Carewatch: Martin Price
Martin Price on caring for people and his business
Name: Martin Price
Martin Price may have a modern-day franchise, but he can still rely on the most traditional of small business assets – the family. Wife Margaret helps Martin run the Southampton branch of Carewatch, a domiciliary care franchise with over 100 homes dotted across the UK, while father Jeff also ensures the business is kept ticking over from a more back seat position.
For the last 7 years, the Prices have steadily made a success of their care home, and now employ 200 staff and generate an annual turnover of £1.8 million. Martin says that his previous experience in the sector and the lack of services in this niche market presented him with an ideal opportunity.
“We felt there was a local shortage of supply for services in this types of business, and that franchising was a fast and efficient way to get up and running,” he says. “We ran residential homes previously and these provided the necessary working capital.”
After raising the £50,000 needed to take on and run the franchise and quitting his job as a management accountant for IBM, Martin was able to exploit the lack of local residential care by opening his Carewatch home just three months after first applying to become a franchisee.
Unsurprisingly, Martin feels that his family has been a massive factor in the success of the business.
“I am an accountant, Jeff is a qualified social worker and Margaret is a nurse,” he explains. “All of these qualifications were excellent grounding for this type of venture.
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“The accounting role gave me the grounding for the running and administration of the business, and the background in care of Jeff helped with the day to day practical issues and training requirements for this industry.”
After gruelling 60-hour weeks after he started up the home, the hard work paid off and Martin admits that they have “exceeded expectations dramatically.” He now works a more sedate 30-hour week.
Martin now hopes to build on the success he has already achieved and expand his business by 20 per cent over the next year. That’s not to say that his main goals are measured purely in pounds and pence.
“The initial ambition was financial, but you need to take time to enjoy the rewards and you won’t succeed if you don’t enjoy what you do,” he says.
Apart from a few troubles attracting dedicated staff, Martin insists that he has no regrets and has never contemplated failure. So what is the secret to his success?
“That’s difficult,” he ponders. “Clear goals are important, financial awareness and the ability to listen to the requirements of your customers. You should ensure that you have sufficient working capital, and don’t pull away from the day to day running until you have met your goals.”
Martin feels that his family has been a massive factor in the success of the business.