It was Friends for Pets 15th Birthday back in July this year! We can’t quite believe it has been 15 whole years of friends for pets, from when Becca started it by herself in 2008 and soon realising it was too much to manage on her own, she knew she needed some help, this is when our lovely pet carers got involved (some of which are still working for FFP now!). The demand for pet care was so strong, Becca decided to franchise friends for pets and now we stretch all the way over to Penarth right across to Cranleigh!
Friends for Pets was set up in the Cheddar area of Somerset in 2008 by Becca Wilson. Always wanting a career with animals, Becca completed an MSc in Animal Science specialising in Animal Behaviour & Welfare. As part of this course Becca worked on a collaborative project between Bristol University Veterinary School and a Working Equine Charity in Pakistan which included helping to train the vets and animal health workers in Pakistan and East Africa. With the political situation abroad changing, Becca took up a lecturing post at a local Further Education College teaching Students in Animal Care. At the same time Becca started doing some dog walking and pet sitting for a few people with the aim of having an animal-based job that fitted around her own pets and her lecturing. Through word of mouth and recommendations, word spread of the new business and soon the dog walking and pet sitting became a full-time job. Friends for Pets was born!
Within a couple of months of starting up, rapid growth of the company meant a couple of extra pairs of hands were needed to help with the need for our work (we still have some of these original pet carers helping us!). This growth continued until we had around 85 pet carers covering a large area of the Southwest. This was proving very difficult to manage from one central office and standards of service were slipping so it was decided to franchise the company so each area could be managed by a person local to the area who could keep the highest standards of pet care and allow a more controlled growth of the company. Each team has a small, long-standing team of pet carers that become extended members of our client’s families. Becca is exceptionally picky with who is awarded a franchise and only looks for animal-focused franchise owners who are driven by the same ethics and standards as herself making us stand apart from other franchised pet companies. A few years on and we have developed an Award-Winning team of expert managers and pet carers who offer the highest standard of Pet Care that we can to local communities.
Franchising gave us the opportunity to be able to grow the brand in a controlled manner over a wider area whilst keeping standards to the highest possible level, as well as giving multiple pet lovers (our franchisees!) the opportunity to own their own successful pet care company (or companies in some cases of our multi-franchise unit owners!). In the recent pandemic it has also meant that as a franchise network we have pulled together to recover more strongly than if we were all separate brands.