Your community needs you! More than ever.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the focus on the efforts of those in the care sector has never been clearer. We speak to Dan Archer about how Visiting Angels and its network of UK franchisees have faced the challenges of 2020.

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+ franchisees across five countries.

The business was launched in the UK in 2017 and has experienced phenomenal growth in the UK. Dan 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 £1.4 million per year and supports 100 families, employing over 70 staff.” The solid foundations of the pilot business have also lead the expansion of a network of franchisees. Dan says, “We have 9 offices across the UK and we had a ‘socially distanced’ training course in May 2020 with 8 new franchisees attending. I am delighted that our model is one of the franchise success stories of the past 12 months.”

Dan feels that the global health crisis has presented opportunities for those in the care sector. He explains, “our business was built on valuing carers better 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. The clap for carers initiative is a sign that the rest of the population is catching up with something that we have always believed.”

Visiting Angels call 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.” Dan explains, “I want our caregivers to want to work in care and to choose to work for a Visiting Angels office.” Many care workers are underpaid and poorly rewarded, but the approach taken by Visiting Angels is different. Dan says, “we want to ensure that our caregivers are amongst 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 their caregiver’s Visiting Angels have found that they are able to ensure that they have a ready supply of caregivers. Dan adds, “we have also found that the culture of caregiver support that we have built in our offices has also protected us from high staff turnover meaning that the clients who we support get the same caregiver each week – 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. He says, “research conducted by Hanbury Strategy, with support from the charity Independent Age during April/May 2020 showed that around a third (31 per cent) 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 are 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. “

With many other businesses struggling to survive the home care sector is proving to be both resilient and essential. Dan continues, “at the start of the lockdown we received a notification from the government that 50% of everyone passing through the hospital system for Covid-19 treatment would need social care support in the community as part of their rehabilitation. In our Sheffield office April was a record month with over £100k of turnover in the month. Since the start of the crisis our business is 20% up on the number of hours of care being delivered. We are supporting our community, doing more, contributing to society and making a difference at the most crucial time in our recent history. I am very proud of everything that our caregivers and our franchisees are doing and we are keen to speak to anyone who is interested in joining our business and making a difference in their community.”

Since launching the UK business in 2017 the Sheffield office has grown to a monthly turnover of over £100k with a regular influx of new clients each month. In addition the franchise opportunity was launched in October 2018 and 8 new franchisees are in the process of launching their businesses this month alone. They are joining a worldwide network of over 600 franchisees and Dan says that the Visiting Angels family provides a huge benefit, “the initial franchisee training is in Philadelphia and I noticed straight away that there was a culture of sharing in the business. The management team are hugely knowledgeable but many of the best practice initiatives in the business have been proven over many years and from the experience of hundreds of franchisees. When we do the second week of training in Sheffield we are providing the knowledge which is specific to running a home care business in the UK.”

The franchise fee is £24995 and franchisees interested in this opportunity will need £25-30k in liquid capital in order to secure bank funding for the total investment including working capital of up to £100k. 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 3.

For more information browse our website or call Dan Archer on 07584 178458.