Helan Graham and Stephanie Doherty had both had previously worked for Oldham Council – Helan for 10 years and Stephanie for 19 years – but on facing redundancy in January 2011 they came on the Find Out About Franchising workshop to explore franchising as a route into self-employment. They attended two 1-2-1 meeting and then, following cuts within the Children and Young People’s directorate, they both took voluntary redundancy in March.
Helan and Stephanie started their Caremark franchise in Oldham in October 2011. Helan comments: “It seemed to be a growing sector due to the growing ageing population, and it allowed us to continue making a difference to someone’s life. We chose Caremark after careful consideration of a number of other franchisors because of their outstanding quality and professional approach”
After over half a year trading, they report that “the business is going well. It’s been a very steep learning curve, but with the backup of our franchisor we’ve managed to meet the targets we set in our business plan.” To date they have employed 25 staff (two full-time. one part-time and 22 contract based) and have recently also taken an Apprentice (21 years old), supported by the Chamber of Commerce to help young people into employment. Their plan is to employ more than 60 people by the end of their first 12 months of trading.
They comment: “We found the initial course from FranchisingWorks very helpful. Following this, the meetings with the Programme Manager helped us in terms of what type of questions we should be asking and helped us to ensure we took a considered approach to each potential Franchisor. We were able to talk through our business plan and ideas with the advisor who was very helpful. He also had lots of contacts we could network with. We attended workshops on franchising and felt it was a good way to minimise risk in setting up a new business.”