Home Instead Senior Care: Trevor Brocklebank
Trevor Brocklebank on how his business is changing the way care is offered to older people in the UK
“We want to be the most admired care company rather than the biggest or the fastest-growing or the most profitable.”
Home Instead Senior Care plans to change the way care is provided to older people in the UK. With 25 offices across Great Britain and growing, the franchise provides home help and personal care services with a difference, allowing older people to live in their own homes for as long as possible. After winning the Barclays Startup Business of the Year award in October the firm is even more poised to take on the industry.
Founder Trevor Brocklebank did not start out in the care sector: he previously owned a business and IT solutions company servicing large corporates like Viva, the BBC and Novartis. It was only after his own grandfather become ill that Trevor realised care services were severely lacking in quality and choice. He explains:
“What we discovered was that social services care revolves very much around fifteen minute visits – you couldn’t take your coat off and have a cup of tea with my granddad in fifteen minutes, never mind carry out all the tasks carers are meant to perform.”
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Trevor envisaged a care service where someone would visit his grandfather for two hours a day, to cook, do some basic cleaning and take him out for his pension and prescription. But despite the fact that there were over 100 licensed domiciliary care agencies near to where he lived, he couldn’t find anyone to do that. Spotting such as a huge gap in the market, Trevor was confident he could make a real difference.
Turning the idea into something more concrete was the hardest part. He sold his IT business, with the original intention of buying an existing care company, but soon realised all of the companies dealt with the fifteen minute social contracts he wanted to move away from. Setting up a care business from scratch wasn’t an attractive option either, due to the amount of regulation and legislation in the sector. In the end, Trevor found American franchise Home Instead through his research on the web.
“Because health care is paid for over there, they were very much focused on private market, quality care. It ticked an awful lot of boxes, and they also happened to be looking for a master franchisor in the UK.”
Following the purchase of the master licence, it took fifteen months to ensure the franchise was totally compliant with UK legislation and regulations, and a lot of the business model’s route to market had to be adapted significantly to allow for the fact that social services in hospitals are such large players in the UK. The business started off with three office staff and three carers, and Trevor grew the number of staff as the client base grew.
Towards the end of the year the first three franchising offices were opened by people that Trevor knew personally. Once those offices were up and running successfully, the franchise could be sold in the open marketplace, and it grew quickly from that point.
“In terms of revenue growth, between all our owners last year we turned over £550,000. We’re growing by 15% per month in revenue: the growth of the offices we have is exponential. That’s the area we want to control.”
A key problem for a start-up like Home Instead Senior Care, though, is despite a huge demand for the service, many have not heard of the company. Trevor believes the answer lies in keeping the firm’s profile high. He says that winning accolades like the Startups Awards is just the thing.
“Because we are different, people are quite risk averse. They need to know that it’s a quality service. So the endorsement we get from the awards is a fantastic reflection on the quality of what we do.”
The quality of the service is central to Trevor’s business. The venture was entirely self-financed and he still owns one hundred per cent. He feels that if he were to bring in external investors a conflict of interest could be created as they would mostly be looking at things from a financial perspective, whereas he wants the focus to remain on care.
And it is with quality of care in mind that Home Instead Senior Care has set up staff training in dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s, which most carers don’t get in the UK. Trevor also does a lot of work at national level with the Department of Health and with other charities like Age Concern and the Alzheimer’s Society.
“One of the things we are passionate about is changing the way care is provided in the UK and giving people more alternatives. There’s something called the personalization agenda which the government is driving through to make care more person-centred, and that’s exactly what we do. We want to help drive that change.”