"I also knew that Visiting Angels had a good reputation as a care provider who looks after their caregivers," says Dan
Franchising is about repeating success by following a proven model. Franchisees with leading home care provider Visiting Angels will be following in the footsteps of over 600 franchisees in five countries around the world.
UK managing director Dan Archer explains how his team have added success in the UK to success in the rest of the world.
He says: “When I first started talking to Visiting Angels US about bringing the brand to the UK, the business was already a very well established home care franchise.
“I knew that US care brands were really successful at approaching the private pay home care market because that is the industry in the US. I also knew that Visiting Angels had a good reputation as a care provider who looks after their caregivers.
“I could see that the growth area in the UK was the private pay home care sector and I also knew, from my work in health and social care, that the biggest challenge any home care franchise would have is finding and retaining great carers. I felt that Visiting Angels would be a really good fit for the UK market.”
Dan had been talking to Visiting Angels since spring 2016 about the launch of a new franchise opportunity in the UK. By August 2017 those conversations had resulted in the formation of the first business, which started trading in October 2017.
“While there was a wealth of knowledge in the US business on running a successful home care business, lots of work was needed on the regulatory framework for the UK before we could launch,” he says.
“America is ahead of the UK in the development of private pay home care franchises, but the regulation of home care in the UK is far more stringent than the registration process in some US states.
“The Care Quality Commission, which is the care sector regulator, does not exist or have an equivalent in America. We needed to build a structure of policies, procedures and compliance for the UK business before we were able to launch.”
The development work through late 2017 led to Visiting Angels securing registration with the Care Quality Commission in January 2018. The pilot business has had a very successful first year.
“I produced a business plan and financial projection for our launch and piloting of the business,” Dan says. “I am delighted to say that at every stage of the first year we have been ahead of the projections we planned.
“We have more clients than we expected, the business has created more revenue than we planned and we are also ahead of our profitability target.
I have a fantastic team of care industry professionals working with me and our focus on being carer centric has meant we have recruited some amazing caregivers.
“More importantly, the effort we have put into retaining staff means our staff turnover rates are half the industry average.”
The start that Visiting Angels has made in the UK was recognized by the US business at the company’s annual conference in Philadelphia in June 2018. Dan and his team were recognised as the best international franchisee because of the way the launch had gone in the UK.
Dan feels that the important lessons he has learned in the piloting of the business will be vital in supporting the franchisees who join the network.
“I have always believed it is important that the people supporting franchisees understand what it is like from the franchisee’s perspective,” he says. “When I started in franchising in the 1990s, I spent time working in the company owned branch of Signs Express. I learnt about the business from the ground up.
“With Visiting Angels, I did the same thing. From day one I have stood in the same place as every subsequent franchisee will stand. My team and I were responsible for registering with CQC, building the business, recruiting the caregivers and onboarding the clients. I have personally done every job in the business, from caregiver to scheduler, recruiter, trainer and care manager.”
Dan has over 20 years of franchising experience and has worked with some of the UK’s biggest franchise groups, as well as sitting on the board of directors of the British Franchise Association for six years. He feels the lessons learned from a career supporting franchisees will serve Visiting Angels well.
“I know franchising and I really enjoy providing business support to franchisees,” Dan says. “With the success I have had in my office of Visiting Angels, I am looking forward to helping other people to replicate our model.
“There are huge opportunities in the home care sector for businesses with the right approach and which are run in the right way. Our formula is a winning one and each franchisee who joins our network will contribute to our mission ‘To become the UK Care Sector’s Employer of Choice by 2022’.
“We can’t do this without the passion and commitment of franchisees who want to change the way care companies are run.”
Seeking founding franchisees
Visiting Angels is seeking founding franchisees to expand the business nationally. Foundation franchisees will have direct access to both the US support team and Dan and his team in the UK.
“Home care is not 9-5 and I know that the franchisees choosing Visiting Angels will need to be able to speak to people whenever the question arises,” Dan says.
“Training will be provided in Yorkshire at Visiting Angels UK headquarters and in Philadelphia at the US home office. The first 10 founding franchisees will benefit from a reduced franchise fee of £9,995 and will need £50,000- £60,000 in working capital.
The founding franchisees will have the greatest choice in respect of territories available and also be in a position to influence the direction of the business as a whole. Visiting Angels is seeking dynamic, driven, caring people who recognise that by being commercially successful they can deliver a positive change for carers, clients and families alike.