- Premises Based
- Domiciliary Care
Most care businesses will tell you that they put their clients first. And whilst we don’t disagree with the sentiment, we take a slightly different view on how to achieve it. We believe that to truly be successful in this pursuit and to change the future of social care in the UK, we must actually put our carers at the heart of the business. For without them, there is no business. We describe this approach as ‘carer-centric’.
The low-down on visiting angels:
the first five franchisees to join our network in the UK will be our Founding Franchisees. With a drive to help develop and build the brand, Founding Franchiseepossess the ‘pioneer spirit’, Being a Founding Franchisee isn’t for everyone – it means having an up-front understanding that we’re blazing the trail and paving the road for those who come afterwards. At this dynamic stage of the business, we’re looking for energetic professionals who truly want to have been part of the change.
The franchisee fee is £24,995 + vat.
initial training is your opportunity to learn from our industry experts; people who have spent decades in both the care and the franchise industry, and who know how to make this business work.
For the first week’s training, you’ll fly out to our worldwide Headquarters in Philadelphia. Here, you’ll meet the international franchise support team for four days of classroom-style training. once back from home, its straight into week two of training at our UK Head Office. This intensive training course covers:
The true power of following a franchise model
For many years, husband and wife Andrew and Helen Lofts had grown tired and disillusioned with their work. It was only one day when they realised there was more to life than starting the day at 4am and not returning until late evening that they started to consider what their next steps were. A trip to a franchise exhibition gave them the answer in the form of in-home care franchise Visiting Angels. With its strong focus on ethics and company values, the pair recognised the true potential to be had in a service like no other – opening their own office in East Staffordshire.
“It was clear that care is a growing need,” said Andrew. “Not just during the pandemic when we launched, but with the ageing population and people now opting for more personal care for their loved ones, Visiting Angels provided the solutions to problems that have become prevalent in the care industry. Neither of us had any prior knowledge of the in-home care sector, but with the franchisor’s expertise, we’ve been able to replicate the successful care delivery model in our local community.”
With his 20-plus years’ experience in change management, Andrew had progressed to senior leadership senior roles within global companies. However, with that responsibility came the need to travel internationally on a regular basis. Helen, on the other hand, had spent years at a globel engineering company as an executive PA and then eight years managing a hotel whilst raising their two children.
Completely unaware of each other doing so, they both started looking at potential franchises they could invest in. It wasn’t until they both revealed their intentions that the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together – they were both on board with franchising and decided to take it further.
“We decided the best thing to do would be to visit a franchise exhibition,” Helen explained. “We didn’t have any particular sector in mind, as we knew that we would be looking for a management-style franchise. Our existing skills and expertise would put us in good stead, whilst leaving the day-to-day service to the team we would manage.”
An instant connection
“It was there we met with Dan Archer, the Managing Director of Visiting Angels,” added Andrew. “Combining our skills with the brand’s commitment to changing the face of the industry for the better with its ‘carer-centric’ approach, we knew that this was a business we could excel at. We carefully examined a number of other brands which confirmed our decision – there was nothing else that even came close to Visiting Angels.”
Established in the US in 1998, Visiting Angels is one of America’s largest care franchises, with over 700 franchisees operating in five countries. The first UK office launched in late 2017 and became the country’s first ‘carer-centric’ in-home care provider. Dan Archer spearheaded the brand’s development as UK franchisor and Managing Director of the Sheffield pilot franchise territory. Within a year of launching, Dan and his team were awarded Best International Office at Visiting Angels’ annual conference in Philadelphia, cited as the fastest-growing office in the brand’s history. It’s this success that franchisees are championed to replicate.
The pair attended their franchisee training in June 2020. This was their chance to get to grips with running a care business, whilst giving them an introduction to the care industry as a whole.
“Although the information was fed to us virtually, it worked extremely well, preparing us for the business launch. It was delivered in digestible chunks that set up a foundation for when we could begin with our service. Perhaps the greatest part though was seeing other franchisees starting their journey too – we could support one another throughout the beginning stages, and it’s something that we still do today.”
Whilst waiting for approval to operate from the Care Quality Commission, Helen focused on networking within the local community. Her efforts paid off as, when their registration went live on 1st September 2020, they already had a client waiting to get going with their service.
The right way
“We understood what had to be done to make the business a success – by following the model and replicating what Dan and other franchisees were doing, we too could build a great business. Along with the support of our amazing Registered Manager, Arnna, we’re well on our way. After six months, we had signed 12 clients, with 12 caregivers within the team. We’re comfortably completing over 225 care hours per week, which places us six months ahead of our original plan.
“I think it just goes to show that, if you follow the model, then there’s no reason not to do well,” Helen added. “We knew of the demand for quality care in East Staffordshire, so it was our chance to seize that opportunity and provide a service that families were crying out for. And it’s paid off.”
Whilst the pair have built the solid foundations of a successful business, they understand what is needed to take it to the next level. In order to grow, they will focus on delivering a great quality of care, rather than a larger quantity of merely adequate care.
“That’s our unique difference to other providers, and it works,” said Andrew. “During the pandemic, maintaining that great quality standard of care did take effort, more PPE and further training for staff, but thanks to the robust franchise model – not forgetting the country crying out for our services – we managed to build the foundations of a successful business. If we can do it whilst facing the worst economic crisis of the past decade, then we’re extremely excited for what’s to come.
“People might have thought we were mad going into business together as a married couple, but the truth is we have complementary skills that spread across all of the daily operations. It’s helped with our personal relationship too, as we are happier and feel more fulfilled than we did before. We can now see that what we’re doing is making a difference, and our confidence for the future is extremely high.”
Helen concluded, “Visiting Angels has completely changed our lives for the better. If anyone was to ask if we would do it all over again if we could, we’d reply with a resounding ‘YES!’”
Care professional pursues business ownership dreams and spreads her wings
Care is the blood that runs through Lynn James’ veins. Right from the age of 19, it’s a sector she’s been involved with - starting her career as a nurse and working her way up to launching and running her own care franchise in 2020. Whilst working for another care franchise, Lynn realised that she had ideas of her own about how true quality care could be delivered, and how caregiving staff could be recruited and retained. Then she discovered in-home care franchise Visiting Angels and realised it gave her the solution to do things her way. In the year that brought with it the pandemic and the worst economic crisis in over a decade, Lynn launched her Visiting Angels business in North Surrey.
“I suspect a lot of people think I am mad to launch a care business in the middle of a pandemic. The reality of it is that it just highlighted the important role that caregivers play in communities across the UK. I was so sure Visiting Angels was the best route to delivering quality care in my community, instead of placing things on hold and waiting out an economic downturn, I decided to launch my business when demand was high.”
The passion for care was evident right from Lynn’s youth. After spending many years in nursing, she secured a job with the Alzheimer’s Society, responsible for directly supporting families affected by dementia and developing support services that made an impact. It was in this role where Lynn came into her own and, after 15 years, she was ready for a change, becoming an Activities Coordinator at a care provider. Her passion grew stronger, and she knew she could make a difference in the care world.
Lynn has experienced all aspects of care, spotting opportunities for improvements as she progressed. When she was searching for a solution to issues with underpaid and underappreciated caregivers, rushed client visits and a stretched workforce, Lynn came across a franchise opportunity that resolved each and every one.
“When I started to research Visiting Angels in more detail, I realised that it was the answer I was looking for. The main issues I had identified throughout my career could be fixed by one simple correction: placing caregivers at the heart of the community. It’s engrained into Visiting Angel’s culture to value the staff and that resonated with me massively. I was sold.”
Established in the US in 1998, Visiting Angels is one of America’s largest care franchises, with over 600 offices operating in five countries. The first UK office launched in late 2017 and became the country’s first ‘carer-centric’ in-home care provider. Dan Archer, UK franchisor and Managing Director of the Sheffield pilot franchise territory, spearheaded the brand’s presence after demonstrating great success. Within a year of launching, Dan and his team were awarded ‘Best International Office’ at Visiting Angels’ annual conference in Philadelphia, cited as the fastest-growing office in the brand’s history. It’s this success that franchisees are championed to replicate.
“In my previous role with another care franchise I learned about the world of franchising. I saw how well it worked, recognised the support on offer and understood the benefits of investing in a much larger brand. Not only would this give me the best foundations to build upon, but I would also have an existing network to look to for guidance, advice and support throughout the life of my business. Everything was pointing towards Visiting Angels.”
Even when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the entire world to shut down, Lynn was even more determined to proceed with her plan. With the backing of her husband Chris and the passion for making a difference in her local community, she attended her franchisee training in June 2020.
“I was excited to get on with the initial training and set the wheels in motion for something that I had been considering for so long. It was great to get a grasp on how the business works, what it involved and how I could follow in the footsteps of the success of the Sheffield franchise. It just made me even more eager to start changing lives.”
In preparation for her business launch, Lynn was equipped with all the business know-how to hit the ground running. Whilst waiting for approval to operate from the Care Quality Commission, Lynn focused on generating a buzz around the business arriving in the community and what support they could offer to local residents. On July 7th, her registration went live, and Lynn wasted no time in securing client contracts.
“After six months, we had signed 10 clients and were comfortably delivering over 350 hours of care a month. I had also created my own goal of 25 recruitment opportunities within the first year – halfway through, I had 15 carers and two office team members. Once we’ve hit a year milestone, I’m confident that all targets will be exceeded.
“The future of the business is looking extremely positive. It sounds corny, but I’m constantly looking forward to meeting the next client and providing them and their loved ones the support I know will make such a difference to their lives. That’s what really puts a smile on my face.”
It’s not just Lynn’s passion for care that has increased, it’s also had an impact on her overall sense of purpose and wellbeing. After investing her life savings into something she believes in, it’s given her the confidence and drive which is working wonders for her personal life too. With Chris supporting the day-to-day running of the business too, it’s made the world of difference to their relationship.
“We make a great team and complement each other well with our varying skills. When we’re not working, we enjoy spending time with our youngest son and dog, going on walks and getting out and about. I’m also part of three book clubs and I absolutely love it. I understand that the first year of my business will require a lot of time, but once the foundations are built, I know that’s when I’ll be able to reap even more benefits.
“I don’t see what I do as work, it’s more of a vocation. I’m finally pursuing my dream of running a business and I’m confident that I’m targeting my passions in the right direction. Visiting Angels is here to make a change in the provision of care and I’m proud to be part of the team who’s leading the way.”