Why being a responsible player in your industry can guarantee franchise reputation and success

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Petpals, the UK’s longest-established multi-service pet-care franchise, puts the welfare of pets at the forefront of the £6.7 billion industry1. Invested in offering only the best possible pet-care standards industry wide, Petpals’ reputation is rooted in its trusted services.

According to a report by Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), 62% of households owned a pet in 2022, with the United Kingdom having some of the highest rates of per capita pet ownership in Europe2. With the increase in pet ownership, there is a growing demand for pet-care services, and companies that offer such services are becoming more prevalent. In such a competitive industry, it is essential for a franchise to have a strong reputation, and this reputation can only be achieved by being a responsible, trusted brand in the industry.

Crucial for franchise success and reputation, operating ethically and responsibly boosts morale within the franchise network and builds trust with the wider community. Director of Petpals, Kevin Thackrah, believes the franchise’s responsibility to advocate for pets and the industry must permeate every operational process. Every decision the brand makes, from recruitment and training to the pet care delivered in people’s homes, reflects this commitment. Here, he shares why being a responsible player in your industry is so crucial and some of the ways to achieve a trusted reputation.

Responsibility, reputation and long-term success

Being a responsible player in your industry is essential to building and maintaining a successful franchise reputation. A franchise’s reputation is not only influenced by its own actions but also by the actions of other businesses in the industry. Therefore, taking responsibility to advocate for the needs of the industry and supporting ethical practices can improve the entire industry’s reputation.

A responsible pet-care franchise must prioritise the welfare of pets and demonstrate this commitment in their core business practices. For instance, they must ensure the highest possible pet-care standards, offer rigorous training and recruitment processes and carefully vet franchisees to guarantee they share the brand’s values. This dedication must also extend beyond the franchise network, to show support for external initiatives that promote responsible practices in the industry.

A franchise’s duty to educate and advocate for animal welfare, responsible pet ownership, and community building is something that should be present in every part of the franchise model. Recruiting people with a passion for animal welfare and expanding the head office team to provide specialised support can strengthen a franchise’s commitment to these principles. Finally, franchises can support their local community through charitable giving, volunteering and supporting local events. Responsible practices within the franchise and support of the broader industry and local community are integral to building a strong franchise reputation and ensuring success.

Strength in numbers

As a franchise network, engendering the belief that you are stronger as a collective force rather than as individuals is a powerful tool. A franchisee-led focus group can be a steppingstone to creating a strong support network within your franchise community. A franchise that places emphasis on involving franchisees and building a strong support network within the community is also vital. Franchisees must feel supported, listened to, and have the opportunity to collaborate and provide feedback. This fosters personal and professional growth, encouraging investment and commitment to the franchise’s mission. A strong support network also enables franchisors to better understand franchisees’ needs, leading to an effective response to any issues that arise.

In addition to responding to the needs of your network, responding and acting to the challenges that arise in your sector is a key way of showing your support and using the strength of your brand and network for good. Involvement in external initiatives builds connections with our key industry voices and fosters a sense of community and togetherness within your sector. For Petpals, partnering with a number of other leading pet-care franchises to form a new regulatory body, the Pet Care Franchise Association (PCFA), showed our support for the needs of the pet-care industry. Taking responsibility to intervene in an industry-wide issue establishes your brand as a dedicated and committed leader.


Supporting your local community helps to build goodwill, foster relationships, and demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility. Donating to local charities, volunteering and giving back to the local area can help to establish your brand as caring, supportive and approachable. Our network prides itself on supporting the areas it serves, and this does not stop at providing quality pet services to our community of furry friends. A growing number of Petpals business owners are placing importance on supporting their communities through charitable initiatives that raise money and awareness for the causes they and their communities care about most. With a strong commitment to our communities, franchisees champion our community-focused approach, helping to build a strong brand reputation and support their long-term success.

Support team

Long-term growth and profitability can only be achieved if a franchisor offers a proven business structure. If this is not achieved, there is a danger that not only will the individual struggle with the demands of running the business, but the overall standard and quality of the franchise offering will drop as a result.

For Petpals, our duty as a pet-care franchise to educate pet owners about the benefits of responsible pet ownership, advocate for animal welfare and build a sense of community among pet owners is present in every part of our franchise model. Recruiting people with a passion for animal welfare means our responsibility to the industry comes from both franchisees and our head office team.

We have expanded our head office team, to make sure the best possible people are in place to support our franchisees. As a result of franchisee feedback, we appointed a digital marketer to support franchisees with their online presence and marketing implementation, an area franchisees raised as one they can struggle with. We have sought to rectify this by providing hands-on support to take the pressure off franchisees. We also recruited a brand development manager, who himself owns an extremely successful territory, so he has real insight into the model and is passionate about making Petpals even more profitable in the future. Support teams are critical to the success of franchisees, providing them with the support they need to run their businesses effectively and achieve their goals. By offering comprehensive support, franchisors can help their franchisees thrive and build successful businesses.

Key takeaways for being a responsible industry player

  • Being a responsible player in the industry is crucial for a successful franchise reputation
  • Ethical and responsible practices can boost customer loyalty and employee engagement
  • A responsible pet-care franchise must prioritise pet welfare and demonstrate this commitment in every operational process, including high pet-care standards, rigorous training, careful franchisee vetting, and shared values
  • A franchisee-led focus group can be a steppingstone to creating a strong support network within your franchise community
  • Supporting your local community helps to build goodwill, foster relationships, and demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility

Kevin Thackrah is Director of Petpals, the UK’s longest-established multi-service pet-care franchise. Petpals offers much more than a home boarding or dog walking service; it is a professional, tried and tested, successful business format which is fully supported by the Petpals team and nationwide network of franchisees. For more information, visit their website.

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