We at The Story Exchange first met Becky O’Neil, owner of Becky’s Pet Care, in 2012. At the time, she had already been in business for 14 years and had found success by turning a lifelong love of animals into a bustling pet-sitting venture.
The firm’s earliest days weren’t easy. O’Neil was the only employee, and to keep things running she even spent one Christmas working solo. “I was home by 8 [in the morning] to open presents with my son, spent an hour there opening gifts, went out and worked all day, came home at 4 o’clock to have Christmas dinner with the family, and was there about an hour again, and then went back out and finished my visits,” she told us when we checked back in 2013. She took care of about 25 pets that day.
But she no longer goes it alone. Today, O’Neil employs 140 people at three locations, including a new outpost in Herndon, Va. Those hires include people who tend to the firm’s social media, marketing and management needs, as well as staff who work directly with clients and pets. With their help, she now serves over 6,000 clients, including about 500 or 600 regulars.
As her business has grown, O’Neil has contemplated expansion into dog grooming on multiple occasions. But she always reached the conclusion that she should stay focused on Becky’s Pet Care and its customers.
That isn’t to say she’s averse to change. She continues to look at geographical expansion, and is currently eyeing untapped markets in the Arlington, Va. area. She is also contemplating offering pet care courses to the public for a fee. And she is considering developing a loyalty program for long-term clients, as well as new software to make contacting clients more efficient.
But so far, knowing when to make a move and when to stick with her current plans has paid off — literally. This year she expects to pull in $3 million in revenue.