Contra Costa SBDCPleasant Hill, CA

“I recommend the SBDC to anyone wanting to grow or expand a small business. We feel very fortunate to have the support of such a well run organization.”

Lisa Ronan & Paula Rego

Pet Care Turns a Profit in Walnut Creek

Happy Go Lucky Pet Care is a professional in-home pet care service provider. Their services include dog walking, pet sitting visits, puppy care, and pet transportation. They are located in Walnut Creek.

In 2007, Lisa and her now partner, Paula, left their corporate jobs and formed a partnership agreement, became bonded and insured with the intent of starting a business. Knowing that their clients were concerned with safety, the partners obtained Pet First Aid and CPR Certification through the American Red Cross. Finding clients and selling their services was easy and the partners were well on their way to realizing their dream.

When Lisa and Paula decided to post their services on Craigslist, they soon had paying clients. However, these clients came from cities ranging in distance from San Francisco and Concord to Danville.

They needed other effective yet inexpensive marketing tactics. The partners also wanted a better way to handle the division of tasks needed to run the business as well as a tool to help them make shared general business management decisions.

In August 2007, Lisa found the New Venture Training program through the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center and quickly enrolled through the Concord office. 

By attending the class, Lisa had the opportunity to work with specialists in marketing and finance, and gain access to library research, focused discussions and a step-by-step workbook that led to a more comprehensive business plan that both her and her partner could agree on. Her SBDC Business Advisor was instrumental in guiding Lisa through the business plan development process to make their business idea practical and achievable.

Happy Go Lucky Pet Care implemented their business plan, immediately focusing on nearby zip codes identified as having the greatest need and ability to pay for pet care services.

With geographic area focus, a passion for pets, and exceptional customer service (updates including photos of pet with a diary of their pets activity while the owners are away), Lisa and Paula increased their sales 40 percent by year end and now have sales 4 times their original level. New efficiencies gained allowed the partners to spend more time in community animal events.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.