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We Love Pets win prestigious national business ‘Emerging Franchisor Award’

We Love Pets, a family business set up nine years ago to help pet owners balance work pressures, holidays and busy lifestyles with the care of their pets, has been announced as the winner of the Emerging Franchisor Award category at the prestigious annual bfa HSBC Franchise Awards 2018. 

Run by the British Franchise Association (bfa), these widely-respected awards recognise both franchisors and franchisees who have demonstrated outstanding business acumen, innovation and achievement.  Franchising is a simple relationship between two parties, the franchisor who owns the brand and business system, and the franchisee who contracts to run a copy of that business in a local area.

The bfa HSBC Franchise Award winners were announced last night, 28thJune 2018, at the ICC in Birmingham at an exclusive black-tie ceremony held between day one and two of the bfa Annual Conference. The Emerging Franchisor Award recognises franchisors who can demonstrate they have built the strong foundations to create the infrastructure necessary to sustain growth and tackle the challenges that can occur in infancy. The judges were particularly impressed by We Love Pets investment plans and reinvestment strategy, as well as their approach to their business including high quality City & Guilds dog walking and pet sitting training qualification for franchisees.

We Love Pets has grown into an award-winning, well-established leader in the pet franchise market. It is a family business, with people and their pets at the heart of what it does. Services offered include dog walking, pet sitting and animal boarding, with thousands of happy customers around the country. Since launching its pilot franchise four years ago, We Love Pets has recruited 12 more successful franchisees. The business model and customer website works so well, that We Love Pets guarantee to return franchise fees if franchisees don’t get enough customer enquiries.

Franchisees also enjoy exceptional support from its team of business, marketing and pet experts and it is the only franchise to provide vet nurse and solicitor support. It is also the only franchisor to offer the City & Guilds dog walking and pet sitting qualifications, in partnership with Wiltshire College, an accredited, internationally recognised education institution. This means franchisees receive practical hands-on training, as well as on-line learning. 

We Love Pets has decided to tier franchisees, which is a game-changer for the pet franchise industry. They took this approach as they realised that individual franchisees have different aims for their business. While all We Love Pets franchisees receive the same excellent support, the ones who are aiming for high growth will receive a relatively sized territory and specific support to underpin this business objective. In addition, We Love Pets will facilitate a growth club for everyone involved to support and learn from each other. 

Excellent customer service drives the business and that is delivered by strong staff training. Franchisees are trained in managing staff performance, motivating and looking after a team, and We Love Pets is currently working with Tesco’s Talent Manager to develop this training. There is also an e-learning platform for teams living further away and an intranet site providing a one-stop shop to training, advice and support.

On winning the Emerging Franchisor Award, Joanne White, Founder and Company Director of We Love Pets, said, “We’re thrilled with this result. Our success is down to the hard work of our amazing team and successful franchisees. We’ve recruited 10 new fabulous franchisees so far this year. As the franchising industry is becoming more mainstream, and the pet industry is growing, we’re excited about what the future will bring. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners this evening.”

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa, said, “It’s over forty years since the bfa was launched specifically to develop ethical franchising in the UK, and I am proud of the way the sector has grown in that time, with the industry’s turnover exceeding £15bn – that’s 1% of the UK’s GDP! If you are running a successful business or want to be your own boss, then franchising is a valid and important option for accelerating your business growth or starting your own commercial venture.” 

“The bfa HSBC Franchise Awards 2018 are a celebration of the broad church that is franchising in the UK, from a large multi-national to a lifestyle business, as franchisors come in all shapes and sizes. Every year it’s really great to see the excellent work our members demonstrate through their entries and the quality has never been higher. I would like to thank all our finalists in this year’s awards and congratulate our winners, it was an extremely hard job for the judges to separate them. It great to see such a wide range of businesses represented as it really does illustrate the depth and breadth of franchising opportunities in the UK.”

“I’m thrilled that We Love Pets have won the Emerging Franchisor Award this year.  Their growth has driven investment in a fully resourced e-learning platform and community franchisee intranet; reinvesting franchise fees to drive development is a strategy that is clearly working. Also, their City & Guilds dog walking and pet sitting training qualification for franchisees shows that they have thought about their business at every level. I congratulate them on their success and wish them all the best for the future.”
Andrew Brattesani, UK Head of Franchising for the Awards’ sponsor HSBC, said, “HSBC is delighted to be once again supporting these industry leading franchise awards. Franchise businesses are often the hidden engine of business growth in the UK and it is essential to highlight the important contribution both large and small businesses make to our economy. It is also important to showcase to people that they can run their own businesses and if you don’t want to go it alone, or haven’t got a strong business idea, you can still be successful and become your own boss, as together we thrive.”

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