Q&A with Bluebird Care

Bluebird Care Franchise Director Simon Dalziel answers Franchise Consultant Malcolm Porter's questions on the development of the care in the home brand

Malcolm Porter: When was Bluebird Care formed and what is the background of the founders?
Simon Dalziel (pictured): The pilot scheme was started in September 2004 by my business partners Paul and Lisa Tarsey. Paul and Lisa have many years of experience in the care sector and saw how the care market was changing and those changes were not being addressed by other companies. There was a huge opportunity to develop a business built for the 21st century - not doing as most other companies do by having a business stuck with 1990s ideas and practices. Franchising the business had always been the intention, but we were determined to prove all the systems and procedures before launching the franchise in line with best franchise practice. I joined Paul and Lisa to bring my 20 years of franchise experience into the business and then put together the franchise concept. The business was launched as a franchise in June 2006.

MP: What was the market opportunity that Bluebird Care was formed in response to?
SD: Care is a rapidly changing market. Demand for care at home is huge but the Government cannot afford to fund everyone's care in the way they used to. What this means is that the growth market is the private sector, which requires a very different business approach, which Bluebird Care has very successfully implemented.

MP: Why is franchising suited to the Bluebird Care business concept?
SD: A number of reasons. Firstly, we work in a tightly regulated environment where all care businesses need to be accredited by the Care Quality Commission. Therefore you need to have policies and procedures that meet the Government's care standards. Franchises are used to working with proven systems and procedures.

Secondly, franchise owners have the comfort of knowing that we will always ensure their businesses comply with any changes to the care regulations, so allowing them to concentrate on the important areas of business development.

Thirdly, the exceptional sales and marketing systems Bluebird Care has, which are unique in the sector have been a major driver in our success.

MP: What is the attraction of the Bluebird Care franchise for franchise owners?
SD: The care market is very buoyant and is proving to be recession resilient. Paul has been operating in the sector since the early '90s while I bring 20 years of experience in the franchise sector. This means our franchise owners have a wealth of experience to call upon not only from the directors but from our very experienced support team.

Franchising has enabled the brand to grow rapidly and this is creating opportunities for our franchise owners. The recent working initiative with Boots, where Bluebird Care is the only care provider working closely with such a major, trusted brand, is a good example of this. There are a number of other initiatives that we are working on for our franchise owners as the network size increases.

The Bluebird Care track record of franchise owners developing successful businesses in a short time is also very attractive to those considering the business.

MP: What are the goals for Bluebird Care's franchise recruitment?
SD: There are around 120 franchise territories in the UK and we expect to complete the network in the next few years provided that we continue to find the right calibre of franchise owner. Bluebird Care does not sell franchises, we recruit franchise owners! We also have a very successful master franchise owner in the Republic of Ireland and have proved that we can support franchise owners outside of the UK. There are clearly opportunities for our business in other countries as well when the time is right.

MP: What is the growth potential of a Bluebird franchise for someone intent on building a large income?
SD: I genuinely believe that the potential of a Bluebird Care franchise is limited only by a franchise owner's desire for success. We already have some very successful franchise owners who have done no more than scratch the surface of the available business in their territory, yet will have a business turning over more than £1 million annually. Bluebird Care is a successful, proven business providing a much-needed quality service to our customers and giving our franchise owners the opportunity to work in a fast- growing market to develop successful and profitable businesses.