Fetch Pet Care, a San Francisco-based
pet-sitting service, is signing up travel agent affiliates to help
grow a business that already counts franchised locations in 1,000
cities and towns in 28 states.
The goal, said
founder and CEO Paul Mann, is to be "fully nationwide" within the
next two years.
"We want to be
the go-to service provider," he said.
According to its
Web site, FetchPetCare.com, Fetch offers services that range
from dog walking to visiting small pets at home (the sitter would
visit for at least 30 minutes a day) to in-home, overnight sitting,
where the Fetch rep would walk and play with the pet and perform
"basic home maintenance" such as watering plants, bringing in the
mail and making home security checks.
The company said
it was "the largest pet-sitting and dog-walking franchise in the
The new travel
agency partnerships are part of a broader strategy to form national
and local relationships with a range of possible business sources,
including veterinarians, pet stores and pet-friendly hotels and
resorts, Mann said.
He said agency
partners would fill out paperwork to establish that they were
legitimate businesses and to enable Fetch Pet Care's computer
system to flag relevant bookings for commission
The company pays
10% for the first booking, and Mann said it didn't matter who
booked the service, agent or client, or how, by phone or the Web.
In all situations, he said, the booker would be asked the source of
the sale, and the travel agency would be identified.
He said the
company didn't routinely pay on further bookings by the same
customer, in part due to the logistics challenge in continuing to
link specific customers to their agencies.
Besides, he said,
his expectation was that because 10% on pet care services didn't
amount to a lot of money, most agents would rather do an initial
referral and then turn their attention to the bigger and more
rewarding parts of planning a trip.
However, he said,
if an agency wanted a more committed partnership, ongoing
commissions were negotiable.
He said Fetch
also would negotiate net prices for agencies that wanted to create
pet-friendly travel packages that included pet care at the
customer's home or at the destination, if a customer was traveling
was a deal whereby the agency takes on some promotional
responsibility for the pet care services, offers clients a discount
and earns 10% pay, Mann said.
Rates vary by
location, but a house call or walking a dog would range from $17 to
$22 per visit; for in-home, overnight pet-sitting, $50 to $65 per
night; for private boarding at the sitter's home, $45 to $55; and
for day care (appropriate for people who travel with their pets),
$35 to $45 a day.
How can agents be
comfortable suggesting that clients seek pet care from people they
Mann said all
Fetch operations were bonded. The caretakers, who are contractors,
are all screened for a criminal background. All are trained and
tested, he said. A supervisor accompanies them on their first
automatically generating confirmations to customers, the company's
computer generates confirmations to the sitters. Plus, reminders of
pet care dates are sent to the sitters several days in advance of
the day services begin.
sitters are not, strictly speaking, strangers by the time the trip
starts. Once a booking is made, Fetch offers a free consultation
between the customer and their assigned, primary sitter, the
operator of the home-based Travels R Us, in Chula Vista, Calif.,
has offered Fetch Pet Care for nearly two years. She knows one of
the franchise operators and worked out a referral
She tested the
services with her own dogs on a private boarding basis and said she
had "complete confidence" that her pets were well cared for by the
"They go to
Jamie's home and become a part of her family, sleep in her bed,
watch TV on her couch and take long walks," she said.
friends or relatives to step in as pet-sitters "love this service,"
Eblacas adds a
Fetch flyer to all travel documents, and she said that three or
four clients have used the service each month.
To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail
to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].