Experience of Prospect to becoming an Active Franchisee
Animals at Home (Croydon) Ltd.
After 25 years working for the Ministry of Justice, I was offered redundancy, or voluntary severance. It was a very enjoyable job, but very stressful. I was not sleeping too well but never realised until I left.
Living in the London Borough of Croydon meant the commute each day was easy and enabled me to travel to all the courts in London that I was responsible for. Even with a short commute the actual journeys were not particularly pleasant.
Within 24 hours of receiving the bad news about my job our Pet Sitter Pearl informed us that she was unfortunately having to stop her pet care services due to ill health. She was an Animals at Home franchisee. She was putting her business up for sale. The Croydon franchise area is mainly densely urban to the North with wider green areas to the South. It gives a good mix of households with pets as well as plenty of outdoor space for dog walking.
Something in my head clicked straight away - here was a real opportunity for me to change jobs, change lifestyle and have the opportunity to work with animals!
Some 10 weeks later I said farewell to the Ministry of justice and hello to Animals at Home! I was grateful to have Pearl shadow me for a full week and to receive support and advice from head office.
I took to the lifestyle straight away and was immediately planning on improvements that I could comfortably make to increase turnover. In fact, after 12 months, I had increased the turnover from Pearl's last year by 50%. It was helpful being part of a franchise - apart from having Head Office I also had fellow franchisees close by who were available for support and advice.
I was able to put many years of developed skills and experience to use in this new role. I was thoroughly enjoying meeting new people and their amazing pets. I was forging great relationships with local vets, charities, and other organisations. I gained a great knowledge of animal and pet care and found a new lease of life working for myself. Finally, I was able manage my life-work balance to suit my own needs. I was now sleeping like a baby each night.
New Directors took charge during my second contracted term and things have improved dramatically. Communication is now excellent, and the quality of Marketing materials is amazing. Being part of a wider franchise network with such talented and experienced owners and fellow franchisees has made running a business so much easier than it would have been on my own.
Damian, Animals at Home (Croydon) Ltd, franchisee since 2011.
Animals at Home (King's Lynn & West Norfolk) Ltd.
Before Animals at Home came into my life in May 2020, I was in Sales for over 30 years. Various types of sales including radio, publishing, hotels, IT and many others. I have also been an IT trainer for several years. I usually got bored after a few years and moved on, looking for that special "something" that always seemed to be missing.
Buying into the franchise was entirely the best thing I have ever done in my working life - I was told it was a "lifestyle" job, and boy it sure is! I don't think I really knew what that entailed, except I really wanted to give it a go. This franchise utilises all my skills in customer service, sales and marketing and training. I have gone from working for other people; to their timescales, demands, agendas and pressure - to still having all that - but doing it for ME! My area has a vast coverage, West Norfolk is very rural with medium sized towns and many small villages, with a huge coastline along the east side. It would take at least an hour to reach all boundaries - so we have to work hard to ensure efficiently spaced appointments and utilise our vehicles and time accordingly.
In the early days I spent most of the time pushing the new business and building my brand in the area. There was a lot of downtime but being persistent and following the franchise plan I was given, has paid off and we are now very busy with business in all aspects of the franchise offerings, often exceeding expectations from Head Office. My business partner came on board full time after only a few months, we live together so the business and home life do overlap. We are still learning how to work this out and give ourselves days (or half days!) off, but this will come in time and when we can get more people on board.
It is brilliant running my own business, but so helpful and comforting knowing that I have expert advice and guidance just a phone call or email away. Our Directors have done everything to help me to succeed and encouraged progress and development, and by following their strategy we are now proud to be one of the chosen franchises that is recommended for new franchisees to contact for an insight when enquiring about coming into the business.
Without Head Office we would not be as successful or confident as we are today.
Lynette and AJ, Animals at Home (King's Lynn & West Norfolk) Ltd, franchisees since 2020.
Animals at Home (Cornwall) Ltd.
All my career has been in Customer Service and for the last five years within logistics, managing a depot for a well-known parcel delivery company. The hours were long and hard work, and my home - work life balance was almost non-existent. I needed something to do which would keep me busy and allow me more time to do the things that I enjoyed.
So my journey began with Animals at Home! I still travel, spend time with people but most of all I am able to use my knowledge of pets from all my years! dogs, cats, snakes, rodents, birds are all now part of my weekly schedule and time now to spend training my two working German Shepherds with Cornwall Search Dogs.
The support I receive from the team at Animals at Home is always available and I am proud to be part of this with my Franchise coving the whole of Cornwall, a mixture of very rural and towns and of course, a beach for every day of the year! Whilst still very new to this, I am enjoying going to "work" every day, with new challenges and new friends to meet both two and the four-legged variety.
Jason, Animals at Home (Cornwall) Ltd, franchisee since 2021.
Animals at Home (Taunton & South Somerset) Ltd.
I own the Taunton and South Somerset branch of Animals at Home. I joined Animals at Home as a franchisee in September 2020. I left my position as Practice Manager for an orthodontic practice and although I enjoyed my role I haven't looked back since joining Animals at Home.
Initially I spoke with the management team and also a couple other franchise owners, and I instantly knew I wanted to be part of this wonderful team, spending my days with animals which is my idea of heaven.
I love that there is plenty of support throughout, and even a franchise private Facebook group where everyone is always happy to offer support and advice when needed along with humorous stories from their furry companions.
Jules, Animals at Home (Taunton & South Somerset) Ltd. Franchisee from 2020.
Animals at Home (Perth & Kinross) Ltd.
I am Louise and I am in my 6th year as Director of my Animals at Home Franchise within the Perth & Kinross area which is a mixture of both rural and urban client base. I live with my husband Doug and 3 energetic cats Missy, Ichabod and Sal.
I started my career in the Hospitality sector then I took a break to backpack around Europe, North Africa, Egypt and volunteered for 10 months in a Kibbutz in Israel.
I worked for Safeway Stores Plc as a Human Resources Manager and after my redundancy I worked as a Food Retail Manager for various National Food retailers. The time came where I looked to change career and after research for a career working with animals, I found an advert for an Animals at Home Franchise.
I enjoy my Franchise where I now have a work/life balance. I organise my daily schedule for dog walking, home care visits, transportation, house sitting where no two days are the same, and I have built up regular client base and over the last five years I have cared for cats, dogs, small furries to exotics i.e. snakes, bearded dragons to rare breed pigs and sheep to chickens, geese and emus.
I enjoy working as part of a Franchise as it suits my background where I have autonomy to run my business and I also have regular support and best practise guidance from the Franchisor and the camaraderie from my fellow Franchisees, especially over the Covid-19 lockdowns I have been kept informed from head office with up to date with the ever changing Governmental Legislation and Guidance. Any questions I may have or feel I just want a chat I can pick up the phone and someone is always there.
I also enjoy regular training and have had the opportunity to achieve my City & Guilds Technical Competence in Dog Walking and Technical Competence in Pet Sitting organised through the Animals at Home Franchise at the Wiltshire College. I do not think I'd have known about the City & Guilds training opportunities if I were a single entity business.
My working week can vary from day to day but my regular clients include two beautiful horses and lots of dogs. A typical day will start with cat, rabbit or even chicken and rats feeds followed by the horses and then several hours of dog walks finishing up with evening cat feeds. One of my favourite things to do is house stays in which I have looked after dogs, cats, horses and sheep. I love being with animals and being outside in the fresh air so joining the AAH Franchise for me provided me with my dream role, I get to spend all day with animals with plenty of walks in the countryside, what more could a girl want!!!
Louise, Animals at Home (Perth & Kinross) Ltd, franchisee since March 2016.