"I also love the invoicing which takes seconds and this means no more creating word documents which used to take forever."


Tracey Longmuir - Century Pet Care


Pet Care 

Case Study

"The extraordinary story of how Century Pet Care used software to help beat the odds."

Century Pet Care


Tracy Longmuir




March 2013

Editors Intro – I have lost count of the number of times I have visited a website only to read – “sorry but due to a baby break I am no longer providing a pet sitting service”. In this month’s case study, we interview Tracey Longmuir who has used technology to maintain a thriving pet sitting business, even through the most incredible of life’s challenges including a pregnancy, the breakup of a relationship and the birth of her baby boy Conor. This is her story….


“I was in a stressful job managing a major accounts team for an international print management company when I thought – “there has to be more to life than this”. Living with a partner at the time, I could afford to take some timeout so I threw caution to the wind, left my job and started to plan my pet sitting business. Centruy Pet Care started trading on 17th July 2011 and I was really excited. However, I was also quite oblivious to the fact that I was (by then) already one week pregnant.


The coming year was to bring some of the greatest challenges of my life, seemingly all at once. I would somehow have to work out how to kick start the marketing of my business, which was not as straightforward as I had imagined. I would then find myself doing all the work myself as I became more heavily pregnant. I would discover that in order to keep my business, I would need to learn how to recruit and manage pet sitters so that I would be able to stop working while I had my baby. I also realised that the admin was complex and so I would need to devise an administration system that allowed me to manage all this complexity (from my bed if required!) And if that were not challenging enough, in the coming months I would face the breakup of my relationship and lose the emotional and financial support that went with it. Looking back now I realise I had no idea what was in store for me and it’s probably for the best. The ups and downs have been like nothing I could have imagined, but to my amazement I am still here to tell the tale, my baby boy is beautiful and to cap it all my pet sitting business is doing fantastically well.


I was actually two months pregnant before I realised that I was expecting. It was September 2011 and I was just starting to take on some clients for my new pet sitting business. My immediate thought was “Wow I’m pregnant, how good is that” which very soon turned to “Oh no, how will I manage”


Looking back, the real thing I had going for me was my naivety, I had no idea how much time my baby would take up but I thought, how hard can it be? I actually imagined that I would be back to full time work after 2 weeks with the help of a rough terrain buggy and a carry sling! Blissfully unaware of what was to come, I just got my head down and focussed on getting my business up and running.


I produced my own website and once it was ranking in Google the phone started to ring and the email sprung to life. I used a few of my old contacts to get some marketing literature printed up and so began a period of dropping flyers around town. Soon the enquiries started flooding in and the business became successful.


I found an on-line administration system called Pet Sitter Plus which is specifically designed for pet sitters and crucially offered UK support. I took the 30 day trial (which they then agreed to extend when business was initially slow) and it proved to be an amazing tool. Armed with this I could now see how I was going to keep the lights on and the admin at a reasonable level. As I started to take on staff this would prove to be a life saver especially when it came to taking maternity leave.


I started to get noticeably pregnant but found to my relief that I was fit enough to keep going. I was by this time completing 8 hours of dog walking each day and doing all the pet sitting work as well.


Then came the bombshell. My partner and I separated in October which was really devastating, but I realised very quickly that my options were few. I was getting really busy and had little time to lick my wounds which was probably a good thing. I found this amazing resolve to make it all work. A friend of mine offered me a place to stay until I could get myself back on my feet.


In January I managed to find my own place. By now the baby was only months away so I had to start recruiting. My first employee, Jill, who is still with me today, has been fabulous. She started off just part time, but was able to take on more of my work as I was able to do less. Jill also started the boarding side of the business around April.


I then recruited Daisie in March and Ashleigh started in the same month that Conor was born. My team are fabulous. Initially, when Conor was born, I was using Pet Sitter Plus to schedule the work to my employees and I would then transfer the schedules from Pet Sitter Plus to spreadsheets which I would then email to my staff. That is until the kind people at Pet Software explained that Pet Sitter Plus would do all this for me. Now, my staff use their iPhones to access their schedules in Pet Sitter Plus directly. As soon as I have scheduled a job my staff get to see it straight away.


My staff also get access to all the client and pet information directly from their mobiles too and the time saving here is amazing. But there are other benefits too. For example, at the beginning of each month I use the recurring service feature and it populates my diary for the new month ahead in seconds. The system records exactly which clients have regular bookings and it schedules the work to my staff automatically.


"I also love the invoicing which takes seconds and this means no more creating word documents which used to take forever."


Pet Sitter Plus keeps track of all my receipts so I know exactly what I am owed and how much I have received in any given month and it even gives me a revenue report that shows me how I am doing across the different types of services that I provide.


I was actually out pet sitting on the weekend that my lovely boy Conor arrived 10 days early. He was born on the 8th April 2012 weighing 6lbs 3ozs and I am writing this article in the September of the same year. He is just coming up to 5 months old. It really has been a case of “me and him against the world” and whilst it was neck and neck for a while I think we are starting to feel like we are just a bit out in front!


So where am I now? And what of the future? Isis has just celebrated it’s 1st birthday by throwing an amazing party which featured a client dog show. We had over 50 pet owners in attendance which was great and everyone left with a free goody bag and some with prizes from the dog show.


Conor starts nursery soon (2 days a week) and then I will be able to do more pet sitting work and make more money. We have survived financially (just!) but I see things getting better in the future as I am able to do work more and grow the business. Without the help of some good friends, the amazing efforts of my pet sitting team and of course, my pet sitting software, I know I would have been forced to quit. However, this is not my story. In my world the lights are still on, the business is still there and I am optimistic for the future. For now that is good enough.


If my story helps anyone out there to find a way forward when the road ahead looks almost impossible, then I am glad of that.





Pet Software Ltd provides a market leading software for pet sitters, dog walkers, dog Boarding, dog daycare centres and kennels. Pet Sitter Plus helps pet sitters to spend more time with pets and less time on administration.

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