The home care sector is one of the fastest growing markets in the country and an excellent investment opportunity for any potential franchisee. Most home care agencies can be operated remotely and allow for flexible working arrangements.
The home care sector
In recent years, the home care market has grown significantly. Experts now value the sector at £5.2 billion, with this figure due to increase further as the country’s ageing population pushes demand higher. By 2024, over-65s will constitute more than 20 percent of the UK population, and there will be more over-65s than under-15s. This means that demand for home care services will continue to increase, making the care sector far larger and more profitable.
Demand is also growing because people are living longer. As life expectancies increase, the elderly need more care, and there's a greater interest in home services. No one wants to spend the last few decades of their life in a care home or hospital, and most people would opt to receive care in their homes if possible.
This means there’s great scope for new start-ups in the home care sector. Although there is plenty of competition, there is even more demand, so you’re likely to have a decent customer pool and consistent income.
>> Read more:
Starting a care agency from home
One of the best aspects of starting a care agency is the fact that you can manage it remotely. This means you can start the business from the comfort of your own home, lowering overheads and allowing for a far more flexible work schedule. For many business-oriented individuals, this is an incredibly attractive prospect, as it enables you to balance your personal and professional lives in a much more efficient way.
However, it’s important to consider whether you’re well suited to working from home. Not everyone thrives when given the freedom of being a boss outside of a professional environment. Some people need structure and supervision to succeed. Working at home can bring distractions in the form of family, housework, television or other technology, so it’s vital you have the self-motivation to work productively. Even being in a space you associate with rest and relaxation can affect your work ethic, so make sure you’re able to do a good job if you’re working from home.
On the other hand, if you can master a flexible work schedule, a home care business could be right for you. Having time out to meet with friends or take a walk in the park can do wonders for your concentration levels and morale. You’ll also be home to greet your loved ones when they walk through the door at the end of a long day, so you needn’t miss out on any precious family time.
Care home agency – what’s required?
To run a care agency from home, you'll need to develop a diverse array of skills and expertise in a wide range of disciplines. If you join a franchise, your franchisor will help by enrolling you on a thorough training programme, but you’ll also need to have some key attributes if you’re to succeed in the franchising world.
Most franchisors will expect you to be self-motivated and able to demonstrate drive, determination and dedication to the franchise. Some will only accept candidates that have previous management experience, whereas others will look for potential, such as entrepreneurs with basic business leadership skills. Although every franchisor will demand a different set of skills from their franchisees, most will want to ensure applicants are great communicators and capable of leading and inspiring a team.
How to start an elderly care business
As you might imagine, you can’t just announce you’re launching a home care business and start attracting customers. You’ll need to have the right qualifications and demonstrate that you’re adhering to certain legal standards. So, what steps do you need to take before you can get your business up and running?
- You’ll need to be qualified if you’re to be a successful home care business owner. To gain official credentials, you could take a QCF Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care, for example. The more qualifications and certifications you have, the more you’ll be trusted by potential customers and their families.
- Your business plan will be the foundations of your new venture. When you’re writing it, consider everything you aim to do and all the measures you put in place to protect your customers. You’ll need to include information on where you plan to set up your business, who your target market is, what services you will provide, how much money you’ll invest in it and when you expect to break even. If you need funding, lenders will scrutinise your business plan, so it’s vital you get it right and consider every aspect of the business, not only for the set-up stages but in the long-term too.
- Next, you must register with the local care organisation and pay its annual registration fee. If you’re in England, this will be the Care Quality Commission (CQC). If your business is based in Wales, it’s the CSSIW, while Scottish businesses require registration with The Care Inspectorate. In doing this, you’ll have to undertake a DBS check, provide references from previous employers and your GP, and write a statement of purpose, describing your intentions for the business.
- You’ll need insurance to cover you if unexpected accidents, disagreements or business-related issues occur. Depending on the type of business you’re launching, you may need employers’ liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance and medical malpractice insurance.
Once you’ve done all this, you’ll need to start building your business. This means investing in good-quality equipment, buying branded uniforms, recruiting staff and initiating marketing activity. You may opt to create a mobile-optimised website and upload informative content, as well as put up posters in areas with high percentages of elderly residents.
Start your own care home business as a franchisee
In response to the growing demand for services, a number of franchised home care agencies have emerged as leaders in the industry. Below, we take a look at five of the biggest names on the home care franchise scene.
Radfield Home Care
Established in 1982, Radfield Home Care started out as a single care home. The founders of the franchise brand grew up in the care home and, having experienced what good healthcare looks and feels like, decided to build a franchise network that could provide excellent standards of care across the UK.
To become a Radfield Home Care franchisee, a total investment of around £80,000 is required. This gives you access to all the essential franchise systems, an extensive training programme and ongoing support from the experienced franchisor team. As one of the most prestigious brands in home care franchising, Radfield Home Care is an exciting business proposition.
Bluebird Care Agency
Bluebird Care was voted the British Franchise Association's Franchisor of the Year for 2017. The bfa noted the franchise’s high-quality employee support, its emphasis on innovation and its long-standing commitment to ethical franchising. Having started as a small family business in 2004, the award marks Bluebird Care’s arrival on the national home care market and its emergence as one of the biggest brands around.
Typically, a £115,000 investment is necessary to become a Bluebird Care franchisee. This will be sufficient working capital, and will also fund uniforms for your staff, IT supplies and access to all the franchise's digital systems. The franchisor's training programme is fantastic, and their marketing guidance has also been recognised as incredibly useful.
Promedica24 is a home care agency that provides its customers with 24-hour care in a variety of contexts. Whether it’s emergency, short-term or long-term care, the franchise aims to offer its customers expert medical services, a helping hand and companionship.
To become a franchisee, you'll need to invest around £25,000. This includes both the franchise fee and the working capital required to get the business off the ground. Training, access to all franchise systems and ongoing support are all provided too.
Heritage Healthcare began life in 2008 in the Redcar and Cleveland region of North-East England. Since then, it's opened various other offices across the country and expanded its services to reach more customers than ever before.
A total investment of approximately £96,000 is necessary to become a Heritage Healthcare franchisee. In return for this investment, franchisees are enrolled on a 10-day induction course, provided with expert marketing support and offered a staff induction pack containing uniforms and ID badges, amongst other things.
Home Instead is a US import that boasts more than 1,200 franchisees in 14 countries. Having developed a large amount of experience in both franchising and the home care sector, it's now ready to expand across the UK and bring its expertise to a rapidly growing market.
If you’re considering becoming a Home Instead franchisee, you’ll need to raise investment funds of around £90,000. This will grant you access to an intensive training programme, an extensive support system and marketing guidance.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©