Home Instead: Make a difference with a worthwhile business

The quality of Home Instead's operations combined with the opportunity to get involved in a business providing a "needed service"convinced Stephen Williams (pictured below) to invest in its Chester franchise. As he moves into his second year with the franchise, he reflects on his experiences in the domiciliary care industry

There is a huge hole in social services delivery in terms of provision for older people who wish to stay living in their own homes. Home Instead Senior Care provides non-medical companionship, home help and personal care services with the intention of enabling an older person to remain independent and at home. This encompasses meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, help with bathing and dressing, errands and taking them to appointments.

I came to the franchise with a corporate background, most recently running my own successful training and development company. I was looking for an opportunity to use my business skills and experience in a field that was really worthwhile in terms of providing a needed service. One of the things that impressed me on becoming aware of Home Instead is the quality of its operations. I realised that the proposition is extremely necessary in the UK marketplace, and from a business perspective its growth since starting 13 years ago has been absolutely huge. I took over the Chester franchise in July last year and have consistently grown each month since.

It's a community-based business - a lot of my time is spent engaged with the local Social services, hospitals, charities, GP surgeries and other organisations. Home Instead is well suited to this because, on the one hand you have a proven and tested franchise system providing a high quality service, and on the other you have the fact that each franchise is a locally owned business, which is very important because this is not an advertising-based model, it's a referral-based model. My business has grown through providing what I describe as 'trusted care'. The franchisee and staff need to understand the community in which they work - as a franchisee you need to become part of that network of services for older people.

I have 65 staff, approximately 60 clients on my books and am running at an annualised revenue just under £400,000. I think that while the business has been very successful over the year and is growing faster, we've only touched the surface of the potential I've seen in Chester. In the USA there are franchise businesses that are multi-million dollar, and from what I've seen the potential in the UK is really greater than that.