123Pet customers are passionate small business owners who excel at what they do. As part of our commitment to supporting and educating entrepreneurs, we aim to showcase our customers’ expertise in growing successful businesses.
We recently sat down with Deana Deitchler, owner of Dogs Paw Inc. in Park Rapids, Minnesota, to talk about all of the considerations that go into creating and running a full-service dog care center—from designing your dream workplace to planning for difficult situations.
Q: What is your favorite part about running a pet services business?
A: It’s hard to name just one thing because there are so many great parts to running this type of business. Of course, I love providing quality pet care—that’s number one—but I also love that, as a business owner, I get to choose who I work with, both in terms of clients and employees. Not everybody has a job where they get to design their work environment like that. I’m fortunate to have that sort of control.
Q: What advice would you give to other professionals who want to pursue careers in the pet business?
A: First and foremost, make sure you plan for difficult situations. When people enter the pet industry, they think it will be fun all the time, but that’s not the case when you’re handling animals. Even under careful supervision, pets can still get hurt or fight with one another. People are very attached to their pets, so you need to make sure you’re taking care of them. This means having a plan in action for dealing with tough situations when they occur. Develop a training program that covers standard operating procedures for new hires, so they know what the pet-safety protocols are for these sorts of situations from the start.
Q: What made you decide to invest in business management software?
A: I opened my business in 2008 and was doing everything on paper—from booking to billing—and chasing my tail to figure out appointments and financials every day. I was struggling to keep track of my customer base, especially because handwriting everything was getting messy.
In 2011, I started out with a simple version of 123Pet—bought out of a catalog—and have since added more features onto my program as they became available. I have evaluated other solutions over the years because I like to see what other people in the industry are using and make sure I still have the best available option. But each time I look, I end up sticking with 123Pet. As I’ve grown my company, the software has grown alongside it. The team behind 123Pet always tries to navigate the challenges of the industry and figure out what functions would be most helpful to users.
The 123Pet team also pays attention to what customers have to say and are able to stay ahead of our needs by developing new solutions to our problems. Every so often, I call with feedback, and they really listen. I’ve also met the staff at trade shows and they’re amazing. Their help and support are better than any of their competitors who tried to sell me software.
Q: Which 123Pet features are the most helpful to you and your employees?
A: The email and texting features are super simple ways to stay in direct contact with customers. They allow us to send notifications about promotions and appointment alerts, which has reduced the number of missed appointments.
The retail functions are also incredible. 123Pet is the only software that tracks inventory at the scale my company needs. It also allows me to easily export the data into an Excel document to analyze and share with other companies I’m looking to do business with. With this data, I can look back at the numbers from previous years to track my growth and compare how the business is currently doing.
My employees love how helpful the ticket creation features are, too. 123Pet makes it easy for them to create tickets and enter all the information they need—just like they’re working off a piece of paper in front of them. The software’s search functionality also offers several ways to find a ticket; you can search by customer or pet name and easily pull up the information you need in a timely manner.
Overall, 123Pet is very user-friendly, which allows my team to quickly deliver the quality service customers want and expect when they bring their pets to us.