Alec is our first We Love Pets branch in Scotland! Alec had been looking into franchise opportunities for several years, and after being furloughed throughout lockdown and spending his time walking his dogs, he decided “this is my chance to get out and do something for myself.”
Why did you choose a franchise over setting up your own business?
I chose a franchise for a few reasons; I’ve worked for someone else all my life, so I don’t have any experience in running a business, and the support that the franchise offers is the primary reason I decided to join. I had been looking at different opportunities for several years, but always knew that franchising was the way to go for me.
Why did you choose WLP?
Ultimately, I chose We Love Pets because they’re the biggest – plus the size of the network and dedication of the support team was especially appealing. Sometimes, I need someone to help get me going, and Ryan’s enthusiasm was just what I needed!
Did you look at any other franchises?
Yes, I looked at quite a lot actually. But eventually I was able to whittle it down to three, and We Love Pets stood out as the best option.
What did the word ‘franchise’ mean to you before you came across We Love Pets?
Having looked at franchise opportunities for several years, I was fairly familiar with the concept. I think I’ve always known about large franchises – like McDonald’s for example – and had become more aware of smaller ones through my independent research.
What was your day to day like in your previous role?
I’m still in my ‘previous’ role; I drive a road sweeper, cleaning up building sites, factories, etc., and my days are very long. For example, I usually wake up around 4:50 in the morning, and may get home around 6:30pm. It’s quite tiresome to have such long days!
What was the final straw for leaving your previous job?
There wasn’t a single final straw, so to speak, but I’m turning 55 at the end of October and I’ll be able to access some money from my pension, so it was a combination of wanting to pursue something new, and finally having the funds to do it. I thought, ‘this is my chance to get out and do something for myself.’
How long had you been thinking about changing your career?
It was the first lockdown that really made my mind up. I was off work for 16 weeks on furlough, and as there wasn’t much we could do during that time, all I did was walk the dogs. At some point I realised, ‘you know what? There are people who walk dogs for a living, I could do that!’
Do you have any pets of your own?
Yes, I have two Springer Spaniels; Maisie is 10 and Kira is 7. Ironically, Maisie is the laziest Springer Spaniel I’ve ever come across. They get on fine but like to go their separate ways out on a walk. I’ve also had mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits as pets over the years.
What do you love most about your area?
We love that East Kilbride is town based, but only just on the edge of town. I can leave my house, and within 10 minutes of walking, I’m out in the countryside. On the flip side, we’re only five minutes from the town centre so it’s an ideal location. We chose the area because of the amenities it offers and access to the lovely Scottish countryside. Where we are is quite flat, but we’re pretty high up and on a good, clear day you can look north and see the mountains of the Highlands!
What have you done in the past that you think will help you in your new venture?
I think there are many skills that I’ll be carrying over from my prior work experiences, but the most important is probably my customer relations skills. The job I’m in now requires me to build strong relationships with our customers, as I’m the face of the company on the job, and that background will ideally help me grow a customer base.
What hobbies do you have?
Well, I don’t have a ton of time for hobbies at the moment, but I do love listening to music – especially Indie and/or Indie Rock – as well as supporting my local football team, East Kilbride AFC.
What’s an interesting/fun fact about yourself?
I’m bald now, but when I was younger I had a mohawk!
Which are your favourite animals?
It’s got to be dogs.
What’s your biggest achievement in life?
I’d have to say my biggest achievement is bringing up my daughters, and now getting to spend time with my three grandkids (aged 5, 3, and 2).
What do you think will be the best part of your job as a We Love Pets franchisee owner? Or what are you most looking forward to?
I think the best part is going to be the animals, getting to interact and work with them day-to-day. The business part will also be rewarding, but I think the animals will be the most fun!