How to run a pet franchise: Boutique cat hotels spoke to Gill Reynolds, the first ever Longcroft franchisee, about the running of her luxury cat hotel

Abi Purser founded Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotels after not being able to find a local premium cattery for her beloved cat Norman.

She opened the first boutique cat hotel in Welwyn Garden City in 2010 and it was a runaway success. Since then several franchise hotels have opened across London and the South East. spoke to Gill Reynolds, the first ever Longcroft franchisee, about the running of her cat hotel: 

On why she chose a pet franchise….

I'm just such a cat lover, it was my ideal business. I just love cats, and to combine my passion with earning money is just a dream come true to me. I actually came to Abi [Purser, founder of Longcroft Cat Hotel Group] with a view to boarding my cats when I went on holiday. I was just blown away by it and I just knew - as soon as I found out she was franchising the business - that I wanted to be a part of it. 

On getting the business up and running...

Even before the hotel was built, Abi was taking bookings for me because she was so busy she couldn't accommodate everyone. From that point of view, I had the business up and running before it was even built. 

On what motivated her to become a franchisee...

We actually thought of doing a very similar thing 20 years ago but we just didn't have the vision that Abi had. Family got in the way, so it got put on the backburner, so Abi's given me the opportunity to realise my dream. I think the most important thing for this business is to be an animal lover. That's what has motivated me to become a franchisee, definitely. 

On coming out of retirement...

I never thought I would be a business woman, so I'm quite impressed with myself that I've slotted into it so easily! I'm now more experienced with spreadsheets, I knew what a spreadsheet was, but I was never able to operate one. But I can do that now,

It's quite straightforward and Abi’s given me lots of day-to-day training on the running of the hotel, cleaning, the vaccine protocol that we follow, so she's been very helpful and given me lots of information in that respect there's nothing you can't learn. 

On the best and worst of running a pet franchise...

The worst bits are that you're covered in hair all the time and saying goodbye to the cats! Those are the only two things, apart from that it's all good! It's all been really positive, all my friends and family are impressed by it. I just think it's great.

Does Gill's franchise sound like the purr-fect opportunity for you? Why not have a look at our selection of pet franchises here!

Paulyne Antoniou

About the author

Paulyne as Head of Content has produced regular videos and editorial for many years with small businesses, franchises and industry professionals.