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Melbourne, Australia

Animal lover living her dream

An Australian Franchisee Case Study


Name: Beka Hunter
Location: Ferny Grove
Franchise: Paws Pet Sitters Ferny Grove

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose Paws Pet Sitters franchise?
I wasn’t looking for a franchise, specifically. I’d graduated university and discovered that office work wasn’t for me. I was looking for a job in the pet industry, and found a perfect casual job as a petsitter with Paws. I sat in on one of their franchise information sessions and felt that it was perfect for me, but I didn’t have the capital to jump in. I was very lucky that they felt I was a good fit for the role and have worked with me to finance the franchise.

What did you do before taking up your Paws Pet Sitters franchise?
I got my BA Hons in English and History, and then worked as a recruitment consultant in the oil and gas industry, but it wasn’t for me. I then worked casually in a pet store. I knew I wanted to work with animals full time and was looking for a job in that industry when I found Paws Pet Sitters.

How did you raise the finance?
Paws helped me finance the franchise. I wouldn’t have been able to afford it without their help, at least not without saving for a few years.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I worked closely with different members of the team who specialise in different areas of the business. When I first started I was accompanied to every job and walked through the best way to encourage repeat business. When I was comfortable enough to work on my own I worked five days a week and went out with another team member on the sixth day to train in grooming dogs. I’m also in constant contact with the accounts manager to tackle ongoing accounting and financial issues.

What is a typical day for you as a Paws Pet Sitters franchisee?
My dog tends to beat me to the door most days – she always gets excited when I put on my work clothes. I usually have a set group of regulars, but I can check my calendar on my phone en route if necessary. I wash and clip all the dogs that have been booked and confirmed the night before. I usually get a text or two asking for a booking, and I can let them know when I’m next free, but I wait until I’m in front of my computer to make a solid booking for them. When I’ve finished all the jobs for the day I head home, feed my own menagerie and finalise the day’s bookings on the computer by entering the clients’ next booking, and noting whether they’ve paid cash or require an invoice. I then confirm the next day’s bookings and add any that have been requested by text during the day.

What challenges have you faced?
I’ve had to overcome my natural risk aversion, and fear of failure, in order to take the chance to become a franchise owner. I’ve also struggled with personal issues such as anxiety, low self esteem and depression. These are however personal issues that I would struggle to deal with in any situation. With regards to the franchise, I have dealt with panic attacks caused by accidentally injuring a dog, and unfamiliar surroundings while housesitting. Paws Pet Sitters have been understanding and I’m now only housesitting for a small number of clients. I’m still working on not feeling physically ill when I accidentally injure a dog – unfortunately given the large number of dogs I groom, there’s no real way to completely avoid the situation. I give myself credit for always making sure the dog is taken care of before I put my head between my knees.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Absolutely. I used to think that work was something you had to do in order to live your life, now I look forward to work. I feel like this is who I am.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Ask a lot of questions, do your research, and get as much support as you can from friends and family. But even if you’re the only one who believes in you, that’s enough.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to eventually buy a second vehicle and trailer and hire a few people to work under me. When I’m too old to handle the physical side of the job, I hope I’ll still be working behind the scenes.

Would you do it again?
I only wish I’d done it sooner.