Monique Nixon had been a client of Petpals Southampton, owned by Victoria McGuire, for eight years when she heard that due to impending retirement Victoria was selling the business.
Petpals Southampton had been trading successfully for 10 years previously, providing a dog walking, dog boarding, cat and small pet visiting service to pet owners in Southampton since 2008.
After plenty of research and talking to other franchisees, Monique took the brave but confident step of giving up her job as a personnel assistant to the director of training services at NATS in Whiteley, to purchase Petpals Southampton and run her own business for the very first time.
Monique said, ‘Although it was a big step leaving my job I knew I was doing the right thing. It allowed me to realise a personal ambition of working with animals, plus I could see it was a fantastic opportunity for a significant career and lifestyle change, into a job I’m passionate about.’
Monique grew up with a variety of pets including two rescue dogs, Archie the Boxer and Scooby the Dogue de Bordeaux. She is now the proud owner of a Rhodesian Ridgeback called Rudi.
On a daily basis Monique and employee Nicky Purdue will be caring for dogs who come to stay as ‘Dog Boarders’ plus going out on several walks a day with dogs who’s owners are at work. They will also be visiting homes to feed and care for cats and various other small caged animals e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs, fish etc.
Commenting on the decision to buy a franchise Monique said, ‘The difference between buying a resale franchise territory and simply starting up my own pet care business is huge. Firstly Petpals Southampton already has a full list of customers and a great reputation which is obviously a pretty good start. Secondly I’ve got the very experienced team at Petpals head office right there beside me, to answer all my questions and offer me support. From day one they’ve been great, responding to all my enquiries and concerns and keeping me fully informed on the process and timescales. They’ve also helped over 50 other franchisees to build their businesses so they must be doing something right. In early October I spent three days with them at head office which was really useful too.’
On the other benefits buying a franchise Monique said, ‘One of the other benefits of buying into a large franchise such as Petpals is the unofficial support you receive from the 50+ other franchisees. We have our own private digital platform where I know I can ask questions and one of them (or more!) will always know the answer. I can also read about other people’s experiences and best practice; you can’t buy that kind of advice and I know I’m going to find it extremely useful, especially in the early days as I find my feet, or should that be paws?’