Paw Pals began as a family run pet sitting business in 2005, established to offer an innovative alternative to dog kennels and cattery, or having to rely on neighbours or family for holiday pet care. It is owned and managed by Susanne Cooke.
With considerable experience in caring for pets of all shapes and sizes, Paw Pals offer tailor-made care following their client’s pets’ usual routine, minimising stress and anxiety that can sometimes occur during time apart.
From daily dog walking and cat feeding to small animal boarding and home sitting, pets can be cared for in the comfort of their own home or in a ‘home from home’ environment with a Paw Pals carer.
Since then, the company has expanded into a network of 19 franchises; this impressive growth naturally resulted in more administrative paperwork.
Each franchise and the animal carers need to record an awful lot of information in order to do their job safely and with due care.
Carers need to know all about the animals they are looking after: this includes basics such as name and type of animal but also extends to veterinary information, special dietary requirements and other vital details.
Since carers also visit homes, they need other information such as the location of food, security arrangements and the like.
In addition, carers need to have accurate scheduling information; they may be visiting a pet once, twice a day for a period of weeks or even every day for an extended period.
Prior to working with GreyRidge, the vast majority of this information was stored using paper PDF forms. As time went on, this paper system became quite inefficient and unwieldy while Susanne was also keen that Paw Pals present the most professional image possible.
Susanne contacted GreyRidge in February 2014 to discuss how software might be able to help reduce some of their administrative burden.
One of the technical staff showed them GreyRidge’s standard franchise management system, Franchise 360. This already included quite a lot of the things that Susanne wanted from a system such as franchisee details, a client list and CRM, basic scheduling and some intra-franchise network communication tools such as a forum and shared documentation libraries.
Franchise 360 also comes with a comprehensive security model whereby access to functionality and data is based on the secure login being used. This ensures that only the right people see the right information and so for example, franchisees can only see their own data while the franchise head office staff can see all data.
It was clear also that some changes would be necessary to make the system work around the Paw Pals model and for the company to get the maximum return from using the software.
These suggested changes included modifying the way that system customers worked so that they would have things like pet information and other details appropriate to pet care. They also included adding supplier information, care scheduling and adding a daily planner for each carer.
In April and May, further discussions led to a specification describing these changes along with a detailed quote for the work to be done.
In August 2014, Susanne gave the go-ahead for the work to commence.
The GreyRidge team were able to talk with some of the Paw Pals franchises to ensure “real” feedback and the changes to the system were swiftly implemented. As a result, after a few short weeks the new system was ready.
Susanne says “GreyRidge helped make this whole experience simple for us. The system was developed with little fuss and after a little bit of feedback from us, it was ready for use”.
The system went live with the first few pilot franchises on 1st September 2014.
Susanne is introducing the new system carefully to her franchisees and to date (November 2014) 8 franchisees are using with the rest to follow in the coming few months.
Asked to describe the business benefits the system will give her and her team, Susanne says “We used to have so much paperwork and now those using the system can access the right information so much more quickly. That will make everyone, the carers, the franchises and our central team so much more professional and the savings are already significant”.