inBangor Business Spotlight: Girl Friday Errand Service
Shortly after starting inBangor I made the wise choice of joining the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. My first day as a member was also the day I attended my first Chamber event – the Business After Hours held at the new Cross Insurance center. I spent the evening meeting different folks, telling them about inBangor, and finding out about their businesses. Since I didn’t know many of the 500+ people there, I decided to scan name tags for businesses that sounded interesting, and then strike up a conversation with those that caught my eye. One of the ones that I read that I just had to ask about was worn by Kathi Howland of Girl Friday Errand & Shopping Service.
An Extra Set Of Hands
Kathi’s business Girl Friday is all about giving people someone they can trust with the little things so that they have time for the big things in their life. She can walk your dog, do your shopping, or just hang out at your place until the delivery guy or cable installer shows up. It sounded like a pretty cool idea for a business, so I followed up with Kathi and asked her a few questions about the premise behind Girl Friday:
inBangor: What made you want to start Girl Friday?
Kathi: I started Girl Friday Errand & Shopping Service to give other busy people with too much responsibility a chance to take some of the burden and pressure of themselves and their own hectic lives, so they could find time in their day to spend more time with family, take that long overdue vacation, or just be able to go to the spa and get that massage they know they desperately need. I understand first- hand how frustrating it can be to need help with pet care, errands, and other tasks that can become overwhelming.
When I was overextended and needed help, I looked high and low for someone I could trust who could come to my house and care for my pets when I had to go out of town. I couldn’t find anybody. I decided that when I was in a position to help people with that, I would. So I did.
inBangor: It seems taking care of pets is an important service you offer. Who is your ideal customer?
Kathi: My ideal customer loves and cares for his/her pet(s), and makes sure enough financial reserves are budgeted out for pet sitting/dog walking needs. Our pets are our responsibility. We must take care of them treat them like the treasured family members they are. I love it when I meet clients who want the best for their pets and have planned them into household budget.
Because it’s important to me as a consumer myself, I want to do business with people who take their work seriously. My company is fully insured and bonded, and I am certified and trained in pet CPR/First Aid. My mission is to provide exceptional service to my valued clients by practicing: “I.C.E.D – T.” – Integrity, Courtesy, Enthusiasm, Dignity, and Trust.inBangor: How about your ideal errand customer?
Kathi: My ideal client without pets is one who appreciates how much time errands and shopping really do take, and appreciates the services I offer at a competitive value.
inBangor: If you had to pick one thing out of your day, what’s the most exciting / favorite?
Kathi: Without a doubt, opening my eyes, waking up and realizing my Higher Power has blessed me by granting me another day to help people, have fun and experience new adventures!
inBangor: How do you like running Girl Friday?
Kathi: I love it! I’m having a blast!
inBangor: What is your biggest strength in this business?
Kathi: Enthusiasm for what I do! I love shopping. I love dogs & cats. I love being mobile. It’s so awesome that people allow me into their homes and their lives to help them take care of their pets and to help them take care of their everyday tasks that we all get tired of doing sometimes.
inBangor: How about your biggest weakness?
Kathi: I’m a softy when it comes to animals. I really get sad when I see a situation where someone’s pet is being neglected or possibly even abused. I find myself worrying about those pets, and will often find myself taking more time than what I’m being paid for to care for the pet. Of course, it’s hard not to become attached, and I miss my furry clients when my services are completed, but I also realize that I’m only one person, and if I’m doing even a little bit of good, and helping that animal be happy for just one hour out of the day, that makes me happy. Unfortunately, there are some situations in which I am obligated to report compelling signs of abuse/neglect. For the most part, though, my clients love their pets and treat them like members of the family, which is what I love to see.
inBangor: Have you made any changes to address those situations?
Kathi: I’ve updated my contract and business policy to address some of those issues, and I make sure I take extra time during my initial client consultations to ensure if it’s a good fit, and to gauge whether what the client wants and what the pet needs are in alignment. If they are not, I have to decline service.
inBangor: If you could change one thing about your businesses day-to-day routine, what would it be?
Kathi: My business is fairly new; not quite two years old yet. But so far, things are awesome. I wouldn’t change a thing.
inBangor: If you had a chance to say one thing to a brand new customer, before they walk in the door, what would it be?
Kathi: Since I go to my customers, I would be walking in their door. So, what I would say is, “Thank you for choosing Girl Friday Errand & Shopping Service! I’m glad you chose me to help you find more time in your day! How can I help you achieve more time and less stress?”
inBangor: Any new specials you can tell us about?
Kathi: One hour client consultations are FREE inside a 15 mile radius. (mileage at $.55 per mile after 15 miles round-trip calculated) Also, pet causes are very close to my heart. If you donate an item to Bangor Humane Society, Furry Friends Food Bank, or The Animal Orphanage (Old Town), you’ll receive one free hour of service! (call for details).
If you have more tasks than time, definitely give Kathi and Girl Friday a try. For more information about her rates and services, visit her website, or give her a call. Girl Friday is one of the many businesses listed in our area Business Directory. You can find them listed under Pet Services, or use their contact info below:
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