The home care services provided by Visiting Angels have never been more essential
There are few franchise opportunities that have grown substantially during lockdown.
Care franchising does offer a significant opportunity for the right franchisee. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on the efforts of those in the care sector has never been clearer.
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 the world and proudly supports 600-plus franchisees in five countries. The business was launched in the UK in 2017 and has experienced phenomenal growth.
UK managing director Dan Archer explains: “Before launching the franchise, I wanted to launch and run a pilot business in the UK. I felt it was important that I was able to support our franchisees from a position of first-hand knowledge. My business in Sheffield is now turning over more than £1.7 million per year and supports 100 families, employing over 100 staff.”
The solid foundations of the pilot business have also led to the expansion of a network of franchisees.
“We have nine offices across the UK and we had a socially distanced training course in May 2020, with eight new franchisees attending. I’m delighted that our model is one of the franchise success stories of the past 12 months.”
Many business opportunities claim to be recession-proof. The reality of the past six months has been that some businesses making that claim have been forced to close their doors. Home care franchising, however, has never been more essential and thanks to initiatives such as the clap for carers movement, the wider population is now recognising this.
For many businesses, the struggle has been to survive, but Dan says for his business it has been a time to thrive: “We have faced a huge challenge as a nation and the health service and society at large has looked to social care companies like ours for additional support. “Our operational business has never been busier and our franchise network has doubled in the last six months. As lockdown eases, we’re seeing yet more demand for our service and the terrible situation with COVID-19 in residential care homes means more families than ever are choosing care at home as a safer alternative.”
Treating carers better
Dan feels that treating carers better has been at the heart of Visiting Angels’ success: “Our business was built on valuing carers more than other care companies. What has happened with the COVID-19 outbreak is that society has also started to realise that carers need to be valued better.”
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 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.
Dan says: “We want to ensure our caregivers are among the best paid in the care sector. We pay more, we incentivise training and development, we reward loyalty and we offer excellent benefits.”
By focusing on its caregivers, Visiting Angels has found it’s able to ensure the company has a ready supply of them.
“We have found that the culture of caregiver support we have built in our offices has protected us from high staff turnover, meaning that the clients who we support get the same caregiver each week,” Dan says. “Happy caregivers are best placed to ensure that clients are delighted.”
Dan feels that society is also changing its view on the type of care provided.
“Research conducted by Hanbury Strategy, with support from the charity Independent Age, during April-May 2020 showed that around a third of people polled said they were now less likely to want to put their relative in a care home.
“Residential care has been at the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak. In our pilot business in Sheffield, we’re receiving calls from relatives who are deciding that they would rather keep their loved ones at home to avoid the risks within care homes.
“A backlash against residential care was already driving demand for care in the home. If COVID-19 is increasing the feeling that people are safer at home, the demand for the Visiting Angels service is set to keep rising.”
Leading from the front
At times of crisis, the global Visiting Angels business has pulled together.
“We’ve led from the front in our local markets, with world-class training for our carers to keep them safe and ensure clients are protected,” Dan says.
“Shared best practice and group buying power for things like personal protective equipment have been huge benefits of being part of one of the world’s biggest care providers.”
Franchising provides the benefit of not having to go it alone. UK franchisees receive comprehensive training and support from both the UK and US management team.
The management team are hugely knowledgeable, but many of the best practice initiatives in the business have been proven over many years and come from the experience of hundreds of franchisees.
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.
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
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Dan Archer. 07584 178458