A chance meeting while walking his dog set Paul Yates on his next career challenge
A meeting with an existing Petpals franchisee while walking his dog led Paul Yates to buy his own Petpals Middlesbrough franchise in 2013.
At the time Yates’ 23-year career with the RAF was coming to an end following redundancy and he was looking for a new challenge in life. He knew that whatever new job he took on would have to be flexible, as he was a single father with a son who had cerebral palsy.
Yates said: “It was just a chance meeting with the owner of Petpals Richmond and Catterick on a dog walk that led me to the franchise. We talked as we walked and I quickly realised that owning a Petpals franchise might give me a job I loved as I like being out in the fresh air every day, walking dogs and visiting other pets.
“It would be a great release from the pressures of my previous employment and could be something I could fit around my son, Adam, and his needs.”
Adam also has moderate learning disabilities and shows some autistic traits. The biggest loves in his life are wheelchair football, washing machines (he is fascinated by their construction) and dogs. The family has three Labradors of their own—Jet, Lilly, and Cassie.
“Adam loves Petpals,” said Yates. “He loves coming out in the Petpals van with me to do cat and small animal visits and when we’re at home he has an abundance of lovely dogs to play with, too. I think he’s really benefited from the interaction he gains through the dogs and people we meet through the business.”
The first half of Yates’ day is like any other Petpals franchisee. He employs three staff who each walk up to four dogs, twice a day. He meets with them every morning to brief them on their jobs before they head out. Yates himself will then do two sets of dog walks while Adam is at school and once he is home, they head off in the van to do cat or small animal visits.
Alongside the flexibility and freedom Petpals has provided Yates, the main reason he loves owning the business is that he goes to bed with a huge grin on his face every night, eager to do it all again the next day.
Petpals Middlesbrough offers dog walks, dog boarding, cat visits and other small animal boarding, as well as a pet to vet taxi service.
The advice Yates gives to all other would-be franchise owning single parents is: “Do your research, make sure it is something you truly want to do and, if you can say yes to all those, then go for it.”
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