From backyard business to international franchise
At the tender age of 16, Christine Taylor turned her passion for dog-care into a business operation, running a dog wash business out of her family’s backyard in suburban Brisbane. Two decades later, Aussie Pooch Mobile is celebrating its 21st anniversary and has become an international business, with almost 200 franchises worldwide.
Using the skills she picked up at a high school work experience placement at her local vet, Taylor was driven to set up a business that provided an affordable service for dog owners that was missing in the pet industry.
Years later, while on her honeymoon, she realised she could expand her burgeoning grooming business by focusing on just one service- washing dogs- and she turned her business into a premium, mobile franchise.
“That’s where the idea of a trailer on the back of a car comes in,” she told Dynamic Business.
Aussie Pooch mobiles, was the world’s first premium dog wash and now services thousands of dogs a month. Its roving franchise operators allows dog owners the convenience of treating their canine best friend to a professional hydrobath and grooming session, on the familiar territory of their home turf.
International expansion came next for Taylor, and she has almost 200 franchisee operators around the globe, with 150 around Australia, and 50 more spread across the US, Malaysia, NZ, New Caledonia, and the UK. More than anything, she says, the root of her success comes down to the mobile nature of the franchise, which delivers convenience to her clients.
Her service has become so convenient that Taylor believes she’s single handedly created an industry that’s heavily relied upon, and produced a service now seen as essential for pet-owners – but it wasn’t always seen this way.
“You know, people weren’t actively seeking out a professional dog washer, let alone someone who would come to their homes and do it for them,” she said.
“It’s been so successful that it’s now a regular thing. Most dogs come back every two to four weeks for another appointment, and another wash.”
With over two decades of industry experience under her belt she says the core of her business success is the franchisee operators at a local level, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and finish a job smelling of wet dog hair.
Work/life balance a reality
Taylor says the work/life balance available to Aussie Pooch Mobile franchisees- the flexible hours, outdoors activity and engaging with a variety of customers (both human and animal) – are big draw cards and are large contributors to the business’ huge growth.
Taylor says nowadays, franchises are much more common and easier to set up than they were two decades ago, and all franchise owners really need is a dedication to and a real passion about the business model. She points to the amount of support and business training available online as a huge leg-up for franchise owners, citing the Franchising Council of Australia’s website in particular and the education packages it provides online.
To people looking to start-up a successful franchise, she emphasises the importance of completing background research.
“You really have to do your homework- research into all areas of the business- not only the product, the service, but also research into marketing, your audience- try and do as much as possible,” Taylor added.