Why Visiting Angels is a very different care franchise
Many home care providers offer franchise opportunities, but the team at Visiting Angels believe that their approach is different.
Established in the US in 1998, Visiting Angels is a global care giant with community-based values. Today, the franchise is one of the largest care franchises in America and proudly supports 600-plus franchisees across five countries.
Gap in the market
The business was launched in the UK in 2017 when experienced franchise and care industry professional Dan Archer spotted a gap in the market for home care.
Dan explains: “The US business has a fantastic reputation for being a top employer and I could see that most home care businesses in the UK didn’t really value their carers. At the same time, everyone was saying that finding carers was the biggest problem that they faced, so I wanted to make sure that we focused on the caregivers first.”
Visiting Angels calls this approach being carer centric. The focus is clear from the mission statement of the UK business to: ‘Become the UK Care Sector’s Employer of Choice by 2022.’
“I want our caregivers to want to work in care and to choose to work for a Visiting Angels office,” Dan says.
Many care workers are underpaid and poorly rewarded, but the approach taken by Visiting Angels is different. “We want to ensure that our caregivers are amongst the best paid in the care sector,” Dan says. “We pay more, we incentivise training and development, we reward loyalty and we offer excellent benefits.”
By focusing on its employees, Visiting Angels has found it is able to ensure it has a ready supply of caregivers. “It requires the business model to be structured differently, the mission and focus to be clear and the financial model to be different to traditional care franchises - happy caregivers are best placed to ensure that clients are delighted,” Dan adds.
Voting with their feet
The funding of home care through the local authority is an issue and many families are recognising the problems that arise from this type of care. They are voting with their feet and deciding that if they want better care for their loved ones, they are going to have to pay a little towards the cost.
By focusing on private client work, Visiting Angels franchisees can charge more for their service and are able to afford to fund the carer centric initiatives.
“I run the original Visiting Angels office in Sheffield and we charge considerably more than the local authority funded care providers, but we have had amazing growth because our approach to the recruitment and retention of caregivers means that we can always say yes to a new client,” Dan says.
“I am really proud that the staff turnover in the Sheffield office is less than 13 per cent, compared to the industry average of over 40 per cent. We find lovely, caring people and we are very good at hanging on to them. For our clients, it means that the same caregiver can come every time.”
There is also another clear benefit of focusing on the private client market: it’s far less competitive. Very few care providers focus on the private pay marketplace and even fewer have the marketing knowledge to attract private paying clients. Visiting Angels has 20 years’ experience in the private duty care market.
“We have found that there are only one or two serious competitors in each franchise area,” Dan says. “The majority of home care providers don’t understand how to build a client base in the private pay market.
“Our experts help our franchisees put together detailed marketing plans that promote growth. Importantly, the business model builds in a budget to support the marketing of the business to private clients, something that the low rates paid for socially funded work does not allow.”
Progression of the business
Since launching the UK business in 2017, the Sheffield office has grown to a monthly turnover of £50,000, with a regular influx of new clients each month. In addition, the franchise opportunity was launched in October 2018 and four new franchisees are in the process of launching their businesses.
They are joining a worldwide network of over 600 franchisees and Dan says that the Visiting Angels family provides a huge benefit.
“The initial franchisee training is in Philadelphia and I noticed straight away that there was a culture of sharing in the business,” Dan says. “The management team are hugely knowledgeable, but many of the best practice initiatives in the business have been proven over many years and have been driven by the experience of hundreds of franchisees. When we do the second week of training in Sheffield, we provide the specific knowledge needed to run a home care business in the UK.”
Visiting Angels is seeking 10 franchisees during 2019. The franchise fee is £24,995 and franchisees interested in this opportunity will need £25,000- £30,000 in liquid capital in order to secure bank funding for the total investment, including working capital of up to £100,000.
For a substantial, premises based, management franchise, the potential exists for a six-figure turnover in year one and a projected million pound-plus turnover by the end of year three.
At a glance Visiting Angels
Number of franchised units: Four
Location of units: UK
Investment range: £90,000-£110,000
Minimum required capital: £30,000-£50,000
Contact: Dan Archer 07584 178458 visitingangelsfranchise.co.uk