Experience Counts ...in a £12 billion growth market

With an extensive pedigree in care industry franchising, the founders of Bluebird Care speak to Nick Williams about their newly launched franchise

Simon Dalziel and Paul Tarsey first worked together nearly 10 years ago when they were the driving force behind the UK's most successful care franchise. They not only worked together but became firm friends. 'We found out very quickly that our business values were the same but we also realised that we had quite a lot of other things in common,' says Paul, 'not least of which was a sense of humour!'

After a few years they each charted new courses but remained in touch. Paul and his wife Lisa started Bluebird Care two years ago and their experience of working in the care sector for many years soon paid off as the business has gone from strength to strength. Simon and Paul realised that the Bluebird Care concept would make an ideal franchise so set about designing the franchise package to create a business that would work for both franchisee and franchisor - a real win-win situation.

Paul continues: 'Both Simon and I could see the viability of the idea as everyone, sooner or later, is affected by the requirement to provide care to relatives or friends. Care at home is the Government's - and usually the individual's - preferred choice and we are now seeing business come from a variety of sectors, not just the traditional market of social services.'

Simon adds: 'My 15 years of experience in franchising covers time spent recruiting and supporting franchisees across a range of sectors and also working as a franchise consultant to companies looking to franchise their business. While there may be other companies offering similar franchises, no one else can offer the in-depth experience of both franchising and care that Paul and I have.'

The company has been realistic in its franchise network planning with a structured recruitment programme to grow at a steady pace. 'We don't sell franchises, we recruit franchisees,' continues Paul. 'By ensuring we grow at a pace we are happy with we will ensure franchisees receive the help and support to give them every opportunity to grow a successful and profitable business in a huge growth sector.'

Bluebird Care has opportunities throughout the UK and although a number of their exclusive franchise territories have already been reserved they would like to hear from people throughout the country. 'The need for care is not area specific,' adds Simon. 'The growth market is in all parts of the country.'

Franchisees do not need to have care experience. The franchise package is designed to appeal to both those with experience and those without. 'The sector is now regulated by government, which we welcome as it has seen a raising of standards,' continues Simon. 'Our training package, which is part at Head Office and part in the franchisee's own office, has been developed to ensure franchisees have a full understanding of the business and the importance of providing the highest standards of care. We place great emphasis on care staff training and management!'

Once trading, franchisees enjoy support only experience can bring. 'We care passionately about our franchisees' success,' Simon states. 'Without them we have no business.'

Franchisees need to enjoy working with people and have good communication skills. They should also have an empathy with the importance of providing an important community service and see the opportunity the care sector provides.

Bluebird Care has been delighted with the response from potential franchisees since its launch as a franchise in May. Paul reports: 'Interest has been good with some exceptional people being interviewed who can see the opportunity we offer.'