story, but you are important to us. You are a part of our story and we appreciate you.
Thank you for building our brand. Thank you for being our representatives in the field. Thank you for making an impact on public health by providing a desperately-needed service. Thank you for reporting to work on that first day and saying I’m from Dietitians on Demand and I’m here to help.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.