Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to Jessica Friley, who owns the Overland Park, Kansas franchise of Pet Butler.
What’s notable about Jessica (and her husband, James) is how they invested in their Pet Butler franchise. It’s an interesting story.
That’s because people who are looking into buying a franchise don’t normally have what Jessica and James have.
Stay with me. This gets interesting.
My Interview With The Overland Park Pet Butler Franchise Business Owner
Me: What is your background and what did you do before you became a Pet Butler franchise owner?
Jessica: I have worked in the pet care industry for the last 17 years approximately. I started off as a simple kennel assistant and over the years found my way in to becoming a veterinarian assistant. Then about four years ago my husband and I began looking for a long-term investment, this resulted in the purchase of a pet resort in Belton Missouri about three years ago. Since then I have been running Man’s Best Friend Pet Resort, a boarding, dog daycare, and grooming facility servicing my local community.
Me: Wow! That’s interesting. Had you been thinking about adding another pet service to your business?
Jessica: Honestly? Not really. I had not considered pet waste removal as a possible source of revenue stream or as a service that would complement what I was already doing. Once Pet Butler reached out to me it began to make sense. I could see how it could fit in with my current Overland Park business and really benefit my clients. Essentially it brought Man’s Best Friend Pet Resort closer to being a full care facility.
Me: I think it would be really helpful if you could describe the process you went through (in your head and with the franchise development team) before you decided to move forward with your Pet Butler franchise.
Jessica: Well it all started for me with a visit from a Pet Butler rep who happen to be in the Overland Park area. It was a good initial conversation, basically describing what they were in the business of doing and asking a little about me and what I did. The idea of having this extra, stable revenue stream to complement the resort during the slow season was immediately appealing. Pet Butler was wonderful about staying in touch, which is good because it was summertime and I was a busy person so it could have easily never had happened. I think once there was a shift from “Huh, What a novel idea.” to “This could really work for me.” my husband and I attended a Discovery Day and really got to meet the team we would eventually work with.
Through this whole process it was amazing and comforting how transparent the Pet Butler team was. I never felt like there was a hidden agenda. They also seem to be selective about who they ask to join. I was impressed by that because as a franchisee I need to know that everyone else is going to support the brand and really keep it to the same standard. I think all of these factors and the wonderful experience at the Discovery Day really sealed the deal with our decision to join the Pet Butler family.
Me: How was your training? What are a couple of things you learned?
Jessica: Training was exciting and a little overwhelming initially. They spent the time trying to make sure we not only knew how but also why things were done a certain way. Even though my husband and I attended with 3 other new owners there was still a lot of focus on our individual wants and needs of Pet Butler Franchise. Learning the software was definitely a big thing but also a couple of “tricks of the trade” that definitely helped prevent surprises out in the field. Things like how to load our trucks to how to properly attach the trash bag all made my first day a lot easier. Training was a whirlwind of activity and information but they made sure we knew that they were there to support us with any questions and even had someone visit us a couple weeks later to ensure all was running smoothly.
(Pet Butler franchise training)
Me: How long has your Pet Butler franchise business been open, and how’s business?
Jessica: I have been open for about two months now and things are going better than expected. We are already up to about 50 clients and I honestly had only set my goal for the first year at about 75. I am excited that I might blow that out of the water!
Pet Butler, Overland Park, Update
Jessica and James just broke the 100 new customer mark!
During a pandemic.
Let’s continue with the interview…
Me: Has corporate been helpful? Supportive? How?
Jessica: Corporate and their support is what I think have really allowed me to grow the way I have. The whole team is very involved with supporting the franchise owners. They really seem to listen to what they say and encourage open communication. The transparency we experienced during our initial meeting with the company has definitely continued through. This is even considering all of the new situations brought to light by the McDonald’s lawsuit. Even if they are not able to answer our questions due to the new roles and restrictions they can at least point us in a direction which we are able to find what we are looking for.
Me: What about marketing? Does Pet Butler have a system in place that helps you get paying customers?
Jessica: Their marketing team is fantastic! I know for a fact that I would not be where I am without it. Their digital marketing team is helpful and really made a difference getting me started. My growth, I think, has continued as well because of all their support. I am excited to see how their physical marketing works for me as that is beginning as we are talking.
Me: Can you describe your day? What time to you start and finish? More importantly, do you get to see some of the doggies?
Jessica: So I usually start my day pretty early. I like to be on my first yard between 7 am – 7:40 am depending on daylight. I get up, get my coffee (very important), double check my route, and then get my truck ready, double checking supplies like trash bags, getting my sanitizing bucket ready for between yards, give the truck a once over. Once I am all set I cruise to my first stop, from there it is pretty relaxing. While out on the yards I have plenty of time to think, it is nice. I get to see some of my furry clients, some are happy to see me others I think are surprised. It is helpful to being able to read dog body language.
Me: What are a couple of things people possibly interested in becoming a Pet Butler franchise owner should know?
Jessica: I think most importantly they need to be ready to put in the effort. Corporate is wonderfully supportive and works really hard for us but they expect us to return they favor. This is a partnership; we work together not one for another. They also need to understand that when they become part of the family they represent all of us, not just the corporate but every other franchise owner across the country. We are all wearing the same colors, all work hard, and depend on one another.franchise fleet
Me: Do you think current pet-related business owners should at least take a look at adding a Pet Butler franchise business, as it provides another stream of revenue?
Jessica: I think it is a wonderful option to explore! Even if it is not a good fit for them right now, one can never know what the future brings and having options or back up plans are just part of being a good business owner.
Me: The floor is yours, Jessica. What else would you like to add?
Jessica: The only other thing I think may be worth considering is that even for those not currently in the pet care industry Pet Butler may be a good gateway into the business. They teach you a lot and gives you plenty of opportunities to understand what the pet care world is all about. Taking care of dogs and even cats is not all playtime and puppies (or kittens), there is a lot of gross parts of it and a lot of little things that matter to the well being of the pet. Pet Butler gives you the platform to learn how the simple change in a dogs bathroom habits can be markers for health concerns.
Me: Thank you so much, Jessica! I hope your Pet Butler franchise business continues to grow!
P.S. If you’re interested in owning a low-investment, viable business like Pet Butler, fill out the form below to learn more!