The business of care at caremark

The care industry has gone from early beginnings when the service was provided by local authorities for older people, to that of a multi-million pound industry, serving a wide range of people of all ages and abilities and offering a broad choice of care services, from the daily domestic call to the more complex 24-hour live-in care and support.

How many of us really understand just what the care industry is all about or really know what it offers? Then there is the other side of the coin – the business opportunity that sits in the midst of the care sector; how many of us are familiar with the care franchise opportunity? Certainly, this sector of the market is growing and continuing to attract the attention of hungry entrepreneurs looking for an exciting and worthwhile commercial opportunity, as well as professionals seeking a change following redundancy.

With people continuing to live longer, the need for good quality home care is ensuring the care industry continues to grow. The fact of the matter is we will probably all require some form of care or support at some point in our lives, whether at home or to support us in our daily living.

The domiciliary or home care industry has come a long way since its beginnings in the early 1990s, following the introduction of the NHS and Community Care Act. Over the last 24 years, the care industry has continued to evolve with legislation working to maintain high standards from care providers and ensure the rights of the people who use the service are respected and adhered to at all times.

At first, the principal recipients of domiciliary care were older people. However the last five years have seen greater diversification of services. This in real terms means that care and support, however specialised, is now available, offering children, young people, adults of all ages and those with disabilities, an opportunity to live their lives in the way they would like.

Caremark Limited, the Sussex-based home care franchisor, has been franchising its high quality home care business opportunity since 2006 and year on year has continued to build on its expanding network which now has offices throughout the UK, eight in the Republic of Ireland and one in Malta. Having a previous career in the health and social care industry is not a prerequisite either to owning a care franchise. More importantly is the need to have a passion for the care industry and the necessary drive and vision to build a successful business.

One such franchise owner who has done just that is Janis Anderson, Managing Director of Caremark (Aylesbury & Wycombe) and 2013 winner of both the bfa Franchisee of the Year and Female Franchisee of the Year. She comments: “There is a real benefit to being part of a franchise rather than trying to start a business from scratch. This is particularly true for the Care sector. The legislation is complex and you stand a better chance of success having the franchisor there to guide you through all this rather than go it alone.”

Sanjay Pancholi, franchisee for Caremark (Charnwood), was another professional who took the leap from a successful career in the recruitment industry to that of independent business owner. Talking about his decision to make the move he said: “It was pretty clear to me that home care would always be in demand and the current Government stance on how best to deliver care was playing right into the strengths of Caremark.”

Despite the struggling economy of over the last years and the squeeze on local authorities’ spending, the Government are requiring more investment into better home care provision – a fact which may ring alarm bells to any potential franchise owner researching the care sector. Yet this current stance works well for Caremark, being a company who have the necessary experience, solidity of business model and understanding of the market place to keep pace with all the changes.

Commenting on the way the business has evolved in order to remain at the top of the market, Kevin Lewis, CEO, said: “To my mind, every change represents a potential new opportunity for our business and the possibility for continued growth in the network.”

All of this presents a real business opportunity for the right professional looking for a rewarding, long-term business. Owning one’s own business means greater independence, always an important factor, while the franchise route provides a better overall sense of security for a new business owner. The common denominator with most candidates is the need to be in control of one’s own destiny.

Today the Social Care market is worth in excess of £23bn per annum with self-funding individuals currently taking up 40 per cent of the social care market share, a figure which is likely to continue to rise as the current trend for personal control of social care spending increases.

Chris Williams, franchisee for Caremark (Walsall), reflected: “Care is always going to be an area of growth. People require care whatever the economy looks like.”

With the population continuing to age and more focus being placed on supporting people to remain living at home and lead more independent lives, the demand for high quality care at home is only set to increase.