Sue had been self employed for the last couple of years, running her own dog grooming business, but personal circumstances led to her closing that business and moving from Cambridgeshire to Lancashire.
With the breakdown of my marriage last year, my self confidence did suffer a lot and I did feel quite lost for a little while. This whole journey with WLP is giving me back my confidence and self belief and a sense of belonging. This feels right and I’m excited to rediscover me and what I am capable of.
Since the move Sue had been contracting at minimum wage in a bid to get the right work / life balance. That hasn’t been sustainable, and she wanted to get back to running her own business again but not just anything, something that she loves.
Running my own business will bring a focus and purpose to my life again, whilst also allowing me to still have a great quality of life doing something that I love.
I know how difficult it is to set up and start your own business which is why I started to look at the franchise route in order to help me achieve having my own business whilst belonging to an established brand.
I researched a couple of different pet care franchises, and spoke to a competitor at length as well. The overwhelming factor for me with WLP was speaking with Ryan and hearing his passion for the business but also his knowledge and expertise with pet care, and especially with dog behaviour which I am really passionate about. We clicked immediately.
After those phone calls, I met up with a neighbouring franchise owner, Caroline in Chorley, and spent the day with her out dog walking. I really got to understand the business from the franchisee’s point of view, and knew that this is where I wanted to fulfill my dream of being a business owner.
Even though you are running your own business as part of the WLP brand, you’re not alone and the support from the WLP family is incredible throughout the recruitment process and now with the training and getting started.
How have WLP made sure you’re the right person to carry the award winning brand forward?
I think from the phone calls with Ryan, and the way that we agreed on pet care and dog behaviour and sharing the same vision. Also, the endorsements from Caroline at the Chorley branch who spent more time with me have helped and confirmed that I am the right person to be part of the WLP family.
What did the word ‘franchise’ mean to you before you came across WLP?
Interesting question – I think before WLP and this whole process, I probably had a very negative attitude towards franchises. This might have been a naïve opinion that was uninformed but it was negative. I always thought that people were investing a lot of money, given high unachievable targets and then ‘just left to it’. I know that when I was speaking to friends and family about the franchise the majority were very anti-me investing in a franchise because they also have a negative perception of it and perhaps don’t fully understand the franchise model. They all also thought that I should be starting a dog walking business by myself, but that would mean that I would just be another 1 man band, that would take ages to get the business off the ground with nothing to differentiate myself from the many other dog walkers.
What does it mean to you now?
Now, the word franchise with WLP, means ‘family’. It means belonging to something that is tried and tested and has a very good working business model. Until you get started with WLP, I don’t think its fully understood just what goes on in the background at Head Office in order to get you launched, support you and help you achieve your business goals.
What do you think you’ll find most challenging being a business owner?
For me, I think the most challenging aspect will be recruitment and managing a team and trusting in that team that they will uphold the WLP promise. I’m also quite nervous about getting started and worried about getting those enquiries coming in and growing the business.
But as I said, I have the full support of head office and other franchisees, they’ve been doing this for years – all of their branches are incredibly successful – so I know it won’t be a problem when it comes to it. But a little bit of anxiety isn’t a bad thing.
Basically, we’re not alone and will be given all of the support that we need.
What have been the highlights on your experience with WLP before you opened for business?
It’s been meeting people like Caroline (Chorley branch owner), speaking with Laura (Director – Franchisee support) who seems to have everything in hand and deals with everything really calmly. Also, during the training, listening to Jayne (Didcot branch owner), who passed on their early mistakes and advising us how to start in order to keep a premium service sustainable to all of the customers.
Sue will be covering Horwich as well as the surrounding towns and villages, it’s a beautiful part of the world.
The countryside, the friendliness of people is all part of the Northern charm. Since moving to Lancashire last April, I have only scratched the surface of discovering beautiful places to walk with my own dog. I am surrounded by beautiful hills, woodlands, canals, country parks – it really is stunning and I can’t wait to discover more.
Do you have pets of your own?
Yes, I have one dog called Indy (short for Indiana Jones – of course). Indy is a ginger working cocker spaniel who will be 5 years old at the end of May. He is an energetic and excitable dog who needs a lot of exercise but also needs a lot of mental stimulation. Overall, he is a good boy but does have a tendency to get over excited. He has been to obedience classes since a puppy and we continued to go as it developed into agility classes, which he loved and would celebrate by leaping up into the air with all four paws off the ground when he completed a course.
Indy and I are starting a Canicross course together which I’m very excited about. We had a taster session and Indy was a natural, so on Sunday afternoons we will be meeting up with a small class and running through beautiful woodlands.
Find out more about Sue’s dog walking and pet sitting business in Horwich.
Or perhaps you’d like to find out more about running your own pet care business with We Love Pets? If so, download our free colour brochure.