Continued Expansion and success
With a strong trading position after two years of continuous growth, Bluebird Care has reached an agreement with Boots which will see the care in the home provider add to its national profile
Bluebird Care, the UK's fastest growing provider of care at home, is opening a new office every three weeks as the financial year draws to a close.
Just two years ago the Hampshire-based company traded from one office in Petersfield. Then it opened 18 new offices in 2008/09 - the equivalent to one every three weeks - and now it has 34 franchise owners trading across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, with the group turnover topping £5.5 million.
Despite global recession, the company is optimistic about the forthcoming financial year as it has another 15 franchised offices under development and a further six new franchise owners attended the latest training course in April. Potentially each new office recruits between 40 and 50 carers - an average of 800 new Bluebird Care jobs a year.
Managing Director Paul Tarsey says: 'We have had a fantastic year and, despite the gloom and doom around us, we continue to grow with successful franchise owners throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland.'
Bluebird Care's rapid expansion can be attributed to a variety of factors but mainly reflects public demand for professional care in people's own homes, based on personal preference and cost-effectiveness. It also mirrors Government policy, aimed at helping older people to stay at home, and out of residential care, for as long as possible. As a result, the company delivered over 500,000 home care visits during the past financial year - with the emphasis on offering good old-fashioned service and treating every customer as an individual.
The Bluebird Care success story started in 2004, when founders Paul and Lisa Tarsey operated from a small office in Petersfield. In June 2006 the business was launched as a franchise opportunity and is now operating nationwide, reporting significant economic growth.
Bluebird Care operates somewhat differently from other care providers and has a successful business model very much built for the 21st Century. As the most experienced care franchisor in the UK in terms of both care provision and franchising experience, franchise owners see that they are joining an experienced company, which is very well placed to make the most of the considerable opportunities the sector offers.
WORKING WITH BOOTS UK
An example of the opportunity Bluebird Care offers is the exciting joint marketing programme with high street pharmacist Boots UK. This is being rolled out across the franchise network and has been enthusiastically received by franchise owners. The reaction of John Chambers of Bluebird Care (North Gloucestershire) has been typical of the network: 'I see this as a tremendous opportunity to work closely, at a local level, with a major care brand. Boots have been most welcoming and there are huge advantages to my business working alongside them.'
Boots are similarly enthusiastic about working with Bluebird Care. Chris Glass, Boots UK Development Manager for Domiciliary Care, says: 'We are delighted to be working with Bluebird Care, who we see as a major provider of quality care in the UK and Ireland.'
As the franchise network continues to grow so does the franchise support team. Bluebird Care has recently welcomed onboard new Business Development Manager Trevor Holloway.
'We don't simply sell franchises - we recruit franchise owners,' says Paul Tarsey. 'Support to our franchise network is paramount in everything we do here at Head Office and we are constantly looking at better ways to do this. Trevor brings plenty of business experience to the team and will have prime responsibility to support our longer standing franchise owners to take their business up to new levels.'
Bluebird Care specialises in working with people requiring health care and their families, alongside Social Services, GPs and Primary Care Trusts. It also offers live-in support for people who would like, or who need, a greater level of care provision. 'The past financial year has seen rapid but sustainable growth,' says Paul. 'We place our emphasis on offering value for money, professionalism and good old-fashioned service!
'The principle of receiving professional care at home is far more cost-effective than selling up and moving into a residential home - which can cost up to £1,000 a week. Staying at home is also the favoured option for the vast majority of older or vulnerable people.
'Looking ahead, we are confident that our franchise owners are delivering quality services that are tailored to our customers' needs. The exciting joint initiative with Boots, to help people to take their prescription drugs safely and effectively at home, is a major milestone in the history of home care and has exciting possibilities for both of us. It's a great opportunity to improve our customer service even further and put us further ahead of any competition.'
Reported by Simon Dalziel