The effects of COVID-19 on the economy will be felt and analyzed for decades to come. But one thing is already clear. A record number of individuals are starting their own business, acting on the invitation provided by the pandemic to own a business.
4.3 million applications for business licenses were filed in 2020 which was almost a million more than in 2019. Over half of those who formed small businesses did so because of an economic need, and one-third specifically because they lost their jobs.
MLA works with many startups and entrepreneurs, including some surprising ones. Our confidence about the future comes in large part because we’ve seen entrepreneurs combine passion, hard work and sound business financial principles to become successful business owners.
Big Business for Furry Friends
Pet ownership increased dramatically during COVID, with 70% of US households now owning a pet. In addition, spending on pets was up as much as 50% over the previous year. So, it should be no surprise that dog walking and pet sitting is big business.
MLA serves two clients who are part of the Fetch! Pet Care franchise system. Fetch! Pet Care provides a range of services for pet owners who are at work or away for travel. While other pet-related spending remained strong, the pet sitting and dog walking business was hit hard during the pandemic.
“Our company revenue was down 82% year over year due to the shutdown,” says Jay Barrett, owner of Fetch! Pet Care in Washington, DC, and Birmingham, AL. “As a business owner, I never planned for a global pandemic. My entire team pulled together and pivoted the business over the course of a week.”
MLA was instrumental in getting Fetch! operating capital through the various government programs which kept us afloat and our team employed. “Today we are back to almost 90% of our pre-COVID revenue numbers and grateful our clients stuck with us,” Jay notes.
It’s a similar story in nearby Silver Spring, MD. “We were on track for the best year ever in 2020,” says Jaime Deason, owner of Fetch! Pet Care Silver Spring. “Instead, we essentially ended up having to start almost from scratch. This January we were still down by 40%. We are still rebuilding, and are finally seeing an increase this summer. Pet owners are eager to find the kind of quality care our team provides for their furry family members.”
Work For Yourself and Others
Pet care services are coming back. Jay and Jaime’s teams continue to work their tails off to provide loving, reliable, and competitive service. We’ll have more in-depth interviews with Jaime and Jay in upcoming articles. Meanwhile, check out their Instagram feeds to see some of their four-legged (and two-legged) friends! Fetch! Silver Spring andFetch! DC Metro.