Franchisee Friday - Woofie's Pet Ventures

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Our #FranchiseeFriday, Tanya Lee, owns Woofie’s Pet Ventures in the Reston-Herndon area in Virginia. Tanya uses her business to give a voice to our furry friends by educating and advocating for animal welfare. Learn more about Tanya and her experiences with franchising in our Q&A:

Q: How does your franchise participate in community outreach efforts and give back to the local community? 

A: Participating in our community is an integral part of how we operate in almost every way. As a service-providing business in the pet industry, we feel it is important for everyone in the pet community to contribute to achieving an important dream that every pet live in a safe, healthy and loving home. In providing dog walking, pet sitting, pet taxi and mobile grooming services, we are partner with pet owners to provide loving care when they are not able to, and to help educate the community when we can. This is a core principle and fundamental to how we operate our business and give back to our community.

In addition to the services that we provide to pet owners, we also seek to forge strong partnerships with local pet rescue groups. At every event that we host, we invite at least one local rescue organization to attend to help raise funds for needed care and to find forever homes for fostered and homeless pets. In fact, at our Grand Opening event we hosted four local rescue and non-profit animal welfare organizations: Canine Companions for Independence, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue, Friends of the Fairfax Animal Shelter and Homeless Animal Rescue Team. All the proceeds raised at our event benefitted Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, and at that same event a rescue dog was adopted into his forever home – it was the cherry on top of an amazing celebration!

Q: What steps does your franchise system and your locations personally take to promote diversity in the workplace?

A: The love of animals transcends all races, religions, ages, genders, income levels, occupations, political beliefs, etc., and is the common bond in our business and community. Pets look for the good in everyone; they bring out the best in people and we seek to do the same!

Q: What methods do you use to improve the franchisee-franchisor relationship?

A: It is all about communication and having a common belief and purpose. Our Franchisors, Woofie’s HQ, are incredibly smart and savvy businesswomen who inspire and encourage us on a daily basis. As we work to build our business, we communicate frequently and draw on their expertise and knowledge. We work very hard to achieve the high standard of excellence that they have set. They, in turn, have been incredibly generous, supportive and engaged in helping us succeed. I know that I can talk to my franchisor about any issues. I love their approach to problem-solving – they always seek to understand the situation, look for win-win solutions and have creative ideas to solve problems. It is a great relationship and we could not ask for better franchisors or a better business model.  

Q: What traits do you look for when evaluating potential managers to help run one of your franchise locations?

A: When recruiting a General Manager for our franchise location, I sought out someone with skills that complemented mine. I am a firm believer that a diverse team with differing skillsets and perspectives makes for a better and stronger team. Where I am primarily a big-picture thinker, I specifically looked for someone who is detail-oriented, meticulous and organized. Where I am an extreme optimist, I specifically looked for someone who is pragmatic and a realist. Where I tend to use instinct and intuition to assess a situation, I specifically looked for someone who is data-driven and analytical.

The other successful tactic that I used was to seek people from within my network.  Since it is important to me and my business to be part of the community as well as an animal lover, I knew that while we may think differently, the one area that we would be completely in sync would be a love for animals.

These techniques helped me build a great team.  We are diverse, have different skills and talents, share a sincere love of animals and I truly enjoy working with them every day to build our business!

Q: How have you used technology at your franchise to increase efficiency in your operations, and what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve solved with a technological improvement? 

A: The core of our business is customer service excellence. The technology we use helps us achieve that desired level of excellence without compromising the personal connections we achieve with each customer. It would not be possible to manage to the extreme level of detail that we do without current, pet-centric software designed specifically for our industry and services. This technology has grown and changed along with the business. Our franchisor continually provides edits and requests for new functionality to the software developer, and they also participate in beta testing, so they are always contributing and aware of changes to the software. This method allows for constant, incremental improvements so that our business can be nimble and responsive to changing needs.

Additionally, we use technology software and tools from other disciplines such as project management, marketing and communications. This allows us to continually improve operations and our ability to manage details and constantly moving parts that are inherent in the pet-services industry.

For more information about franchising with Woofie’s, click here.