Wanted to work for herself

Danielle’s story

Danielle Judd had been looking for a change in career and something that would allow her to pursue her passion; working with animals. With previous experience in Animal Welfare, Danielle was looking for a new opportunity that would allow her to work for herself and has been gradually building her business since October 2015.

A chance to focus on animal care

We Love Pets gave Danielle a chance to return to a focus on animal care, as she had moved away from this in her previous role. Her skills in team management and the ability to look after a team meant that she was perfectly suited to run and develop a We Love Pets franchise.

“I originally began my career in the travel industry and worked for both a travel agent and for a magazine, writing in the travel section. Having worked in that industry for a number of years, I decided to go travelling and had a complete change of heart when I returned. I wanted to do something more personal and caring and to work with animals. I found a job at a Dog Rescue Centre and worked my way up to Animal Welfare Manager”.

After 16 years, I made the choice to move on, the job had changed a lot over time and I had learnt so much from it. The job was getting quite political and too corporate for me, I felt that I was getting away from what I was supposed to be doing, which was caring for animals! I was managing a team of 32 people and had moved away from working with animals. I was stuck in an office all day and questioning what I was doing and what I was achieving. I could see the dogs outside my office but I wasn’t spending any time with them.

I wanted to change my career; I had just moved to Swindon and was looking for an opportunity to work with animals again, so began looking into franchising. I’ve always known that if you open a franchise it should be doing something you enjoy so I had looked into a variety of different concepts in the past but hadn’t delved too deeply until I found We Love Pets.”

 

Offers people with a passion for animals to build a business for themselves.

We Love Pets offers individuals with a passion for dogs and animals to build a business for themselves. With over 58 million pets in the UK, our franchisees service a growing demand for pet care services with an aim to provide the same personal service as a small business but are large enough to cope with the demand for the service in the area. Franchisees provide dog walking, pet sitting, puppy sitting, dog home boarding and dog day care.

Danielle knew that she would need support if she wanted to set up a business by herself, which is why she chose to invest in a franchise. We Love Pets offered her comprehensive training and support to help her get off the ground quickly and successfully.

I chose franchising for the support

“I chose franchising for the support. We Love Pets in particular have got so much in place and you’ve got backup if you need it. I didn’t want to feel like I was out there on my own and with a franchise, there’s always someone around to answer your questions. I also received advice and guidance on accountants and that’s information you just wouldn’t have if you were setting up from scratch.

For my training, I spent a couple of weeks with Jo in Swindon and received a manager file on how to run the franchise and how it all relates to the business and the branding. I also went out with another franchisee and shadowed them to find out more about how the business works on a daily basis. In terms of support, there’s always someone available by phone or email if you have any questions. It’s reassuring to have that in place.

I started off small with the business and I want to grow it gradually within my own means. I’ve doubled the business in the last 6 months and have taken on staff as I grow. I had 4 staff when I started and now I’ve got 13! I can’t do all the dog walking myself and I own the biggest branch of We Love Pets in terms of population size. Getting a team in place and making sure they’ve got what they need is one of the most important elements of the business for me. I just want to make enough money to live comfortably.”

 

Enjoy the benefits of being your own boss

Danielle is enjoying the benefits of being her own boss and enjoys every element of the business – both working with dogs and managing her own team of staff.

“It feels good to be my own boss. I know that all the good feedback and customer service is down to me, it can be daunting but it’s also quite freeing. The team side of things and recruiting doesn’t really worry me because I had already been doing that before. It’s a mixture of feeling free and knowing you can do it, but also quite daunting.

I feel really positive about the business now. It was quite hectic to begin with and I had to learn about the business as I went along. I got through a few hurdles and I’ve now got a great team around me. I’m also in contact with my local franchisee in Royal Wootton Bassett; it’s really useful to talk to someone who’s doing exactly the same thing as you. You can talk through any hurdles you encounter and help with the best way to deal with them.

 

I would buy a We Love Pets franchise again

I would buy a We Love Pets franchise again. The model works really well and we’re providing a great service for customers. It’s personable and friendly and not all about the money. There are people who are worried about using our services and having strangers coming into their house, so we put people at rest and make it a smooth experience for them. Being part of a bigger brand definitely helps – it reassures people that we’re professional. We also offer insurance and pet first aid and that really helps to push us above the competition.

For the future, I would like to grow my business steadily. I want to see how my first territory goes before expanding into another. I also want to expand on the pet sitting side of things more because I don’t think people in my area are as aware that I do that.”