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Becky O’Neil – Becky’s Pet Care

Becky When I wanted to start a business, the best advice I got, was to go back to what you loved as a child. So I thought, okay, animals are my first love… and what can I do to get a business that involves animals.

CARD: Becky O’Neil – Founder – Becky’s Pet Care USA

SOT: Wanna go for a walk?

Becky Mainly we do dogs and cats, but we’ve done iguanas, a hedgehog, ferrets, birds, hamsters and guinea pigs, fish, we’ve had a coy pond…

SOT: C’mon Casey.

Becky My father was a doctor but loved farming more than anything so we moved to the farm and I went to Pennsylvania when I was 5. We had all the animals there, from horses and cows, ducks, chickens, pigs. We always had at least 3 or 4 dogs running around.

CARD: Becky became an X-Ray Technician, specializing in women’s health. She married in 1997 and her son was born the next year.

Becky Even during pregnancy, I knew that the hours at the doctor’s office were just too long to really be the kind of parent that I wanted to be. So I started researching what kind of business I would like to go into.

SOT It’s a beautiful day to be a dog walker and a beautiful girl.

Becky Every book that I read said you need a business plan. Before I ever walked the first dog, I started my business plan. An idea is great, but you need more than just and idea. You need to know how you’re going to make that idea come to life.

CARD: Becky launched her pet care business in 1998. She was the only employee.

Becky When I started the business, my son was about seven months old. I’d put him in the backpack and we would go to the client’s home, pick up the dog, he and I would go walk the dog, and then I would put him back in the car; we would go to the next house and walk the dog. It was a lot of fun.

CARD: Becky’s business grew quickly — mostly by word of mouth.

SOT Becky: How are you doing with the heat out here with the dogs? Girl: Pretty good.

Becky I did run myself ragged a lot in the beginning. About six months in the business I was doing 16 visits a day, plus trying to handle the financial side and the client care side and-and the marketing and the growth. And I knew at that point – I was ready to hire. I– It came much faster than I expected it to. By the end of that year, we were up at about 10 dog walkers, and we’ve just steadily grown ever since.

SOT Becky: You’ve been giving them shorter walks in the heat? Dog Walker: Yeah. If they’re big like Casey and they can’t handle it.

CARD: Becky’s Pet Care now employs more than 80 people. It has about 2,500 active clients and makes an average of 350 home visits a day.

Becky I’m not a pet care provider anymore. I am now an administrator. And so stepping out of what you love and into the running of the business is a big challenge. I don’t do the work of the business anymore, now I work on the business. I’m currently investigating opening a self-serve doggy wash. It would be a way to support my clients and grow my business multi-dimensionally.

TSE: You really are natural business woman, aren’t you?

Becky: I guess so. Business seems to come fairly easily to me. I think I’m more of an idea person. I can make the plans, I can put them on paper, but the implementation, I need help with a lot of times.

SOT Becky: And how is your schedule? You having too many dogs, not enough dogs?

Becky: Having Becky’s Pet Care has allowed me to spend a lot more time with my children although there were times when the business encompassed all of me, uhm more than any job ever would’ve. I’ve also always had the flexibility to stay home with them when they’re sick, go on a field trip…

TSE How big do you want to get?

Becky: The sky’s the limit. I mean, I just want to be a part of all the pets in Northern Virginia.

Credits

Producers – Victoria Wang and Sue Williams
Director – Sue Williams
Editor – Merril Stern
Director of New Media and Outreach – Karin Kamp
Director of Photography – Sam Shinn
Production Assistant – Nusha Balyan and Erika Howard
Assistant Editor – David Scorca
Music – Killer Tracks
Graphics – Robin Brunelle

Photos Courtesy of:
Brandi Jordan
Djpmapleferryman
Pickersgill Reef
Maarten Dirkse
Tetting
www.photographyicon.com

© Ambrica Productions

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