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Helen - The Cat Butler Franchisee in the Wirral

In this case study:

  • Your name and age: Helen Mulloy (50)
  • Name of your Cat Butler Territory? The Cat Butler Wirral and Cheshire West
  • When did you buy your Cat Butler business? June 2023
  • How long did it take you to break even (make back your franchise fee): 4 months
  • What did you do before you owned your Cat Butler business? Modern Languages Teacher (Head of Department)
  • How many staff do you employ? Currently none but I can see myself looking to recruit in the near future.
  • How many cats does your business look after a week/month/year? It varies by week/month etc. but the summer months were busy, busy!

Q: Why did you decide to leave teaching?

A: I worked in secondary education teaching French and German for 26 years. I loved teaching and working with young people, but things just weren’t the same following Covid. I was also approaching 50 and craved a better work-life balance and a fresh challenge.

Q: What made you think about caring for cats?

A: Since graduating from university, I have always shared my home with cats. Up until recently it was always rescue cats, our eldest, Tilly, was adopted from our local RSPCA in Wallasey. However, whilst teaching remotely from home we got a kitten, Travis, a beautiful Bengal and then came along three more - or “our boys” as my husband and I call them. Well, it would have been rude not to and we just couldn’t resist!

We both love being around our cats. So much so that we have not been on holiday since 2017. There are some excellent catteries on the Wirral, but we couldn’t imagine our cats being happy away from home and it was the Cat Butler tagline “Because Cats are Happier at Home” that caught my attention when browsing for alternatives. 

What is there not like? I am a cat lover and, inspired by the words of Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”,  I made contact with Sandra (the franchisor) and the rest is history.

Q: Why did you decide to buy a Cat Butler franchise rather than set up on your own?

A: It was a no-brainer. I have absolutely no business experience and I wouldn’t have even known where to start. Sandra James has created a winning formula. The Cat Butler is such a great name and the website itself is attractive, informative and user-friendly. By buying a franchise you have such a head start and a recipe for success.

Q: How was the support setting up your Cat Butler franchise?

A: In a nutshell: excellent. I filled in a short questionnaire to express my interest. Sandra and I had various conversations and then she took me through the business potential.

Q: Tell us about the training to become a Cat Butler

A: First, you’re given your homework! There are the Cat Butler manuals to read through. They cover absolutely every aspect of the business from pre-start activities to day-to-day operations.

Then there is the face-to-face training. There were several aspects to the induction training. On day one it was back to the classroom, except on this occasion I was the pupil. Sandra and Claire from Head Office guided us through operations from taking the initial enquiry to caring for our kitty clients the Cat Butler way. It was great to meet the other franchisees coming on board too. Day two - the kitty visits. We shadowed experienced Cat Butlers who gave us a practical insight on how to provide the best kitty care possible Then it was back to the classroom on day three to earn our cat care and pet first aid qualifications. I learnt so much. Not only can I now perform CPR on a cat, but I am also much more knowledgeable about cat behaviour, signs of illness and hazards in the home.

Q What has the support been like since you finished your training and returned home to set up your business?

A: Outstanding. Sandra is always on hand to offer support and sound advice with respect to day-to-day operations and marketing, as are my fellow franchise owners. We have regular team meetings via Google Meet and everyone uses WhatsApp to ask questions, share best practices and touch base. It really does feel like you’re part of a team and not alone. The Cat Butler ‘Franchise Base’ also gives franchisees 24/7 access to marketing materials - videos, flyers and graphics. As part of the franchise package, you also receive a comprehensive PR launch in your area.  Mine led to a flood of enquiries and really got the Cat Butler name out in my area.

Q: Three months in, how is your business going? Are you busy? Are you making money?

A: I assumed it would take time and that the business would grow gradually, especially as I am the only Cat Butler up north. But, how wrong was I? By the end of my third month, I had over 40 clients and had looked after approximately 50 cats - a large number on more than one occasion.

I had also made 83% of the fee I paid to buy the Wirral and Cheshire West franchise. I will have paid it back in full by the end of September (4 months after launching). I never saw that coming. I really feel like the cat that got the cream!

Q: What advice would you give to anyone thinking of buying a Cat Butler Franchise?

A: If you love cats and have the desire to run your own business then go for it! Sandra has created the ultimate franchise package and the support is second to none.  It is a good idea to have some capital (savings) behind you just in case.  As for buying the Cat Butler franchise, “je ne regrette rien!” I can now look forward to going to work.

Become a Cat Butler in your area

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  • Join a growing and reputable national cat sitting brand
  • Become a Cat Expert with full training and support
  • Enjoy a flexible business that works around your lifestyle
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