The best decision I ever made

A passion for helping people in need inspired former Police Officer Joe Guishard to invest in a Right at Home care franchise.

As a former Police Officer, Right at Home franchise owner for Cardiff, Joe Guishard, was passionate about helping people in need, and for many happy years he put the full weight of his considerable personality into making the streets of Cardiff a safer place.

As the years went by, Joe’s passion for helping others never waned, but he couldn’t ignore the niggling doubt that perhaps he wasn’t helping himself to achieve his own goals.

Joe started doing what most of us have done at one stage or another, and imagined himself in different jobs trying to work out what would make him happy. Eventually it became clear that what he really wanted, was to work for himself and build a business that would test his abilities, reward his hard work and have a positive effect on those around him.

The day Joe told his family he was resigning from the police service, he read an article in the paper that would literally change his life. It was an interview with a Right at Home franchise owner.

Throughout his time in the Police, Joe saw some pretty bad examples of vulnerable people failing to get the care they needed and deserved either at home or in care. The Right at Home article proved there were companies out there that provided a compassionate and professional service to people in their own homes. The company provides quality home care services to seniors and adults with physical and mild learning disabilities, and was the opportunity Joe had been looking for.

“I contacted Right at Home and, after a couple of lengthy phone calls, I was invited along to one of the discovery days. That was when I met Ken (Deary, Managing Director) and I honestly knew there and then that this was what I wanted to do. I didn’t know if I could afford it or even if they’d want me of course, but I knew I would be good at it”. Right at Home discovery days are friendly and informal, but they are designed to give the company and the attendees a chance to really show their cards.

“Straight away I could tell how passionate Ken was about the business. He is so enthusiastic and really draws you in; I found the whole thing so exciting and the more he talked, then more I wanted to be a part of what they were doing. Saying that though, the more he talked, the more I also realised that they were only looking for the very best franchisees, and with no home care experience and the fact that it is a serious financial investment, I did start to feel like it might not happen for me”.

Without giving away too much of the discovery day process, Joe had a lot to prove to Ken and the team, and would have to make several trips back to see them, produce a fantastic business plan and prepare himself to sit down with the banks to discuss how to raise the finance.

He explains: “Right at Home really helped me with all of that, but only to a point, as they want to see that you are capable of running this kind of business on your own two feet. Like I say, they helped me, but it was my business plan and I was the one who had to sell it to the bank. I had to be sure that I really believed I could do it too, because obviously the bank don’t lend you all the money, I had to put every penny I had into starting the business which is not something I would have done if I had any doubts I could make it work”.

In the end, the bank must have believed in Joe as much as Ken did, as Joe raised the money and became the very proud owner of the Right at Home franchise for Cardiff.

"The training was full-on, but it just made it so clear that trying to set up a business like this on your own would be a nightmare. Again, one of the biggest surprises was Ken; I couldn’t believe how involved he was. He was at almost every session and he has so much experience in franchising as well as the care industry. It just reinforced that I had made the right decision – I wanted my own business, I wanted something that I would have to work really hard at, have the potential to make good money, be able to really help people and build something I could be proud of, but, and I really mean this, I knew I would need really great support and guidance to make it happen. Right at Home have more than lived up to their side of the bargain and I hope they feel I have too.”

Two years into the business, how does Joe feel about his decision? He confirms: “Best decision I ever made; no question. I’m in my thirties and I can see a really bright future where I own maybe three or even four Right at Home territories. I have put an amazing team together and the support I get from head office is just as good as it was at the beginning.

“Don’t get me wrong; it can be stressful at times, people really rely on the services my care staff provide and we can’t ever let them down. My job is to lead the team and make sure everything is running precisely as it should be. There are a lot of people to make sure are where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to do and putting the clients first. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s fun and very rewarding in lots of ways.

“I don’t really want to talk about money, but I’m way ahead of my targets and already I can live life very differently to when I was in the police. I know it will sound cheesy, but I really do take so much pride in knowing what I do matters, that it really matters to our clients and their families – their positive feedback is way more important to me than the money. My guys do an amazing job and I want them to enjoy working for my company and have fun and stay with me for years!”

When asked if he would recommend Right at Home to other people considering a franchise in the home care sector, Joe replies: “One hundred per cent, of course I would. They’ve been brilliant, I couldn’t ask for more and Ken really is someone who gets the best out of you and makes you want to do the best job you can. But, it’s hard work and it’s a serious commitment. You feel like you’ve done the hard part when they say ‘yes you can have the franchise’ but it’s only just beginning! If you are passionate about this kind of work, making a difference, raising the standard, providing the highest standard of care possible, finding the best staff, working really hard – if that’s you then absolutely, go for it, give them a call. It is the best call I ever made.”