With spectacular growth achieved month-on-month Caremark is well positioned for continued expansion via its franchise development programme
Gordon Patterson: What experience have you had in the care sector?
Kevin Lewis: I have been in the care sector for 22 years. I started initially in providing residential care through my care home. I was a committee member of a Residential Care Homes Association and was the Founder Chairman of a second prominent care association.
I started my first domiciliary care business in 1993 in response to the implementation of the 'NHS and Community Care' Act. The first franchise was launched in 1995. We then grew the business through franchising to 126 offices across the UK to achieve market leader status. The business was acquired by a PLC and after four years I started Caremark.
GP: Having sold your former successfully developed care franchise, why did you launch another one?
KL: I couldn't wait to start again because I am completely passionate, excited and totally enthusiastic about the business opportunity for franchise owners and the market as a whole. Our domiciliary care franchise is a fantastic business opportunity, which combines the best in terms of business potential and, at the same time, making a huge difference to the quality of life for the people we provide care for.
I started Caremark in 2005, launched the Caremark franchise opportunity in 2006 and now with some 40 offices in the UK and Republic of Ireland our franchise owners have enjoyed an average 34 per cent month-on-month increase in hours of care delivered for the last two and a half years.
GP:'How is your company owned operation continuing to trade?
KL:'The company-owned operation has been growing steadily for the last four years, has achieved the highest rating of quality excellence from the regulatory body, achieved ISO 9001 accreditation and despite its rural location, has proven to be a rock solid foundation for developing a highly successful franchise network.
GP:'To what do you attribute your fantastic growth in this second franchise operation?
KL: A colossal amount of experience in the care industry which has been gained over the last 22 years, an in-depth understanding of the legislative requirements and the needs of our clients together with the ability to recruit good calibre care staff. Just as important has been our ability to recognise the qualities required of a Caremark franchise owner and deliver to them the very best support.
GP: What are the essential components of your franchise package?
KL: Everything a new franchise owner requires for setting up and developing a highly successful business in his/her exclusive territory - including an intensive two week residential in-house training course on all aspects of the business methodology and legislative requirements. We also include customised software, franchise owner's own website, corporate uniforms, branded stationery, promotional items and all documentation required for the business.
GP: You have had remarkable month-on-month growth. How is that being achieved?
KL: I believe this is due to four main factors:
- demographic - we operate in a £20 billion market with a growing, aging population,
- we have the strongest systems, procedures and policies developed over many years of experience within the sector,
- the superb motivation and calibre of our franchise owners,
- the commitment and dedication of myself and head office team, to provide the most appropriate ongoing support to each and every franchise owner.
GP: What is the essence of your current support?
KL: We have an excellent head office team providing in-field advice and guidance, telephone support, IT back-up, marketing strategies and ongoing training.
GP: How is the recession affecting you?
KL: Unlike many businesses, the recession has only affected us so far in a very positive way. People still require care. One of the greatest challenges within the business has been the ability to recruit increasing numbers of reliable and dedicated care workers. The recession has led to increased unemployment across the UK and Ireland and this consequently has increased the pool of potential care staff. It is, therefore, now easier to supply suitable carers to the community.