If you were unsure about the revenue potential of a care franchise – be reassured: the UK's healthcare industry is already a multi-billion pound market place and the sector is growing fast.
Due to a rapidly aging population and changes in government policy, demand for care services is rising.
Here are 5 things to ask yourself before buying a care franchise.
1. Are you aware of the changing healthcare landscape?
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK population in 2016 reached a record-breaking 65.5 million. And it's projected to keep growing, reaching over 74 million by the year 2039.
Growing improvements in healthcare and better lifestyles mean that the population is getting older. In 2016, there were approximately 285 people aged 65 and over for every 1,000 people aged 16 to 64 years old.
In 2016 18% of people were aged 65 and over, and 2.4% were aged 85 and over.
The government’s Personalisation Agenda, launched in 2009 is now in full swing and supports the growing demand in the older populations’ choice to live at home, rather than move into a residential or nursing home.
This shift from care homes to care at home is a significant one and creates a real opportunity for potential franchisees.
2. The care sector is diverse – do you know what you want?
Care franchises are predominantly independent businesses that source and provide healthcare professionals not only for home-care but also to the NHS, private hospitals, nursing homes, health centres and GP surgeries.
Client bases are not just the very old but can include many types of care requirements such dementia, post-operative, brain injury/spinal injury care, learning difficulties support and mental health care.
There are also care franchises like Home Instead Senior Care, for example, that specialise in non-medical, home-based care and companionship.
Or you could opt for something like the Ableworld franchise which focuses on providing mobility scooters, stair lifts, adjustable beds, and wheelchairs within your chosen area.
Make sure you browse the available franchises carefully and ask yourself what is important to you and what level of investment and type of care-giving you are prepared to go for.
3. Are you conscientious enough for this franchise option?
In the care sector, people’s lives and well-being are at stake so the level of training, guidance and support you will need as a franchisee will be greater than in other franchise industries.
Although you are not required to have medical qualifications yourself, you will have to be fully aware of standard policies and procedures in care-giving and be prepared to take long training courses.
Care franchises necessarily maintain strong and close support networks with their franchisees so that standards remain high and your training will cover all aspects of the job from clinical knowledge to business and marketing skills.
Running a care franchise requires a high level of responsibility – ask yourself if that is something you are willing to take on.
4. Are you willing to keep learning?
In this highly regulated market, you will not only have to keep abreast of current legislations, methods and applications within care-giving and/or healthcare, but remain constantly compliant with any new directives.
Your franchisor may well offer ongoing training days and some packages, including Clarriots’ will include help in gaining a licence to provide care (essential for any care-giving franchise) from the appropriate registering body and pay for your first year’s fees.
It’s also advisable to sign up to some professional bodies -The United Kingdom Home Care Association and Investors in People to name two. This will give you vital credentials and a competitive edge in the early days of your business as well as a further level of support.
5. Are you territorial?
Many care franchises have a solid client base and some established contracts. But this is no use to you if they can’t offer you a franchise in the territory you want to work in. They may have your area covered so check this first.
You will probably want to work fairly near home, so research your neighbourhood thoroughly. Find out how many care providers operate in the area and if the competition will be healthy or oppressive.
If your chosen franchisor leaves finding the premises and territory for your business to you, make sure you have done your homework on the viability of your care franchise.