As the CEO of an artificial intelligence software company, it’s not uncommon for Bob Dailey to be on a conference call with customers or his India team.
It’s what else the Gilbert man might be doing when he’s on those calls that’s unusual.
He could be driving to someone’s home to pick up dog poop.
Dailey and his wife Janet own a franchise called Pet Butler, a nationwide company that provides services like pet sitting, walking and chauffeuring – and removing pet waste and disinfecting backyards for homes and residential complexes throughout the Valley.
Though they both have fulltime jobs – Janet is a curriculum counselor for homeschooling families across the country – they added another revenue stream to their household after their adult daughters relocated to Gilbert from California, inspiring them to make a bold move of their own.
“I wasn’t ready to fully retire,” Bob said. “I wanted a ‘guy in a truck’ business – something that was hyper-local, small and had a subscription component to it. This was a perfect fit in a burgeoning industry, pet supplies and services.”
Bob says he and his wife handle dual responsibilities with ease, even though it requires a balancing act sometimes with their other job responsibilities – and even though their side gig raises a few eyebrows among their colleagues.
“I’ve been on conference calls with our India team, or with customers, while driving my Pet Butler truck to a customer’s house to scoop dog poop,” Bob said. “The people I work with from both companies get a kick out of knowing that I’m involved in both companies.
“It’s definitely an interesting span between the two. The funny thing is that the fundamentals of sound management, treating employees and customers right and building a company for growth and scalability are the same – even if the details are different.”
The Daileys, who are in their early 50s, purchased their Pet Butler franchise in January 2016 when the then-9-year-old franchise had four trucks and 370 active customers.
Since then, the Daileys have doubled the number of their trucks and almost have doubled their active customers, about 95 percent of whom are residential.
“When we first started, we’d tell people about our service and most people had never heard of such a thing,” Bob said. “Nowadays, we get that reaction about 10 to 15 percent of the time. Notwithstanding the pandemic situation, people are generally super busy, so the convenience of a service like ours is compelling for them.”
Bob worked as an internal auditor and transitioned to healthcare information systems before becoming a divisional COO for a global financial services firm.
He joined the artificial intelligence company Axis A.I. Innovations – a cloud-based software service that extracts document data and serves the mortgage, medical shipping and oil/gas industries.
Janet also worked as an internal auditor and programmer/analyst for two large corporations before leaving to homeschool their two daughters.
They were attracted to Pet Butler because they liked its modernized business model with protected territories that foster growth and recurring revenue.
And they felt the potential for growth was strong, given that roughly 85 million U.S. families, or 67 percent of households, own a pet, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association.
In the United States, pets include 90 million dogs and 94 million cats. In 2018, pet services accounted for $72.56 billion spent and was estimated to grow to $75.38 billion in 2019.
Three of the four employees who were with Pet Butler the day the Daileys took over are still with the company and the couple attribute their success to following their belief in treating customers and employees right.
“This is a people-centric service business,” Bob said. “The only way to grow the business is by having passionate and reliable people on your team who can grow with you. Your organization must become a place where people want to work and want to stay. You are serving them as much or more than you are serving your customers.”