How much does it cost?
As businesses that can be run from home, after the initial franchise fee, overheads are essentially low - a van, transport costs and then staff. And obviously the need for the latter two increases with the amount of work and therefore income.
"Advertising is constant expense for me," says John Botting of Bugsie's. "I get the best response from local paper adverts but after four months in business, I now find I can put smaller adverts in for less money and still get the same response."
All three franchisors spoke of the importance of word of mouth. This above all things will cut your advertising costs. And advertising on a local level is not only cheaper but also more effective. Just putting a card in local post offices or with local vets will reach your target audience very easily.
Then they will tell their friends and the people they meet while walking the dog and so on. Offering a free visit for a recommendation is a good incentive for people too.
You need a van for each of the franchises - and it's expensive. But all of them have brightly painted logos and contact details so what you pay out for the vehicle you should more than gain back in 'free' advertising.
And as you get more clients, your petrol costs go up. But as Neil Stapleton of Oscar in Devon says, "I do around 350 miles a week which makes the petrol quite expensive. In the country you just have to plan your route carefully."
With Oscar and Bugsie's this doesn't apply until you take on another van and expand the area - should you wish to. But with Petpals you won't be able to run the business without help after a while and you won't be able to offer services such as pet sitting.
This will be a case of advertising or people approaching you to help out part time - the trick is, as always, to know when you have enough work to support staff or risk waiting until you are in danger of losing business.
A home office and a garage should meet these needs quite adequately. As with all costs, it's when you come to expand that this can change.