Why The Care Sector Is The Hottest Ticket In Town

You cannot pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV news these days without seeing a story of some description relating to the care industry. It could be a piece about the care of our elderly, or about the dementia timebomb the UK faces, or maybe about the growing number of parents juggling busy jobs with the needs of their children.

For those of us trying to sell franchises in the care sector, the combination of the above creates a perfect storm. The care sector is, quite simply, the hottest ticket in town for franchisees willing to put in the hard work and think outside of the box.

Since joining SureCare just over a year ago, I have been working closely with my team to reshape the offer we make to franchisees. We have moved away from being a company which sells domiciliary care franchises and, instead, have become a far more diverse care franchise opportunity.

While domiciliary care remains one of our services, SureCare has expanded into childcare, respite care and providing home services to carry out a full range of household tasks. We have repositioned the business opportunity so that franchisees are able to provide people in their area with a community of care services.

There are two principal reasons why we have had to adapt as a company. The first one is financial – budgets available for traditional Dom care have been squeezed and they will not be returning any time soon.

The second reason is about good business sense. All good businesses need to aim for diversity and that is precisely what we have achieved with our new package of services available to our franchisees.

We now have franchises which offer baby-sitting services to their clients and others which are running mobile crèches at weddings and a range of other events. We have other franchisees who are providing a comprehensive range of home services to clients – everything from collecting the laundry, doing the weekly shop, taking someone to their local bridge club or simply spending time having a meal with a client.

We are providing services – and, thereby, franchise opportunities – which are totally relevant and in touch with the 21st Century. We are stepping back into our communities and providing a range of community services. We are facing a care time bomb, a world in which more and more of us will be working until we are 75 and living past 100.

Families are more time-starved than ever before and are often forced to live hundreds of miles away from parents.

Our carers tell us that, more often than not, what elderly people want more than anything is time. I think we are starting to see a shift back towards the importance of community. Even the supermarkets are picking up on this trend and opening smaller, more community-based stores in towns. At the other end of the spectrum, we see busy parents who need help looking after their children. Most are not fortunate enough to have grandparents living around the corner to step in at a moment’s notice when an unexpected work commitment or function crops up.

That is when having a reliable, experienced, DBS registered childcare service in your community is so invaluable.

There has been a lot in the media about dementia with experts calling on the Government to wage war on this “21st century plague”. We have recently had the first ever G8 Dementia Summit, hosted by our own Prime Minister David Cameron in London.

Cameron has pledged to double funding for research into the disease to £66 million in 2015, while pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has announced a £200million investment to create a “centre of excellence” that will turn breakthroughs in the laboratory into effective drugs to combat the condition.

The spotlight on dementia is timely. New statistics published last week show a sharp rise in the number of people affected by dementia globally. A staggering 44 million people now have the condition and this figure is set to rise to 76 million by 2030.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, already affects one in 14 people over the age of 65, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, and one in six over the age of 80.

Another study just released has pinpointed how important a healthy lifestyle can be in reducing the risk of developing dementia. Such a lifestyle is made up of five key components – regular exercise, eating fruit and vegetables, staying slim, light drinking and not smoking.

Our experienced team of carers at SureCare, across our 27 franchises and three branches, are highly experienced in caring for people affected by dementia.

Our carers help to care for those who are suffering from the early stages of dementia through to those more seriously affected by the condition. We are busy helping sufferers maintain their independence and continue to get the most from their later life.

Find the right franchise in the care sector and you can build a very successful business, while also providing an invaluable service in your community. Our franchisees come from the care sector, but also from outside of the sector, including people who have cared for a loved one and have developed strong views on how things could be done better.

In fact, I would go as far as saying that I actively look for franchisees from outside of the care sector. What I am looking for most is good business acumen, a can-do attitude, a real drive and determination and a passion for what they do.

One good example of this in my own company is Amrit Dhaliwal, who bought the Oxfordshire franchise after caring for his elderly grandfather. Amrit had no previous experience in the sector having previously run a successful tea rooms and restaurant in Richmond. He feels strongly about the importance of providing excellent care to the elderly and delivers much of it himself.

Buying a franchise in the care sector presents a fabulous opportunity. While any new franchisee will ultimately be responsible for the success or failure of their business, they will begin their new life as a franchisee in the knowledge that they can call upon the experience of the company’s head office team to guide them every step of the way. One of the beauties of buying a good franchise is that the franchisor should have experienced people within its team who can assist with the essential building blocks of any business – finance, operations, recruitment, marketing and sales.

In the case of my own company, my senior team have almost 100 years combined experience of working within the care sector, which puts them in a unique position to be able to continually identify and implement new opportunities for franchisees operating in the care sector.

by Gary Ferrer - Managing Director of SureCare