How much can I earn?
This is a business that probably won't make you a millionaire as it stands - although you're likely to get quite busy and will have a comfortable satisfying living. If the business catches on it will grow fast, because of the kind of community that exists with people who own pets.
"I started in 1998 with less than 5000 houses in my area," says Neil Stapleton of Oscar in Devon. "Now I have 40,000 having taken on another area." Expanding into other areas and ultimately taking on more vans and people is the way to make money.
But this will inevitably lead to a more managerial role so you have to decide whether that is what you want above the lifestyle of working with animals each day. If money is your motivation in the first instance this is probably not the industry for you.
And the attitudes of the franchisors seem to reflect this. As Brendan Humphrey of Petpals points out "There are no financial targets that franchisees have to achieve or rates at which they must expand. It's up to them to grow as they want to."
This isn't to say the franchisors are kind benevolent souls who don't care how much money you make. That would be absurd because they wouldn't make any money themselves and the franchise wouldn't develop. But the point stands that isn't solely a profit driven business.
Another way to boost your takings is to offer more services. Expanding your product range and learning more about animal problems means people will come to you for advice and buy additional merchandise from you. For example offering natural healthcare as opposed to chemically based ones will be attractive to many people.
For many people their pets are like their children, which is why you could find Christmas stockings another handy source of extra revenue. Going the extra mile for other people's animals will win you respect and therefore repeat and referred business - which is the best way to earn a good living.
This might not be a hard sell business but attitude is very important. If the thought of going up to dog walkers in the park and talking about your products or services fills you with dread then this probably isn't right for you. If on the other hand, animals are part of your lifestyle and all you live to do is talk about them then something suggests you're on the right track.
Pets aren't like humans, they can't walk themselves or go out and buy their own food. So you need the motivation to get up and work even when it's dark and freezing cold. If animals are part of your lifestyle this will be that much easier.