19 Things You Need to Know About the Fetch! Pet Care Franchise Opportunity
Pet Industry Overview
1. Over 69% of U.S. households own one or more pets. Last year, pet owners spent over $43 billion on their pets, which is double the amount they spent a decade ago. The pet products and services industry is the 7th largest retail sector in America, ahead of the toy, candy, jewelry, and hardware retail industries. I was amazed to learn that last year, Americans spent more on their pets than movies, video games, and listening to recorded music combined.
2. The demand for specialized pet care services is far greater than the supply of professionally trained and qualified operators, and this gap widens every year as the country’s kennels struggle to keep up with the number of new pets. Also, there is a growing trend among pet lovers of moving away from kennels and looking for a service that combines at-home pet care, with the added advantage of additional home security.
3. Fetch! Pet Care is a franchise system developed specifically for full-time owner-operators in the area of pet care (although it’s possible to work part-time, provided the franchisee hires staff). The business can be operated from the home, requires a relatively small capital investment, and can provide the franchisee with a sound income and a fun, healthy lifestyle, with consistent repeat business.
4. Fetch! Pet Care provides a comprehensive variety of pet care services to meet pet owners’ varied needs, including private and group dog walks at $15-22 per outing, daily pet visits at $15-22 per visit, in-home overnight sitting at $35-60 per night, private boarding at $30-55 per night, day care at $30-50 per day, yard poop scoop and home care at $15-$22 per visit and pet taxi services at $15-22 plus additional mileage (prices vary by geographic location). Some franchisees offer additional services, such as pet grooming, pet photography, and obedience training.
5. Each Fetch! pet sitter is fully bonded and insured, and conducts a free in-home consultation with each client. The franchise also offers a full satisfaction guarantee.
6. Paul Mann founded Fetch! Pet Care in 2002 as a San Francisco Bay Area local pet sitting and dog walking service. The company began franchising in 2004, after experiencing rapid growth and profitability.
7. In 1996, Mann co-founded, and subsequently served as CEO and a board member for, Informative Inc., an internet software technology company and a pioneer in online survey technology. He grew the business to over 70 employees with over 300 Fortune 500 customers generating $5 million annually before selling the company in February 2001 to an international software development firm.
8. Today, Fetch! Pet Care is America’s largest pet sitting and dog walking franchise — with over 150 franchises servicing more than 1,800 cities and towns nationwide, and over 10,000 clients in the past year alone.
9. In 2010, 82% of Fetch! Pet Care franchisees experienced growth over the previous year, with the average being 156% growth — very impressive!
10. Fetch! Pet Care provides new franchisees with four days of hands-on training at the corporate headquarters in Berkeley, California. During the training, franchisees receive operations manuals, training DVDs, and CD-ROMs that contain everything they need to start and operate their business. Some of the topics included are Basic and Advanced Pet Care Techniques, Marketing, Customer Service, Operations, Human Resources and Financial Management. New franchisees also get training in the field, with the company’s expert pet sitters and dog walkers.
11. Franchisees receive ongoing access and support from corporate through a toll-free support line, private intranet, online discussion group, knowledge base, regular roundtable sessions, and quarterly regional franchise strategy sessions.
12. The initial training and ongoing support are tailored to suit the individual’s needs in setting up, maintaining, and expanding the business.
13. Franchisees are supported by the Fetch! marketing team in building the brand and spreading the word about their local Fetch! Pet Care franchise. The marketing team provides local and national public relations opportunities, customizable marketing collateral, discounts on branded promotional items, a customizable website, social networking assistance, partnership opportunities, and more.
14. The technical support team assists with booking appointments, customer billing, payroll, serving up customer satisfaction surveys, and customized training and support for all software systems used.
15. The total initial investment to operate a Fetch! Pet Care franchise ranges from $23,295 to $39,500, inclusive of the franchise fee and working capital.
16. The initial franchise fee is $15,000, which covers a designated area — typically no less than 50,000 households. Franchisees may service requests from outside of their territory, provided it’s not taken by another franchisee. Fetch! requires franchisees to purchase that territory once 20% or more of their overall revenue comes from an area outside of their original territory.
17. The ongoing royalty fee is 5% of gross sales, or a small minimum monthly payment until the franchisee generates sales to help cover the cost of ongoing support. In addition, the franchisee is required to contribute 1.5% of gross sales to a national cooperative advertising fund.
18. The franchisee must have a strong credit history and a minimum liquid financial net worth of $15,000.
Fetch! Pet Care Franchise Accolades
19. In 2011, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Fetch! Pet Care #166 among the Franchise 500. Entrepreneur also named Fetch! Pet Care #51 Fastest Growing Franchise, #35 Low Cost Franchise, and #46 Top Home Based Franchise.