Meeting the Demand for Pet Care in America
OUTdrive Episode 83 with Collin Funkhouser
An ASPCA survey revealed that nearly 23 million Americans welcomed a pet during the height of the pandemic in 2020 – aptly referred to as “pandemic puppies.” And, according to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, a majority (75%-85%) of pet owners think of their pets as family. Pair those statistics together and you have a huge market of pet owners returning to work with no one to care for their beloved pets while they are away. In today’s episode of OUTdrive, I sat down with Collin Funkhouser, who turned his dog walking side gig into a booming pet care business.
Collin and his wife, Meghan, are the owners of Funky Bunch Pet Care, providing home-based pet sitting and services in rural America. The couple started pet sitting part-time to help pay for their college tuition, and in 2012 they established the Funky Bunch name. In 2020, they made it their full-time profession and now provide pet care to over 200 clients in Sedalia. Due to continued growth and demand, they recently opened a service line in Springfield. In addition to being business owners, Collin and Meghan also host the Pet Sitter Confessional, a podcast by pet sitters for pet sitters.
Before focusing solely on their small business, Collin spent time working for the Missouri Department of Conservation in Sedalia. He also has an extensive wildlife education, holding a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Missouri State, a master’s in Natural Resource Management from Texas Tech and a PhD in quantitative biology from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Tune into this episode to learn how Collin and Meghan are doing all the right things from a marketing perspective to grow their brand and small business. With a quick visit to their social media platforms or podcast, you’ll see that this couple is one funky bunch with a passion for pets.
- 3:00 – Collin gives an overview of his background and education path
- 5:00 – Collin explains how he and his wife got involved in the pet care business as a side gig to pay for graduate school
- 6:00 – How Collin ended up in Sedalia, Missouri and his time working with the conservation department
- 8:00 – How Collin and his wife transitioned to making pet care their full time job
- 9:30 – Collin explains how he builds trust with clients through digital platforms
- 12:30 – Collin takes Cliff through the process of booking a client and the steps of the pet care service
- 16:00 – How people can contact Collin and Meghan for their services
- 17:00 – Collin talks about how they got started doing their podcast, Pet Sitter Confessional, and dives into the difficult topics of the pet sitting lifestyle
- 20:30 – Collin and Cliff talk about scalability and taking the steps to grow a small business
- 23:30 – Collin and Cliff discuss search marketing and search results as part of connecting with clients
- 24:45 – Collin shares some of the branding strategies he is seeing in other pet care businesses across the country
- 27:30 – Collin describes the Funky Bunch Pet Care brand
- 29:15 – Collin dives into some of the challenges of the pet care industry from educating clients to dealing with pandemic puppies
- 32:15 – How Collin and Meghan continue their pet care education and stay up to date with certifications
- 34:00 – Collin tells Cliff what he loves about rural America