It is not uncommon to learn of a business that started off as a hobby or labor of love blossoming into a real success story. Such is the case of Pet and Home Care, a full-service pet and home care service that has gone from a small pet sitting business started by 16 year-old Tiffany Lewis to a company that, 20 years later, has provided care for over 3,500 clients. It was on track to continue to expand until the coronavirus hit, which will hopefully be only a temporary setback as so many small businesses work to keep going.
Tiffany grew up in Potomac and started walking dogs and staying overnight at homes whose owners were away. She soon realized that she really enjoyed helping people and their pets, and she discovered she had tapped into a real need in her community. She started to publicize her growing little business, putting up flyers and calling friends and neighbors. She found herself putting all her time and energy into her passion, still never dreaming she could be building a life-time career.
Tiffany explains that entrepreneurship is in her blood, pointing to her family consisting of savvy self-starters. Her grandfather, Ron Furman, was a successful businessman at a young age. He owned and operated a children’s day camp (Camp Furman 1958-1979), riding academy and private school in Potomac, Maryland. When he sold the facility, he used the profits to purchase several strategically situated parcels of land in Potomac. Her late father, David Reynolds had an electrical business, Reynolds Electric, and her mom, Dawn Furman Gordon, has been self-employed as a real estate agent since she was in her early twenties. Tiffany is married to Aaron Lewis and time will tell whether their two and a half year old son Everett will inherit the entrepreneurial spirit!
After several years of seeing the demand for pet services grow, Tiffany felt she needed more help – pet owners would often call at the last minute and she hated turning people down. She started learning how to run a business as her needs grew and she decided what her goals were. For instance, although she started hiring independent contractors she wanted to inspire her workers to make working for Pet and Home Care a career, not just a job. What she offers clients and what sets her business apart is that her employees aren’t just “hobby sitters.” They are insured and bonded by the business and trained “as if it was me doing the job.” She also set up healthcare and 401K benefits with contribution matching. “Keeping the same employees and keeping them fulfilled and happy appeals to customers, because they want consistency” she notes. Before Covid, 10 of Tiffany's employees had been working for her for 10 plus years, a great record in her line of work.
Her business expanded as the demands for services expanded. From walking dogs and caring for pets in the home she started an indoor/outdoor, cage-free boarding and doggy day care at “The Pet Resort”, a one-acre pet facility in Clarksburg. To help customers who need doggy daycare but cannot transport their pet, she purchased two vans. And true to its name as a full-service pet and home care company, she offers in-home pet care visits for pets who enjoy staying at home, overnight pet sitting in the home, pet grooming services, training services and pet feeding and the dispensing medicines as well. PHC takes care of all kinds of animals, including small caged animals like gerbils, lizards, guinea pigs, mice, frogs, and rabbits. Not to be overlooked – larger animals including horses and goats.
Pet and Home Care also offers home cleaning regardless of whether the owner has a pet. They offer free estimates that includes standard cleaning or specialized requests. Tiffany services individuals and families who live as far north as Frederick and as far south as northwest Washington. True to her entrepreneurial nature, Tiffany is considering adding a new snow-removal service this winter.
The PHC website includes information on the additional steps they are currently taking to keep all clients, human and non-human, safe and healthy during this time. Visit www.petandhomecare.com to learn more. Tiffany and her team can also be reached at (301) PET-CARE.