Franchising Has Allowed Me To Build a Business I Can Be Really Proud of

An award-winning franchise model from a company that cares; Right at Home delivers exceptional care that helps people to live independently, and with dignity, in their own homes.

Right at Home

In the UK
  Business Type:
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Member - Full

After choosing a franchise that really suited his skills, former country club manager Andy McNiven has got his new quality home care business off to a flying start. As owner of Right at Home Mid Sussex, he is now hoping to achieve the network’s fastest ever break-even point.

Name: Andy McNiven
Location: Mid Sussex
Franchise: Right at Home

Right at Home franchise

Why did you go down the franchise route? I always wanted my own business and being part of a franchise gives you the security of knowing that you will get the support you need. Especially in the care sector, it is something that I couldn’t have done on my own; I wouldn’t have known where to start.

And why did you choose your franchise? Right at Home stood out as being extremely professional from the moment we set eyes on it online. From our early conversations, we were very reassured that it was the right company to be with. The brand was strong, support was clearly a priority, and I knew that I only wanted to run a business that had the same kind of values as I did. I know this is something I can be extremely proud of.

What did you do before taking up a franchise? I was initially a professional golfer, then latterly working in golf and leisure management, running increasingly large golf and country clubs.

How did you raise the finance? Partly through my own savings, partly through support from my parents and partly through bank borrowing. I went directly to Lloyds Bank and they were familiar with the Right at Home model, so it was pretty straightforward.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing? I had an eight-day training course at head office which was very comprehensive, informative and inspiring; it set me on the road to hit the ground running. Since then there’s been a wide range of assistance in compliance, marketing and recruitment; the Head Office support team is very strong and I feel privileged to have had that behind me.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee? It’s changed since I started, when we were focusing on social media and getting out and meeting people as much as possible. We then took off quite quickly and latterly it’s been more reactive, I’m now spending more time planning ahead to make sure that we maintain the required level of recruitment.

What challenges have you faced? Initially it was finding the right Registered Manager – I had three false starts before my current manager Louise started. The challenge was then getting going, finding our first clients and meeting their needs with the care givers we had available. Now that the hours have increased, the challenge is staying in control; maintaining the quality and building the infrastructure to support the growth. I’ve been taking on extra office staff earlier than planned so that we’re not firefighting further down the line.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how? Yes, it absolutely has. On the one hand I wish I had done it years ago, but then we may not have found Right at Home. I love being in control of my own destiny – for years I ran other people’s businesses for them, but without the financial rewards or the overall control. Now if I want to train people, I can train people; I can decide the best way to reward staff.

What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise? Social media has worked really well for us; in fact it’s been key to getting started and creating a buzz around the business. We’ve had direct client enquiries and staff recruitment as well as the less tangible results of building brand awareness.
Being out in the community and offering my time to local groups and charities was also very productive; it allows you to talk to people and build relationships. We got one of our regular clients through a member of a blind group that I have been helping with.

What differentiates your franchise from the competition? We are one of the only agencies offering a minimum of 45 minute visits and that makes us stand out; we’ve also built a culture where people can see that we are supporting our staff and that has really helped with recruitment; not a lot of other people do that. Finally, a lot of people talk about delivering person-centred care but we are getting great feedback and gathering testimonials that show we are really doing that; understanding what our clients are looking for and focusing on excellent communication.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee? You’ve got to really be passionate about what you’re doing; be driven and ambitious and to value the franchise system. What has worked well for us is following the advice and guidance that we’ve been given and adapting it to our own business.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise? I’d advise them to weigh up the business model. Right at Home offered me the chance to speak to any franchisees and that open culture gave me confidence as well as a better understanding. You also need to make sure that the franchise matches your own skillset – I was comfortable marketing, recruiting and building relationships and have always worked in customer-facing roles.

What are your plans for the future? My immediate goal is to achieve the quickest break-even time in the Right at Home group, which we are currently on course to do at around four months. Financially I think we can achieve a million pound turnover in three years; for now my focus is on making Right at Home Mid Sussex the leading provider and recruiter in the area – I want us to be the ‘go to’ care company for clients and staff.

Would you do it again? Yes – with no hesitation!

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