Barking Mad appoints managing director duo

May 26, 2019

Barking Mad Dog Care announced the appointment of two new joint managing directors at its annual conference in the Lake District.

Richard Dancy and Rachel Stewart will run the leading dog care franchise jointly, specialising in communications and operations respectively and leading an award-winning support team.

Barking Mad’s founder, Lee Dancy, retires as MD this month (June). The Dancy name, which has become synonymous with the dog holiday brand and franchising, will live on, however, as Lee’s husband, Richard, takes over the reins alongside former business development consultant Rachel.

Barking Mad, the dog home boarding franchise, has been run semi-autonomously by Lee since the company’s acquisition by the Franchise Brands group in 2016.

Franchise Brands is an international multi-brand franchisor with a combined network of more than 450 franchisees in 12 countries. Under a new structure, the parent company will now play a greater role in ensuring growing success through shared support services such as technology, marketing, finance and franchise recruitment.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business


Chairman of Franchise Brands Stephen Hemsley said: “Lee’s passion, commitment and entrepreneurial spirit were instrumental in achieving this success and everyone at Franchise Brands wishes her all the very best.”

Lee was a pioneer in the dog home boarding market 19 years ago when she set about creating a new concept for dog holidays. Today, Barking Mad is a multi-award-winning business with more than 80 franchisees nationwide.

The Barking Mad concept is centred on accommodating dogs in a caring environment, ensuring their routine is kept as consistent as possible with a loving, local host family.

Lee added: “After almost 20 years at the helm I have decided to retire. I feel extremely proud to have founded a business which has changed the lives of so many people: our customers and their dogs, our community of wonderful host families and the enthusiastic franchise network of 82 business owners.

“We recently celebrated all things Barking Mad at the National Conference hosted on the shores of Lake Windermere. It was a very fitting celebration themed ‘Teamwork makes the Dream Work’ and a delightful opportunity to recognise the success of the business. I look forward to seeing Barking Mad continue to grow under the leadership of Rachel Stewart and Richard Dancy.”

Related: Pet Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory


Everyone in the dog-sitting network came together to celebrate and thank Lee for her vision, hard work and unwavering enthusiasm.

Barking Mad franchise owners John and Elaine Warburton, from Fife, have recently been named as finalists in the British Franchise Association’s HSBC Franchisee of the Year Award.

Richard Dancy said: “Barking Mad has really grown up in the 11 years I have worked in the business and Lee has literally changed the lives of thousands of dog lovers and business owners as a result. I am delighted to be able to continue to work with Rachel and the team, including all those at Franchise Brands group plc.

Related: Barking Mad Franchise

“Our new structure integrates us more into our parent company, which puts us in a very strong position with such excellent resources at our disposal. Barking Mad will continue to expand in a buoyant growth market with the pet sector predicted to hit £7bn in 2021.”

Rachel Stewart added: “Lee has been an inspirational founder and leader and has steered the business to huge success over the last 19 years. She leaves at an exciting and buoyant time for the pet care sector and she leaves behind firm foundations from which Richard and I can further build upon.”

By Karen Pickwick

Source: Pet Business World

Karen’s Barking Mad thanks to national award

May 16, 2019

Barking Mad Dog Care has recognised business success at its 16th national conference.

Local dog business owner Karen Wright received an award for above average year-on-year financial growth.

The franchised service, which provides bespoke holidays for dogs whilst their owners are away, celebrated at the Low Wood Bay Resort in the Lake District, where the achievements of the branch covering Conwy, Bangor and Anglesey was acknowledged.

The event, led by managing director Lee Dancy, was a thank-you for all the hard work from the dog care providers across the UK and it marked 19 years of continued success.

Lee Dancy said: “We were delighted to recognise Karen’s proactive and professional approach in running her business.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

“It is a testament to her dedication and hard work that Barking Mad Conwy, Bangor and Anglesey has shown such growth.”

“Karen’s love of dogs and people has always shone through as she has grown her business.

“She has also built a thriving community of dog sitting host families, improving and enriching the lives of local people with dog companionship.”

Karen said: “I am delighted to receive an award acknowledging how well my business has done.

“Having started from scratch just over two years ago, we have gone from strength to strength and attained the top year-on-year growth figure in Barking Mad UK with over 70 per cent.

Related: Pet Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“We have some gorgeous doggy customers and fantastic hosts who make every day a happy one.

“I love reading the five-star reviews our customers send in and watching our hosts enjoy their dog guests.

“It’s great to see my regular customers get so excited when the Barking Mad car arrives for them.”

The Barking Mad concept is centred on accommodating dogs in a caring environment, ensuring their routine is kept as consistent as possible with a loving, local host family.

Related: Barking Mad Franchise

The Barking Mad brand, part of the Franchise Brands plc group of companies, is recognised across the pet care sector and the franchise industry, as well as the great British pet loving public.

By Shaun Davies

Source: North Waled Chronicle

Grantham dog business couple voted ‘Best Newcomer’ at ceremony

May 14, 2019

A Grantham dog business couple have been named as Barking Mad Dog Care’s ‘2019 Newcomer of the Year’ at its national conference.

Colin and Jacqui Murphy, who live in Barrowby Gate, Grantham, beat more than 80 other dog care providers to be named top dog at the conference in the Lake District last month. The couple opened up the franchised dog-sitting business in 2017 to offer pet owners an alternative to using kennels.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

Barking Mad managing director Lee Dancy said: “We were delighted to reward Colin and Jacqui’s hard work in developing their franchise into a prosperous and well-established business. They took over an existing business which was operating at a steady level to take it to the next level.”

Related: Pet Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Colin said: “We are delighted to be recognised for our efforts. From being customers ourselves to being named as best newcomers in just 18 months is something we are very proud of.”

Related: Barking Mad Franchise

By Tracey Davies

Source: Grantham Journal

Petpreneurs On the Rise: Why Pet Franchises Are A Real Growth Sector

May 10, 2019

Pet Franchises UK. I have a confession. I am a “Crazy Dog Lady”. I am the proud owner of a nearly ten-year-old, diabetic, partially-sighted West Highland Terrier who I often unashamedly refer to as “my third baby” (I also have two children). My dog is well and truly spoiled and treated as one of the family.

I’m not alone in this behaviour. In the U.S nearly half of American households own dogs. That’s an estimated 90 million canine pals. Here in the UK, we’re also a nation of animal lovers.

“There are 900 million dogs in the world and 9 million of these are in the U.K. In fact, 26 percent of the U.K population own a dog. Running a pet based franchise business means that you can combine a passion with a dream – a winning formula!” says Jo Middleton, founder of U.K-based Dog First Aid Ltd, an animal first aid franchise business offering franchise opportunities since 2017.

The statistics certainly support what Ms Middleton says. Even though the pet population in the UK is officially declining (apparently a drop from 71 million in 2013 to 54 million in 2017), the overall spending on pet services, care and products significantly increased in the same period – from £3.8 billion in 2013 to £4.5billion in 2017.

It’s not surprising therefore that pet-related businesses have been cropping up left, right and center over the past decade, and that many of these have emerged into the world of franchising. From pet sitting and dog walking to animal grooming, pet waste removal and animal photography, treats for hungry hounds and animal first aid, there’s a business out there to cater for the need and whim of every pampered pooch or mollycoddled cat.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

And, as if to prove a point, Husse the Swedish pet store franchise has leapt a massive 23 places in the rankings over the past 12 months in a list of the apparent Top 100 Global franchises of 2019, now ranked at number 43.

So the statistics really do “bark” for themselves. But what is it particularly that makes the world of animal services so attractive for both franchisors and would-be franchisees?

The first element is scalability and teachability. The beauty of most pet-related businesses is that they are simple and straightforward enough to be replicated by another person in another geographical area. A new franchisee can be trained and be up and running, earning money from their business quite quickly, making it a win-win situation for both franchisor and franchisee. The nature of a pet-related business also means that it’s unlikely to be significantly affected by regional or geographical variations, making it a model that is likely to be suitable for expansion on a significant scale if all of the other elements for success are present and correct.

The second is passion. If an individual is looking to invest hard earned cash into a business as a potential franchisee, then many will use their own passions and interests as a starting point. The statistics above clearly show that there are a huge number of animal lovers out there for the taking. A pet franchise allows the opportunity to build a business around a love for animals – and possibly also to bring your own pet along to work for the ride! Tying in with this is the fact that most pet business franchisors will therefore be able to have a fairly clear idea from the outset as to the type of person that their particular franchise opportunity will attract and who their Ideal Franchise Persona will be. This helps greatly when it comes to successful franchisee recruitment.

Another significant factor in the success of pet franchise businesses must be lifestyle factors, and in particular the hunt for the ideal (often elusive) work-life balance. More and more of us are looking for flexible working opportunities and opportunities where we can work from home and choose the hours that we work. Many of the pet franchises available allow the franchisee to operate the business from a home office – where you can work with your own cat or dog curled up at your feet!

Inextricably linked in with the aforementioned point would be cost. Although some pet franchises will inevitably involve significant costs and premises, many do not. In the franchise world, many pet franchises are perceived to be relatively low cost and low risk which widens the pool of potential franchisees. And in times of financial uncertainty, when we consider the annual spending figures referred to above, pet businesses appear to be viewed as pretty “recession proof”. It seems that although we may be cutting back on other luxuries in life, we’re not compromising when it comes to our pets.

One other factor that must favor pet service franchisors is the fact that pet businesses are becoming increasingly legislation-heavy. This is, of course, a good thing as the protection of our much-loved animals is at stake. However, the rules, regulations and license requirements that must be complied with when setting up an animal care business could be daunting to anyone looking to enter the marketplace as an independent operator. Joining a franchise network means that the franchisee can (hopefully) be confident that all of the necessary legalities have been complied with.

Related: Pet Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

In the fast-growing pet franchise marketplace, franchisors will need to keep innovating in order to remain relevant and competitive. However, for pet lovers with a passion for business, it seems that franchising really could be a route to entrepreneurial success.

By: Fiona Simpson

Source: Forbes

Digs for Dogs brings franchise opportunity to Stockport

April 25, 2019

An established franchise opportunity for entrepreneurial dog owners, Digs for Dogs, is coming to Stockport this summer.

Digs for Dogs is now looking to expand it’s offering and has identified Stockport and the surrounding areas as the perfect area to give dog lovers the chance to set up their own business venture – and spend all day with their canine companions. 

As a franchise network, Digs for Dogs is a start-up dog walking business, suited to people who are looking for a flexible role to fit in with their lifestyle. The franchise would complement several other highly successful franchises around the North West.

Digs for Dogs was launched in Lancashire in 2012 and has gone from strength to strength. As demand for the service has increased, the company has grown beyond it’s Bury roots, spreading across Greater Manchester.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

Debbie Pomfret, Managing Director of Digs for Dogs explains:

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able bring this amazing opportunity to Stockport. We have branches across the North West, however the closest to this area is Sale and Altrincham and we know there is a real demand to bridge the gap for this service between the areas. Digs for Dogs is a proven, successful business model and our franchisees can grow their business as big as they like, with exceptional support from the Head Office Team.

“Our franchisees come from a variety of backgrounds, from students to high-flyers who are desperate to leave the corporate world to spend more time with their loved ones. Overall, we are looking for people who are passionate about dogs as well as being enthusiastic, sociable and warm hearted, with the ambition to grow a successful business. It’s our vision to be the UK’s leading provider of pet services, and this is a fantastic opportunity for people across Stockport to be part of that.”

Source: Marketing Stockport

Oscar Pet Foods nominated for two major franchising awards

March 9, 2019

Oscar Pet Foods has been shortlisted for two awards at the bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, to be held at the Vox, Birmingham, on June 27.

It is the only company to have been nominated in two separate categories, showing the franchise’s commitment to best practice and enabling franchisees to thrive, getting the nod for Brand Awareness & Innovation and also the blue riband Franchisor of the Year accolade.

Simon Bartholomew, Franchise Director, said: “To be nominated for one award is an excellent achievement in itself, but to be put forward for two is just fantastic news. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the head office team who work tirelessly on innovation strategies that help support our network of franchisees, who, in turn, successfully put them into practice.”

The awards evening is the flagship event in the franchising calendar and getting a nomination in itself is a major achievement, proving the business works ethically and in the best interests of franchisees and staff, fighting off many other companies vying for the accolade.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchising Association, congratulated the company: “Getting shortlisted for two awards says it all really. The company continues to pioneer positive change in the franchising industry.”

Andrew Brattesani, Head of Franchising, HSBC, said: “Oscar Pet Foods is the only company to have been nominated for two awards in the franchisor categories, testament to the company’s ongoing commitment to ethical franchising.

I wish them the best of luck in both the Franchisor of the Year and Brand Awareness & Innovation categories.“

For the Franchisor of the Year award they will go head-to-head against five other franchise units in June from a mixture of sectors, including courier services, cleaning services and a recruitment franchise. For Brand Awareness & Innovation, Oscar will face companies in fitness, telecommunications and decorations.

By Emma Lumley

Source: BDaily

Why Join Husse?

March 6, 2019

A Husse pet food franchise ticks all the boxes!

When you want to start a new business, you should consider the following:

Is there a market demand?

It is estimated that 12 million (45%) of households have pets in the UK. (source PFMA)

Is it recession free industry?

No pet can go without food, the pet food industry offers a recession proof all-year-round business.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

Do you passionately believe in the product & service you are offering?

We strongly believe Husse products are unique to the market. We offer you the opportunity to check out our customer reviews and try our products before you decide to join our ever expanding network of Husse nutritionists.

By buying a Husse franchise:

  • You will be your own boss but you are never on your own!
  • Husse is approved by the BFA (British Franchise Association).

The continued success of Husse has attracted over 1,100 franchise investors in over 50 countries including USA, China and Africa, making Husse the global leader in pet food home delivery.

Related: Pet Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Successful franchise applicants will receive:

  • Exclusive territory with up to 75,000 households
  • £7,000 start up support for our Platinum package
  • £4,500 start up support for our Gold package
  • Full product training
  • Canine nutrition course
  • Online social media marketing Master class training – worth £975
  • Ongoing support, graphics team to handle your design, training & development
  • And much more!

Related: Husse Franchise

More than 11 new franchisees have so far joined Husse in 2018. If you are interested in being part of a fast growing company within a thriving industry, then we would like to hear from you.

Booming pet sector is good news for North Wales economy

March 1, 2019

The pet sector in North Wales is now worth more than £70m a year – supporting hundreds of jobs across the region.

The pet market in the UK is one of the largest in Europe, with 47 percent of people claiming to own a pet in their house.

It not just the sheer number of animals that is on the rise but the amount spent on individual pets – with posher food, quality treats and toys and even luxury accommodation.

A recent study found that British dog owners are spending an average of £240 on their animals each month.

This is creating hundreds of roles from workers making dog food to vets, dog walkers and groomers.

A local brand at the forefront of growing the pet sector in North Wales is PetPlace(formerly Farm and Pet Place).

Managing Director Sion Pritchard and Kla Jones from PetPlace in Abergele are launching the UK's first cinema and cafe bar for dogs
Managing Director Sion Pritchard and Kla Jones from PetPlace in Abergele are launching the UK’s first cinema and cafe bar for dogs (Image: RadarPR)

The company employs more than 90 staff at five stores across North Wales and has launched new ventures like a pet cinema and a play park at its revamped Abergele facility.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

Managing director Sion Pritchard said: “As the industry continues to grow, we are at the forefront of it in Wales and the North West, introducing innovative ideas while remaining fully focused on the health and nutrition side of the business.

This is a growing market

“Ultimately, as we grow and rebrand our other stores in the region, that will see us make further investment that will, in turn, have a positive impact on the economy.”

Another company creating jobs and driving this growth is Pero Foods, located near Betws y Coed.

The dog and cat food firm now employs 18 workers with ambitious plans to grow the workforce as turnover increases.

Director Jonathan Rees said: “This is a growing market and in the food area people are far more concerned now about what they are feeding their pets.

“They are looking for quality and nutritious meals and it is not about feeding the dogs scraps anymore. This is helping us grow.

Jonathan Rees, director of Pero Foods Ltd near Betws y Coed
Jonathan Rees, director of Pero Foods Ltd near Betws y Coed

“Turnover was up 22% last year and we are 26% up so far this year.

“This would see turnover at around £5m and with all but two staff based locally we like to think we are having a big impact on the local economy.”

Only cloud is Brexit

One target growth area is exports, with around 10% of sales now going abroad – compared to just over 1% a couple of years ago.

Jonathan added: “Things are very good and we are positive about the future.

“The only cloud is Brexit and particularly concern that EU trade deals we currently have with other countries are not currently ready to be replicated when the UK leaves.

“That is the biggest concern at the moment.”

Figures from the Pet Food Manufacturing Association show the annual total UK pet food market had reached a new high of £2.65bn.

This is led by the dog food category (£1.37bn) as the dog population has grown by 400,000 pets to hit a new UK record of 9m dogs.

Overall sales at The Real Petfood Company – which is based at Kinmel Park in Bodelwyddan – have increased by about 100% in the past year.

The firm currently employs 65 people and it is anticipated some 30 more jobs will be created within the next three years after its £14m investment in new production facilities.

Bodelwyddan Hotpoint site
Bodelwyddan Hotpoint site

Managing director James Lawson said: “With nearly half the UK’s population owning a pet, UK consumers are more conscious than ever of what they are feeding them and the growing trend for natural diets – such as Harringtons – will further boost sales.

£4m a year into economy

“Through wages and payments to local suppliers, I estimate the business already pumps nearly £4m a year into the regional economy and our anticipated strong sales growth should help us significantly increase this amount.”

The changing attitude to our pets saw the creation of The Pet Joint – a cat and small animals hotel in Denbighshire which features under-floor heating, interactive TVs and bespoke sofas.

It has created two jobs at the Cwm y Rhinwedd Farm site in Denbigh with plans for another three more over the next year.

Owner Steve Belgrau said: “We’ve found that our services have been helping to contribute to local tourism within North Wales.

“We received a record number of enquiries last summer regarding people bringing their dogs on holiday with them to Wales and using our day care services for the days they wanted to visit local attractions that weren’t pet friendly.

The Pet Joint, Cat Hotel and Small Animal Hotel, near Bylchau, Denbigh. Owner Stephen Belgrau with 'Simba' - a six year old resident cat outside the luxury rooms
The Pet Joint, Cat Hotel and Small Animal Hotel, near Bylchau, Denbigh. Owner Stephen Belgrau with ‘Simba’ – a six year old resident cat outside the luxury rooms (Image: Robert Parry-Jones)

“As our Cat Hotel and Small Pet Hotel grow we hope to expand further with the amount of suites we have which will allow us to create new roles within our business.

“It’s all very exciting.

“We are also in talks about offering work placements for schools/colleges, and also offering a scheme for people who are out of work and who may be struggling to gain employment who can come to us to gain some hands-on experience and gain a reference to help get back into work.”

pet sector
The Pet Joint, Cat Hotel and Small Animal Hotel, near Bylchau, Denbigh. (Image: Robert Parry-Jones)

The firm is also looking at franchise options to expand its brand to other areas.

But he added: “We are delaying plans for this however, until the questions and uncertainties around Brexit have been answered.

“A worry for us is that leaving the EU may cause financial uncertainty, and that paired with additional costs to enter Europe with the feeling that Britons may not be as welcome as before may lead to less holidays being taken.”

Source: Daily Post

Petpals launch ‘Easy Start’ franchise

February 26, 2019

British Franchise Association (BFA) member and UK-based multi-service pet care franchise Petpals has launched a scheme to make it easier to purchase one of its franchise businesses.

Under the new ‘Easy Start’ scheme, anyone buying a Petpals franchise will only be required to pay a fee to cover the costs of initial training and launch marketing, with the remainder of the £12,500 (+VAT) spread over the rest of the franchise term which is usually five years.

Kevin Thackrah, MD of Petpals, said: “At Petpals we have been helping franchisees start up and run their own profitable, sustainable pet care businesses for over 17 years now; with ‘Easy Start’ we’re looking forward to helping more people to join us and to share in the success and strength of the UK pet care market.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

“We fully appreciate that people don’t always have the upfront funds to purchase a franchise and it’s testament to our confidence in our brand and to the potential for success for our new franchisees, that we’re able to offer this new scheme today. I very much hope that anyone who would like to own their own business and to regain control of their working life by doing a job that they love, will visit our website to find out more.”

Petpals franchisees own their own territories from where they board and walk dogs, visit cats and any other pets while their owners are at work or on holiday. If available, franchisees have the option to purchase additional adjoining territories. Currently 17.5% of franchisees own one or more franchise territories.

Petpals are full members of the BFA and are committed to ethical franchising.

Source: Pet Gazette

Pet food franchise offers new opportunity

February 6, 2019

Heights Farm, a pet food company is looking for franchisees to help its expansion into Warrington.

Heights Farm Premium Pets Food’s, a family-run business based in Bolton, is set to expand to Warrington, Southport and Aston under Lyne.

The brand is now looking for pet-loving entrepreneurs to join the team as a franchisee and help deliver to customers in the area.

Stephen set up the company when his Mastiff Milo started to develop a number of allergies.

Despite being put on a prescription diet by the vet and taking a course of steroid tablets, Milo’s itchy skin condition continued.

It was only after switching to a hypo-allergenic dry food that many of Milo’s symptoms started to clear up.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business

Stephen said: “For the first time Milo was actually happy.

“It turned out that Milo was in fact wheat and wheat gluten intolerant.”

The Heights Farm Range now includes life stage recipes, grain and gluten free recipes and recipes that cater for joint health.

For more information about joining the team as a franchisee, visit the website or email

Source: Warrington Guardian