Right at Home

Can you give a quick overview of your background?

I started working at an early age – my first job while at college was as a refuse collector at the tender age of 16! Since then I’ve consistently worked my way up, and have developed an extensive and very successful track record in business and franchising along the way.

But from that first day in work, I’ve always had a strong drive to fulfil every role to the best of my ability – when I was sweeping streets I actually got told off for doing the job too well and showing other people up!

So, after coming from rather humble beginnings in Liverpool, I ended up funding my way through further education and training, and my business career began after I qualified as an accountant and quickly rose within the ranks of a FTSE Top 100 insurance company in Liverpool.

I joined the franchise sector with McDonald's because I wanted to control my own future and scale up my achievements.

In the process of building a highly successful business from four outlets, I went on to win the highest possible accolade for a UK franchise owner, the British Franchise Association Individual Franchisee of the Year Award – I was very proud to be the first McDonald's franchisee to win this much-coveted award.

The successful growth and management of multiple McDonald's locations later led me to receive the Golden Arches Award given to the most successful McDonald's owners around the world.

In 2006, I expanded my business interests into the care sector, which I recognised as a high growth industry with a gap in the market for high-quality services, and I still run a successful residential care business in Lancashire.

How do you think your background helps support your franchisees?

I think my background and the experience I’ve gained from 25 years of hands-on franchising has helped me to understand what franchisees owners want from their franchisor. Not only have I been in their shoes as a care provider, but, more importantly, I’ve been a successful franchisee in my own right.

In my time I have definitely seen both the good and the bad in franchising, whilst accumulating widespread knowledge and experience of the care sector too.

This combined experience means I have been able to build a quality care franchise on very solid foundations, understanding the value of quality systems and measured growth, and knowing the type of support that franchisees will most appreciate and benefit from.

What did you do in order to help the international side of the business?

Back in 2013, the international system was failing to achieve its potential and it was apparent that the international Licensees felt they needed the right sort of support from Right at Home International.

As a result, the parent company took steps to increase their stewardship and support and, after recognising that at Right at Home UK we had rock solid systems and processes in place, it was decided to work with us to adapt many of the UK systems for the international network. Today those systems and processes are now being used around the world and the global model is thriving once again.

International developments have included some really innovative initiatives, such as the Dementia DELAY Program, which was founded here in the UK by Right at Home franchisees and is now expanding to all nine Right at Home international locations.

What is the Dementia DELAY programme?

The Dementia Delay programme was the brainchild of two UK franchisees who identified an opportunity to develop specialist support that increased the potential of highly-personalised home care to positively impact on the development of the symptoms of dementia.

With an initial investment of around £75,000, a Caregiver training programme was devised in partnership with one of Europe’s leading dementia experts. The programme focuses on five key pillars of diet, exercise, learning, mental stimulation and key cognitive rehabilitation systems.

Piloting within the UK network has shown extraordinary case study results, where the progression of patients’ symptoms have slowed, giving families improved quality of life through the delivery of excellent dementia care. We’ve seen some amazing outcomes, such as that of a husband who recognised his wife for the first time in a considerable period.

We’re now working with the USA to roll out the programme and trademark it globally, creating a truly innovative system that can be replicated on a worldwide basis. I think this approach to helping people really underlines the ethos behind the Right at Home brand. 

What financial training support do you give to your franchisees and why do you think this is important?

We offer comprehensive financial training and support to our franchisees, both to ensure that their businesses are profitable and to promote a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with the brand.

A further consideration is to enable the business owners to spend their time concentrating on their growth and care quality, without worrying about the financial aspects of running a business. We try and simplify all operational aspects of the business so that our franchisees have more time for their Clients.

Our introductory finance training, delivered within the New Owner Training Programme, is a full-day course that ensures owners can work confidently alongside a bfa affiliated accountant, understanding the quickest and most stable route to breaking even and becoming profitable.

We also offer our owners access to another exclusive Right at Home innovation; the Profit Mastery University, which combines an advanced financial training course with focus group work.

This supports owners to develop best financial practice with other franchisees, and to identify areas of the business where profit margins can be tightened without any compromise to the quality of service delivery.

Where else do you think Right at Home stands out in the support that it offers?

One of the areas we have really developed recently is the support that the head office team extends to the wider network; in other words, the local office managers and other key employees.

Our Registered Managers oversee operational care delivery and are a really integral part of the business; their role encompasses ensuring that clients are safe and happy with their support, that the business remains fully compliant with all regulations and legislation, and that their care teams are given the support and development opportunities that ensure good retention.

We recognised that our franchisees offer one another an amazing support network for sharing best practice and we wanted to create the same kind of relationship among their Registered Managers – like all demanding roles, theirs is ten times harder if it’s done without peer support.

So in the last year we have extended our training, added more regional forums into the calendar, and we also recently held our first two-day managers’ conference, at which they really got to know each other while developing their knowledge in key areas of the business. 

After the conference, we launched a social network platform just for managers and it’s proven an immediate success – the feedback from managers and owners has been fantastic.

All in all, our business is built around our biggest asset our Franchisees and our staff and backed up by robust systems designed to deliver outstanding care to our clients.

  • Liz Cairns
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