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Services 2011-09-01

Pet care: no more a petty issue

By Abha Garyali Sub Editor

Committed to serve pets and groom them for a better life is Scoopy Scrub. Started as Pet Bytes by a husband and wife team, the brand has developed into a complete franchise concept. Sanjeev Kumar, Owner, Scoopy Scrub shares the origin and development of the brand.

Abha Garyali (AG): How has been your entrepreneurial journey from Pet Bytes to Scoopy Scrub? Share with us the inception, growth and success of ‘Scoopy Scrub.

Sanjeev Kumar (SK): I along with my wife have always been passionate about pets and animals. The moment, the idea of pet shops and grooming parlour came to us, we dropped our careers (myself as a Bank Manager and my wife as a School Teacher) and got on with doing something we have always enjoyed doing the most, simultaneously making a living out of it as well.

Besides grooming we then forayed into the field of providing all related services like pet boarding and lodging, dog trainers, guard dogs and handlers, home bathing service, fish aquariums and servicing, pet transportation and many more enabling us to stay close to the four legged ones including all kinds of pets at all times.

Pet grooming being a totally new concept in India was not easy to establish. Yes, it is commercially viable but at present the margins are very low as all the high maintenance equipment being used by us is imported and very expensive.

AG: When and what inspired you to adopt the franchise route for expansion of Scoopy Scrub?

SK: Opening a pet saloon or giving a bath/spa to a dog was unheard of. Having done our research on pet grooming we had only discouraging feedbacks from all including leading vets in our country. To us, creating such a facility was more of a necessity for pets & pet owners rather than a business venture.

With no training facility in India, we then had to do a lot of research and decided to peruse our grooming courses abroad. It is then that we decided that once capable, we will offer grooming courses ourselves in India as well. Having established ourselves as the leading brands/groomers in India we then decided to extend the same to all.

AG: The pet grooming centre is still a niche segment but there can be competition at later stages. What strategies will you adopt to face this competition?

SK: At the time when we got into this line there were not even handful players in this trade. All these years Pets Shops and Clinics have been there but Grooming brought in the glamour component attracting attention to all attributes related and has majorly helped the Pet Industry to grow multi-fold over the last few years in India.

We want the industry to grow and more and more pet lovers to get involved educating all about proper pet keeping & handling. At Scoopy Scrub & Pet Bytes we are very confident and are known for our service standards, so we will at all times be ready to take on any kind of competition and welcome the same.

AG: What is the USP of Scoopy Scrub? What are its offerings?

SK: Scoopy Scrub was the very first to introduce Breed Specific Styling in India and are capable to Show groom any breed available all across the world. Pets groomed at our parlours are winning dog shows all across India. Pet grooming is a very broad term in contrast with what majority think as a simple bath and brush of one’s pet.

AG: What according to you is the scope for aspiring franchisees in this business?

SK: As the pet Industry is growing at a very fast pace with a lot of well educated, well established individuals stepping into this field, the Indian pet Industry is set to grow further and so will the franchisees. For aspiring pet groomers, the comfort of being with a well-established leading brand with a pan India image is much higher as compared with any other, so we do see the franchise network attaining its own growth levels.

AG: How many franchisees do you have presently? What are your future expansion plans?

SK: Presently we have five self-owned outlets in Delhi/NCR, and three franchises offering to the beat services by professional groomers trained by us, one being in Jaipur (Paws 2 Think) second in Hyderabad (Nails n Tails) and the third in Pune (Smaart Petsz). Shortly we are opening two more of our branches in Delhi/NCR and target to be 20 outlets strong within 2011-2012, with over 40 franchise queries are under discussion.

Five years from now we aim to have a Pet Bytes and or Scoopy Scrub branch/franchise in each and every major city or satellite town in India. Further to add, we are under discussions to open franchise in Thailand & Nepal as well and aim beyond.

AG: What are the qualities and qualifications that you seek for in your franchisees? How much investment is required by aspiring franchisees?

SK: The top most qualification for anybody to get our franchise is that they have to be ardent pet lovers ready to serve the pet world besides being ready for hard work with total dedication.

Though the investment will always vary in terms of the location and the City, a basic level start-up will only need not more than Rs 3 - 4 lakh (approx.) in the beginning. Also, as now due to our well established network in India and abroad, we are able to get all the products at a far better a price as compared to five – six years back.

AG: How does the company support and train franchisees?

SK: We have worked very hard to establish the brands and the image that they carry so will always ensure that the standard levels at a franchisee are always met and maintained with that of any of our self-owned outlets. So, all franchises have to have gone through a grooming course with us themselves or can take a professional groomer trained under us to run their salon.  Proper training is given in all aspects related with pets, breeds, their behaviour patterns, equipment and food and accessories related with the Pet Shop, besides many other inputs.

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