Frequently asked questions
Try these answers or get in touch
About We Love Pets
Training and support
Fees and finance
Marketing your franchise
About We Love Pets
When was We Love Pets founded?
We Love Pets was founded in 2007 in West Berkshire. It has been franchising since 2013. This was to meet the growing demand in quality pet care, moving away from pack walking and kennels.
Which branch was your first?
The West Berkshire branch. This franchise is now owned by franchisee Julie Turner and is still going strong today.
Who founded We Love Pets?
Joanne White founded We Love Pets in 2007, after studying business and post graduate Law, Jo spent eight years working in the public and private sector; in procurement, risk and project management roles.
During this time, Jo knew her passion was with animals, and so continued her personal development alongside a full-time job, to give her the qualifications she felt would assist her in creating one of the countries most loved pet care businesses. Jo’s qualifications including FdSc Canine Behaviour & Training and a first-class BSc Animal Science and Management.
Who owns We Love Pets?
We Love Pets is a family business through and through. It’s owned by husband and wife team Jo and Ryan White, who live in Norfolk with their son, daughter, two Labradors and a menagerie of animals. They run the head office from Norfolk with a fantastic team of experts including an accountant, solicitor, pet experts, marketing manager and a HR manager. The team are like one big family, as are our franchisees, as we all look after each other. The office in a great training centre and ideas hub where we continuously develop ways of supporting our franchisees and helping them to grow their business.
How big is the pet business market?
In 2017, expenditure rose to approximately £4.62 billion which is an extreme increase when compared to 2005 when only £2.55 billion were spent. The data is very similar when looking at consumer spending on only veterinary and other pet services in the UK within the same period.
As of 2018 it is estimated that 12 million households have pets (source PFMA Annual Report 2017), there are 9 million dogs in the UK and 8 million cats.
There has never been a better time to invest in a We Love Pets franchise.
How many franchise owners are there?
There are 50+ franchisees to date. You can view all of our branches
What puts We Love Pets above the competition?
Our unrivalled support: including a solicitor and vet nurse working within the support team. The directors have a wealth of experience and qualifications (business degree, post grad law degree, dog behaviour degree and animal science degree).
Our training is accredited by Wiltshire College and University Centre.
But most importantly our passion and enthusiasm to work together to achieve a quality brand and provide an excellent service.
Are you a member of the British Franchise Association?
Absolutely! The BFA’s accreditation process is very strict, so we’re very proud to be recognised as a trusted, ethical franchisor. We are very proud to have won their prestigious Emerging Franchisor of the Year Award in 2018, beating other franchises across the county.
Is your training accredited and if so, by whom?
Our award winning training is provided in partnership with Wiltshire College & University Centre, an OFQUAL accredited organisation, so you can be confident the training is of a very high standard. We Love Pets are the only franchisor to work in partnership with an OFQUAL accredited centre.
Is a franchise right for you?
Training and support
What training is included and for how long?
You’ll spend a week at our training center getting hands on with animals and learning about how to run your own business. We’ll cover how to market, promote, recruit and retain a team of people.
Learning is a journey, so in addition to your initial training you’ll have regular training reviews and the opportunity to carry out training either online or via webinars – both from the comfort of your home office. Subjects will include pet first aid refreshers, dog behaviour, recruitment, managing a team, home boarding certificates etc.
We run business boost workshops where we look at helping you to get more staff and more customers. And specialist workshops in animal behaviour.
You’ll also receive ongoing support from our experts when you need it.
How soon can I launch after my training?
Franchisees usually launch the week after training, giving you some time to prepare, promote and preparation and to refresh any training.
Where is the training held?
All of our training is held in our head office in beautiful Norfolk. We have a list of recommended accommodation.
Who makes up the head office team and can I meet them before I start my business?
Nicola, our solicitor runs her own corporate firm in London. She sends out letters on behalf of our franchisees if they ever have any issues and takes legal action from head office to protect our brand.
Jodie our super-duper accountant can help franchisees to work towards profitability and financial targets.
Jo is a Director who has degrees in law, business and animal science. She runs the head office team and oversees marketing and franchisee training.
Ryan, used to teach animal care and science and still delivers our training via Wiltshire College and University Centre, is another director who runs the support and sales function.
Laura, our Head of Support is often called Terminator 3 as she is so efficient it doesn’t seem human!
Rachael, our HR Manager, has worked as a business consultant for companies including Louis Vuitton, Barclays Global and Aviva.
Jo, our marketing manager worked for Natures Menu pet food before joining We Love Pets. Jo oversees marketing and branding, websites, and manages new projects.
Fees and finance
How much does the franchise cost and what is included?
£12,995, which includes:
- Business set up
- Territory license
- Training in business management, animal handling, animal behaviour, dog training, and pet first aid for you and any partners
- Leaflets and business cards
- Handbook, factsheets and toolkits
- First year insurance to cover you, pets and the public
- Your own optimised webpage
- Facebook and Google advertising
- Press release
- City and Guilds certificate in Dog Walking
- Boarding licence for your first year
- A set of professional pictures taken by an award-winning photographer
Can I get any financial help paying for the franchise?
You can obtain full funding (for your franchise fee, VAT and working capital) through the government-backed start-up loan company Biz Britain. They have pre-approved We Love Pets franchisees.
What is the ongoing cost?
10% of turnover, which includes:
- National marketing
- Website and social media
- Ongoing support – ask us anything!
- Vet nurse and pet advice
- Contract, legal and employment services
- Intranet, guides, newsletters and weekly updates
- Mentoring with a successful, established, high earning franchisee
Is the 10% of turnover paid monthly, quarterly or annually?
It’s paid monthly, based on your turnover for the previous month.
Are there any ongoing fees in addition to the 10% monthly fee?
Remember that as well as the franchise fee you will have accountancy fees (including invoicing and payroll) and spend on local marketing.
Ensuring you have enough working capital to run your franchise will help keep the start of your franchise journey as stress-free as possible. This will give your new business the best opportunity to succeed.
How much can I earn?
This really does depend on how far you would like to push your business. Our average turnover figures are £4,250 by month 12, over £6,000 by month 24 and over £7,000 by month 36. However, we have one branch whose turnover exceeds £21,000 a month, another branch obtained over £16,000 by month 24 and one of our newer branches has already achieved a turnover of £3,695 by their 4th month. This goes to show with the support of the head office team, we can assist you to achieve fantastic results.
Would I have to achieve minimum levels of turnover?
Franchisees agree to devote time and attention to achieve the greatest volume of business. This means they will have financial as well as other business targets to work towards – this is to ensure their success. We aren’t strict about meeting specific targets, but we celebrate success with awards, prizes and rewards and we coach franchisees to meet their financial, business and personal goals. All areas have to be utilised, as we don’t want to turn customers away if we promise to offer services in one area.
May I see financial projections and are these based on actual performance in the network?
When we meet, after you sign a non-disclosure agreement, we can show you actual figures generated by franchisees.
How much should I budget for the first year?
It’s essential to have enough funding for at least the first 6-12 months (known as working capital) to pay all bills and expenses. We recommend that you consult an accountant and write a personal survival budget for your home-running costs. This will help you to decide how much you will need to take out of the business to live.
What potential reach do I have in a franchise territory?
You will be offered an exclusive territory in your chosen area, with a reach of between 25,000 and 35,000 homes. With 44% of homeowners owning pets, that’s a huge market to target. We will work with you to build your exclusive territory targeting demographics of our profile customers.
What core services do we have to offer?
Dog walking, pet sitting and dog boarding. Check out the services page for more information.
How long is the term of the legal agreement?
Most franchisees are for 5 years then we then renew without charge.
How do I deal with legal issues for example, customers not paying?
We have legal templates, letters and the option to seek advice from our solicitor.
What happens to all the poo - if you were doing day care - is it classed as hazardous waste? do you have to pay for disposal?
Poo can usually be disposed of in with normal waste, and you wouldn’t be boarding lots of dogs at once, so waste would be minimal. You would need to check with licensing officer (which we can assist with).
Can I see the business later?
Absolutely, most people buy a business to eventually sell it for a good profit. We can work with you to create an exit strategy and to help you to sell it. It must be valued by an approved account and the buyer would have to purchase it as a franchise.
Why would I franchise over starting my own business?
Good question! For franchisees, the model creates an unrivalled opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an established business and make the most of offering tried and tested services which it has already been proved that people want.
There are many benefits to buying a franchise over starting a business from scratch.
May I speak with your franchisees, and can I choose who?
Once you’ve signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement any of our franchisees would be happy to talk to you. We can put you in touch with a franchisee from a similar background, area or interest.
Is the business sustainable?
People are increasingly treating their pets as humans, relying on them for companionship and gaining a sense of fulfilment from needing to be needed as they look after their pets. They want their pets to feel cared-for, comfortable and mentally stimulated. So, there is driving demand for added-value products, often mirroring mainstream human styling and healthcare trends. As a result, people are prepared to pay more.
People will always need support with their pets whether it’s ongoing or for holiday care. Our franchise owners recruit dog walkers and pet sitters within their first year to help with their growth. This creates local jobs and gives the franchise owner time to focus on growing the business further.
Go to work each day doing a job you love
How do you choose your franchisees?
Carefully! We need people who are positive, energetic and looking to leave employment behind to take control of their own future. They have to be pet owners – past or present and must love animals. They also have to meet our culture of:
- Hard work
- Love of pets
- Positive attitude
- Everything else can be learned along the way.
Do you turn people away?
Not everyone is suitable for a We Love Pets franchise. We get some people who love animals, but don’t like people! We get some people who just want to invest in a business but aren’t passionate about pets, and some people who just don’t like working full stop.
Our aim is to recruit people who want to become business owners, not just dog walkers, so people have to have the desire to grow a business. We owe it to ourselves and franchisees to recruit suitable people.
Do I need a business plan?
It’s always a good idea to have a business plan, whether you’re getting funding or not. We will talk about financial and business goals during training, however, if you need a business plan for funding or for personal use before then we can send you a template. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I see a copy of the franchise agreement?
Absolutely. Once you have paid your deposit you will be issued with a franchise agreement that you can review and we recommend you seek legal independent advice to ensure you are happy with the terms.
Communication & operations
What systems do you have in place for keeping franchisees in touch with you and each other?
We have a closed Facebook group where franchisees talk to each other.
We send out monthly newsletters with updates, news and useful tips. We email franchisees directly with any urgent or important issues in between the monthly newsletters.
The Head of Support has regular Skype calls, throughout the first year. The Development Manager also makes regular calls and visits throughout the first year to help franchisees run their business as efficiently as possible, to enable them to build solid foundations for a growing business.
Do you hold regular Franchisee meetings?
Our Head of Support and Managing Director visits franchisees once a year and holds area meetings, so local franchisees can meet up and share ideas and best practice.
Do you provide instruction and operations manuals?
Yes, our franchise handbook has everything you’ll ever need to know about running your We Love Pets franchise and there are even more resources and guides on the Intranet.
If I run into operational problems, I am unable to solve, what help, and support should I expect?
We will put you in touch with the right expert – whether that’s our vet nurse, marketing manager or HR specialist, and they can coach you through it. Other franchisees are a great source of help, and you can bet another franchisee would have gone through the same challenge and can help you through a similar situation. That’s the beauty of franchising – someone has always been there, done that, which makes challenges feel less daunting.
Is a franchise right for you?
Marketing the franchise
What do you spend on marketing and do I have to contribute?
Part of your 10% fee goes on marketing, which helps to promote your business both digitally and through brand awareness.
You are expected to market and promote your business locally, with our guidance. We give you a marketing checklist and some tips and guides on attracting new customers and creating awareness of your new business. This is a continuous process. Other franchisees can help you with ideas about what has been successful for them.
How does offering promotional activity / introductory offers work, and do they run offers than franchises have to support?
We channel our marketing into our website and social media. We don’t offer discounts, but franchisees have to ensure they provide a consistently great service by following our business model and practices.
Will there be a promotion when I launch my business, and is this included in my franchise fee?
We produce a press release to send to local papers and magazines.
We’ll give you business cards, leaflets and posters, and a marketing plan to follow, to promote your business locally.
What uniform do I get?
We provide two tops, a jacket and a laptop bag, included in the franchise fee. Additional uniform can be ordered from the shop on our Intranet.
How would we go about offering additional services / expanding the business, including potentially offering services that We Love Pets does not offer?
We would welcome new ideas and services. We have a focus group where we discuss and trial new ideas.