An Australian Franchisor Interview
Franchisors name: Davina D’Avoine
Name of franchise: Paws Pet Sitters
Tell us about how/when the Paws Pet Sitters business was started and the motivation behind establishing the company.
Paws Pet Sitters Group Pty Ltd purchased Paws Pet Sitters as a small pet sitting company back in 2007. The CEO Davina D’Avoine, was a casual pet sitter for Paws Pet Sitters at the time and she saw the potential this amazing concept had in becoming a nation-wide franchised network. Davina has always had a passion for animals and this passion, plus the business and marketing experience of her brother Daniel D’Avoine and the IT and accounting background of her mother Jolanda D’Avoine, formed the perfect team to build this small business into a nation-wide success.
When and why did Paws Pet Sitters decide to go down the franchise route?
The business was growing too big to handle from one head office and management team. Franchising was the perfect way to grow nationally for this service-oriented, owner-operator structured business. Franchise owners would show a level of enthusiasm and passion that you just can’t find in employees, and to grow this business nationally, we needed more “business partners” to manage their local territory.
What have been the company’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?
- Expanding services to offer a wide range of pet care services
- Selling our first franchise
- Expanding interstate
- Winning Pet Care category Quest Business Achievers award in 2012
- CEO Davina D’Avoine finalist in the Brisbane’s Top Young Entrepreneur Awards in 2013
- Becoming a Registered Training Organisation
What challenges have you had to overcome?
- Economic Crisis of 2009
- Working in a family business
- Losing clientele to employees that became our competition
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your Paws Pet Sitters franchise?
- Mostly online marketing – google, facebook, SEEK Commercial, etc
- Member of the Franchise Council of Australia
- Active marketing to market for the franchisees – promotional staff members
What differentiates Paws Pet Sitters from the competition?
- We are a Registered Training Organisation. We are the only franchise of this kind to ensure all of its franchisees receive nationally recognised, accredited training. This ensures a quality service is offered across the entire franchise network
- A Work Incentive program for the first year in business of $50,000
- We are all passionate, animal lovers and we care about the animals and their well-being above anything else
- It is a Complete pet care business, offering a variety of income streams for the franchisee, and our list of services will continue to grow
In your opinion, what makes a successful Paws Pet Sitters franchisee?
Someone who is genuinely passionate about the service they offer or product they are selling. You must be enthusiastic and have a genuine love for the work you are doing. This will ensure dedication and persistence.
What changes have you seen in your industry over recent year? And how have you adapted to them?
The pet industry is growing and is now one of the largest in Australia! People are wanting to pamper their pets more and treat them like their children. This means we now offer unique experiences for our clients, with a range of service options for them to choose from. Pet owners lifestyles are getting busier and our service is reliable and convenient, making pampering our clients pets easy for the clients. We offer a high quality service that is forever evolving with the demands and feedback from our loyal clients.
What does the future hold for Paws Pet Sitters?
Paws Pet Sitters will be the largest complete mobile pet care name in Australia. We plan to continue to expand nationally by growing our franchise network. Our list of pet services will continue to grow, eventually offering every pet care service a pet owner would need – becoming a one-stop-shop for pet owners.
What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally?
Continue to sell franchises across Australia, beginning with Master Franchisees in each major city. Eventually expanding internationally.
What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
Make sure you have a proven, replicable model before you start franchising. Trial your system yourself first, and make sure you fix any potential problems or have a secure contingency plan in place if something may go wrong. If you can perfect your system first, then you will save a lot of hard work later when you start to deal with franchisees. Make sure you get a solid franchise agreement written up by an experienced franchise lawyer before you begin.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Put more planning into the franchise system at the beginning before jumping into it. We did a lot of trial and error and could have saved a lot of time and stress if we had planned more in the beginning. Sometimes being eager can be detrimental!