Former RAF pilots Tim Corry and Alex Duncan made a somewhat unlikely leap from flying to franchising, but the two ex-servicemen have no regrets in joining forces with Guardian Angels Carers
Tim Corry (business owner and registered manager of Guardian Angel Carers, Farnham) and Alex Duncan (business owner, Guardian Angel Carers Farnham) went from piloting RAF and commercial planes to owning and managing a successful franchise in the care sector in 2021. Here they explain how their military services skillsets were more transferable to the care industry than you might think, especially with the invaluable help and support of their franchisor.
What made you decide to invest in a Guardian Angel Carers franchise?
Alex: The Guardian Angel Carers approach aligns very well with our backgrounds as former RAF and commercial pilots. There’s a real focus on training, coaching and performance improvement. While there are a lot of systems and technology in place, you’re still treated as an individual. We play to our strengths and are supported in areas where we need to improve our skills, knowledge and experience.
Specialist care training was part of the process for new franchisees – it gives us a unique insight into client needs and an understanding of who we need in our business to help us thrive.
How did GAC Help you to set up your business?
Tim: We’ve been given a lot of time by founder, Christina Handasyde-Dick, and her team. They’ve supported us every step of the way – how to do our figures, navigate the regulatory requirements and with our care training. It’s given us a clear picture of what’s involved and what to expect. They were invaluable in helping us prepare for and pass our CQC registration.
And how has the brand supported you since?
Alex: The franchise support team has been outstanding. Whenever we have a question or an issue, they’re always there to give advice and assistance. The opt-in central recruitment service helps us recruit carers to cope with the extraordinary demand for our services.
What are the most rewarding aspects of running your own care franchise?
Tim: For me, the high point is bringing people out of hospital, knowing what a difference compassionate care can make to the quality of life for that person.
Alex: Seeing the difference that our CareAngels make to the lives of those they care for is the most rewarding aspect for me too. If our CareAngels are ever having a tough time, I remind them, “you do realise that every time you turn up and do a great job like you do, you save somebody’s life”.
What advice would you have for others about to take the plunge?
Tim: It’s hard work, but so rewarding. I would caution people to be careful about their initial spending. Listen to the advice of the business performance team and fellow franchisees. Invest in finding the right people, it makes a big difference.
Alex: Whether you’re overseeing one person or 30 people, it’s all about dedicating yourself to the team. The GAC way means you have created the culture, ethos and operational systems so your team can look after the clients. Your role is to look after the team and to grow its individuals. The GAC vision is to positively evolve care at home, and with an ex-Olympian as our CEO, we’re always looking for marginal gains!
At a glance
Number of franchised outlets:
Location of units:
Spelthorne, Farnham, Wimbledon, Horsham Crawley, Lincoln, Hedge End, Banstead
£28,500 (+ VAT), with a minimum capital investment of £50,000
Minimal required capital: