Case studies​

What’s it really like to be a Walfinch franchisee?

Existing franchisees share their stories

Cameron Campbell, Walfinch Franchise owner

SPOTLIGHT on Cameron Campbell

Managing Director, Walfinch West Suffolk

Turning a passion for care into my own business with a Walfinch franchise

One of Walfinch’s earliest franchisees, and its youngest, is Cameron Campbell, who became a franchise owner at 22, and is still under 30.

Cameron says: “From a young age, I’d set my sights on having my own business. 

“At 16 I was working in recruitment for the health and social care sector, and by 18 I had helped two entrepreneurs set up a specialist social care recruitment agency. That added fuel to my business ambition.

“I then worked for the best part of three years for a live-in care provider, on their recruitment team, working my way up the ranks. Though I was very happy, I’m a dad to two young children and I wanted more for my kids.

“In February 2020 Walfinch CEO Amrit Dhaliwal who said I might make a good fit for a Walfinch franchise. By the start of May I was owner of Walfinch West Suffolk and we were trading!

Franchising explained

“Before that conversation with Amrit, like most people, I knew very little about franchising. To me, franchises were the likes of McDonald’s.

“But Amrit explained the concept very clearly and talked me through the Walfinch franchise model. I had the opportunity to speak to a franchisee, Sarah Whickham, who was already operating, and I could see the business in action.

“The financial side of things was explained and illustrated to me – I could see that the numbers stacked up and it could be a financially rewarding opportunity.

“I felt a lot of affinity with Amrit, who’d been a successful franchisee himself with another brand. I could tell he understood what I wanted and why. That further added to my confidence in the franchising model.

Getting up and running

“The support I received contributed to the fact that within three months I was operating and heading towards a profit. 

“There is a fantastic team on the franchise side of the business, including Simon Mills, a franchise consultant with decades of experience.

“There was full training given, and guidance on getting the required registration with the care regulator for England, the Quality Care Commission (CQC).

Support beyond the formal steps.

“I’d never run a business before. I understood and was willing to put in the hard work needed to run a care agency, but there were processes and systems behind the scenes that help make things happen, and they were new to me. I got loads of support to learn about and understand them.

“Someone has always been at the end of the phone to help me. I can always call to pick someone’s brains or to work with them on finding a solution for something. Head office is very responsive.

“The coaching element was critical in those early days, too. You get fortnightly coaching sessions with Simon. They create accountability, which is especially important when you haven’t worked for yourself before. They help keep you on track, and to see things differently and become more self-sufficient. The coaching sessions have been crucial to my personal development.

Why Walfinch stands out

“I love the fact that the recruitment of carers is done for you! That really is their USP. Everything from the advertising through to staff compliance is taken care of. 

“I have also found that the reputation of Walfinch goes a long way towards the success of my business. Doors to local authorities and other referral providers are wide open because of the quality of care associated with the brand.

“I also think Walfinch offers something rare to young people wanting to own and run a business. Amrit is a champion of young entrepreneurs – he recognises that our energy and drive help propel us towards success. On a practical level, he and Walfinch are able to open doors to sources of finance for younger people, too.

“And though I don’t have years and years of experience, I am still listened to. I’ve been able to incorporate some of the techniques I learned from fast-paced work environments to do things differently, to operate a bit faster. I’m allowed to bounce ideas off people and to try new things, which I think is important.

The future 

“I love the care sector. I am helping people to continue to live at home independently and to have a better quality of life. I am making sure my team deliver this, doing what is wanted and needed to the highest standards possible. There is a definite ‘feel good’ in my day.

I see no reason not to add a further branch at some stage and to grow the business that way. Walfinch is my future, and will provide for the future of my family, too.”

Sarah Wickham

SPOTLIGHT on Sarah Wickham

Managing Director, Walfinch Suffolk Coastal

I could have set up a care business on my own, but I chose a Walfinch franchise

Asked to step into a management role with a nursing and care provider, Sarah Wickham fell in love with the passion and variety of the care sector.

After moving from a head office role to managing branches, Sarah was head-hunted by another care provider. Her dedication to high quality and responsive care combined with business development, led her to win Branch of the Year for 13 consecutive years.

A major change prompted Sarah to leave, and she is now the Managing Director of Walfinch Suffolk Coastal. What led her to make the move from employee to business owner with a franchise?

She says: “I love care. I still feel the same passion for the sector that I did when I started. 

“No day is ever the same and you never know who will be at the end of the phone or how you’ll be able to help them. I get such a buzz from working out what we can do to make someone’s life better, and then setting up and ensuring delivery of the care they need.

“It was a difficult decision to leave my employer, but a takeover changed the company’s culture and I no longer felt able to deliver the standard of care I was committed to, or to run with any autonomy the successful branch I had developed.

“I’d spent so many years building up businesses for other people, I knew it was time to do it for myself. 

“Initially I was unsure, but as I investigated Walfinch, visited their offices, and learned more about the business, I was blown away by their standards of training and the calibre of the whole team.

I had a choice: I could go it alone or I could buy a franchise.

“I decided that though I did want my own business, I still wanted to be part of a team. I knew that I didn’t know everything but people within the business would have the answer. 

“Once I’d gone over everything with my husband Billy and we agreed I should pursue the franchise, we started taking care of the legal and financial technicalities around December 2019.

“I was Walfinch’s first franchisee, and I got masses of support with everything from how to source finance to fund the investment, to navigating the Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration process.

“Within a week of having the registration certificate in April 2020 I had my first client! I already had staff on board and there was a real buzz among everyone about being part of something new. By week nine we were delivering 171 hours of care to different clients.

Support and training 

“While we waited for my CQC registration, Walfinch CEO Amrit Dhaliwal and Head of Operations Carla van Wyk trained me on all the business processes and systems I would need.

“They also took me through staff recruitment, getting my branch fitted out with branding, running adverts, getting  business cards. They were all over it, and nothing was too much trouble!

“I knew about care but invoicing and payroll were all new to me and they made sure I felt confident with all of it. They are so committed to your progression and success as a franchisee that they willingly give as much of their time as needed. 

“Amrit believes that the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee should run very much both ways. I can testify to that, at Walfinch, it does. I’ve got more than 20 years’ experience in care which means I have plenty of ideas and opinions on how things should be done!

“Amrit and Carla listen and take on board what I suggest and make sure we apply everything that supports better service and an efficient business.

Thoughts on running a care franchise 

“We have to acknowledge the care staff. The training, qualifications and commitment that care staff must acquire before they even start is incredible. Carers never know what will face them when they go through the door to see a client, but they deal with it responsibly, professionally and with compassion.

“We carry a great responsibility to people in our local community who need our help, but there comes with that a great sense of pride. It’s a very rewarding business.

“The franchise package gives you everything you need to run the business well. We all have strengths and skills; we all have weaker areas. Being part of a franchise means you can get support where you need it – you’re not on your own. You can pick up the phone to someone and your life as a business owner is made so much easier.

“It’s been so easy and straightforward to get my own business up and running with this model – I just wish I’d done it years ago!”