A million-pound milestone

Visiting Angels is one of America's largest at-home care franchises. The brand's first UK franchised office opened in Sheffield in 2017 and, within a year of launching, was crowned Best International Franchise at Visiting Angels annual conference.

A million-pound milestone

Visiting Angels is one of America’s
largest at-home care franchises. The brand’s first UK franchised office opened
in Sheffield in 2017 and, within a year of launching, was crowned Best
International Franchise at Visiting Angels annual conference. The office
recently achieved a £1million turnover – almost two years to the day since the
team signed their first client. This milestone has given Managing Director, Dan
Archer, the chance to reflect on a momentous two years whilst the UK network
continues to welcome new franchisees to its midst.

When I started, I projected a million-pound turnover in year three… and here we are! It just goes to show that despite economic uncertainty, it is possible to grow a substantial, profitable business in the care sector if you have the staff. Visiting Angels Sheffield now employs a team of 70 careworkers and office staff. Our service is trusted and loved by the local community – in reaching this milestone we now provide 1000 hours of care every single week to more than 90 families. I’m passionate about making an impact on people’s lives but to think that we’re making 1000 hours’ worth of a difference every week is quite profound.

My passion for care started long before I launched Visiting Angels. As a young man, my nan’s poor health meant that she needed support at home, and it was heart-breaking to witness the lack of quality care given by the home-care system. Over the course of eight weeks, she was seen by 12 different carers, none of whom were around long enough to learn everything about her – or us, for that matter. I saw the problem as being care workers who were stretched to the limit, feeling undervalued and unappreciated. Why would you stay in a job like that for any length of time? And how can you be expected to do your best work, with care, under those circumstances? From that moment on, I knew that things had to change.

Visiting Angels recognises, addresses and provides a solution by being carer-centric – which essentially means that we place carers at the heart of the company. We offer a minimum £10ph wage with guaranteed annual increases, a generous mileage allowance, regular car servicing and valeting, a mobile phone and much more. Regular team meetings and social events help to ensure everyone feels valued. The core belief being that ‘a happy carer, is a good carer’.

As both a franchisor, and the operator of the Sheffield office, perhaps the most satisfying part of hitting this milestone is that it just goes to show that our carer-centric approach works. We’re the first care franchise of our kind in the UK so we’ve had to spend time educating our potential franchisees, our staff and our customers about what makes us different and why it matters. And boy, does it matter. All of our evidence points to the fact that, by having available staff when other companies in the area are struggling, we’ve been able to fulfil contracts and grow when they have not. It’s a victory for being carer-centric!

This message is clearly resonating though, and, in the last two years, the franchise network has grown dramatically too. Three offices are in operation, in South Hertfordshire, Windsor and South West London with more launching shortly. It was an incredibly proud moment to share this success with our franchisees – some of whom are just on the beginning of their journey. I hope it’s inspiring for them to see the heights that they themselves can reach as Visiting Angels franchise owners. It’s certainly proving to be a draw for people looking into care franchises! We’ve had great reactions to our concept at recent franchise exhibitions and, as awareness of the brand continues to grow, prospects are increasingly engaged with our mission. Especially when you look at the bigger picture: the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of over 600 franchisees in five countries is enough to get anyone excited.

There’s a bitter-sweet note to hitting this milestone too. It came almost two years to the day since we signed our first client and, sadly, that dear lady is no longer with us. But that also shows how important our work is. We supported her to live her last years as she wanted them to be – with independence and dignity. To know that we provided a quality, consistent service and ensured she felt cared for is extremely humbling. These stories are what makes the franchise so special – we make a positive impact on someone’s life when they need it the most. I can’t think of a better business to be in. 

Dan Archer
Dan Archer