Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s largest home care provider and one of the biggest in the UK. Its stated mission is to “change the face of ageing” by providing exceptional, personalised relationship-led care that enables elderly people to live independently in their own homes.
It’s picked up a slew of prestigious accolades in both the care and franchise sectors, including being named the British Franchise Association’s Franchisor of the Year in 2013.
Q&A subject: Trevor Brocklebank, CEO, Home Instead Senior Care
Franchised since: 2005 in the UK, 1995 in the USA
Number of franchisees: 160 in the UK; around 1,000 globally, in 17 countries
Typical startup cost: Around £100k, including working capital
Growth last year: 29 per cent
(1) What’s the history of Home Instead?
There is a strong family feel to the business. It was founded in the USA in 1994 by husband and wife Paul and Lori Hogan after they struggled to find good care to support Paul’s grandmother in her own home.
The company began franchising in 1995 and, within three years, had become one of the fastest-growing franchises in America.
In 2005, my wife Sam and I bought the UK franchise following a similar experience to Paul and Lori. Frustrated at the lack of quality home care for my own grandfather, I came across Home Instead and realised that this was the high-quality service we had been looking for, and something the UK desperately needed.
The UK is now one of top-performing territories within Home Instead Senior Care globally.
(2) What’s the size of the care sector market and its trends, and why is it a strong area to consider for prospective franchisees?
There is a massive and growing need for high quality home care in the UK, with the market currently valued at around £6bn.
Demographic changes mean that the number of older people is increasing dramatically; there are now more over-60s in the UK than there are under-18s and nearly a million people are living with dementia. Family members aren’t always close by or have other commitments that limit the support they can give.
For prospective franchisees, the home care sector should have strong appeal because demand is only going to increase. Not only are there potential financial rewards but as importantly, it’s an opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
(3) What’s your standing in the marketplace?
I am very proud to say that Home Instead Senior Care enjoys an unrivalled reputation in the UK market.
For nine consecutive quarters, we have been rated the UK’s number one home care provider by independent body LaingBuisson, who rank providers based on their compliance with Care Quality Commission standards.
I have been voted one of the top ten most influential people in social care, which is very humbling, and I am a non-executive director of the United Kingdom Home Care Association (UKHCA). Together with our US founder Paul Hogan, who is vice chairman of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Ageing, I work hard to influence the agenda on ageing and care.
As importantly, Home Instead Senior Care is recognised as a leading example of best practice in franchising – not just within the care sector but across all franchising.
For four years running, the business has achieved a five-star rating in the independent Smith & Henderson survey of franchisee satisfaction. We are the only franchise business to achieve this year-on-year top ranking.
We have won over 18 major awards within the care and franchising sectors. I am a board member of the British Franchise Association.
(4) With care being one of the fastest-growing sectors in franchising in recent years, why is the business model so well-suited to franchising? Do franchisees require a background in care?
It’s a common misperception that you need to have a background in care to run a care franchise. For us, it’s more important that franchisees have good management and people skills – and the confidence to be the public face of the organisation within their local community, as networking is a key part of our business model. With our support, franchisees recruit a care manager and a team who handle the care delivery through passionate and engaged caregivers.
Our business model works excellently as a franchise because we have a very strong culture, ethos and standards which support consistent service quality.
(5) Can you elaborate on that – and how do you ensure they flow throughout the network?
Our culture, ethos and ethics stem from our ambitious mission statement – to change the face of ageing.
This means providing the highest standard of care, tailored to individual needs. For example, we recognise that good care is about much more than meeting basic needs so we try to match our caregivers and clients on the basis of shared hobbies and interests.
We ensure that our values flow through the organisation in a number of ways. Firstly, we are very careful in our franchisee recruitment: we only take on a small percentage of people who apply. It is vital that franchisees share our vision and passion from the outset.
Once a franchisee has joined us, we provide a very high level of support – through induction to three- and six-month reviews, and then ongoing support from our Business Performance Team.
Communication with our franchisees is frequent and there is a lot of face-to-face interaction via regional conferences and a major national conference where we celebrate achievements and set out our vision for the coming year.
(6) What can a Home Instead franchisee expect in the first three years of running their business?
We are very honest with potential franchisees that they should expect the first 18 months to be tough. They will experience highs and lows, have to tighten their belt and even, at times, question what they have done. However, if they stick to the business model and follow the detailed guidance they are given, they will break even in month 18.
After this point, they can start to build a truly profitable and vibrant business. With hard work, they can have a £1m turnover business by year three and by year six they could be taking a salary of £200,000.
(7) Name three key attributes you look for in your franchisees?
Business acumen, a passion for high-quality care and great people skills.
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