For this Client Spotlight, we are excited to feature Mandi and Barbie & Company Pet Services in Durham, NC. Mandi and her team make sure that every pet in their care receives the reliable and compassionate attention they deserve. Barbie & Company offers a variety of pet care services designed to provide the best care possible for every beloved pet. Whether it's a standard dog walk, a home visit, a custom-tailored service, or a professional pet photography session, Barbie & Company Pet Services makes sure that everyone is a happy camper — pets and their humans! With over twenty years of experience caring for pets, Mandi makes it easy for pet parents to find peace of mind when they aren't home.
There is no question that Mandi loves animals. That is especially evident from her business's name, which comes from her dog, Barbie — a beautiful lab and greyhound mix that has been by Mandi's side for twelve years! While it was always clear that she loved spending time with pets, owning her own pet care business wasn't Mandi's original plan. She actually started down a completely different career path, working several jobs, never finding one that left her feeling fulfilled. That is, until she started walking dogs part-time. It wasn't long before her reputation as a reliable pet care provider grew, and she was getting enough requests to make pet care her full-time job.
And the rest is history — Barbie & Company Pet Services was born! Mandi is always busy now, but never feels that dread she used to feel heading into her old office jobs. She now spends her days doing what she loves while also providing an amazing service for the pet parents of Durham, NC. So if you are in the Durham area and find yourself in need of outstanding pet care or professional pet photography, make sure to reach out to Mandi and her team. You can find more information about services and scheduling on the Barbie & Company Pet Services Website. Also, make sure to check them out on Facebook and Instagram!
Why did you get into pet sitting/dog walking?
While I have always loved animals, running a pet sitting business was never my dream growing up. When I was younger, I did want to go to vet school, but that wasn't the path I ended up taking. I actually received a degree in Fashion Merchandising and then worked a bunch of unfulfilling jobs after graduating, mostly in retail management, for about eight years. I then worked part-time for a construction company start-up and wasn't getting enough hours, so I started looking elsewhere to make extra income. I was so tired of working jobs where I wasn't happy, and I was thinking: what can I do that will make me money and I will look forward to going to work every day?
And so I started dog walking part-time when I wasn't working for the other company — it was such a nice change to get out from behind a desk, get outside & be with dogs! I started getting more & more referrals and requests, and eventually, I was able to turn my part-time gig into a full-time career. It was a huge leap of faith to get started, but I haven't looked back since! While I typically work every day — never having the dreaded thought of "Ugh, I don't want to go to work today" makes it all worth it.
What is the most fulfilling part of owning a pet sitting/dog walking business?
Obviously, #1 is hanging out with dogs and cats every day! I could seriously be upset or having an off day, and then I get to my favorite dog or cat's house, and my day just instantly brightens. How many people can say they actually get in a better mood once they get to work?? And our (human) clients are just the best also! During this pandemic, they have really supported me & the company so unbelievably. Their kindness and encouragement has been like no other — I am so very lucky! And while we aren't saving the world with our dog walking and pet sitting skills, being able to help others with their pets every day is very fulfilling for me. I also think just owning/running a successful local small business is satisfying on its own. There is truly nothing like being your own boss!!
What is the most challenging?
Probably finding good, reliable help that you can 100% trust! I have started this business from nothing and grown it into what it is today, and I am terrified to bring in the wrong person who could ruin it all for me in an instant. These clients have trusted me for years with their house keys, their homes & possessions, and, most importantly, their furry children! This business requires a lot of trust already from the client's end, and I want to make them feel as comfortable as possible with who is in their home and with their babies. Other people in the pet industry can relate!! Another challenge is probably working seven days a week most weeks, working nights, weekends & holidays. I got out of retail management for that reason alone, so its tough to go back to that. Hopefully, with the company growing in the future, more nights & weekends off will be coming very soon!!
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Well, if you asked me this question at the very beginning of 2020, I might have a slightly different answer!! Haha! I am hoping to grow a little bit to help more pet owners in the area, but honestly, not too much because I think one of the reasons our clients love us is because we are a small team that is honest and trustworthy. I would also like to tap into the cat rescue/sanctuary world a little bit but not sure what all that would entail just yet!
What has Time To Pet changed the most about how you run your business?
Time to Pet has honestly been a game-changer for us! A wonderful, fellow pet sitter friend recommended TTP, and I seriously couldn't go back now. Being a solo sitter for many years, I was housing all information for clients in my memory and on paper, and it was working well until it wasn't. It was getting to the point where I couldn't possibly remember all the little details anymore on how much food everybody got, phone numbers, codes, addresses, pets ages, etc. I was also planning on hiring somebody and knew they couldn't read all the information from inside my head, and it had to belong elsewhere. The scheduling, invoicing & communicating all in one place is just what I needed — especially after bringing on help. Having all the information they needed readily available, and being able to communicate with my clients themselves has been amazing. I can't rave about Time to Pet enough, and my clients really love it too!