We have moved this entire blog to our own hosting server.  All the content in this blog has been preserved and moved to the new blog which now lives HERE.  We will not be monitoring this blog as of today but will leave it up indefinitely as a resource. 

See you on the new blog!

Thank you.

Gene Sower



This email came over the transom yesterday from Clive Stevens at The Pet Loo:

“I’m looking for area distributors to sell my products to Pet Retailers. How could I go about finding potential distributors through your web site?


E-mail Address:

For the uninitiated, the Pet Loo is a backyard in a box, for your dog!  A dog toilet!


Bark Bustersfetch-logo2.gifBark Busters

BERKELEY, CA and ENGLEWOOD, CO–(Marketwire – December 4, 2007) – Two leaders in pet services, FETCH! Pet Care , America’s largest and most sophisticated pet care franchise offering professional pet sitting and dog walking services, and Bark Busters Home Dog Training , the world’s largest and most trusted dog training company, today announced they have entered into a first-of-its-kind joint marketing agreement within the pet industry, uniting the two largest home-based pet services providers in the country. The alliance leverages the expertise and national reach of both pet services organizations to promote their industry leading, in-home services and champion responsible pet ownership.

Under the Agreement, each company will promote the other’s offerings to their respective customer bases. The companies plan to bundle packages that combine both the exercise and behavioral needs of dogs through regular in-home pet sitting and dog walking services accompanied by dog training services. To introduce the partnership, both companies are now promoting a special holiday offering, with participating locations, of $50 off Bark Busters gold training package and $20-$40 off FETCH! Pet Care regular services for new clients through January 31, 2008.

“This alliance brings together two companies that share a common vision: to enhance the relationship owners have with their pets and to provide the industry-leading services consumers want right in the comfort, safety and convenience of their homes,” says Liam Crowe, CEO of Bark Busters USA. “Our services are very complementary. A well-trained, exercised and cared for dog is healthier, happier and more manageable for its owner. By combining our services, pets can be even better companions.”

FETCH! Pet Care provides pet owners with peace of mind while they are away from their pets. The company offers a wide range of services that cater to pet owners’ specific needs and budget, including private leashed and group off-leash dog outings, overnight sitting and daily cat and small pet visits in the client’s home, boarding and daycare in the sitter’s home, pet taxiing, Go FETCH! four-legged fitness, yard pet waste removal, and miscellaneous home care.

Helping families enjoy their pets is at the core of Bark Busters training approach. Developed in Australia, Bark Busters natural techniques leverage the same communications methods — body language and voice control — that dogs follow as part of their instinctual pack mentality. Bark Busters dog-friendly training takes place in the home and is effective with any behavior issue with any dog, any age — including puppies. The Bark Busters dog training techniques, designed to enhance the human-canine bond, have been used to train more dogs than any other training method in the world.

“Surveys show that at-home pet services are preferable to pet owners for the convenience, safety and overall well-being of their pets, and that owners are increasingly spending more on their pets,” notes Paul Mann, founder and CEO of FETCH! Pet Care. “Consumer demand for premium at-home pet service is at an all-time high, and this partnership responds to that demand in a highly compelling fashion that’s unlike anything else in today’s marketplace.”

Demand indeed. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association (APPMA), approximately 63% of U.S. households, or 71 million homes, now own at least one pet, up from 64 million just five years ago. The result? Americans now spend a whopping $41 billion on pets — “more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world” according to reports — with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to consumer research company Packaged Facts.

Consumers and interested business affiliates can reach FETCH! Pet Care through its Web site at or via toll-free telephone at 1-866-FETCH-ME, where they simply enter their 5-digit zip code to be quickly connected to the FETCH! Pet Care office nearest them.

Consumers and interested business affiliates can reach Bark Busters through its Web site at or toll-free at 1-877-500-BARK (2275).

You can listen to our podcast interview with Paul Mann from Fetch! Pet Care HERE.

 Listen to our Bark Busters podcast here.


If you’ve ever considered a Fetch Pet Care franchise or simply wanted to learn more about what they offer, you may want to check this out: 

Have you been considering purchasing a Fetch! Pet Care franchise but first want to speak with existing franchisees to hear their experience?  Join us on December 11th at 3pm (PDT) as our franchisees from around the nation come together to answer YOUR questions about franchising with Fetch! Pet Care.

fetch-logo1.gifThis webinar will be moderated by Paul Mann, Founder & CEO of Fetch! Pet Care.  During this interactive presentation Paul will moderate and ask the franchisees most commonly asked questions by prospective franchisees, and you will also have the opportunity to pose questions directly to our franchisees and hear their answers LIVE!

On January 1, 2008, Fetch! Pet Care will be increasing their initial franchise fee of $8,000 up to $10,000.  As a special incentive for participating, we will extend the $8,000 initial franchise fee to you through January 31, 2008.

If you have been contemplating a new direction for your life and career in 2008, now is the perfect time to learn why Fetch! Pet Care is one of the fastest growing and most successful franchises in the country. 

Join us as we explain how Fetch! Pet Care has created the gold standard in pet services nationally and how you can build your own pet services franchise with us.
Title:   Fetch! Pet Care Franchisees Answer Your Questions – LIVE
 Tuesday, December 11, 2007
 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM PST
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


“…(people) want the ease and conformity of a retail experience—a place that caters to their create-a-poo wants and desires. “

 An odd juxtaposition of articles appeared on the very last page in the December issue of PET PRODUCT NEWS.  Sitting side by side, the first headline says: “Hunte Draws Record Attendance”.  The second says:  “Gulf Coast States Receive Funding For Pet Overpopulation”. 

Hunte Corp., for those who don’t know, is one of the largest if not THE largest industrial breeder of puppies for sale to pet stores.  They’re basically the Death Star of puppy mills, to use a Star Wars reference.  Based in Missouri, the puppy mill capitol of the world,  Hunte proudly announced that attendance at their eight Annual Breeders Educational Conference was at an all time high!

Animal Shelter

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Humane Society of the United States reports that 3 – 4 million cats and dogs will be euthanized this year due to a simple lack of homes.  And even more shocking is the fact that 25% of dogs in shelters, according to USHS estimates, are pure breeds.  My own experience bears that out, having adopted a pure breed Jack Russell Terrier from our local shelter about a year ago who had been there for TWO MONTHS.  Great dog.  He’s enjoying life as a spoiled member of our family as we speak.  We also saw Westies, Beagles and a Yorkie at the time we visited the shelter.


Since this is not an animal rights forum but a forum devoted to the pet business, I have to ask the tough question:  Is selling dogs so lucrative that we as business people turn a blind eye to the consequences?  Why can’t pet retailers become part of the SOLUTION by sponsoring more adoption days instead of being part of the PROBLEM by perpetuating the sales of millions of dogs, many who wind up in shelters?

Wouldn’t it make better business sense if instead of perpetuating the cycle of breed and sell, retailers became champions of ADOPT and sell? 


It’s a complicated issue, I realize that.  For every seller of puppies there has to be a buyer.  Supply and demand.  Many people want the dog they want and don’t have the interest or wherewithall to go around to multiple breeders.  They want the ease and conformity of a retail experience—a place that caters to their create-a-poo wants and desires.  I guess the old saying that it “takes two to tango” was never more apt.  I mean, if people weren’t buying puppies and spending THOUSANDS of dollars on each one, industrial strength puppy mills like Hunte wouldn’t sell them.  It’s the Ying and the Yang.  Supply and demand.  But I think retailers should lead the way to educating consumers that adoption is a viable alternative in many cases.  Many already do.  Even my local big box retailer, PetSmart, has weekly adoptions in the store where shelters come with homeless cats and dogs and try to find homes for them.  There is, after all, more than one way to dance.  Retailers should increase their efforts to promote adoption vs buying a puppy.  Aside from the goodwill generated and the saving of perfectly good lives I think it’s just good business.


Sherpa BagsJust received this from the folks at Sherpa Pets.  The gist of it, is that if you’re not doing at least $15,000 a year in drop shipping with them, they no longer want your business. Read on: 

Good Morning ,  Effective DECEMBER 1ST 2007 we will be making the below  changes to our drop ship program.  We  are  requiring that all these new terms are met and unfortunately there will be no exceptions.  

ORDERING:  Orders placed for  Sherpa products  must be received in one of two ways:

1.       EDI ( electronic data interchange)

2.       Our new online operating system will allow you to enter an order electronically.  Please visit our website for instructions.

PAYMENT:  Unless other arrangements have been made, all payments will require a company credit card that we will charge every 2-4 weeks through the end of 2007 and a statement reconciling the charges to your orders will be provided. At some point early in 2008, our system will automate this procedure. We will reserve the right to cancel this program with one instance of a denied credit card.

DOCUMENTATION:  Only shipping  documentation that can be automatically generated from our operating system electronically will be available.   

MINIMUM SALES:   Annual billing of $15,000.  

RETAILERS WITH DROP SHIP PROGRAMS:  Over time , more and more establishments that are primarily retail shops have added a drop ship program. Only establishments that are 100% drop ship and not also brick/mortar retailers qualify. I realize there are some major changes here and not all of our current drop ship companies will be able to meet these terms.  These changes were necessary in order for us to live up to our  commitment  to having top rate service and support of our customers and our consumers. For those drop ship businesses that cannot meet these requirement , we want to thank you for the business.   Thanks and I wish all of you a happy and successful Thanksgiving .  

Bob Flynn
VP Sales, The Sherpa Pet GroupEmail : 

Pet Grooming Business: How To Get New Referrals

rolodex.gifIf you run a pet grooming service, dog walking business or pet sitting business you probably know the importance of promoting your business. A small business runs not just through providing quality services but also by marketing its products right. Since you can probably not afford to spend a lot of money on advertising, referrals are the best way to get publicity for your pet grooming business. This article discusses how to get referrals working for you.

Importance of Customer Referrals: Referrals come from many sources vets, customers, and neighbors. Be sure to provide quality services to clients if you want them to refer you to other people. A happy customer will come back to you and use your pet grooming service at least 5 times a year. Multiply that by the number of years he will live in the area, and you get to understand the importance of keeping your customers happy.

If you offer good services, chances are that the local veterinarian will also recommend your pet grooming business to pet owners. Apart from providing quality services, you also need to work on customer relationships if you want them to refer your business to other people.

In addition, keep in mind that if the quality of service is bad, you won’t lose just the client but many other potential clients as well. This is because the unhappy client will tell others to stay away from your pet grooming business.

Therefore, you see how important referrals are to your pet grooming business.

Customer Referral Strategies: How to get customers to recommend your pet grooming business to other people? Here are a few strategies.

1) Ask for it in the form of a survey. Put to them questions like “What did you like about our services?” or “How can we be of more help to you?” Then ask them if they know anyone else who might be interested in your service.

2) Draw up a mailing list of potential customers. Then send emails detailing your pet care services to them.

3) Ask new customers how they got to know about your pet grooming business. This will help you focus your referral strategies, keeping in mind where your market exists.

4) Send Thank-You notes or New Year greeting cards to vets, clients, and other people who referred new clients to you. A gift voucher or coupon is an excellent way to thank someone who has referred many customers to you. This also encourages them to refer more people to your pet grooming business, since it makes them feel appreciated.

The client referral strategies outlined above work well for any pet grooming business. You also need to provide superlative service, since that is the only way to ensure referrals. Customer relations and quality of grooming are both important factors when it comes to customer referrals.

If you want to know more about customer referrals and how you can use them to get more clients for your pet grooming business, you can hire the services of a business advisor or a professional dealing with marketing and promotion aspect of small businesses.

EDITOR NOTE:  I would also like to take this opportunity to recommend joining a BNI Chapter or similar group if one is available in your area.  BNI, a group I belong to in New Jersey (it’s International), is based on members referring business to other members.  The twist?  Only one person per business.  Each catagory is exclusive, meaning each chapter only has one butcher, one baker and one candlestick maker.  This is the PERFECT way to grow a pet sitting or dog walking business inexpensively.  Some of the best marketing dollars I’ve ever spent! -gene

Alexander Gordon is a writer for – The Small Business Consulting Community. Sign-up for the free success steps newsletter and get our booklet valued at $24.95 for free as a special bonus. The newsletter provides daily strategies on starting and significantly growing a business.

Business Owners all across the country are joining “The Community of Small Business Owners” to receive and provide strategies, insight, tips, support and more on starting, managing, growing, and selling their businesses. As a member, you will have access to true Millionaire Business Owners who will provide strategies and tips from their real-life experiences.

Article Source: