Claire Rhodes knows how important it is to have peace of mind when you leave your beloved dog behind to go away on holiday.
The Yorkshire mum-of -four spotted a gap in the market eight years ago when she was looking after her friends’ dogs.
“Many people feel their dogs are too precious to be left in kennels – they enjoy their holidays more if they have peace of mind, knowing their dogs are content in a more homely environment,” said Claire.
As the demand for “home dog boarding” increased, Claire set up her Holidays4Dogs business in 2006 and hasn’t looked back.
“It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve enjoyed every minute – we all share a love of dogs and I think that shines through everything we do at Holidays4Dogs. We offer people a safe local home environment for their dogs with people who love dogs as much as they do.
“I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved and know that people like what we do. Every week we get hundreds of people telling us how wonderful Holidays4Dogs is on our Facebook pages so we must be doing something right!”
Since 2006, Holidays4Dogs has grown from strength to strength. It is still run from the family farm in Holme-on-Spalding Moor where Claire has now converted stables into offices. A team of six work six days a week manning the phones and supporting carers.
The business handles over 6,000 holidays a year and has more than 600 approved carers.
Claire has worked hard to create an online booking system – a very sophisticated and bespoke integrated management system which matches dogs to carers. Dog owners who want to go on holiday can now book direct online.
“We’ve had people book online literally from the travel agents as they prepare to book their holiday,” said Claire.
As well as an active website, the business has a growing dog community on its Facebook site with 38,000 likes.
The business has grown so much now that it is offering franchise opportunities to people who want to run their own business, based on the same model and with central support – there has already been some take up from certain regions.
“We were getting so busy that we realized that if we were going to keep up such a high level of customer service and close interaction with dog owners and carers, we needed support. Now people can buy into the concept and create their own Holiays4Dogs business in their own area, with our support,” said Claire.