Interview with Jamie Migdal of FetchFind
Renaissance woman, Jamie Migdal has focused her career on all things pet. In this interview, she shares her vast pet industry experience and current staffing challenges in pet services.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Jamie Migdal, founder and CEO of FetchFind—a company that provides e-learning, staff training, and other business solutions to help pet care companies train and retain a team of qualified pet professionals and provide top-notch customer service.
Q:FetchFind occupies a rather unique niche in the pet care universe. How did you come up with the idea for a company that serves staffing and training needs of pet care businesses?
A: After 20+ years in the pet industry—working in shelter and rescue, pet sitting, dog walking, training, and education—I recognized that one of the biggest unmet needs in the industry, was for greater staff professionalization and safety, as well as for employers to more easily and effectively hire, train, and retain employees.
The pet care services industry is plagued by retention issues and has a 125% staff turnover rate. Additionally, over 4.6 million dog bites are reported annually and consistent, professional training (especially with the growing on-demand economy) helps individual contractors and employees avoid injury and parent companies avoid litigation.
Q:Your online bio says you built four other national pet service companies before founding FetchFind. Can you tell us a little about those? (Note: It’s four companies including FetchFind)
A: Out-U-Go, a dog-walking and pet sitting-company (CEO/Founder, founded 1995-sold 2000); AnimalSense Behavior and Training, a dog training business, (CEO/Founder, founded 2000-sold 2011); CanineLink, an education company and training academy for dog trainers (CEO/Founder, founded 2008-now part of FetchFind as FetchFind Academy), and FetchFind, a staff training and business solutions company (CEO/Founder, founded January 2014).
Q:What’s the most common client need FetchFind is asked to solve?
A: The biggest pain point for most pet care businesses is finding a cost-and time-effective way to train their staff so that they can focus on growing their business. The other big pain point is the need to reduce employee turnover, which can also be solved for to a considerable extent by good onboarding and training. People tend to quit when they don’t feel that they can do their jobs well or safely, and a robust staff-training program can remove a lot of those issues.
Q:I see you have a lot of offerings—from content on pet wellness to hiring and training quality employees. How does FetchFind tailor its offerings (particularly training) to the needs of each client?
A: Our learning management system is set up to be completely customizable to meet our customers’ needs—they can arrange our 100 pieces or more of content in just about any configuration to create learning tracks for new employees, customer services staff, pet sitters, etc. We also take requests from our clients—for example, if a company wants to know how to give pets insulin injections, we can create that content for them.
Q:I see FetchFind provides quizzes to gauge client employees’ learning and progress. How are they designed?
A: The quizzes are designed by our content and education team, who have years of real-world, hands-on experience in the dog training, daycare/boarding, pet sitting, customer service, and retail sectors. They’re well versed in best practices, positive training and handling techniques, and current behavioral knowledge. They’ve also heard and seen just about everything, so they know what questions need to get asked, as well as answered.
Q:What would you say is the biggest challenge the company has faced since its founding?
A: As with any startup, the biggest challenge in the first 18 months was bringing in enough money to implement all of the big plans we have! We’ve learned to prioritize projects and enhancements in ways that make the most sense for our short, medium, and long-term growth and development phases.
Q:What’s the most unusual thing FetchFind has been asked to do for a client?
A: We’ve been sworn to secrecy. :-)
Q:What would you want readers most to know about FetchFind?
A: Our entire company is dedicated to making life better, easier, and smarter for pets and the people who love and care for them. Every business owner who commits to continuing education, every dog walker who learns something new from a FetchFind lesson, every pet parent who recognizes the value of well-trained service providers—they all help us move the pet industry forward to a brighter, safer, more humane future.
Q:Can you tell us a little about any pets you yourself have—particularly rescues or adoptees.
A: I have three rats, a cat, and two dogs—all of them are rescues. Our most recent addition, Sassy, was adopted through The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago after she was transported here from Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. She was meant to be a short term foster, but that resolution lasted less time than it took for us to drive home with her.
About Jamie Migdal, CPDT-KA
Migdal has been working with dogs and their people, and innovating within the pet industry, for nearly 25 years. In 2018, Jamie received the Pet Age Women of Influence award, participated in the VentureSCALE accelerator program, and was shortlisted for the Information Age Women in IT Rising Star award. In 2016-2017, Jamie completed the prestigious Prosper Women Entrepreneurs and WiSTEM-1871 Chicago accelerator programs, and received the Pet Age ICONand Women Tech Founders Midwest Women in Tech awards. FetchFind was selected as one of the top five most innovative pet care companies via thePurina Pet Care Innovation Prize, completed a successful crowdfunding campaign on Republic, and increased their market share with the acquisition of PawedIn.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.