Having built a strong reputation, Kare Plus is now rolling out its business model across the UK
In the last 12 months care franchise Kare Plus has experienced unprecedented demand - from clients and potential franchisees alike. Its franchise network has more than tripled since May last year and the level of enquiries from would-be franchise owners continues to climb.
Existing Kare Plus franchisees confirm that out in the marketplace business potential is huge and the biggest challenge they face is not making sales, but gearing up sufficiently to meet the rising requirement for their services.
The reason behind this success, says Kare Plus managing director Steve Welsh, is a combination of factors. Massive changes within the healthcare sector have created new opportunities for independent care providers, while the proven Kare Plus business model enables franchisees to supply not only domiciliary services to the elderly, but also specialist medical care to people of all ages in their own homes, as well as to private hospitals, care homes and the NHS.
Behind the scenes Kare Plus has been quietly building on its strong reputation both in the private and public sector over a number of years, slowly developing its national network and, up until May last year, establishing only a handful of franchisees. Kare Plus is now in the enviable position of being one of only a few franchises licensed to supply to the NHS and is listed as a preferred supplier by some of the largest private hospital and care home groups in the UK.
With the advent of the Health and Social Care Act in 2012, Kare Plus has raised its game, tendering for lucrative NHS and private contracts worth millions of pounds and simultaneously launching a high profile marketing campaign aimed at recruiting ambitious, business focused franchise owners able to deliver the necessary services to fulfil those contracts.
“We have an ageing population in this country and so the need for domiciliary and medical services is growing,” Steve Welsh explains. “In addition, our NHS is unable to cope with demand for beds, so patients are discharged early and need care at home. On top of that the shortage of carers, nurses and other clinical staff is driving the NHS as well as private organisations to turn to agencies to provide reliable, suitably qualified and vetted staff. The Health and Social Care Act was introduced to address these issues and enshrined in the legislation is patients’ freedom to choose those services that best meet their needs, including those from independent sector providers, as long as they meet NHS costs.”
He continues: “Our roots are in the agency sector, supplying qualified nurses to hospitals and care homes, so we’re particularly well placed to take advantage of this new healthcare landscape. In a struggling economy, healthcare is about the only sector that’s growing strongly and is absolutely sustainable - the need for care, whether medical or nonmedical, will always be with us. There’s never been a better time for those who recognise the clear opportunity to establish a successful, long term business in this rapidly growing marketplace.”
One franchisee to identify the healthcare sector as a route to profitable selfemployment is Pina Gogna, who found himself redundant after 30 years of working in the automotive finance and fleet management industry.
“I felt the time had come to take control of my life and set up my own business,” he says. “I had no clear idea of what industry I wanted to be in, but I knew it needed to be recession proof as far as is possible and offer the opportunity for growth over at least the next 10 years. After much research, I decided the healthcare sector was the way forward and a franchise would give me the best chance of success.”
Pina and his wife Rajni were attracted to Kare Plus precisely because it offered them the opportunity to develop multiple income streams, rather than depending on domiciliary care only. “We thought restricting ourselves to providing home or elderly care would limit our earnings,” Pina says. “We liked the opportunity with Kare Plus to provide nursing and other medical services, also we liked the enthusiasm and drive of the Kare Plus management team and we certainly liked the market potential offered by the franchise.”
As one of Kare Plus’ newer franchisees, it’s still early days for Pina. However, he has built up a ‘bank’ of nurses and carers, and is already providing staff to a number of care homes on his territory in Worcester.
“It’s a question of managing expectations,” he explains. “There is certainly no shortage of demand, but we want to ensure we don’t let any of our customers down by promising what we can’t yet deliver. We’ve got customers lining up, but our emphasis is on recruiting the right people before we market our services fully. All our ducks are in a row now - we have the right business model, the right prices and the right high quality services - we have tremendous confidence in our future with Kare Plus, it’s going to be great.”
Currently the couple are gearing up to take advantage of a new multimillion pound contract secured by the Kare Plus national accounts team to provide specialised staff to support adults with learning difficulties. Kare Plus is one of only five carefully selected staff providers to be nominated by the not-for-profit national organisation, which supports around 2,500 people with learning difficulties and autism from 17 different locations across England and Wales.
According to Pina, there are several locations within his territory, so Kare Plus Worcester has the potential to profit substantially. Steve Welsh believes the new contract win is a major feather in the cap for Kare Plus and represents the first of a large number of current contract tenders to come to fruition. “We have a significant number of contract tenders in hand for private sector and NHS work,” he states. “Our rapid growth is driving the strong recruitment campaign for Kare Plus - currently, we are tendering for contracts worth around £140 million in regions all across the UK.”
As Pina’s success demonstrates, although a number of Kare Plus franchisees do have a background in the healthcare industry, previous experience is not necessary. The issues around compliance in the sector are complex, but the Kare Plus management team includes experienced clinical specialists as well as business professionals who guide franchisees every step of the way.
In addition to the comprehensive training and ongoing support package, including help with recruiting appropriately qualified staff, franchisees benefit from a purpose developed IT system that is geared to ensure the business runs smoothly and that compliance is maintained.
Territories have been well researched and closely defined against key criteria such as age demographics and density of care homes and hospitals, with those highlighted where Kare Plus is already listed as an approved supplier.
“We’ve spent years building a reputation in the healthcare industry and now our hard work and commitment is paying off,” Steve Welsh concludes. “Kare Plus has become a respected brand in the sector and we’re known for our emphasis on quality and reliability of service. As a result, we’re able to roll out our business model across the UK, enabling franchisees to replicate our success, share in the rewards of our national contract wins and, in the process, build a profitable, sustainable business for themselves.