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Exclusive interview with Ayrshire franchisees for Husse Pet Food

Name: David Stewart & Lindsey M S Chambers
Location: Ayrshire, South West Scotland
Franchise: Husse Pet Food
Date launched the franchise: 1st June 2016

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Husse franchise business?
Although I had previously worked for many years in a sales environment, for the past 15 years I had been driving a hackney with 85% of my business being transporting disabled children and children with severe learning difficulties. This I have continued doing up until May of this year.

Lindsey was and is still working for the NHS running the Education Centre within University Hospital Ayr. We both like being outdoors and felt this type of business could appeal to us especially with our love of animals.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose the Husse franchise?
We chose the franchise route as this gave us the support network required to launch a successful business.

We spent over a year looking at numerous franchises but none of them seemed to tick the boxes that would motivate us to put in the effort to become successful and to establish a long-term future. Husse, with 30 years’ experience, came across as a company with a very good track record, a very good product and an ethos of care for the customer that we felt we would like to be part of.

How did you raise the finance?
Initially we borrowed the capital to purchase the franchise while awaiting the sale of a flat.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
There was a two-day intensive course to give us the basic product knowledge required and the useful information on how to source all the relevant information tailored to each customer’s needs and requirements. We were also invited to various dog shows and galas to learn how to run these events. The master franchiser also attended our shows to offer continued support and to help us build our customer base. The company has an online vet and an online nutritionist for free advice and we have our own company Facebook page for sharing issues that we may encounter. Our Head Office is always only a phone call or email away.

What is a typical day for you as a Husse franchisee?
A typical day is to go out to various parks, beaches and country walks to hand out flyers and free samples. It also includes delivering the food to our customers that we have been scheduling from the previous week. We also on a daily basis contact the customers who will require food the following week. This is interspersed with free visits to our customer’s house to weigh and monitor the wellbeing of their cats and dogs.

What challenges have you faced?
Our biggest challenge is probably educating a small percentage of the owners to feeding their pets healthily.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes, it has definitely changed our lifestyle as in the first year we have been working in our own jobs and expanding a business. This has taken a lot of commitment and energy but we can see the future potential and are quite excited about this.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
As there are no get rich quick schemes make sure any investment that you are making is something that you wish to commit to long term and that the business you are looking at has a track record to support both the product and the person investing in this company.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Two ears and one mouth. Anybody with the drive to succeed can become a successful franchisee if they are willing to listen to the people who have already created a successful network by following a company structure, asking for help when it is required and putting in the hours necessary to build your franchise.

What are your plans for the future?
Our short-term plans are to build an income to replace both our wages leaving us available to run the business on a full time basis. So far we are on the brink of replacing one of our wages and hopefully by September both of them. Our longer-term plans are to be in a position to semi retire and allow our children, if they wish to, take over the franchise as we have chosen a franchise that will always have a continuous customer base.

Would you do it again?