(Ambrosio’s note: Fetch! Pet Care has some of the most creative and memorable marketing materials I’ve seen of any franchise company, period. In a sea of sameness, their humorous and light hearted ads really stand out. It’s refreshing to see a company that’s not afraid to think outside the box. After interviewing Paul Mann, their CEO, I’m even more impressed with Fetch! Pet Care. It’s clear that Paul knows the business inside and out, and has the business experience needed to take the company to the next level. If you’re considering a pet care franchise, Fetch! Pet Care deserves a place on your shortlist.)
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.
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.
Prior to Fetch! Pet Care, Paul co-founded Informative Inc., an internet software technology company and a pioneer in online survey technology. He subsequently served as its CEO and a board member. Paul 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.
1. What made you decide to start Fetch! Pet Care?
I had two adorable pets of my own and while I was traveling, I needed to know that I could entrust my pets with someone reliable who would take great care of my pets while I was away. After several attempts of my own, I couldn’t find anyone who I felt comfortable leaving my pets with. That was when I came upon my “aha” moment for this business. I founded Fetch! Pet Care in 2002 because I wanted to provide pet parents a place they could call to find professional, reliable, and loving care for their pets.
As my business grew, I realized that people across the country needed peace of mind when it came to pet sitting in their communities, so I expanded my business into a franchise system and began training other people passionate about pets how to provide this superior care.
2. Why should someone interested in owning his or her own business consider a pet services franchise?
This is a business that pet lovers can get into and feel good about the work that they do day in and day out. Franchisees of Fetch! Pet Care get to work with the ones they love — the pets — and are supported by a booming industry despite the recession. Here are some amazing facts on the pet care industry that show why entrepreneurs are eager to get into this growing segment with unlimited growth potential:
- Two-thirds of Americans own pets and, in a recent survey, it was shown that 92% of pet owners are spending equal or more on their pets now than before the recession.
- The pet industry as a whole will exceed $58 billion this year and is projected to grow to $74 billion by 2015.
- The pet industry is the 7th largest and 6th fastest growing retail industry in America.
- 84% of pet owners are not cutting spending on their pets and more Americans would rather cut their spending on themselves rather than on their pets.
3. What sets Fetch! Pet Care apart from your competitors in the pet services industry?
Fetch! franchisees across the country are passionate about providing quality care for your pets. As a nationwide pet care services provider, we offer many benefits most of our competitors cannot match including private boarding, overnight sitting, and updates on pet and pet activities so pet parents can be assured of the most loving care.
Franchisees also work together to establish a network of sitters ready to step in when a customer’s regular sitter isn’t available and guarantee that “we’ve got your tail covered.”
All Fetch! sitters are bonded, experienced, insured, and background checked. Such a dedicated service force has resulted in our customers referring Fetch! to friends and family 92 percent of the time. Fetch! offers customers discounts to valuable pet products and services through its customer loyalty program and Fetch! can provide service to customers both in their home or at their travel destination around the country.
4. What qualities do you look for in a prospective franchisee of Fetch! Pet Care?
Although Fetch! Pet Care is a “hot concept,” we won’t let just anyone into our system. It takes someone special to be a Fetch! franchisee. It’s absolutely critical for the franchise candidate to be passionate about pets. They also should be self-motivated and understand the scalability of the Fetch! Pet Care opportunity. The candidate should want to become connected in the community and knows how to communicate with the customers. We look for someone who is financially responsible because we want folks who are with us for the long haul. And, of course, they must love pets.
The ideal Fetch! Pet Care territory has a high concentration of pet owners in either a metro or surrounding suburb area occupied primarily by baby boomers, young working professionals, and dual-income family households.
6. Based on your observations, what concrete steps do the most successful franchisees of Fetch! Pet Care take in order to build and grow their businesses?
Our most successful franchise owners clearly understand their territory’s demographics, market and staff accordingly to build and satisfy demand, and plan ahead for continued growth. They study and follow our systems, processes, and procedures, interact regularly with their franchise colleagues to ensure they are instituting best practices, and take an active role in their community.
One of our most successful franchisees grew her business to 100 clients by the end of the first year and currently has 800 clients and about 50 sitters on staff. She implemented techniques like becoming very involved within the community and sponsoring events, networking with potential clients, and using strong communication skills to show how Fetch! Pet Care is a reliable and professional pet care service in her community.
Fetch! franchisees receive four days of hands-on instruction that includes the use of innovative tools, processes, and procedures to assist with marketing, scheduling, human resources, accounting, legal, customer service, and more. Franchisees also gain support through an extensive franchisee support network overseen by Fetch’s Franchisee Advisory Council. In addition, franchisees have 24/7 access to recorded webinars, informational documents, and our knowledge base. Franchisees also participate in mentorship groups and buddy pair ups to provide the insight and guidance needed to continuously grow their business.
8. Can you describe your typical day as CEO of Fetch! Pet Care? What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I love about my days is that I get to lead the strategic vision of the company. From the minute I walk in, I get to focus on how Fetch! Pet Care can become a better pet care service provider and a better franchisor and that’s what I get the most excitement out of. No two days are ever the same for me. From putting new partnerships in place to helping our franchisees attract new clients and spreading the word that there’s an alternative to boarding your pet, I help make our franchisees more capable and more successful in their marketplace and educate pet parents about the options for the care of their pets.
9. Is there anything else that you’d like to share with us about Fetch! Pet Care?
Fetch! Pet Care franchisees truly care about the well being of the pets that they take care of. Our customer service is among the highest in the industry because Fetch! franchisees are passionate about what they do. We guarantee our services and literally have “your tail covered.”
For those who would like to learn more about Fetch! Pet Care or our franchise opportunity, they can go to www.fetchpetcare.com or call 1-866-338-2463 (1-866-FETCH-ME).