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Kirstie - The Cat Butler Franchisee in Brighton

In this case study:


  • Your name and age: Kirstie Hayes (53)
  • Name of your The Cat Butler Territory? The Cat Butler Brighton
  • When did you launch your The Cat Butler business? June 2023
  • What did you do before you owned your The Cat Butler business? Special Educational Needs (SEN) Teacher
  • How many staff do you employ? None yet
  • How many cats does your business look after a week/month/year? Just launching 
Kirstie Hayes - The Cat Butler Brighton Franchisee

Q: Why did you decide to leave teaching?

A: I’ve been working with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) for my entire 30-year career and I wanted a change while I was still young enough to have a second career.

Q: What made you think about caring for cats?

A: My friend recently left teaching to become a dog walker which sounded like a great idea, and which definitely planted the seed, however, I’ve never owned a dog so that wasn’t an option for me, but I have been a cat owner and lover all my life, so I quickly realised cat care was going to be the way ahead for me. I also know how hard it is to go away and leave your cat when you go on holiday, so I knew I’d be offering a service that would be popular. I only wish I had had a Cat Butler when I needed to leave my cats!

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

A: I’ve never run my own business before but I know it is quite complicated and I didn’t want all the hassle of having to build my own brand and website. I liked the thought of buying something tried and tested.  When you buy a The Cat Butler franchise it is all done for you. Sandra, the Franchisor, has built a really comprehensive set up over the past few years, with a small, tight knit team and that really appealed to me.

I also looked at the local competition in my area and realised that The Cat Butler was offering something quite different from regular cat sitters, which of course was a bonus.

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

A: It’s been really good. I filled out the form online and Sandra got back to me very quickly. She really helped me go through the figures, understanding what my expenses might be and how much I could expect to earn. As I’ve never owned a business before, I was a little nervous about this part, but Sandra made it all very easy.

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

A: The training was great. I went up to The Cat Butler HQ in St Albans for three full days of induction training. On day one we were in a classroom environment, learning everything we needed to know to be a Cat Butler. Obviously, Sandra is always going to be on hand to help but we are also given access to an extensive online operations manual which lays out in black and white how absolutely everything should be done.

Sandra also showed us around the back end of the website, how to advertise for clients, how to bill clients and everything in between. I found the security and risk assessment training particularly interesting, learning the little things that we might come across and what to look out for to keep the client’s house safe.

On day two we shadowed some of the existing Cat Butlers going to visit cats in their homes. We got to see first-hand exactly what they do during a visit, from the care of the cat to the light touch security service we offer our clients. It was useful to see the theory put into practice.  These existing Cat Butlers were so generous with their time teaching us; I’m looking forward to being able to pay that forward and maybe help the next set of incoming Cat Butlers.

On the third day we were back in the classroom, where we were taught cat care and cat first aid. This was such an interesting course and I’m so glad Sandra has included it as part of the training. It covered a wide variety of subjects from assessing the client's property for cat hazards to giving a cat mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which were all very interesting. I learned a lot and feel much more confident about giving cats medication and injecting them if they need insulin. We all passed the exam at the end of it and were given certificates to prove it!

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

A: It’s been great. Sandra is always available to ask any questions and she’s been so helpful, in helping me to launch my business. She’s made marketing material for absolutely everything you could think of, from flyers, posters, banners and business cards to sympathy cards for when a feline customer crosses The Rainbow Bridge, all of which I can access through the system and use as I want.

I made great friends with the other new The Cat Butler franchisees during our training and speak to them most days on the phone or via our WhatsApp group. It’s great to have that camaraderie.

I’m four weeks in now and starting to pick up quite a few clients which is great.

Q: What would you say to anyone thinking of buying a The Cat Butler Franchise?

I would say definitely do it. Buying a The Cat Butler franchise gives you so much; firstly it gives you a tried and tested model, which is great.  It gives you plenty of support and you can talk to lots of other people who have been through the process who are all willing to give you help and advice.  You’ve got good evidence that it works and you’ve got a fantastic website and branding, ready-made for you to use, which personally I think is really good value.

Read more on Kirstie's journey >>>>> From Pupils to Purrs

Cat Butler Kirstie serves kitties and their hoomans in Brighton and Hove.

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