Blue Wheelers Franchisee Stories – When Passion Drives Change
My name is Jill and in October 2020 I left my job of almost ten years to embark on a new adventure as a Blue Wheelers franchisee. It has been a journey of learning, growing and self-exploration as I navigated a significant career change. But it was not just a career change; it was a lifestyle change.
For the past 20 years I have held senior positions in marketing, public relations, and communication, working in Local Government, the disability sector and finally in education. I spent the past ten years as the Marketing Manager of a private school in Perth. It was a busy, challenging and sometimes stressful job, and one that I enjoyed, but for the past few years I felt as though something was missing. That something was passion.
I am unsure when the idea of becoming a dog groomer first entered by mind, but I first explored it four years ago when I came across an advertisement for a lady selling her mobile grooming business and trailer. I spent a day on the road with the lady and learned a bit more about what was involved but decided that ultimately, this particular opportunity was not quite right for me.
A few years passed. I thought about it more, spoke to a few trusted family members and friends about what would be involved in starting up a business, and sought their opinions on whether I would be capable of running my own business. The consensus was yes, I was capable, but there was also a huge risk involved in giving up a secure job and guaranteed income.
I started looking to into the options for purchasing a dog grooming franchise. I investigated each of the options, spoke to relevant people from each company, went on trial days, did lots of research, spoke to existing franchisees and narrowed down my options to two. Then I got cold feet. Again.
Jump to December 2019 when the whole world changed. COVID-19 hit, and I found myself, like many people, thinking about what was important to me, both personally and professionally. It felt like the right time to make the change and Blue Wheelers was the way forward for me. I started the ball rolling in July 2020 and by October 2020 I was on the road and running my own business.
My choice of Blue Wheelers was based on the professionalism I experienced in all my communication with the company, their singular focus on dogs and dog grooming, and of course the big blue dog trailer, which as a marketer, was my best marketing tool! The cost price was affordable and included all the equipment I needed to get my business started; my own territory, air-conditioned grooming trailer, grooming equipment (clippers, blade, scissors, brushes, shampoos), grooming and business training, marketing support and materials and lots of support. Whilst COVID forced me into a decision, it also threw a few challenges my way, as far as setting up a new business and securing training at a time when restrictions were in place across the country!
My first day on the road as a mobile dog groomer was Thursday 8 October 2020. I will always remember my very first client and how nervous I was! That first week I visited nine customers. Of those nine customers, seven are now regulars. They could not see my nerves or my fear, but they could see that I cared for their dog, and for them. They could see my passion.
We have all heard the adage, “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life”. This is what I love and somehow, I always knew I would love it. It is hard work; physically and mentally. It’s not just washing and grooming dogs. It’s business management, scheduling, customer service, reversing a trailer (oh yes!), budgeting, marketing, planning, and much more. I am seven months in and I’m working long hours to establish a solid reputation in my area, but my long-term goal is to scale back my hours once I have secured my customer base and make the business work for me.
I have met some amazing people and their fur babies. The pet industry is booming and people, now more than ever, consider pets a part of their family. They want the best for their pets, and for me, my Blue Wheelers service delivers this.
It’s not an easy choice, leaving security and following your heart, but as with most matters of the heart, we can’t explain why we want what we want. This journey for me has had rocky moments, of course, but it has also had some wonderful, memorable moments. It has been a journey of constant learning and growth and constantly re-focusing. I have learned the importance of being present (dogs know when you’re not!), living in the moment, and being kind and compassionate. I have always had dogs in my life, and now they are my passion.
If my story resonates with you in any way, contact Blue Wheelers and arrange a trial day with your local support team. You never know what you might find out about yourself!
Written by Jill MacDonald, Blue Wheelers Landsdale