When prospective franchisees are searching for the right fit for them, there might not initially be any obvious differentiation but it's always important to delve a little deeper to find out whether they live up to expectations
The pandemic forced the whole care industry to be placed under the microscope, with businesses facing even more scrutiny. True to form, care businesses across the UK have assumed their responsibilities and showcased how resilient they can be when coming face-to-face with hardship. When it comes to prospects looking for the right franchise opportunity to invest in, however, the variety of care franchises makes their decision a little bit more difficult.
Dan Archer, managing director of in-home care franchise, Visiting Angels, is proud to see his team on the frontline tackling the issues of the pandemic. Despite the uncertainty, its UK network has expanded, demonstrating the appeal of launching a franchise in the care sector right now and fulfilling the demand for care. Nonetheless, Dan is aware of the multiple franchise opportunities on offer to prospective franchisees and highlights here how you should look past the surface of marketing messages to find your right fit.
“There are many different care franchises available at the moment, all doing great things to support clients and franchisees,” says Dan. “When prospective franchisees are searching for the right fit for them, there might not initially be any obvious differentiation between them. It’s important to delve a little deeper to find out whether they live up to your expectations - really investigate whether the franchise is not fit just for today, but tomorrow too.”
Here are Dan’s main points to consider when searching for the perfect care franchise opportunity for you:
• Does it meet current challenges in the market?
Before the pandemic came along, Brexit was the topic of conversation - does the franchisor consider what impact the looming switch over has on their business? Care franchises are usually quite resilient (in some cases both recession and pandemic-proof) due to the demand in their services, so take a look at how they’ve been maximising the opportunities based on current affairs to help make your decision.
For instance, recruiting caregivers is the most challenging part of any care business. How is the franchisor providing a solution to the problem, giving franchisees the resources, training and procedures to overcome a reduction in carers available from the EU?
• Are they well-informed?
Most businesses will be informed about what matters the most within the care sector, but do they have expertise in other areas of business to ensure they stay ahead of the curve? A care brand must position themselves as knowledgeable in all the essentials - consider how you can utilise that to work in your favour by leveraging this knowledge to your own advantage.
At Visiting Angels, we used our international buying power to source PPE from worldwide suppliers. We pre-empted the surge of purchases in face masks, hand sanitiser and the like to bring supplies in earlier and ensure our service could continue without interruption when the inevitable happened with COVID-19.
• Do they have quick strategic responses?
Use the COVID-19 pandemic as a prime example to see how quickly the network reacts to challenges and provides solutions for the benefit of both franchisees and clients. Not only will this further demonstrate the resilience of the model, making it worthy of your investment, but it’ll give you a great indication of what you’ll experience as a franchisee when anything untoward arises in the local or global economy.
95 per cent of care providers operate in a similar way. The Visiting Angels franchise model was built to withstand the challenges put upon our caregivers. We employ a large proportion of our caregivers who wish to work on a part-time basis but have an availability to extend their hours when needed, giving us a buffer for any eventuality where some are not able to fulfil their duties. If a care franchise is employing full-time carers only and 25 per cent of their staff go off sick, that’s 25 per cent of your workforce down without any other trained staff available to cover immediately. Little strategies like this will make the difference between reacting with ease to a shortfall in manpower and struggling to adapt.
My advice to people looking to invest in a care franchise would be to become even more scrupulous with your due diligence. There are plenty of established care companies in the market with proven models from 15 to 20 years ago. Whilst that’s all great on paper, the world is changing at a rapid rate and the franchisor should be reflecting that in their adaptations of the model. Ask yourself: are they fit for purpose today, tomorrow and the future?