Your flight is booked, bags are packed and your private paradise, oceanfront villa bordering a remote island awaits you. In the midst of eagerness for your next vacation, your blissful thoughts are interrupted by a deep pang of guilt and anxiety. Why? Because like most pet owners, you cringe at the thought of leaving your four-legged family member at a dog kennel or pet hotel.
Husband and wife entrepreneurs, Karine and Aaron Hirschhorn were all too familiar with this scenario. “Every time we traveled, the dogs hated the kennel and came back with kennel cough,” said Karine. “And (we) paid up to $120 a day for the privilege.”
Since traveling with the family pooches, Rocky and Rambo, was out of the question, the couple brainstormed a more pet-friendly solution. The Hirschhorn’s wanted to provide a better experience for their family pets – a real home for their dogs to stay while they were away. The result: a nationwide online service that gives your dog a “vacay” in the comforts of someone else’s home.
The idea quickly caught on and their business soon became a reality. By offering insurance-backed peace of mind, photo updates, and emergency support the two California-based entrepreneurs look to carve out a new niche in the pet boarding industry.
Learn how husband-and-wife team, Karine and Aaron venture to make dog boarding more awesome and why you shouldn’t allow your fear to stand in the way.
|Founders:||Karine Hirschhorn, 33; Aaron Hirschhorn, 33|
|Location:||Santa Monica, CA|
|Industry:||Pet Grooming & Boarding Industry|
How We Got Started
My husband and I hated leaving our dogs at a kennel when we traveled, and after a great stay in a trainer’s home, we decided to open our home to guest dogs. The service was a hit, and we soon got funding to expand nationally and connect dog lovers who want to find or provide superior pet care services.
Our company, Dog Vacay allows you to find a real home to board your dog. It’s better than a kennel where “Spot” will be stuck in a cage all day. With home boarding your dog receives individual attention, fun with a small number of well-socialized dogs, and supervision from a responsible pet owner. All at a price that doesn’t add up to more than your vacation.
Best Success Story
The dog loving community has passionately embraced us and we’ve rapidly grown nationwide due to amazing word of mouth.
Biggest Startup Challenge
Trust and safety is our core mission, so we’ve developed a thorough process of vetting all of our hosts via interviews, training tests, references and credentials testing. We’ve also partnered with VCA, the largest veterinary group in the country, to offer insurance, further peace of mind and ease of use.
#1 Tip for Entrepreneurs
Starting a business is hard because it takes a lot of time … and thought, but it’s not impossible. It’s very doable. With the Internet as a limitless resource, anyone dedicated to moving forward on an idea can access the support and knowledge needed to take their idea to the next level.
The biggest mistake I see is entrepreneurial procrastination — the desire to do something, but the inability to act and move forward. Even if the idea isn’t finessed or has been done before, execution is the important part, and you shouldn’t allow your fear to stand in the way.