3 years of Outstanding Growth

Three years on from the launch of its franchise opportunity, Bluebird Care has 62 franchised offices operating nationwide. To celebrate its growth the company presented its first franchise owner, Sue Milakovic, with a bouquet as she reflected on the networks outstanding achievements

Celebrating the third anniversary of signing her franchise agreement, Bluebird Care's first franchise owner Sue Milakovic has seen the network grow to 62 offices operating nationwide. As her own business completes its third year of operation, she reflects: "I'm really pleased with my business - I have a full quota of staff, I'm getting new business in all the time and now I'm searching for a location to open a second office."

Sue discovered the Bluebird Care opportunity in The Franchise Magazine and initially requested more information on the company alongside a number of other opportunities. "I got lots of information through the post on various franchises and the Bluebird Care business appealed to my background of working with local authorities," she recalls. "I spoke to the head office to find out more and, after visiting them to see the setup, I didn't want to look at anything else!"

Sue officially signed her franchise agreement for the Mid-Staffordshire territory with Bluebird Care at the National Franchise Exhibition in 2006 at The Franchise Magazine's stand, so three years later she returned to celebrate the anniversary of her signing with Bluebird Care Managing Director Paul Tarsey and Franchise Director Simon Dalziel.

"It was a great opportunity to congratulate Sue on three years of trading as a Bluebird Care franchise owner," says Paul (pictured, left, with Simon presenting Sue with a bouquet). "We've seen her business grow into a thriving and successful enterprise and we'll be pleased to help her establish a second office to develop her Bluebird Care business into 2010 and beyond."

Bluebird Care franchises specialise in providing care in people's own homes, a sector that continues to see phenomenal growth and one that is enjoying the spotlight due to recent political focus. The company established its pilot operation in 2004 and, utilising the franchising experience of Simon, developed its franchise concept in order to replicate its established business model across the country.

"Having worked in the franchise sector for some 20 years, I know how important it is to franchise a business and not just an idea," he says. "The Bluebird Care business model was well tried and tested before franchising and we are now seeing the benefit of this experience in our franchise owners' success. We have also used our experience to put together a high quality franchise support team, as we have a full understanding of what our franchise owners' support requirements are."

In the early days of operating her franchise the main challenge for Sue was establishing her reputation in the market. "After signing the agreement I went through Bluebird Care's comprehensive training and the process of registering my business as a care provider," she explains. "Once I was ready to start trading it was a case of getting my name out there. Once I won some business and provided an excellent service the work started to snowball.

"Now the network is in place it is much easier for our franchise owners to get their business off the ground. For me the business is thriving and I'm looking to open a second office in Stafford, which will allow me to service the whole of my territory and double the amount of business we're getting in."

With two franchise owners turning over in excess of £1 million, Bluebird Care is on course to continue its strong growth in 2010. "In the three and a half years since we launched the Bluebird Care franchise we've recruited high quality franchise owners and have some very successful franchises in the 62 strong network," says Simon. "We continue to seek people with management experience who have the skills necessary to run a fast moving business - they don't need experience in the care sector but certainly do need an empathy with the sector that we operate in. While we remain very selective in the franchise owners that join us we would like to maintain our recruitment rate of about 24 in the next 12 months. We are now seen as a major provider of care in the UK."

Reported by Stuart Anderson

LATEST FRANCHISE OWNERS

Bluebird Care's sixth franchise owners training course of this year recently completed at the company's offices in Petersfield. In addition to franchise owners from London, West Sussex, Yorkshire and Buckinghamshire, the latest franchise owner for the fast-growing Republic of Ireland network, Paul O'Reilly, attended the course.

Anne Inglis, who previously held senior appointments in the IT world, was also a delighted course member. "For a long time I have wanted to run my own business and the Bluebird Care opportunity shone over the other franchises I considered," she said. "A professionally run, modern business, without doubt Bluebird Care is the leading care franchise."

Also on the course were business partners Rod Weale and Richard Mackay. Rod and Richard have known each other a long time having met while both working for a well known advertising directory. "We were looking for a well run business in a growth market and Bluebird Care fitted the criteria perfectly," enthused Rod. "There is no doubt the care at home sector is growing fast - you only have to see how quickly Bluebird Care has developed as evidence of this and the company stood head and shoulders above the other care franchises with the experience they have in this sector."