Our Pet Care Service Doubled in Less Than 3 Years [Update]

Published: January 13th, 2024
Benny DiFranco
Founder, Hands N Paws
Hands N Paws
from Columbus, OH, USA
started May 2018
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
270 days
growth channels
Word of mouth
business model
best tools
Quickbooks, Canva, Instagram
time investment
Side project
pros & cons
40 Pros & Cons
6 Tips
Discover what tools Benny recommends to grow your business!
web hosting
social media
stock images
Discover what books Benny recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hello! My name is Benny DiFranco and I am the enthusiastic owner of Hands N Paws, a dynamic and heartwarming business that's all about providing the best care for pets when their owners can't be around. Our journey began with a simple yet powerful idea, detailed in our original starter story interview, about creating a service that would offer peace of mind to pet parents everywhere.

At the core of Hands N Paws are our in-home pet sitting and dog walking services in Columbus, Ohio. We understand that pet parents often have busy schedules or need to travel, leaving them worried about their furry family members. Our services are designed to cater to these needs, ensuring that pets receive the love, care, and attention they deserve in the comfort of their own home, or through enjoyable and safe walks in their familiar neighborhoods. Our clients range from working professionals to frequent travelers, all seeking reliable and compassionate care for their pets.

What truly sets Hands N Paws apart is our commitment to providing a personalized and stress-free experience for both pets and their owners. This dedication has translated into remarkable growth for our business. Today, Hands N Paws is not just a service but a trusted name in pet care in Columbus, Ohio, reflected in our consistently increasing clientele and revenue.

Below is an image of our vibrant branding, which embodies the joy and trust Hands N Paws brings to every pet household. We're more than just a service; we're a lifeline for pet owners who need that extra help in ensuring their pets are happy and well-cared for. Join our Hands N Paws family and feel the difference!

This is the current team at Hands N Paws! Photo taken 12/16/23:


The recent surge in pet ownership trends worked in our favor, as more people sought reliable pet care services. This external trend, coupled with our strong reputation, led to an unexpected but welcome boost in our business.

Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

Since our last discussion, Hands N Paws has experienced a phenomenal trajectory of growth and change. From our early days, we have become a recognized and trusted name in the pet care sector, anchored by our unwavering dedication to quality service and deep affection for our animal clients.

Our most significant milestone has been the substantial growth in our customer base and revenue. The demand for our in-home Columbus pet sitting and dog walking services has soared beyond our initial projections. This growth is more than just a statistic; it reflects the deep trust and satisfaction of our clients who view Hands N Paws as an essential part of their pet’s well-being.

In the following chart, you can see we’ve brought on 151 new clients over two years from 1/1/22 to 12/31/23. Additionally, it illustrates the distribution of these clients based on the number of services they have signed up for. This chart indicates that the majority of clients have had visits within the 1-100 visit range. It suggests that a significant portion of our business comes from pet sitting clients who require our services infrequently, such as when they travel.


We put in a continuous effort to reach out to pet parents interested in regular dog walking services, as a substantial portion of our success stems from consistent income. Below is a breakdown of the monthly visits completed by the 151 new clients.


The data reveals that the majority of them have completed 0-10 visits per month, which is fantastic as it still contributes to our retainer income.

Additionally, here's a depiction of how our revenue has changed over the last two years. While there have been consistent fluctuations with both increases and decreases, the overall trend reflects pretty positive growth and I’m happy with the numbers!


To drive this growth, we’ve adopted various strategies to boost traffic and sales. Enhancing our online presence through website optimization and active engagement on social media platforms has been key. These efforts have not only attracted new clients but also kept our existing ones engaged and informed.

Responding to increasing demand, we expanded our team, bringing on board new employees who share our passion and vision. We ensure that each member is thoroughly trained to maintain our high standards of pet care. Additionally, we introduced new services like overnight sits, broadening our appeal to a more diverse clientele.

In the marketing realm, we’ve ventured into new channels that resonate with our audience. Targeted email campaigns and participation in local community events have been particularly successful, enhancing our visibility and strengthening community ties. Our content marketing strategy, focusing on useful pet care tips and heartwarming stories, has also resonated well with pet owners.

While embracing new marketing strategies, we’ve noticed a decline in the effectiveness of some traditional channels. Print advertising and some social media platforms, for example, haven’t yielded the same level of results as in the past. We’re constantly evaluating and adapting our approach to align with evolving trends and customer preferences.

Customer retention is central to our operations. We've introduced loyalty programs, referral bonuses, and personalized services to make each client feel special. Our emphasis on building strong, long-term relationships has resulted in high repeat business and strong word-of-mouth recommendations.

On the public relations front, Hands N Paws has gained recognition through features in local publications and pet care blogs, highlighting our unique approach to pet care. Our involvement in community events and pet welfare initiatives has further cemented our standing as a caring and responsible business in the pet care industry.

Lastly, and not to be understated, we've been fortunate to bring onboard an exceptional group of individuals who constitute our team. Our pet sitters and dog walkers are nothing short of stellar, pouring their hearts into every aspect of their work. Their dedication has undeniably contributed to the success we've experienced.

Furthermore, it's crucial to note that my primary focus on nurturing and supporting my team has genuinely been the driving force behind our growth. By fostering a positive and collaborative work environment, we've created a space where each team member feels valued and motivated to give their best. This emphasis on team cohesion and support has not only enhanced our working dynamics but has also been instrumental in achieving and sustaining our business growth.

Here are some photos of our team doing what they do best–loving the animals!






To sum up, Hands N Paws’ journey is an inspiring story of growth, learning, and a profound love for pets. We look forward to the future with excitement, committed to providing the best care to our furry friends and their families all with the help of our amazingly devoted team of pet care technicians.

It’s important to be agile and responsive to market changes. It's essential to not just rely on what has worked in the past but to be open to new ideas and strategies.

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

At Hands N Paws, our daily mission revolves around ensuring the highest quality of care and comfort for pets entrusted to us. The challenge that consistently occupies our thoughts is maintaining the delicate balance between scaling our business and preserving the personal touch that sets us apart. It's like walking a tightrope where one misstep could mean compromising the trust and rapport we've built with our clients and their beloved pets.

Reflecting on the adage "What worked in the past won't necessarily work in the future," we've had to embrace significant changes to propel Hands N Paws to the next level. One of the toughest decisions was hiring someone to fill my role in certain operational and administrative aspects.

As the business grew, it became clear that I couldn't be in two places at once, and delegating responsibilities was crucial for growth. This transition wasn't easy; it meant letting go of certain controls and entrusting my vision to someone else. It's a move that pushed me out of my comfort zone and sometimes led to internal struggles and bouts of imposter syndrome. Am I doing enough? Am I still as relevant to my business as I was in the beginning?

Amidst these transformations, the threat of stagnating growth and burnout was ever-present. It's a constant battle to stay innovative and motivated, especially when the path forward isn't always clear.

However, these challenges have also been a source of growth, both personally and for Hands N Paws. They have taught us resilience, adaptability, and the importance of self-care. By opening up about these vulnerabilities, I aim to emphasize that the most significant lesson for me in this delegation process is the realization that it's not just okay but essential to let go of control. This release is crucial for enabling others to flourish under my leadership. It's truly a story of growth, both for me and the team, as we embrace collaboration and shared success.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

In the ever-evolving journey of Hands N Paws, I've encountered my fair share of mistakes and challenges that have been crucial to our growth story. Looking back, there were instances of poor decisions and missed opportunities that initially seemed like setbacks.

For instance, I hesitated to adopt new digital marketing strategies, which led to a slower growth rate compared to our competitors. This was a tough lesson in the importance of staying adaptable and embracing change.

On a personal front, one of the most significant updates has been my journey towards personal development. I've taken up mindfulness and leadership courses, which have not only improved my decision-making skills but also enhanced my ability to lead and inspire my team. This personal growth has had a positive ripple effect on the business, fostering a more productive and harmonious work environment.

As noted in my answer to the previous question, I’ve embraced the concept of letting go to delegate duties to others who wish to shine in their ways under a single leader. This has allowed me to successfully hire an administrator for Hands N Paws who oversees client and team support and other daily operational duties. As a result, I’ve been able to focus on the growth of the business, ensuring our consistency in making a positive impact

Among the good decisions, forming strategic partnerships with local pet shelters and veterinarians stands out. These collaborations have not only expanded our customer base but also strengthened our community presence.

Additionally, refining our Columbus pet service offerings to include specialized care for different pet needs has been a game-changer, setting us apart in a crowded market.

Luck and timing have also played their part. The recent surge in pet ownership trends worked in our favor, as more people sought reliable pet care services. This external trend, coupled with our strong reputation, led to an unexpected but welcome boost in our business.

These experiences have taught me invaluable lessons. One key takeaway is the importance of being agile and responsive to market changes. It's essential to not just rely on what has worked in the past but to be open to new ideas and strategies. Another lesson is the power of community and collaboration. Building strong networks and partnerships can be a catalyst for growth.

In terms of helpful habits and skills, my ability to listen and empathize has been instrumental. Understanding the needs and concerns of both my clients and my team has helped me make more informed decisions. Additionally, staying organized and focused, even under pressure, has been crucial in navigating the ups and downs of running a business. These habits and skills have not only aided in overcoming challenges but have also been the cornerstone of the trust and reliability that Hands N Paws is known for.

Embracing change, whether it's in market trends, customer preferences, or technological advancements, is essential.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

As we look forward, Hands N Paws is set on a path of exciting growth and innovation. Our focus is to deepen and expand within our current realm of services, ensuring that we continue to excel in providing top-notch pet sitting and dog walking services.

We're anticipating a boost in revenue with the introduction of a promising new administrative position in 2024; however, we are not opposed to maintaining our current trajectory. Regardless of how much we grow, our commitment is to maintain the excellence and personalized care that our clients have come to expect from us. This is our “why” – the driving force and “heart” behind what we do.

In an exciting new venture, we've recently launched an e-commerce store featuring a range of pet apparel, as well as apparel for pet owners. This move is not just about diversifying our offerings but also about creating a more holistic Hands N Paws experience. Our products are carefully selected to resonate with the lifestyle and values of our clients, offering style, comfort, and a touch of fun.

Looking to the future, our vision for Hands N Paws is clear: to be a trusted, innovative leader in the pet care industry, offering services and products that enhance the lives of pets and their parents.

Our short-term goal is to establish and grow our online store, ensuring it reflects the quality and ethos of our brand. In the long term, we aim to strengthen our market presence both in services and products, becoming the go-to brand for pet sitting in Columbus, Ohio.

This journey excites us as we continue to adapt and grow. The next five years are about solidifying our reputation, expanding our customer base, and innovating in ways that align with our core values. Hands N Paws is more than a business; it's a commitment to enriching the bond between pets and their families.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

In the journey of growing Hands N Paws, I've found invaluable insights and inspiration from various books and podcasts, particularly those focusing on understanding and managing the ego. One such influential book is "Ego is the Enemy" by Ryan Holiday.

This book delves into how our ego can often be a significant barrier to success, offering historical and contemporary examples. It emphasizes the importance of humility, resilience, and the willingness to learn, all of which are crucial in the business world. Understanding these concepts has been pivotal in shaping my leadership style and decision-making process, ensuring that I remain focused on what truly matters for the growth and sustainability of Hands N Paws.

Another resource that has profoundly impacted my approach to business is the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show." In various episodes, Ferriss interviews successful entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers, exploring their habits, routines, and philosophies. The insights shared about overcoming personal limitations, embracing change, and continual learning have been incredibly motivating.

These resources have not only provided practical advice but have also encouraged a deeper self-reflection about my role and aspirations as a business owner. Learning about the ego and its influence has been a game-changer, enabling me to navigate business challenges with a more grounded and strategic mindset.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

One key learning is the importance of focusing on building strong relationships with your clients and understanding their unique needs. In the pet care industry, trust is paramount. By taking the time to genuinely connect with our clients and their pets, we've been able to create a loyal customer base and a strong referral network. This approach may seem intuitive, but it's often overlooked in the rush to scale a business.

Another critical lesson is the value of adaptability. The business landscape is ever-changing, and rigidity can be a significant hindrance. Embracing change, whether it's in market trends, customer preferences, or technological advancements, is essential. For instance, our foray into e-commerce was a step out of our comfort zone, but it proved to be a valuable extension of our brand.

A common mistake I often see among entrepreneurs is neglecting self-care and wellness in the pursuit of business success. Burnout is real and can be detrimental not just personally but also to your business. Prioritizing work-life balance, mental health, and physical well-being is crucial. Remember, your business needs you at your best.

Lastly, be inspired to dream big but also be grounded in reality. It's great to have ambitious goals, but they should be backed by actionable plans. Celebrate small victories along the way, and don't be disheartened by setbacks. They are part of the journey and offer valuable lessons.

At Hands N Paws, every challenge we've faced has been an opportunity to learn and grow stronger. Believe in your vision, stay committed to your values, and keep evolving. Your passion and persistence are your greatest assets. Keep pushing forward, and remember, the journey is as important as the destination.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We at Hands N Paws are excited to announce that we are always seeking to expand our team of pet sitters and dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio! This opportunity is perfect for those who love spending time with pets and are looking for a change of pace in their careers.

Our team members play a crucial role in providing top-notch care and companionship to our furry clients. Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur seeking a flexible work option, or someone who simply loves animals and wants to make a difference in their lives, this is an ideal role for you.

The positions are paid and offer both full-time and part-time options to accommodate your schedule. If you're interested in becoming a part of the Hands N Paws family and making a positive impact on the lives of pets and their owners, please visit for more details and to apply.

Join us in our mission to provide the best care for pets in Columbus!

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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