Wee Watch: Are you a Brand Builder?

Canadian childcare franchise Wee Watch is seeking a national master franchisee to develop its brand in the UK. Rachel Spaul profiles the brand

The potential market for professional, regulated day care for infants and young children in the UK is 'enormous', says Leslie Wilson, Wee Watch Manager of Operations. According to the Office for National Statistics*: 'The proportion of dual-earner couples, both with or without dependent children, has increased over the past 10 years while the proportion of workless couples has decreased. The upward trend in employment rates for couples, mothers and lone parents reflects increases in both full-time and part-time employment.'

Leslie suggests that as even more parents choose to continue working, the demand for supervised care for infants and children up to school age will continue to grow.

Founded in Canada in 1984 and franchised in 1987, Wee Watch has grown its Canadian network to 50 franchisees. The company has been recognised twice in Entrepreneur magazine's annual 'Franchise 500' and has been ranked twice by Profit magazine in 'Canada's 50 Fastest Growing Franchises' and Canada's '100 Fastest Growing Franchises'.

'Wee Watch is a franchise opportunity with incredible potential,' Leslie reflects. 'In 1987 we didn't set out to be the biggest. We set our sights on being the best, believing that growth would come naturally - we're now aiming to replicate this success in the UK market.'

Mastermind a new brand of childcare

Expansion will be through a national master franchisee, who will be responsible for recruiting, training and supporting a network of sub-franchisees. These sub-franchisees will in turn recruit individuals to provide professional childcare in their homes (Providers) and match them with families in need of their services.

Providers complete an initial training session to ensure that they are aware of the required regulations and the Wee Watch system. Parents have the comfort of knowing that the Wee Watch system provides a wide range of services such as unannounced, monthly home visits by qualified staff, and a back-up service for the days their Provider is ill or away on holiday.

Sub-franchisees help develop lasting relationships between parents and Providers to enhance the quality of care the children receive. Providers foster a warm, safe and stimulating atmosphere where self-confidence is encouraged and an interest in learning is promoted through play and the Wee Learn system, which has proven highly popular with parents in Canada. A programme of activities is designed in each home to cater to the needs of the children using Wee Watch resources, as well as resources available within the community.

'Wee Watch aims to promote a positive attitude towards childcare as well as the professional image of Providers, and believes that caring for children is providing a valuable service to the community,' Leslie explains. 'As partners, Wee Watch, the parents and the Providers work together to achieve their common goal - to provide the best care possible for their children. 'Private home day care is the most appropriate form of childcare for infants and young children. The home environment, combined with the small number of children, offers the flexibility and personal attention needed to ensure that the schedule and activities cater to each child's development and wellbeing.

Are you a brand developer?

The master franchisee will have a proven track record in business, sufficient funds to develop and support a network, and will recognise the potential nationwide development of a Wee Watch franchise network in the UK. Leslie furthers: 'Wee Watch will provide full training, support, manuals, and materials such as the exclusive 'Wee Learn' programme for children aged one upwards, and marketing solutions. Franchisees will benefit from ongoing system and product developments made in Canada, and the Wee Watch brand and its proven business format.

'This is an attractive business opportunity offering incredible freedom and potential. There's enormous opportunity to build a sub-franchised network and we offer a winning combination of people and systems to help you reach your growth potential.'