How does it work?
These franchises can be set up in a matter of months but an important part of that is seeing if the prospective franchisee is suited to the work. These are the kinds of businesses that you need to enjoy so spending time out with an existing franchisee is vital. It will also show whether you have an aptitude for dealing with animals.
Then researching your area is the next important step. As Brendan Humphrey of Petpals in Winchester explains:
"Petpals gives the franchise a big launch but it's up to the franchisee to plan how this should be done. We effectively give them homework looking into their territory, finding the best ways to reach the right audience."
Getting the business started might involve getting out and about, leafleting, local newspaper adverts. But also by being visible and talking to people you will start to make yourself known.
"We actually have marquees that franchisees can take to local shows and fetes to meet with potential customers," says Janet Walmsley of Oscar. "You meet a lot of nice people in this business, it isn't about hard sell."
And Oscar and Bugsie's also have telesales teams who take enquiries and pass them on to the appropriate franchisee. Oscar gives you 125 appointments in the first package to get you started.
If you start off as a full time franchisee, it's likely you'll work six or seven days a week and usually quite a long day. "In the summer its seven days a week because I look after pets while their owners are away," says Brenda Glen of Petpals in Kent.
"But while one day I might start one day at 6.30am and work through till 6.30pm, every day is different and I'm very fond of all the animals I work with. I'm able to catch up on calls and admin here and there in the evenings."
Each day with all the franchises will be mainly practical or physical work although you will need to keep on top of the administration. With Oscar it's good practice to keep track off and then phone customers when you calculate supplies running low. Petpals does a progress report on each animal it looks after. And with Bugsie's it's vital to keep customer records up to date.
Most franchisees said they'd had a quick take up of business. Bugsie's franchisee John Botting in Kent said the eye-catching design of the van really got people's attention - although being out and about a lot obviously helped with this.
And the range of people - and animals - you get to work with seemed to be a definite bonus. "It's mainly cats and dogs at the moment," says Julie Jackson of Petpals in Newport, "but I can also do horses, small animals - even reptiles. I've always loved animals so it's great.