Nigel joined PHG over three years ago and here is a Q & A about how he has found running a franchise so far…

Q. When did you start with Pets, Homes and Gardens?
A. We started in October 2012.

Q. What motivated you to start a Pets, Homes and Gardens (PHG) franchise?
A. Having looked into other franchise companies, PHG came across as a more professional brand that has been operating successfully for a number of years. I liked how helpful Peter and Julie were along with other franchise members. The fact that there were no upfront fees made me feel that Peter and Julie had every confidence that the business would develop well.

Q. How easy were the first few steps in this new venture?
A. All stages of the process were discussed before starting and everything seemed fairly straight forward. The fact that Julie and Peter were at the end of the phone to answer any problems was very reassuring.

Q. Tell us a little about the business and how it’s been going?
A. In the early stages, we were mainly doing dog boarding and walking. That developed into home visits for cats and other small animals. Due to the style of our house, we are not able to offer boarding for cats and small animals. We have a fairly regular customer base for dog walking and boarding along with cat visits. In the early days, we promoted the business on Google. When we increased our use of Facebook, we started to get a lot of work come in. I feel that it is a case of people feeling that they know you when their friends share your info. We are now in the position of hopefully gaining more work in the dog training area which is what I enjoy.

Q. What do you enjoy most about having your own PHG franchise business?
A. The freedom of running your own local business but with the added bonus of having a national identity.

Q. Since starting out, how easy has it been to raise customer awareness of your business?
A. The main area of marketing to begin with was via the website. When we started using Facebook more the enquiries increased. A lot of our work now comes via recommends and friends.

Q. How important have Peter and Julie been in the progression of the business?
A. Julie and Peter have been brilliant with the progression of the business. They have been there consistently from day 1 and are always willing to listen and assist with any ideas/problems.

Q. What is biggest personal gain of running your own PHG franchise business?
A. Job satisfaction and knowing that it is through your own hard work and excellent customer service that people return to use you again.

Q. How many hours, on average are you working a week, and do you feel your income is a fair reflection of this?
A. 40-50 hours per week. I feel that the prices in our area are low but this reflects the lower income of this area. Our expenses are high due to the geographical area we cover, ie. fuel, bridge tolls, insurances etc.

Q. What is the most unusual pets have you looked after to date?
A. We have looked after a bearded dragon.

Q. If you had to offer advice to someone considering the PHG franchise opportunity, what would it be?
A. Listen to all of the advice and help given by Peter and Julie and never be afraid to talk to the other branches. Try all forms of advertising as what works for one branch may not work for another. Enjoy every part of your new career.

Lastly- Do you have any other comments you would wish to make, that have not been covered above.
A. While working as a franchised driving instructor, we were given 3 weeks per year franchise fee free. I am not sure if this would help anyone considering a career change as it may help them financially when first starting out. This should be taken out of peak times so that PHG does not lose out on higher franchise fees when busy. Also, if the applicant lives close to another branch, could they do a day of work shadowing to see how the business is run.