It was evident from a lively discussion with Jeanne Crockett, owner of the Crockett’s Critter Care, that she deeply cares about pets, her clients, her employees and her chosen pet sitting profession. “My clients, staff, associates and colleagues can expect professionalism in every aspect of my business,” said Crockett.
Like many small business owners, Jeanne had a life event in 2009 that nudged her toward starting a business that she had been thinking about for a while. When she made the decision to become a small business she was “all in.” Crockett said, “I had no Plan B, I wanted to make this work.”
Crockett started as a sole proprietor in 2009 and joined Pet Sitters International. In 2012, she completed the NC Real Entrepreneurship Training through the Small Business Center at Craven Community College. She also continued to increase her professional credentials. She became certified in 2013 and attends the Pet Sitters International Conference every year. She changed her business structure to S-Corporation in 2018.
Crockett serves clients within an eight-mile radius, which includes downtown, Greenbrier, Riverbend, Derby Park, Trent Woods, and Forest Park. However, she and her team frequently travel to James City to meet the increasing demand for a professional pet sitter there. She is the only pet sitter in the area that is certified Fear Free Professional. It is a certification originally developed for veterinary professionals. It enables Crockett to take care of both the pet’s physical and emotional well-being. She is also Pet First Aid/CPR certified, and her business is insured and bonded.
Crockett continues to strive for the highest quality of customer experience by implementing professional training, standardizing processes, and using modern technologies. She also emphasizes careful hiring practices and provides a living wage plus tips to her employees.
Through carefully planned and measured steps, she has taken her business from start-up to sustainable. Her dreams of working with animals combined with her entrepreneurial spirit have enabled her to build a business that gives others the opportunity to work with pets too.
She could retire, but she has a passion for animal welfare. She is also passionate about learning and adapting to a changing industry and market. She continues to attend small business workshops, engages with organizations like the chamber and Coastal Women’s Forum, and regularly interacts with other professional pet sitters.
As of August, Crockett had seven part-time employees. In September, Hurricane Florence brought on some new challenges which effected staff and clients alike. The storm brought business to a halt and the impact of flooding and recovery will be felt for some time. During that downtime, Crockett volunteered to walk dogs in the care of Colonial Capital Humane Society. However, Crockett remains optimistic and expects her business to rebound in a few months.
Crockett has two dogs, Davy (as in Crockett) and Ginger, and a 15-year-old cat named Smokey.
For more information, visit Crockett’s Critter Care
Deborah Kania, director of the Small Business Center at Craven Community College