Jill Adams took the plunge and launched her SureCare franchise in Exeter and East Devon after an extensive background in the care industry. Jill had been a care manager with North Hertfordshire District Council and, during this time, had led a pilot for homecare within several sheltered housing schemes.
Jill said: “I had worked in the care industry for the best part of 20 years and as care manager was responsible for 24 sheltered schemes and 120 staff.
“When we moved to Devon, I became interested in running my own business and considered different options before deciding on a SureCare franchise.
“The franchise model appealed to me because you did not have to reinvent the wheel. I was able to take advantage of policies and procedures already in place and the company kept me up to date with new regulations and changes to the law.
“When I launched the franchise in 2001, we were regulated by the local social services rather than Care Quality Commission as it is today.”
Jill’s SureCare franchise is different to most other franchises within the company. She explains: “We are situated on a working farm from which the business operates and staff enjoy coming here for meetings and training.
“Also because of our rural location, there is no such thing as a 15 or 30 minute visit. We don’t carry out any visits of less than an hour. We only provide care services to older people and adults with disabilities, learning difficulties or brain injuries. A lot of the time, we are enabling family carers to have a break, maybe the chance to meet friends or play a round of golf.
“Operating a franchise is a way of life and it is very hard to switch off. It is not a 9 till 5 job, but it can be a very rewarding existence. Running a farm and a care franchise are similar in that both are a seven-days-a-week business.”
Jill, who employs 20 staff, said that the biggest challenge she had faced as a franchisee had been recruitment. “Recruiting good people is undoubtedly the hardest but also the most important part of running any business. I have deliberately stayed small and have been very fortunate with many of the people I have employed.”
In terms of advice to would-be franchisees, Jill offers a number of useful tips: “Firstly, make sure you have the capital to invest and grow your franchise business and then don’t expect returns straightaway. It takes time to build any business.
“It is also important to make yourself take regular breaks in order to stay fresh and have the energy to develop and grow your business.”
Jill concluded: “I have enjoyed running my SureCare franchise over the past 12 years. I have a good team and we have got to know our clients very well. We offer a valuable service and it is very satisfying to know that we are making a difference to people’s lives.”