This year Pets 2 Places will limit the number of franchise opportunities to just three across key territories and then extend the availability of franchises in 2022 throughout the UK
In 2020 all businesses and individuals were plunged deep into uncharted waters and with unemployment at its highest level, now might the perfect opportunity to consider running your own business, particularly if you are a woman.
But is being a woman a barrier or an opportunity? Although statistics show a huge disparity of only one in three entrepreneurs being female, Claire Harris, founder of Pets 2 Places, thinks not and joined EWIF on a mission to encourage more women to start their own business.
Pets 2 Place’s is the UK’s first pet taxi franchise which takes its owners to places such as the vets, groomers, kennels and even on holiday. Wherever the customer wants to go and whatever support the owner needs.
Harris explains she created this business model to prove there is a place in the business world for pet businesses and women. She says: “I feel that as a woman, running a pet business from home, people often dismiss what I do as a hobby business. This business is far from a hobby, it takes hard work and dedication, and the rewards are fantastic – this is a career and deserves to be taken seriously.”
With 55 per cent of women letting fear rule their decision to start a business, Pets 2 Places took on the mantle to alleviate that fear and illustrate that it was achievable. Harris realised her vision and didn’t let fear stand in her way: “I started Pets 2 Places in my hometown of Milton Keynes in 2014 and it has become bigger than I ever imagined. It’s been so well received by both customers and other pet businesses; it’s spurred me on to create this opportunity for other women.”
Pets 2 Places has already won awards, including the Animal Star award for Best Pet Business and Harris has been recognised at the Women Leaders Awards. In 2020, Harris joined EWIF to help make this business opportunity available to other women. EWIF has been so impressed with the plan that Harris has been shortlisted for the Best New Woman Franchisor of the year award.
“The franchise opportunities I have created aren’t for everyone. We are looking for people who have either worked in the animal community before, in a caring capacity, such as the NHS or with the elderly or with people with learning difficulties, and they must be animal lovers. As much as the customers are all different, we understand the franchisees are all different. The level of training we offer incorporates the fundamentals of what they need to know with an adaptive style to ensure we are supporting the franchisee in a way that is meaningful and inclusive to them as an individual. I know that business growth comes from supporting the franchisees and that ongoing support is the foundation of our franchise ethos,” says Harris. “I love getting to know my customers, and seeing them all the time, as it shows we have built such a lovely rapport, they have become like my extended family.”
Customer service remains at the heart of Pets 2 Places. This is further highlighted by recent feedback from a customer: “Pets 2 Places transported my dog and me to and from the vets today. The lady made a special effort to put my sometimes-nervous dog at ease before we got into her car. She was friendly and helpful. I wasn’t made to feel rushed in any way and the whole experience was relaxed and professional. I would have no hesitation in using Pets 2 Places if needed in the future and would highly recommend their services to others.”
So, what’s next for Pets 2 Places? As a business, it is committed to its core values of credibility and integrity and recognises the need for expert support. Therefore, alongside its EWIF membership, Pets 2 Places is in the process of joining the British Franchising Association to further its reach and help in encouraging more women entrepreneurs.
This year Pets 2 Places will limit the number of franchise opportunities to just three across key territories and then extend the availability of franchises in 2022 throughout the UK.