AN AWARD-winning pet holiday company has launched a new national venture from its base near Kirkby Lonsdale. Barking Mad Professionals, which offers a luxury alternative to kennels throughout the UK, has added a mobile dog grooming business to its thriving franchise operation.

The company, based in Barbon, is now seeking to sign up an army of franchisees to offer the service around the country.

Managing director Lee Dancy predicted such a service would ‘explode across the UK in the coming years’.

The franchise – Barking Mad Professional Mobile Dog Grooming – is claimed to be the first standalone dog wash and grooming business to have achieved provisional British Franchise Association member status.

Mrs Dancy said: “Over the last 13 years we have gained a wealth of experience.

“Our national operations manager Lisa Morton adds 13 years of hands-on mobile grooming experience to a system that represents an excellent template for franchising.

“We frequently receive requests for a professional and reliable service and our experience shows a well- run franchise can expect to be booked up months in advance with repeat business gained by local marketing, reputation and referral.”

Ms Morton said: “Individuals with a passion for dogs who see the opportunity there is to work in the grooming sector don't necessarily have all the skills and understanding they need to make it work.

“Barking Mad offers award-winning support and years of business and grooming experience in one turn-key operation.

“The existing Barking Mad dog care network will complement our grooming franchises well as we will have customers, many of whom know and trust the Barking Mad brand.”

Mrs Dancy said she was expecting demand for the dog grooming franchises to be high.

The original Barking Mad concept arranges for dogs to stay with one of their network of host families while owners are away.

The company says that franchising offers a better business alternative to the majority of independent self starters in the dog care industry.

Current Barking Mad franchisees will work alongside new grooming franchisees under the parent Barking Mad Dog Care brand.