Hi Stephanie! Thanks so much for meeting with me. We’re so excited to hear more about Chicago Urban Pets and where you’re at and where you’re going. Well, the first question I have is how did Chicago Urban Pets get started?
How did Chicago Urban Pets Get Started?
So I was straight out of college. I got a degree in architecture from IIT and I wanted to do some of my own design work. And I also knew at the same time that I didn’t wanna work in an office setting or like a nine to five job. I’d done an internship and I just felt very quickly, it wasn’t the right fit for me. I have a background in horseback riding and grew up working in the barn. I felt this affiliation with animals in general, and I had a lot of other pets in the home.
I started to look at working possibly in a pet store or doing pet sitting or working in a boarding facility. And I met this lady who was pet sitting on her own during her retirement years. She had just hurt her ankle before Thanksgiving and she had pet clients that needed caring for, but she was in the hospital. And so there was this sort of perfect timing where I had called to ask if she’s hiring, because I saw that she actually lived in the building that I lived in. She’s like, yes, I haven’t hired before, but it’s perfect timing.
I met with her in the rehabilitation center and informally took over her clients during that time while she was in the hospital. So I worked for her, as I say, sort of informally for a few months. And because she was a very small business she didn’t have that many clients, so we grew apart and there wasn’t really any work for me, but at that point I felt like this is something I really liked. Like I think I could do this, you know, I could continue to do this. And that’s really where it started.
I’m like, okay, you know what? I think I can, I’m gonna try this, I’m gonna try to do this on my own and see what happens.
That was in early March of 2012. And the rest is history.
How Does It Feel Being in the Business for 10 Years?
Yeah, we’re celebrating it now. March 12th is when we formed the LLC, so I call that our birthday. That’s a big milestone. Yeah, I’m excited. I’m really happy about that.
What Is One Thing You’d Love Our Neighbors To Know About Your Business?
One thing I really would like people to know, that I think is special about us, is that we spend a lot of time and invest in resources around client retention as well as employee retention. We are always brainstorming how we can make clients feel appreciated.
What are things that we can do to give back to make them feel like they’re getting more than what they’re paying for? And at the same time, what can we do for our team so that they feel valued, we want them to feel like they’re getting more out of this job beyond just the hours that they’re putting in.
What Are Some Examples for How You Care for Your Client’s and Staff?
A big thing that we do for clients is that we are really like celebrating milestones with them, with offering free walks or sending a gift package for their pet. We like really celebrating those milestones in which they’ve been with us as well as following up on how they feel services are going and what we can do to improve.
With our team, we have in the last year incorporated an internal communications platform called Slack. I think now since the pandemic, a lot of people working remotely are familiar with. It’s really allowed our sitters and office managers to come together more as a team because otherwise the nature of this business is very independent.
Because we go into people’s homes and we don’t have a central office, it’s easy for the team to feel disconnected from the bigger picture of the company. Introducing Slack has really greatly improved our team retention because they feel like they’re part of a bigger picture and they feel more connected with individuals on the team as it allows for a lot of communication between our team members ,and we’re really proud about that.
Are You More Of A Dog Person Or A Cat Person?
Good question. And I’ve been thinking about this and I am definitely 50:50 on the dogs and the cats. I’ve had dogs in the past, I’ve had cats in the past. I think both animals have their own sort of particularities that are so unique that I couldn’t necessarily weigh one with the other.
But instead, I would say if I had to pick, it would actually not be dog or cat, but it would be horses. I am always gonna be a horse girl and if I had to pick an animal in my life, it would be no doubt having horses around me.
I don’t know why I love horses so much, I can’t explain it. I was born that way. As a young child, I was anxiously waiting until I turned six years old, so I could be allowed to go horseback riding. That was the age that you were allowed to start taking classes, and it’s just always being a passion of mine.
What Is The Best Way For Our Audience To Connect With You?
The best way to connect with me personally is to email my work email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also very active on our company’s Instagram and Facebook and check my DM’s there daily.
If you are interested in knowing more about our pet care services, you can reach out via our central email email@example.com or call us at (872) 529-7387.
It is also super easy to make an account with us on your own time here. The platform we use is called Time To Pet and is top of the art in our industry. It has an internal messaging system so you will be able to message us within there after you’ve created a personal (free) account