We discovered PetStay when Mark’s parents began being carers for our neighbouring PetStay branch in Leicester. We’d always toyed with the idea of having our own business and when we found out the franchise was available for the Derby area, toying with the idea became a much more serious discussion about being our own bosses. The 9-5 rat race we were both in had become tiresome and we figured, why are we working all these hours for someone else? Our friends had also started their own business a couple of years before and seeing not only the flexibility they had of being their own bosses but also the passion for something that was theirs was really inspiring.
Whilst we considered starting our own business, there was not only the start-up fees to take into account but also all the legalities of being a business owner, which quite frankly made us nervous, not only this but with me having been used to working with a network of people, we felt I would have found starting up on our own quite lonely.
It was then we came across the idea of a franchise and finding this option much more appealing, we stepped our search up a gear! From our first conversation with Carole we knew we’d found something special and after making the trip up to Hull to meet Carole and see PetStay’s HQ, we knew there and then this was most definitely the franchise for us!!! The support and training Carole and her team provided was invaluable and so in October 2015 after our induction at PetStay HQ, PetStay Derby was launched!
The lifestyle and flexibility it has given us has been great and whilst we are always working on PetStay, we work on it together…and it’s ours, so we know we’re working on building something amazing! We spend some of our weekends visiting local events, having our own PetStay stand which is great because it gives us the opportunity to do what we love most and that’s talk about dogs!!!
And being a part of the PetStay family really adds to what makes it so worthwhile…sharing ideas, discussing how to build our businesses and being in the knowledge we have the backing of a company that really does have the love of the dogs at the forefront of what they do!
The first year of PetStay Derby was hard work but really exciting. Getting carers on board was, of course, the first job, so with plenty of leaflet dropping and advertising in our local magazines, we gradually grew our team of carers to around the 25 mark. The next job was then getting the PetStay name and brand out there and we were so surprised at how many people hadn’t really heard of home dog boarding. We attended as many local events as we could and made sure all our friends were sharing our Facebook page, not to mention the leaflet dropping continued as well as visiting local vets and pet shops asking them to display our posters. And as time went on the business grew with nearly 150 new customers in our first year, this has pretty much been maintained year on year, which adding to our repeat customer base totals nearly 500 customers on our books as at the end of 2018.
The success of Derby really made us look at the other opportunity that we’d been aware of from day one and that was that our neighbouring city of Nottingham didn’t have a PetStay. It was a big decision, both of us being Derby born and bred, we didn’t know Nottingham as well and with Nottingham being a bigger city we had to really look at how much time we would have available in building the PetStay name while ensuring we didn’t take our focus off PetStay Derby. But deep down we knew it was something we wanted to do and Derby’s success had shown us what we’d be missing if we didn’t buy it, and so in October 2016 we officially bought the franchise for PetStay Nottingham. Two years on from that, we’re now running our two PetStay branches and loving it. We’d be lying if we didn’t say we’d had our challenges, who doesn’t when running your own businesses, but we know that we’re building something for both of our futures and that means everything to us!