Franchises in specialist sectors offer business opportunities with a ready customer base, Alan Wright, managing director of Bio-Rite, says
If you’re thinking of purchasing a franchise, it’s likely you may not have any direct experience of the industry you’re considering buying into.
In fact, many people are actively looking for a change in direction and for this reason need to focus on finding an interesting new challenge that will earn sufficient income and supply an opportunity for growth. Beyond that they are open to ideas.
The good news is that there are many areas to choose from.
Franchising is now a mature marketplace and has become a popular way to expand an established business. These days, you can run a franchise selling anything from home improvements and business services to childcare and automotive. Fast food remains one of the largest sectors, along with maintenance and personal care businesses.
Financial institutions now recognise that operations become franchised because they have a proven model. As a result, finance to purchase such franchises is more readily available and opportunities are emerging in more diverse sectors. Technology, pet care and recreation are some of the latest and more unusual franchise opportunities to come on the market.
In addition, with our ageing population - The Office for National Statistics has predicted Britain’s population will continue ageing, with more than one in 12 people aged 80 or over by 2039 - healthcare is also a growing franchised industry that’s worthy of consideration. Franchises vary and can offer services including care staff for the elderly, domestic services and cleaning.
However, within this sector there are more specialised franchises. The decontamination industry is one example that may not be a first thought for a franchisee looking for a business opportunity. Nevertheless, let’s look at the some of the drivers that could make a step towards a more niche opportunity become a successful investment.
The healthcare decontamination sector has seen rapid growth in recent years. The challenges faced by healthcare providers is only set to continue as they struggle to cope with the increasing threat from infections such as MRSA, C.difficile and Norovirus.
This has resulted in a need for decontamination services. We now read about outbreaks of common infections in our institutions and hospitals on a regular basis in the media. The risk of infection is rising at an alarming rate due to a number of factors, including stretched staff resources, lack of expertise in dealing with such threats effectively, ward overcrowding and limited investment in the NHS.
When it comes to infection control, if correct decontamination procedures cannot be adhered to easily, overcrowding in our hospitals can increase the risk of the spread of common pathogens.
In a bygone era, wards would follow a rotation arrangement, where the free ward could be cleaned thoroughly and decontaminated while it was empty. These days, however, this is not possible and staff need to decontaminate beds and areas quickly, so they can be back in use with the minimum of delay. The management of scarce resources has become an everyday challenge.
To cope with these issues, hospitals and care homes have been outsourcing decontamination services for used care equipment and ward decontamination for a number of years. This is set to continue, as stretched staff need to focus resources on their primary role of providing the best healthcare possible. It’s inevitable that more hospitals will follow suite and outsource such services in the future.
As well as the NHS, care homes also represent an important area of decontamination work. Some of this relates to educating staff, as well as providing infection control services. It continues to be a concern that some institutions simply ‘wipe over’ used care equipment, which is not a sufficient procedure to control most pathogens effectively. Outsourcing to specialists can ensure an infection free environment for vulnerable patients.
From a business point of view, the decontamination sector offers a repeat business model with long-term contracts.
At Bio-Rite, we have worked with some of our clients for many years. By partnering with healthcare professionals in this way, operational strategies can be developed to enable organisations meet prescribed performance indicators and, in turn, make a significant contribution to creating the best infection-free environment possible.
In addition, competitive entrants to the market tend to be limited, which is because within sectors such as decontamination specialist knowledge, expertise and equipment is required. People’s lives are literally in the hands of those responsible for infection control, so correct training and use of the right equipment is essential.
This is one reason why franchising works well for such niche markets, as instead of setting up from scratch and learning the trade, the franchisor provides all the necessary training based on many years of experience in the industry, plus all the equipment required.
In other words, the costly element of research and development involved in starting a business has already been completed.
For example, Bio-Rite is one of the few companies in the UK that is able to offer a range of products and services needed to ensure an infection-free healthcare environment.
Over 150 area decontaminations have successfully been performed by our team over the last six years. Using specialised equipment, including hydrogen peroxide vapour technology, we can decontaminate areas that are infected or are prone to infection and our service has been proven in over 40 NHS hospitals across the UK.
We combine the best practices involved with both manual and mechanical disinfection techniques, while taking advantage of the latest advances in safe and effective decontamination technology. This approach is unmatched in the industry. As a result, we deliver a decontamination solution that is flexible, comprehensive and costeffective to our clients, who rely on us to deliver day in, day out.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, it’s worth recognising that the healthcare sector is also a rewarding place to work. Franchisees make a significant impact on people’s everyday lives.
In the decontamination sector specifically, reducing infection within UK institutions for the benefit of patient safety can save lives. The fulfilling nature of the work could provide the change in direction many people are looking for.
There are many franchise opportunities in almost every industry one can think of. Some of the more unusual and emerging areas offer the chance to run an interesting and rewarding business in a lucrative marketplace.
Because they are aimed at a specific target market, they have developed into genuine business opportunities with a ready customer base with real needs.