Jaime Deason opened Fetch! Silver Spring in 2007 after struggling to find reliable, quality care for her own pets. Since that time, she and her team have built a reputation for providing trustworthy dog walking and pet sitting services in their area.
Fetch! Pet Care Silver Spring serves a group of communities in the Maryland/Metro DC area, including Silver Spring, Takoma Park, North Bethesda, Brookland, and Petworth.
As the business has grown, Jaime’s understanding of the finances had to grow with it. “I am not a numbers person,” she says. “It was not my original life plan to be a business owner.” When she first opened, Jaime relied on her compassion for others and treating her clients’ pets as if they were each her own. As their reputation grew and business picked up she knew she had to begin to focus on more of the nuts and bolts of the business side of things.
Jaime worked closely with Harry Loyle, a cofounder and close friend of MLA. “Harry flew out from Dayton to meet with me and my team,” she remembers. “He helped us become more thorough in our processes and procedures.” Jaime also learned how looking at the numbers helped her better understand what was happening in her business.
For the last few years, Jaime has worked with Brian Morgan, an MLA Financial Advisor. Building on the foundation created by Harry and Jaime, Brian has grown into the role of a trusted advisor to Fetch! Silver Spring.
When the pandemic hit, the length and effects it would have on business were a complete unknown. However, the finances inside Fetch! Silver Spring were not. The business had seen steady growth heading into 2020. “We were on track for 2020 to be our best year ever,” says Jaime. Upon the shutdown, the first concern was for her clients and sitters. “We had to figure out how to operate for clients who were essential workers in a way that was safe for our staff.” She and her team kept up to date with all local guidelines and developed new visit procedures.
At the same time, she worked with Brian Morgan, her MLA partner to apply for emergency funds so she could continue to pay her employees and keep the business up and running during the time many businesses in her area were shut down. Instead of following her existing plan for growth, Jaime was left responding to the pandemic as it developed.
“The business was pretty streamlined already, and we were working off a long-term outlook,” Jaime says. “That helped us know how long we could go before we dip into our credit and when we would have to make big structural changes.” This clear financial picture helped Jaime look at cost savings to keep her business alive.
“Once things slowly started to open back up the hardest question was when and how many sitters to hire,” she remembers. “In a normal year, I would have added 20 new members to our team. But in 2020 we only brought on six people.” While things have started to improve, that time has had lasting effects on her business. “We essentially ended up having to start over, almost from scratch. This January we were still down by 40%. We are still rebuilding, and are finally seeing an increase this summer,” she says.
“People have new pets, even if they’re not going back to work.” Jaime feels more hopeful and is enjoying the business again. “It’s been a good source of income for my family,” she says, “and it gives me the flexibility to be there for my kids.” Jaime’s furry family members include a Hound mix named Dusty, a Labradoodle named Mookie, and her son’s Winter White Dwarf hamster, Chestnut.
She knows there are still opportunities to grow trustworthy services in her area. “Pet owners are eager to find the kind of quality care our team provides for their furry family members.” And Fetch! Pet Care Silver Spring is there to provide that!