Don Richardson and Julie Spaur moved to Ocala, Florida in March 2012. The plan was for Julie to stay in Iowa for the summer taking classes towards a nursing degree while Don got settled in their new home in Ocala.
Don had made arrangements in January to transfer from the Des Moines, Iowa Best Buy to the Ocala store but the manager at Ocala’s Best Buy did not seem to remember Don when he came back in April to get a job. He was told there were no openings, and if and when they were hiring again, all new employees would be starting out at minimum wage.
Don unceremoniously burned his Best Buy shirt that night and got a job delivering pizzas in Silver Springs Shores. Julie came the end of April instead of staying in Iowa and planned to get a part time job while taking the online classes. One evening when they were both sitting in the office, Julie was frustrated that she couldn’t find any jobs that looked appealing online. She spouted off “we should just start a pooper scooping business,” and flung up her hands. Before she had a chance to go back to searching, Don said “I have all the paperwork and information for starting a pet sitting business, let’s do it.”
They looked at each other for a moment. Julie asked why he would have that kind of information. In 2008, after his job at Comp USA ended due to the company closing, Don had been searching for business opportunities and found a program online that covered all the basics for starting a pet services company. He had purchased it, but then got hired at Best Buy before doing anything about it, so it had sat in his desk…waiting.
Julie shrugged and said “What do we need to do to start?”
4 Days later 1st Rate Pet Services was officially listed on Sunbiz.org as a business and business cards were on the way from Vista Print.
Julie contacted the Ocala Star Banner and talked to the editor. They ran a story about the pet waste removal services and Don and Julie got their picture in the paper.
To get word out, they drove around to veterinarians and groomers to deliver business cards. Julie applied on Care dot com as a pet sitter and had a few people contact her about pet sitting and word began to get out.
In October, they were officially a driving billboard when their PT Cruiser got a brand new car wrap.