Local uniform suppliers that offer a personal service are important to Butterfly Home Help, explains business development manager, Ben Wicks
Butterfly Home Help is a domiciliary care company based in the south-west of England that offers home help for the elderly and people with disabilities. The company’s staff goes to people’s homes to provide a range of support, from domestic work to personal care. It has a base in Westbury, Wiltshire, and also in Bath, and currently has between 65 and 70 employees. The majority of its clients are private, which allows the company to offer a high quality service where each carer has enough time to offer the help that is required by each client.
As is common with care work, the majority of the company’s employees are women, explains Butterfly’s business development manager Ben Wicks. It provides every member of staff – full- and part-time, of which there is a roughly 50:50 split – with a tunic from Alexandra, with staff providing their own trousers and shoes.
The tunics, which are a teal green colour to match the company’s branding, are supplied by Bristol-based Mister Uniform, says Ben. “One of our directors, Eric, became acquainted with David Pinnock, who runs Mister Uniform, through a business breakfast networking group. They’ve been reliable in terms of delivery times etcetera, and the price is very competitive.”
They keep a stock of the women’s tunics at the company, explains Ben: “Every two to three weeks we get someone new starting, so it works well to have stock in the cupboard. We source male uniforms as and when we recruit male staff.”
The easy-to-wash, 67% polyester/33% cotton tunics are all embroidered with Butterfly’s logo because Ben says they prefer the smarter, more professional look that embroidery gives. He adds that the company places great importance on having a branded uniform. “It’s vital. There are a lot of care companies. We have quite a distinctive uniform colour that’s associated with our brand and it’s good to have our name on the uniform as well. Part of our tagline is ‘Professional Care’; we like to look professional as well.”
Competitive pricing is often essential with care agencies because of high staff turnover, although Ben believes the figures quoted in the news aren’t always accurate, and points out that Butterfly has a high staff retention rate. “Seventy percent of our staff have been with us for over a year, which is quite high for the industry; we’re proud of that.” All staff when leaving are required to hand in their tunics, which the company will then assess to see if they are of a good enough quality to be passed on to another member of staff.
For those looking to supply a similar company to Butterfly, Ben advises: “Make sure you’re reliable, easy to contact and offer a competitive price. They’re straightforward things, but they’re what we look for. Also, have a person to speak to. We’re a local business and we like to have relationships with other companies and suppliers. With anything we do, from uniforms to newspaper ads, we try to have an account manager to go to when we need some assistance.”
Uniform donation to African hospitals
When the company changed its branding a few years ago from a peach shade to teal green, it was left with about 120 uniforms that were no longer the right colour. “Our operations manager Michelle had a friend in the Salvation Army, so through her we made contact with them [and the Kenya Trust] and arranged and paid for the uniforms to be sent to two hospitals: one in Zambia and one in Kenya,” explains Ben.