How to start a care services franchise
For a business with personal as well as financial rewards, look no further.
It’s a well-known fact that the human race is getting older. With medical advances and better standards of living we’re all living longer than before and the implications are manifold. Not only will the Queen have to send out a few more telegrams but a nation of old people needs looking after. And this is where the nursing and care industry steps in.
Franchises that provide such care are growing businesses and you don’t have to be Florence Nightingale to get involved. In fact most franchisees don’t have a medical background.
But even if you aren’t looking after patients yourself, this is still very much a ‘people’ business and you will be making a difference. So if you want to get in touch with your caring side, a nursery and domiciliary care franchise may be just the job.
What is it?
Our three featured franchisors, Carewatch, Everycare and Kare Plus all offer the same service: that of care providers. They place care workers, and in some cases nurses, with both private and public clients from individuals to hospitals, although Carewatch specialises in home care.
As Debbie Ashmore, franchise manager at Kare Plus explains, “Our franchisees can cover everything from providing healthcare assistants – which can include ward cleaners – to ward nurses to specialist nurses. If the market is there they can do anything.”
Standard work could literally be making breakfast or running errands for a house bound person or doing anything a terminally ill person needs doing day to day. Contracts might run for just a few days to fill in for someone off sick or for several months – perhaps to cover maternity leave.
Carers are generally recruited through local advertising or the job centre. Some franchisees send out fliers or even put cards in the windows of newsagents. But the main point is that the advertising as cheap as possible. Franchisees should aim to have upwards of 100 carers to run a realistic business and you will need to recruit constantly.
Also you will need people to run the office. Mary Cottrell founder of Everycare explains, “At the start, this will ideally be one qualified nurse manager, one admin support and another assistant.” You as the franchisee would tend to take on the marketing role.
But this isn’t marketing in the sense of selling. It will be your job to know what’s happening with social services, whose moving where and what all the current health issues in your area are. It’s also about letting people know what you do and finding out what they want out of your carers. This isn’t really about cold calling, though.
Andrea Moran is the Kare Plus franchisee in Luton. “I’ve worked as a nursing manager in care homes and you don’t want people turning up on your doorstep unannounced when you’re busy and probably stressed. I telephone people first, then follow up with a letter detailing rates and terms, then telephone again. I won’t go and meet them unless invited.”
Franchisees are strongly advised to get accreditation with the social services and relevant local authority. Barbara Garrett from Carewatch in Rugby says that 70% of their business comes from the local authority. Accreditation doesn’t mean you will definitely get work but equally, you can’t get it without.
Once you’ve placed carers is it a good idea to do spot visits to get client feedback on your service and to check everyone is happy with the arrangement. That way, both clients and carers will hopefully want to work with you again.