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Starting your pet sitting business - franchise or go it alone?

Starting your own pet sitting business? Perhaps you're wondering whether you should invest in a pet sitting franchise, or go it alone? We discuss both options here.
Added on: 15 Apr, 2021 Posted by: Sandra James 7 min read (1146 words)

In this article:

You’re looking for a change. You have your heart set on running your own business - a pet sitting business. There are probably a million and one ideas and questions running through your head right now - and one of them is probably “should I invest in a pet sitting franchise, or should I start up on my own?”

Now, you probably think that - being a pet sitting business owner who is franchising - I am going to say franchise all the way… right? Well, no - it isn’t for everyone!

What I do want to do in this blog is tell you a little story about how I created my own pet sitting business and the lessons I learned along the way. I’m also going to talk about the opportunities that we, as The Cat Butler, offer individuals interested in starting their own pet care business. As you will see, there are benefits to both approaches - you just need to decide which is right for you.

How my pet sitting business started

Coming up with the idea for The Cat Butler pet sitting business was easy in comparison to everything that followed the months after. I’m going to be totally honest with you here… I didn’t really know where to start!

I’d worked in finance previously, so I had a fairly good idea as to what had to be done on that side. The rest, though - the name, the logo, the branding, how I was going to find customers, what sort of insurance I needed, the organisations I needed to register my new business with - that was all new for me.

I remember feeling quite overwhelmed at times, and I had a few moments where I thought, “have I done the right thing?”

How my pet sitting business grew

The Cat Butler did grow, and we started taking on new customers almost instantly. It took a little while, though, before we were recognised as the pet sitting business of choice. I put a lot of hours - as well as blood, sweat and tears in - but a lot of this running my own business malarkey was new to me at the time. Although I loved what The Cat Butler was doing and the pet sitting business I was growing; there were some elements of the ‘job’ that I certainly found less fun.

Where is my pet sitting business now?

Now - in April 2021 - The Cat Butler has been trading for six years. We - yes, it’s ‘we’ now, and not just little old me (though that’s a story for another blog) - have an enviable reputation in the areas in which we operate, and we are seen as the pet sitting business of choice for thousands of customers.

The Cat Butler is a highly successful and profitable pet sitting business, and it’s going from strength to strength. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here. I’m lucky that I had a financial security blanket when I started this venture and had the support that meant I didn’t need to worry too much about the pet sitting business’ profitability in the early days - I’m not sure The Cat Butler would be here today if I hadn’t had that, and I know that not every new business owner would have been so fortunate.

Would I do it all over again?

Yes. I’m incredibly proud of the pet sitting business that I have built, and it is hard to imagine doing anything else these days. Do I wish, though, that I’d known then some of the things I do now? Yes, yes, and yes again. Absolutely!

I met a lot of other new business owners when I started out. Although their businesses were different, we were all very much in the ‘newbies club’ together. A lot of them threw in the towel before the first year was out. More again in the years that followed. I guess I never really believed those ‘only 50% of new businesses survive’ stats before I saw it happening around me.

What advice would I offer wannabe pet sitting business owners?

Owning your own pet sitting business gives you so much flexibility, and I love that I manage to make a living - a good one at that - from doing what I love. If you are thinking of going down this route, do take the time to consider whether investing in a pet sitting franchise may be a better option than starting from scratch and going out on your own. Yes, there will be an investment to make - and this will perhaps put some people off - but weigh this up against the payback you will get, the shortcuts to success it will afford you, and the support you’ll receive.

If you are looking at investing in a pet sitting franchise, take the time to really understand the business you’re getting into bed with. Is it the right fit for you? Can you see yourself working well with the franchisor? Could you build a franchise business that you could be proud of? And would the franchisor be there every step of the way, working with you side-by-side?

You also need to consider whether franchising is right for you. It offers fantastic benefits if you pick the right pet sitting franchise business and follow the blueprint to success that the franchisor provides. There are two things to think about here:

  1. What does the franchisor’s blueprint for success look like? How comprehensive is it? How flexible? How well has it been tested and proved?

  2. Are you the sort of person who can follow a plan like this? Not everybody is, but being a successful pet sitting franchise owner depends on you being able to do it.

Last words

Whichever route you go down, I wish you the very best of luck - owning a pet sitting business really is a dream come true. I’m always happy to chat and share with you some of the many things that I’ve learned along the way. So, if you’re interested in finding out more about running a Cat Butler pet sitting business, get in touch and let’s build a business that we can both be proud of!

Sandra James

Sandra James

Owner & Founder

The Cat Butler was set up by Sandra James in recognition of the fact that a stay in a cattery can be unsettling for many cats and also their owners.

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