Two years ago, Norman was a Director of a structural engineering consultancy in London and Claire was the PR Manager at the Bluebird Care head office. So when the pair decided that they needed a career change, investing in a Bluebird Care franchise seemed the obvious path.
Claire says: “It was a business in a growing market where we could really utilise our full range of business skills. It also gave us the chance to have a very worthwhile career/business in our own local community.”
The pair now provide care to people who need it most in the Winchester and Eastleigh area and, according to Norman, the business has gone from strength to strength: “We are delighted; in our first year, to have delivered over 24,500 care visits to over 150 customers across our territory, both in urban and rural areas alike. We have vastly exceeded our growth expectations, which I think is down to the fantastic reputation we have created and the amazing carers that we have. Our name has really got out there and many people are coming to us knowing that they will receive exceptional care services.”
Bluebird Care recruit and manage caring and competent staff to deliver the highest standards of care to people in their own home. Care is provided not only to older people, but also to people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and to children and their families.
Claire adds: “Norman and I came from professional backgrounds before starting our Bluebird Care business. We were shocked by the standards of some home care companies and were determined to offer something far different and better. Care is changing – Government cut backs have led to many people now having to fund their own care. This has made care a private market and people are looking for high quality services just as they would when selecting what bank they are going to use or shopping for a car.
“We’re looking forward to our next year of building our customer base and growing the business further. In fact, we have just launched our latest service of Live-in Care, where people can stay at home and have a trained, professional, personal assistant who lives-in the customers home and provides, not only care needs, but also help with everyday tasks,” Claire comments.
It is not just Claire and Norman celebrating their phenomenal year – Franchise Director Simon Dalziel says: “With the exceptional growth achieved in their first year of trading, Claire and Norman have exceeded our targets for them by a staggering 95 per cent. We are very proud to have Claire and Norman as part of our successful network of Bluebird Care franchise owners and they are a shining example of the growth we are experiencing in the network.”
With a network of over 175 offices in the UK and Republic of Ireland, Bluebird Care has a recruitment ethos of selecting the right people for their franchise roles: “We are very clear about the profile of our franchise owners, it is not about selling franchises, it’s about recruiting franchise owners – there is big difference,” adds Franchise Recruitment Manager, Annetta Doyle.
The future of Claire and Norman’s franchise looks bright as their customer base continues to grow in tandem with their presence within the community. Claire concludes: “It is incredibly satisfying knowing we have grown and are continuing to grow a successful business. We were fortunate to win Bluebird Care Newcomer of the Year in 2012 and we were recently named Winchester Small Business of the Year at the 2013 Winchester Business Excellence Awards.”
For Claire and Norman, Bluebird Care has given them a chance to make a difference within their local community, a thriving business and, most importantly, a better quality of life.