Healthy business means big profits

Megan Dunmore reports on why the care sector is thriving and how Kare Plus continues to stay in demand

In the last 12 months, care franchise Kare Plus has experienced an unprecedented demand – from clients and potential franchise owners alike. Its franchise network has grown by 200 per cent since May last year and the level of enquiries from would-be franchise owners continues to climb.

Existing Kare Plus franchise owners confirm that out in the marketplace, business potential is huge and the biggest challenge they face is not making sales, but gearing up quickly to meet the rising requirement for their services.

The reason behind this success, says Kare Plus Managing Director Steve Welsh, is a combination of factors. Massive changes within the healthcare sector have created new opportunities for independent care providers, while the proven Kare Plus business model enables franchise owners to supply not only domiciliary services to the elderly, but also specialist medical care to people of all ages in their own homes, as well as to private hospitals and care homes.

Behind the scenes Kare Plus has been quietly building on its strong reputation, both in the private and public sector over a number of years, slowly developing its national network and, up until May last year, establishing only a handful of franchise owners.

With the advent of the Health & Social Care Act in 2012, Kare Plus has raised its game, private contracts worth millions of pounds, and simultaneously launching a high profile marketing campaign aimed at recruiting ambitious, hard working and business focused franchise owners able to deliver the necessary services to fulfil those contracts.

“We have an ageing population in this country and so the need for domiciliary and medical services is growing,” Steve Welsh explains. "On top of that the shortage of carers, nurses and other clinical staff is driving the NHS as well as private organisations to turn to agencies like Kare Plus to provide reliable, suitably qualified and vetted staff. The Health & Social Care Act was introduced to address these issues and enshrined in the legislation is patients’ freedom to choose those services which best meet their needs, including those from independent sector providers.”

He continues: “Our roots are in the agency sector, supplying qualified nurses to hospitals and care homes, so we’re particularly well placed to take advantage of this new healthcare landscape. In a struggling economy, healthcare is about the only sector that’s growing strongly and is absolutely sustainable – the need for care, whether medical or non-medical, will always be with us. There’s never been a better time for those who recognise the clear opportunity to establish a successful, long-term business in this rapidly growing marketplace.”

The business opportunity is attracting new franchise owners from the healthcare sector as well as those from more commercial backgrounds. Golam Wayes of Kare Plus Redbridge is a prime example. Six years as a financial professional in the National Health Service convinced him that there was real potential to set up a profitable business providing independent care services. So, along with two other friends – an IT specialist who also worked for the NHS and a third partner from the private sector – Golam began to research potential opportunities.

“We felt from the outset that franchising was the best option,” he explains. “We wanted to be associated with a well-established name that was already known and respected in the health care sector, and benefit from the expertise, support and direction of an experienced franchisor, all of which led us to Kare Plus.”

Although Golam and his partners only launched Kare Plus Redbridge in November last year, already their business has taken off. Initially, the team focused on the care and nursing homes side, but now they are undergoing further training from Kare Plus. After that they are scheduled to be trained to deliver domiciliary care too.

“Kare Plus has provided excellent support for us, they even introduced us to our first big client – BUPA,” says Golam. “Launching a new business has been really intense, it’s a great responsibility, but Kare Plus has been there to offer a guiding hand or practical assistance whenever we’ve needed it.”

Golam’s experience is typical, according to Steve Welsh. He says Kare Plus are committed to supporting franchise owners in developing their business and part of that role is introducing new customers. “There is a dedicated national accounts team here at head office focused on identifying potential new contracts and preparing tenders,” he confirms. “Next, plans are already underway to establish a professional tele-sales team, whose role will be to contact individual hospitals and care homes to open doors for franchise owners on their own territories. Of course, it’s important that they work hard to build their own customer base, but our interest is in making sure that new franchise owners get off to the best possible start!”

Over the last 12 months Kare Plus have successfully secured a series of new contracts, including national care home group HC-One and two major RPO’s (Recruitment Process Outsourcing companies), Commensura and Matrix, who each provide managed solutions for local authorities nationwide. Together these contracts alone represent millions of pounds of potential business, says Steve Welsh.

HC-One operates 240 care homes across the UK, spends an estimated £10 million per annum on outsourced care and nursing staff and appointed Kare Plus to its approved agency list last year, while Comensura and Matrix tender for government and council contracts, including procuring services for care and nursing homes; they supply 29 local authorities with care and nursing solutions for adults and children, so their combined annual spend on outsourced services is huge.

Kare Plus is also on the approved agency list for De Poel, who provide temporary, permanent, contingent and contract resourcing solutions, and counts some of the industry’s largest care home and private hospital operators amongst their customers, including Four Seasons Health Care, Barchester Care Homes and the Priory Group.

Currently, franchise owners are gearing up to benefit from the latest Kare Plus new business win – a multi-million pound national contract to provide specialised staff to support adults with learning difficulties. Kare Plus is one of only five carefully selected staff providers to be nominated by Dimensions, a not-for-profit organisation that supports people with learning difficulties and autism. They require care services in 21 different regions across England and Wales, which means ready-made business opportunity for franchise owners in those areas.

“We’re really on a roll, with 2013 shaping up to be the best year yet for Kare Plus,” Steve concludes. “Our rapid growth is driving the strong recruitment campaign for Kare Plus franchise owners – we are tendering for contracts worth around £140 million in regions all across the UK, and need to build our nationwide network to accommodate this. We’ve spent years building a reputation in the healthcare industry and now our hard work and commitment is paying off. Kare Plus has become a respected brand in the sector and we’re known for our emphasis on quality and reliability of service. As a result, we’re able to roll out our business model across the UK, enabling franchise owners to replicate our success, share in the rewards of our national contract wins and in the process, build a profitable, sustainable business for themselves.”