When looking for the right franchise to invest in, prospects will have a lot to consider. It rightly starts with their trust in a brand’s expertise and ability to support them in running a successful business. However, one of the most effective ways to be a standout franchisor is demonstrating how your business practices are upheld by certain standards and that the model you offer not only drives profits but also operates in a fully ethical manner. After collaborating with a number of other leading pet-care franchises and forming a new regulatory body, the Pet Care Franchise Association (PCFA), Kevin Thackrah, Director of Petpals, discusses the partnership and its importance in demonstrating the highest ethical standards to customers and prospective franchisees.
In an industry valued at £3.1bn in 20211, we, alongside other leading pet-care franchises, have identified the demand for an organisation that puts pets’ welfare at the industry’s forefront. Along with other leading pet-care franchise brands, including Barking Mad, Pet Stay and We Love Pets, I am proud that Petpals is spearheading an ongoing national campaign through the PCFA that prioritises the care and wellbeing of pets. In turn, the initiatives devised by the organisation will appeal to relevant government authorities to raise the ceiling for ethical pet care through the training and licensing of pet-care activities.
In the wake of the pandemic, the number of pet owners in the UK has increased dramatically and, therefore, so has demand for pet-care services. Unfortunately, this has coincided with a huge rise in unlicensed pet-care providers offering boarding services without the necessary licenses or boarding pets with no training or support. At Petpals, our network has felt the increase in the need for our services, but we have always ensured that demand does not compromise the standards we set for our customers and their much-loved pets.
The sad truth is that some pets will suffer due to improper care, which is heart-breaking. Much more needs to be done as it’s too easy for unethical pet-care providers to slip through the net and deliver care that does not meet minimum standards. At Petpals, we firmly believe that pet ownership is a privilege, not a right. That is why our network wholeheartedly champion the commitments of the PCFA and will continue to represent the various initiatives as we work with other brands for the rights of pets around the country.
David Gray, our Brand Development Manager at Petpals and owner of Petpals Darlington, has worked closely with the PCFA in our joint mission to fight against unethical pet care. “It goes without saying that any franchisor looking to join forces with us should have clear guidelines and policies relating to all aspects of pet welfare,” said David. David shares our network’s understanding of the importance of Petpals being seen as a trusted and ethical pet-care franchise that can attract prospective franchisees that love and care about pets as much as we do. “We’re committed to maintaining these standards because Petpals is, first and foremost, investing in offering only the best possible industry-wide pet-care standards. This, in turn, increases trust in our services and demand for our business model.”
At Petpals we proudly run on two cultural strands: the ethics of being a franchisee in the network and the ethics of being a pet-care provider – we ensure that they co-exist in everything our franchisees do. It is a prerequisite for anyone involved with Petpals to have a love of animals and a passion for providing the best pet care possible. To guarantee that our franchisees put the welfare of pets at the centre of any business decisions they make, we have continued to ensure our ethics are integral in our business offering. Through our annual conference and one-to-one franchisee meetings, our ethics and mission statement are always referred to, both of which will be further exemplified by our partnership with other ethical franchise brands in the PCFA.
All too often, franchisors place the success of their franchise and franchisees on how their model can be a viable and profitable business offering. Needless to say, this is an essential benefit that prospective franchisees will look for, but we shouldn’t overlook the importance that your brand’s ethics has in acting as the building block for innovation within your franchise and being an effective way to attract others into your trusted network.
1 Statista, 2021: Pet care market value