With all the right attributes to run her own business, Rachel Knight found the perfect route to fulfilment came in the shape of a quality pet food franchise
“I was initially searching for animal-related employment when I came across OSCAR as a self-employment opportunity,” says Rachel Knight, local nutritional advisor for OSCAR Pet Foods in Northamptonshire, providing a unique home delivery service for pet food and accessories across the region. “I realised that I’d been feeding OSCAR food – which came via direct home delivery – to my dogs for at least eight years.”
After spending 25 years in the bank as a commercial financial advisor to farming clients, Rachel had taken voluntary redundancy. She had gone on to join a farm insurer as an ‘on farm insurance agent’ offering advice on the many aspects of insurance, but after three stressful years of working unsociable hours and travelling around the country for little reward, she made the decision to move on.
“I was able to forgo my previous professional career because I’d reached a stage in my life where I was financially and personally comfortable, and this enabled me to really think about my future,” continues Rachel. “As one door closes, another opens, and my research introduced me to franchising – a halfway house to running your own business along with the benefits of working with a large organisation. With all the systems, products and support you need already in place, you then have the flexibility and freedom to run a business as you wish. It could not be better.”
Rachel discovered that OSCAR was not represented in her local area and that led her to enquire further. “With prior knowledge of the product as an existing customer, I was very impressed by the franchise team,” she explains. What with their professionalism and my existing range of skills, from sales to relationship management, I could see everything falling into place.
“Speaking to other franchisees gave me a positive introduction to the finer details of the business, and spending a day out in the field enabled me to assess the business carefully. Everything was well presented – not rushed, selective and with attention to every detail in relation to different experiences.”
As with any new business, Rachel needed time to establish a presence and with help from OSCAR she gained lots of initial new introductions. “It’s been almost a year now – I’ve met all my expectations and I am really pleased with my progress,” she says. “I’ve worked to the OSCAR recommended system and I found my own niche by attending shows and fairs, with help from my husband. Using my previous sales experience, I’ve built strong customer relationships and referrals have been forthcoming. I’ve given my customers the benefit of a convenient service and, combined with quality products, this has resulted in a loyal customer base.
“To have a business with opportunities for further education is incredible, and I’m now well on my way to gaining a recognised qualification in pet nutrition and behaviour. Back-up support and additional training could not be more accessible. Regional meetings, involving open surgery discussions with the management team and other franchisees, bring the network together while keeping everyone focused.”
Rachel has no regrets about starting a franchise in a field she feels passionate about. She sums it up herself: “I’m far less stressed and I now have time for myself, my husband and my two dogs, Ted and Hannie, while enjoying new friendships with my customers. OSCAR felt right for me and my recommendation to anyone looking at a new business is to take your time in making sure it ticks all the boxes for you and your family.”
At a Glance OSCAR Pet Foods
Number of franchised outlets:
Location of units:
from £8,995 (plus VAT)
Minimum required capital:
£8,995 (plus VAT)
Janet Walmsley 0800 068 1106