As CEO of Home Instead UK and International, Martin Jones MBE has overseen impressive growth amidst surging demand for in-home elderly care.
He says the last 12 months has been “an exciting time” for the business despite the workload as the franchise innovates to lead in a rapidly evolving space.
“It’s been another busy one but an exciting one too,” he says. “We operate in a relatively new sector that is dealing with a massive increase in demand owing to the ageing population. As such our National Office team is constantly looking at innovation so that our franchise teams remain at the forefront of outstanding care delivery. Our mission is to expand the world’s capacity to care and with that comes a significant responsibility. It’s a responsibility we take really seriously; the service we deliver really matters.”Jones cites strong 2023 network expansion as progress towards its goal, with 70% of offices showing year-on-year increases.
He notes particular growth among multi-unit owners, as the franchisor encourages enterprise-level operations.
“Our strategy to encourage multi-unit and enterprise ownership has been well received with a number of existing owners now operating across multiple territories,” he reports.
“Around 53% of franchise offices turn over in excess of £1m per annum, and 15% are expected to exceed £2m in 2023. The top five performers in the network will reach turnover in excess of £3m in 2023.”
The maturity of Home Instead’s model also creates opportunities for new owners, as early adopters sell established locations.
As a mature franchise business we have said goodbye to some long standing franchisees, mainly to retirement, who have sold their businesses, these are people who were pioneers of our approach to home care in the early 2000s,” Jones explains.
Rather than viewing it as a loss, however, he celebrates such sales as proof of the opportunity’s investment potential.
“Home Instead has had 20 resales in the 12 months to September 2023, with an average multiple of EBITDA of 3.8 (social care average of 2.5),” he states.
With strong demand amidst a booming market, Jones says interest in Home Instead franchises is continuing to climb.
Behind the growth, Jones emphasises Home Instead’s commitment to innovation and franchisee support. A 70-person team focuses on compliance, training and many other aspects of the business so local owners can concentrate on delivering care.
Jones also salutes Home Instead’s suppliers who provide specialised assistance from funding to marketing and technology. He believes the franchise’s comprehensive infrastructure empowers franchisees to provide a better service.
A challenging year
The past year brought everyone no shortage of obstacles, from spiking interest rates to recruitment challenges amidst the cost of living crisis. But Jones details how Home Instead successfully navigated its way through the turbulent conditions.
“We are fortunate to have the right funding partners in place and expert guidance on finance internally so market conditions are something we have been able to navigate when bringing new franchisees on board,” he explains.
To counter potential hiring difficulties, Home Instead implemented streamlined hiring and training protocols. Jones says enhanced Care Professional career development, including specialised training and pathways for advancement, also helps attract and retain workers.
Despite many challenges, Jones is upbeat about some of the firm’s major achievements in 2023.
“We have achieved the sale of 12 new territories, leaving us with 41 still available offering a fantastic opportunity to enter the thriving care sector and we have had 20 resales sold to franchisees who prefer an established territory,” he reports.
The franchise delivered 10 million hours of client care in 2023 – a 10% increase over 2022, and also celebrated a milestone 250th franchise opening and nearly 100% annual growth in live-in care revenue.”
Technological and care innovation continues to enable the expansion of service capabilities from home healthcare to virtual wards facilitating hospital discharge. A new partnership with home care software company Birdie already serves one-third of the network.
And Home Instead’s acquisition by Honor brought together “two organisations that complement each other and are culturally aligned,” Jones says, allowing combined resources to accelerate its care solution offering.
Attracting mature buyers
To interest entrepreneurs in acquiring mature locations from retiring owners, Jones expands on how Home Instead now targets multi-unit buyers with proven leadership abilities.
“We have also built a multi-unit strategy for our network and that too attracts a different franchisee so we’ve needed to change how we attract people to the Home Instead model,” he explains.
“Having set up in 2005, more established franchisees are looking to retire and sell their businesses. We therefore need to attract a franchisee with strong leadership skills, who thinks strategically and is suited to step into an existing, successful business with a team already operating.”
Meanwhile, the franchisor regularly evaluates and enhances franchisee support. This includes revenue-based consultancy, multi-unit best practice sharing, enhanced financial training, and tapping knowledge from international network members.
“Our support package is constantly under review to ensure we keep pace with the evolution of the sector and scale of our franchise owners,” says Jones. “The Home Instead Franchise Journey is a roadmap that ensures franchisees are able to successfully navigate their time with us based on revenue and tenure. It’s a support system that works really well.
“Every franchisee is assigned a Business Consultant and Care Consultant who are primed and experienced in supporting the business to grow to the next level.
“A new Finance Working Group has been established. This is made up of franchise owners who have built a working P&L template for 10 years of a Home Instead franchise so that National Office is aware of all costs. It has also developed the new finance training.
“We are also making use of learnings and best practice across our international network with our UK owners sharing best practice and being able to tap into knowledge by having the opportunity to work with international owners.”
Competing with care
Amidst 25 direct competitors, Jones believes Home Instead competes by getting the ‘care’ element right. Sector-best regulatory ratings affirm Home Instead’s service focus he says.
Add unmatched support resources, Jones argues, and Home Instead provides an unrivalled opportunity for owners sharing its purpose – “to make a difference and…expand the world’s capacity to care.”
“We have the highest regulatory body ratings of any other care provider in the UK which tells us that we are getting the ‘care’ side of things right. We also have the largest support team, made up of highly experienced individuals who each bring an area of expertise to the business – so we are absolutely confident that whatever the need, we are able to support our network.
“What is great about the care franchise sector is that every brand is different. So, prospective franchisees have a choice. We are focused on only recruiting franchisees, National Office employees and Care Professionals who share our values and genuinely care. That want to make a difference”.
With Jones spearheading constant improvement across operational pillars from care to support, the franchise appears poised to extend its elder care leadership while empowering franchisees to enrich many lives, including their own.