Have you ever found yourself in a career that seems perfect on paper, but you just aren’t passionate about it and need a change? That’s exactly where Jennie Bardrick was when she decided to leave her prestigious consulting job with Deloitte to join Radfield Home Care as its first franchisee.
Hear her inspiring story in this week’s episode of the Franchise Rising podcast!
Meet Jennie Bardrick, Radfield Home Care Franchisee
Jennie Bardrick is the Co-CEO and Marketing Director for Radfield Home Care in Havering and Brentwood, which she runs with her cousin Lisa. She’s the brand’s first franchisee, and has been raking in the awards, including:
- Businesswoman of the year – National Best New Business Awards (2018)
- New Business of the Year – Havering Business Awards (2018)
- Prestigious Top 20 Home Care Providers in London – Homecare.co.uk Awards (2018)
- Judge’s Award – Thames Gateway Business Awards (2018)
But, how did she get to this point?
Jennie first came across Radfield about a year and a half ago. She had graduated from University of Warwick where she studied economics, then took a job with Deloitte where she worked in London, UK and Sydney, Australia, helping retailers grow their businesses through strategic planning.
She was making a six-figure salary and everything seemed great on the outside, but something was missing. Jennie didn’t feel like she was giving back to anyone, and like she wasn’t living her purpose.
“To some extent,” she says, “you’re always trying to get to that point where you’re living your absolute purpose. I definitely still on that journey. For me, I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. So I thought about what do I love doing? What am I passionate about? And it’s helping other people.”
Jennie had a close relationship with her Nan, who had suffered from dementia but lived a wonderful life at home thanks to a strong and compassionate care team. That’s how the idea came to her. “If I can hang out with old people [which I love], do something that helps others, and make money from it, it’s worth a shot,” she said. Plus, it was a way to carry on Nan’s legacy after she passed away.
So, Jennie began exploring the idea of care franchises. She attended a franchise expedition in London with her cousin, Lisa, where they discovered Radfield. They weren’t expecting to buy a franchise, but were impressed with Radfield’s family values (it’s run by a brother and sister duo) and its commitment to high-quality care.
Just three months later, but after lots and lots of research, Jennie and Lisa put down their deposit and became Radfield’s first franchisees.
Since then, Lisa and Jennie have secured 4-5 territories and have massive growth plans for their Radfield Home Care franchise.
Finding the Courage to Leave Corporate and Buy a Franchise
While Jennie’s story sounds simple enough, it wasn’t without its roadblocks. One of the largest obstacles she overcame was skeptical family and friends. They had a stereotypical view of franchises, warning her that she’d be required to pay lots of money up-front and get little in return, both in terms of finances and support.
Plus, she had been going through lots of personal changes, including a move from Australia back home to the UK. Her parents had very stable jobs and didn’t want her to do anything too risky.
But at the end of the day, her father came through as her biggest cheerleader, telling her that if a care franchise would make her happy, she’d be amazing at it.
What pushed her decision forward aside from her dad’s encouragement? Lots of research and trusting her instincts.
Jennie and Lisa spent three months researching care franchises, comparing different brands through a spreadsheet that analyzed and benchmarked things like costs, long-term royalties, support, etc.
Of course, profitability was a major focus. Jennie looked at this from all angles – revenue, gross profit, and net profit. Radfield was open about their profitability levels in the FDD, and estimated it to be between 20-25%. They were also provided details about different expenses to expect, including rent rates, franchise royalty fees, and more.
While Jennie trusted Radfield, she also challenged them. She got the financial forecast for every company she was looking at, so she was able to compare and ask questions to understand the differences.
Once she felt comfortable with the financials, Jennie attended discovery day and absorbed as much as she could. She presented that information to Lisa, who was sold. They each presented it to their own families, too, focusing on the facts (people can’t argue with the facts). At the end of the day, everyone was extremely supportive.
There were two final pieces of the puzzle. First, she felt culturally aligned with Radfield because of their family values. “To be honest, we always had a gut feeling that we’d go with Radfield,” says Jennie. “Going with your gut is a good thing, but make sure it’s backed up in facts.“
Secondly, Radfield had the territories that were not only convenient for Jennie and Lisa, but that also had a large market they could tap into. It all came together from there.
Jennie’s advice to other women facing similar doubts is to “Do your own analysis, do your own research. Obviously, you need to seek advice from loved ones, especially if they’re financially supporting you or a big part of your life. But it’s your life and your decision.”
The results have been fantastic. They’ve hit or surpassed all profitability forecasts and are delivering a profit every month.
What it’s Like to Join an Emerging Brand
Jennie and Lisa became Radfield’s first real franchisees – there were other company-owned branches, but they were the first outsiders to come in and open their own. So, the brand didn’t have a lot of franchise experience but had a lot of industry experience.
This was appealing to Jennie, who liked that she could influence the brand’s path forward. The situation may feel too risky for some women, but that level of risk was a good fit for Jennie’s personality.
Of course, there are some challenges when joining an emerging brand. For example, they didn’t have a blueprint for everything, like training caregivers. But, this ended up being a good thing because Jennie and Lisa could be flexible, try different strategies, and figure out what worked best for them.
They’ve also enjoyed strong support from Radfield, which is key. They had about two weeks of training before opening, and have had great continued support. Jennie and Lisa get a visit from corporate about once every two months. They also have a weekly call with their franchise support manager where they discuss marketing, territory growth strategy, financials, and more.
Jennie and Lisa also have a weekly meeting to make sure they’re both aligned on strategy. They look at their targets and plan what they’ll do throughout the week to stay on track toward those goals. This strategy has well worked, and they’ve been hugely successful.
Of course, that’s not where their story ends. Jennie and Lisa are currently trying to saturate the market where they are. Want to double the number of hours by the end of the year, from about 360 to 700. Eventually, they have ambitions to grow and open a second branch with another office and care manager.
Inspired by Jennie’s story? Here’s her advice if you’re thinking of following her path. “The facts and research are really important. Make sure you’re really clear about what you’re getting into financially and what the return is. But also think about how you feel about it deep down. There’s something to be said for your gut instinct.”
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