Interviewing local businesses is a bi-monthly ritual that the team at Perfect Layout really enjoy. It allows us to become more known in the community and learn from the experiences of other businesses. By undertaking an interview in this way, Perfect Layout believes that we are able to help our readers learn how to run their business better by taking on board the pros and cons of how a business has conducted themselves.
We hope that sharing the personal experiences of these companies will give them exposure to readers that may need their services as well as providing insights into what has worked for them and what they could do a little better…
This month, we interview Jennie Bardrick, Co-Owner and Co-Director of Radfield Home Care Havering & Brentwood.
Lisa and I went to the British Franchise Exhibition in London in January 2017 and we came across Radfield Home Care there. We had an instant connection, immediately aligning with their family values, and from there the business began.
Radfield Care Home is a franchise. What is it like running a business that is part of a franchise?
The support you get from Radfield’s franchise support team is amazing. Any problems that come up, we can call National Office for help. We also have a Franchise Support Manager that comes to visit us and goes through cash flow and other matters that are important to ensuring the business runs smoothly.
Ultimately, Radfield has been in the home care business for many years and, as a result, has developed the systems and franchise support to make sure we run a successful and profitable business.
Lisa and I both didn’t have any background in care to begin with (we now are fully trained carers!) so this advice has been fundamental to us, as well as having a fantastic Care Manager – Natalea Haydon, who has lots of experience and manages the home care operations on a day to day basis.
How much independence do you get to make this your business?
We get a lot of independence and ultimately, we are responsible for growing our business and making a difference in our local community. Our home care clients love the fact that we are local and our office on Butts Green Road is always open for people to pop in. As we are one of the first Radfield franchise partners, we have the opportunity to influence the growth of the network and collaborate in partnership with them.
I imagine you have a business plan. Is this something that came from National Office or something you have had to prepare prior to investing in the franchise?
Ultimately, we developed our own business plan, but National Office and the franchise support team supported us with guidance in terms of expectations for business growth and financial targets. We are very focused on setting targets with our Franchise Support Manager and working with our office team to ensure we deliver and grow the business in line with (or ahead of!) our targets. In addition to having this there was a lot of screening and profiling that took place before we were accepted into the franchise. A big thing for Radfield is family and they liked the fact that Lisa and I are cousins and hold those strong family values.
What has it been like breaking into the home care market in this area?
It’s been very rewarding! Havering has got the highest proportion of over 65’s out of all the London boroughs which means there is a huge amount of people that we could help and support to live independent, happy lives at home. The nicest thing that we can give to families is peace of mind that their loved ones are well looked after. We have families that live far away from their parents that need someone to look after their Mum, Dad or elderly relative and we are able to provide that service and give reassurance.
What do you provide as a service that’s different to your competitors?
Lisa and I are really passionate about our family values, and run the business in memory of our nan – ‘Nanny Fish’. Having solid family values is something that we look for in the members of our home care team, so that they treat our clients as if they were family themselves. Our care proposition is focused on delivering high quality care, where our carers aren’t rushed, but focus on providing companionship support to our clients throughout the visit and building good relationships with our clients.
We are also really proud of our cutting edge technology systems, where our carers use a mobile phone app to log in to their care visits and log their notes, which gives immediate feedback to the office and means we are a highly responsive service.
What have you found to be the biggest hurdle since starting this business?
I’d probably say dealing with the emotional side of the business, when a client you have built up a good relationship with passes away. It can be very sad for our care team as they see some clients every day, so to pass on this kind of news can be really tough.
Describe your typical day?
I’d say no two days are the same for sure! At the moment I’d say I get up around 6am and may have a couple of clients to visit. I’d then be in the office, working with the office team to ensure they are set up for success and clear on the priorities for the day. I use Trello to manage my to do list and this seems to work well as it allows me to focus on the strategic business priorities but also to get the smaller tactical things done on a day to day basis. The office shuts at 4pm which is nice and early compared to my previous corporate jobs, but as we are a care operation we are open 24/7 really. In the evenings I spend time with my dog, see friends and family and like to do yoga.
Since starting this service, have you found yourself exhibiting talents that you never knew you had?
I think that’s a great question. I think the biggest difference in having your own business is the amount you learn and the confidence it gives you, and for me I would say that’s around the financial management of the business. I would also say that you definitely end up doing jobs you never thought you would do, but ultimately the reward comes and it is so worth it!
I note that you have a website that is part of the franchise? How well does it work for you, or would having more control of your own website make it easier?
National Office control the website, but this works well for us, because the Radfield Home Care brand looks strong and we have consistency with all the other offices. We are responsible for providing content to ensure our microsite is up to date and fresh, and this means our site is relevant and has that local feel to it.
Would you like your business to be found by more customers online?
Definitely! We have seen a trend that more and more clients are doing their research beforehand, which is great as we are really proud to have a 10/10 score from our customers on Homecare.co.uk. I’d say at the moment we get most customers via word of mouth, but most of the time these people have Googled us and read a bit about the company beforehand.
Are you promoting your business in any other ways?
We advertise in the Romford Recorder newspaper and on their website too. As well as this we hold community events to support local charities such as Saint Francis Hospice, as well as national charities like the Alzheimer’s Society.
Congratulations on winning the New Business of the Year Award in 2018 at the Havering Business Awards and the Judges Award at the Thames Gateway Business Awards. You were also awarded the ‘Top 20’ Home Care providers in the whole of London at the annual Homecare.co.uk awards in 2018 too. Most recently you were awarded Business Woman of the Year and Franchisee of the Year at the National New Business of the Year Awards. These are phenomenal achievements.
What else is in store for you and your team?
Our current plan is to continue to grow the business in the Havering area and ensure we are supporting as many elderly people as we can to live independent, healthy and happy lives in their own homes. We have recently expanded our office team to support this growth and are excited to have our new Marketing Apprentice and Care Coordinator on board to support this.
Where do you see yourself and this business going in the next 5-10 years?
Longer term, we have big growth plans to expand beyond Havering and across Essex to help more people, and ultimately support Radfield Home Care to become a national brand with a network of passionate franchise partners.
You can find out more about Radfield Home Care by logging onto their website or by accessing them via: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
If you have a business that you would like to feature in this regular slot, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you!