Animal ‘home boarding’ service offers franchise opportunities

Lisa Laurence and Ted the Great Dane
Lisa Laurence and Ted the Great Dane
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A Yorkshire mum-of-four is getting ready to franchise her growing business after starting it from a kitchen table eight years ago.

Claire Rhodes, owner of Holidays4Dogs, started the animal care business at her Holme-on-Spalding Moor home in 2006 and now handles more than 6,000 dog holidays a year.

Ms Rhodes spotted a gap in the market after taking in friends’ dogs when they were on holiday.

She said: “Many people feel their dogs are too precious to be left in kennels – they enjoy their holidays more if they have peace of mind, knowing their dogs are content in a more homely environment.”

Holidays4Dogs offers a “home boarding” booking service from Ms Rhodes’ family farm, where stables have been converted to offices for eight staff.

The team works six days a week manning the phones and supporting more than 600 approved carers.

Ms Rhodes has also developed an online booking system that allows dog owners to book direct.

“We’ve had people book online literally from the travel agents as they prepare to book their holiday,” Ms Rhodes said.

Holidays4Dogs also has a strong social media following, with 38,000 Facebook likes.

The success of the business has led Ms Rhodes to open it up to franchise opportunities.

She said: “We were getting so busy that we realised that if we were going to keep up such a high level of customer service and close interaction with dog owners and carers, we needed support. People can buy into the concept and create their own Holidays4Dogs business in their own area, with our support.”