Tony skinner 00:04
Hi, and welcome to the podcast channel with podcastmybusiness.com.au. And today we have Tom from pet Angel .com.au that are you how you going Tom?
Well, Tony, how are you?
Tony skinner 00:20
Look, I am good. I have no complaints. I feel almost guilty had coffee with a friend this morning. And I just want to say anything. I’m like, You know what? I never have any complaints and I never have any complaints. So should I feel guilty about that? Or should I feel? I don’t know.
I think you should feel wonderful and be happy.
Tony skinner 00:39
Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s your, your attitude you choose you choose if you’re feeling good and confident and happy. Now look, the reality is there are going to be times when you’re not feeling quite so chipper. And, you know, I went through that a few months ago when one of our cats passed away the one that’s been with me for nine years and like nobody about me. You know, we every pet has his own individual character. And I’ve got a kitten on my desk right now. Hopefully it’s not going to do anything. So, look, the reality is that we have to face death, either as humans or as pets and so forth. So what you do is a great service. I haven’t come across it that much.
No, well, it is available. The issue is that a lot of people don’t know that. It exists, but it exists all over Australia. There are pet crematoriums in every major city and in the smaller centers all around Australia. So the service is available and generally it’s very good.
Tony skinner 01:48
So is it like pet cemetery from Stephen King, although I don’t even remember seeing that movie. But anyway, we won’t get into that. Okay. So okay, so what is it that happens? Okay, so I took my cat to the vet. He was not even here. Thankfully, he pretty much passed at home at a minimal heartbeat and breathing and whatever. So what’s the normal process?
Okay, well, there are three types of, of transfers. One is a vet transfer, where we go to the veterinarian and collect a pet that’s been euthanized. And we bring it back to pet Angel into our care. And then the next day, we’ll make arrangements with the owners direct.
Then there’s the second type. The second type is where there’s a home euthanasia, where the owner has chosen to get a home vet to come to their their home, and euthanize the pet at home. This has become very popular, there’s a proliferation of home visits. Now, as you well know, from being an animal lover. A lot of animals don’t like going to the vet In fact, they’re terrified of it. So why put the pet through that misery on possibly what’s going to be the worst day for you and the pet?
Then there’s a third one, that’s basically where Mr. Mrs. Smith wake up in the morning, go downstairs, and then there’s the beloved Labrador on the floor, deceased. So those are the three types. Basically, they all get treated the same. We either pick up from the vet, or we collect from from the home, but the collection process is vastly different. One has interaction with the owners. One has very little interaction other than phone interaction The next day, but nevertheless, we get to see grieving on all scales.
Tony skinner 03:54
Yeah, so how do you as pet lovers, I guess it’s the same. Well, you know, let’s just call it out. Okay. I’ve worked with cemeteries and crematoriums before, so I have no particular issue with death. We all have to face it eventually. So how do you guys maintain balance? When people are just so grief stricken?
Well, we train our staff we’ve got at any one time we’ve got five representatives on the road, they got to go through a very stringent training process, so that we all do exactly the same thing. When we go to a collection, a home collection in particular, we sometimes take on a bit of a counseling role, especially with people seriously grieving as you will know grieving takes many process or many forms.
But we whilst we’re not qualified, I think we’re all compassionate people. We have empathy, and we all love what we do. And we all feel as though that we We can help the people. To be honest, we do focus on the pet, but the pet is deceased. So the people that the people that need the help are the owners of the pet. They need to be assured that their beloved pet is in good hands and well looked after in their afterlife.
Tony skinner 05:23
Yeah, it’s interesting. I, I grew up on a farm so I have a farm attitude to animals and pets is different to me being a pet parent. But it’s interesting how you still get grief from the animal. You didn’t even realize it half the time.
Tony, I had an incident yesterday, we had two staff members away ill and I actually had to go in one of the vehicles and I collected a a boxer. Morley, when I collected I won’t go into too much detail. But Marley had a rough life. And we started talking about Morley had three legs as it turned out.
And they told me Morley was a rescue. And I said, So how long have you had Morley? They said three months. And in that time, they had rescued a seven year old boxer. It developed lung cancer and had to be put to sleep yesterday. Well, let me tell you after three months, these people were as devastated as anyone I’ve seen after 15 years.
Tony skinner 06:37
Wow. Okay, so that’s a tough one. So um, so tell us a little bit more about Angel. The business
well, pet angels started in March 2015. Obviously, there are a lot of approvals that are necessary from Council. We, there was a few incidences that happened to me. I’m a kid, ex commercial builder. But I was working next door supervising a job next door to a pet surgery, one day i saw a lady carrying a bag out, she was distraught. And then the bag was obviously her deceased pet. I just thought at the time, we could do this better. So I investigated the other pet materials. And I came away from that thinking that we could do this better.
So we went ahead and started getting our approvals in place. I own a couple of factories, one happened to be empty. So we got the approvals through Council, I flew to the USA source the crematers, we only use separate chamber crematers. And we gathered some staff around and that we thought would be good in particular, my wife is in any small business, and two of my nephews and we were there started. We then hired when on and hired now I think we’ve got staff of 16 because we’ve also added a second crematorium in Brisbane.
So it was it was a process. And we really didn’t know what we were doing like anybody else that started the business. And it doesn’t come with a manual. So we invented our processes, wrote our manuals, and then over the ensuing many years up to now 2021. We’ve developed different systems and we’re pretty proud of what we do, we’ve one thing we can guarantee is that your pets well looked after. And we can 100% guarantee that the pet that you give us definitely the issues that you get back because we only use separate chamber providers.
So we are a little bit different to the others. You may or may not know this, but within the industry, the human cremation industries entered into our industry in a big way. In fact in southeast Queensland now, in particular Brisbane Gold Coast, Northern Rivers were actually the only independent invocare who are white lady funeral and simplicity funerals have bought the largest pet crematorium here in southeast Queensland and, and TPG which has bought greencross and greencross own The only other really large pet crematorium.
There is another one in Toowoomba, but they don’t really serve us Brisbane or the Gold Coast in northern River. So that leaves us as the only independent.
Tony skinner 09:18
Well, yeah, good old mega Corp. Hey, and we won’t even talk about them because you never know they might come on the show one day. Ah,
yeah, we’ll be nice.
Tony skinner 09:26
Yeah. Okay, so cool. So. So how’s business gone? I mean, it’s been interesting. During COVID when the past 12 months. It’s been said that there’s been a lot more pets being adopted and cared for and whatever. How has that impacted on your business?
Oh, it’s been crazy. Pets. I don’t know whether you know, but you can now pay $8,000 for a Labradoodle. I’ve heard my I’ve got a mini Schnauzer. I paid $2200 6 years ago, you now pay $4 to $5,000. So with with that, and if you look at bit surgeries now, they’ve all gone very upmarket. And you go in there, it’s more like a top in private hospital.
So with that comes the expectation of the service for afterlife. And with that, we we’ve actually just you might think I’m crazy, but we’ve just introduced two new Mercedes Benz station wagons, and we’re going to relaunch a a heavenly service, which is taking it to the next level for people who just want that bit more.
Tony skinner 10:37
Wow. Okay. Excellent. And so you’ve been around business for a while, what are some, I guess some secrets to your success? What are some tips to help businesses because you’re on a bit of a unique service, they’re much needed service, it’s probably expanded the last few years,
my tips, easy. Stay your course, if you meet problems on the way to your destination, find another road. Try and make sure you’re well capitalized. The first three and a half years we lost money. made a very difficult, lots of sleepless nights. But if you can see the goal, and you can see that you’re growing, hang in there. If you can, at all costs, too many people quit too early. And then someone picks up the idea. And does it better.
Tony skinner 11:33
Wow. Come on, surely someone can do it better. not better than us. But not every business succeeds.
Know How many times do you see someone with a great idea? And they’re uncapped undercapitalized. So they have to close the doors. Six months later, someone picks up the idea with sufficient capital and makes it work and it goes gangbusters. You see it all the time?
Tony skinner 11:58
Yeah, absolutely. And I look, there’s always gonna be the first one to do it. And then yeah, you got to hope it You’re the one that makes millions wrong. But if not, if you get something from it, then that’s perfectly fine.
in this industry, that cant be your motivation. If you’re, if you go into it for solely the money, and not not as a to be a service to the public, you’ll fail because people can see straight through that you have to have empathy.
Tony skinner 12:25
Yeah, and I think people can see through that, that, you know, you’re just they’re mega Corp, just for the money, rather than for the care.
Yes, I read the other day that our industry is for people who are in scrubs, and uniforms, not for people in suits.
Tony skinner 12:41
Yeah, exactly. Right. You’ve got to get in there, you’re gonna muck in and do it. I mean, we’ve got to do the job.
That’s exactly right. and small businesses the same. You know, as an owner, I’m, I’m here every day, my wife works. He is still not as much as she did, obviously, because we’re no spring chickens anymore. But I jump in and do whatever is necessary. What needs doing so that small business and everybody that’s in small business recognizes that.
Tony skinner 13:07
Yeah, exactly what you’re gonna makin. And what I like is that you come around to people’s homes. I tried to organize that for the cat. And the persons that are going to need two days notice while we’re going on, it’s on its deathbed. Now, what you’re gonna wait two days? Yeah, yeah. And I thinking, you know what, that’s something that came recommended that apparently was very good at doing that with cats. And I would love to, but like I said, fortunately, you know, unfold whichever way he was nonconscious mentors The next day, so he had a heartbeat, but that’s about it. Yeah. Well, at least he did pass at home. Yes, he that. But you know, come on, wait two days.
That’s not not acceptable. Not.
Tony skinner 13:49
It’s actually not. It’s insensitive and unreasonable. I thought, well, you know, we are in that sort of world. Thankfully, you guys are not like that. Thankfully, you do care. And you are there to you know, offer support.
Thank you. We do.
Tony skinner 14:03
Absolutely. All right. Cool. All right. Well, thank you very much, Tom. I love the idea of this service. And yeah, I didn’t go for the cremation option, because I didn’t even think of it to be fair.
No. Well, that’s it. So can I give you my web address or not?
Tony skinner 14:21
Yeah, we have at pet angel.com.au. That’s right.
Hey, that’s been great. And hi to basil.