We Love Pets Maidstone’s director, Joe, always knew that one day, he wanted to work for himself. After ticking all the boxes leading up to a career change – marriage, house, & puppy – he knew the timing was right. With a combined passion for animals and business, a We Love Pets franchise was just the ticket for Joe.
Why did you choose a franchise over setting up your own business?
I’ve always wanted to work for myself and be responsible for my own success both financially and professionally. I knew that I was getting to an age where it seemed like a “now or never” decision to get into something new, and I wanted to find something where I could channel my skills and passions. A franchise was always going to be the best option for me because I knew I needed assistance with the set up – marketing, website, planning, etc. – and it offers an opportunity to be responsible for my own success with an existing support network.
Why did you choose WLP?
When I started to consider the idea of going with a pet care franchise, I looked at a few companies that offered sort of specialised services – some focused on primarily dog walking, others on pet sitting. But We Love Pets stood out because it was only one of a few that offered everything. It seemed to me like, not only could I walk dogs and look after animals, but I could make a bigger success of it. I thought, “if you’re gonna do it, the bigger the better!” And, when I sent my initial enquiry, someone got back to me straight away with really useful information. My chats with Ryan were so casual, and I was impressed with the support and training that’s offered, not only on the professional side, but from the perspective of first aid and walking as well.
Did you look at any other franchises?
I looked at a few, but not any that would have stood out as memorable. I found that the response time was pretty slow with other franchises, some companies taking days to get back to me. But We Love Pets got in touch straight away and laid out the information plainly, it became clear that WLP is head and shoulders above the competition.
What did the word ‘franchise’ mean to you before you came across We Love Pets?
It meant having an opportunity to work for myself but using a ready-made business plan that’s built on an existing brand, and which offers support. Obviously, companies like Subway come to mind when I think of a franchise model, but I was familiar with the existence of other franchise sectors like management consulting and marketing franchises.
What was your day to day like in your previous role?
Currently I work as an office manager, and my role oversees the day to day running of the office – which includes everything from making sure the water and heating systems work, to ensuring there’s plenty of coffee and tea. Basically, you could say that “being organised” is my job! I really love what I do, and I’m the sort of person that needs to be constantly busy, so it suits me. But because of the pandemic, I worked from home and discovered that I missed being in the office, which got me down a bit. I also realised that, while I missed the job, I wasn’t excited to go back to it either.
What was the final straw for leaving your previous job?
There wasn’t any one straw that made me think “right, that’s it.” But I knew that I wanted to work for myself eventually, and it wasn’t going to be feasible as an office manager. I thought “if I don’t do it now, I won’t.”
How long had you been thinking about changing your career?
There wasn’t ever a timeline, but I kind of ticked all of the boxes leading up to a career change; it was like first, get married, then, buy a house, and now that we’ve done those things, everything was ready to go. With lockdown throwing a wrench into things, and the addition of a puppy to our family, it knocked the final domino into place. It felt like the right time especially with the pet care industry seeing a lot of business post-pandemic.
Do you have any pets of your own?
Yes! I have a Basset Hound/French Bulldog cross, called Winston. He’s very affectionate and loves to cuddle and chew! I also have a black and white cat called Ronnie, who is a very independent outdoor cat and particularly impressive pigeon hunter.
What do you love most about your area?
We’re actually in the process of moving to Maidstone, and we’re so excited to live there. It’s got a vibrant atmosphere with a mix of young uni students and families, a historic high street, good night life, and lots of dogs! It’s just far enough outside of London to feel like you’re escaping, but still has the character of a town. It’s going to be our forever home.
What have you done in the past that you think will help you in your new venture?
I’ve done all sorts of things, but I think my management experience will help me especially. I also have experience in recruitment, invoicing, customer service, and IT, which give me a solid foundation to build on in this new venture! And overall, I’m a people person – I love to engage with people, so I’m sure that will come across well with future customers and staff.
What hobbies do you have?
I absolutely love live music in any shape or form, but alternative and rock & roll music in particular. If it’s live, I’ll listen to it – I love to see people performing. I also have a really close-knit group of friends that I enjoy spending time with, and as I’m British, I enjoy the pub, especially now that we’re into beer garden weather!
What’s an interesting/fun fact about yourself?
I play a couple of instruments, and enjoy singing, but getting started with We Love Pets is the most interesting thing I’ve ever done! It’s exciting and I’m so ready for it.
Which are your favourite animals?
Obviously, dogs and cats top the list, but orangutans are another favourite. I think they’re so cool, I could just sit and watch them all day.
What’s your biggest achievement in life?
I would say buying a house and getting married are two of my biggest achievements to date. Buying a house is one of those things you never get over, it was the sort of moment in my life when I felt like I really grew up and “officially” became an adult.
What do you think will be the best part of your job as a We Love Pets franchisee owner and what are you most looking forward to?
I think the best part’s going to be getting outside and working with animals, going on dog walks, and living life to my own beat. The freedom that comes with working for yourself is exciting, fulfilling and getting to dictate my own schedule and success is so appealing. There are some scary things about being self-employed since I’ve not done it before, but for the first time ever I’ll be doing something that I’m passionate about. I can’t wait to get training done and begin!