Paws en route is a pet transportation services startup based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dacia Rohlehr founded Paws en route in 2016 after she couldn’t find a service to take her own dog, Liam, from one emergency veterinary clinic to another when she was unable to drive.
The company offers standard point-to-point transport to veterinarians, groomers, and other local destinations. They also offer services for more complex trips, including air travel both within Canada and to other countries. Customers can book rides directly through the Paws en route website, over the phone, or soon through a new mobile app.
Like many startups, the company was getting by with numerous spreadsheets and databases. This led to issues involving conflicting versions of spreadsheets, a lack of role-based security and authentication, and inadequate backup provisions.
These were proving to be limiting factors as the business was growing. Essentials addressed those concerns almost immediately upon implementation. By moving the company’s critical business data and processes to the cloud, they were able to designate Essentials as the single source of truth and start enforcing role-based access.
“Essentials enabled our ability to run the business from remote locations during the COVID-19 crisis and has allowed us to focus on adapting to the new realities of the pandemic and growing our business.” MacDonald said.
Brian said he and his team learned as they went when it came to Essentials. The Trailblazers Success Community — Answers and the free learning resources on Trailhead have been invaluable assets in building out the functionality Paws en route needs.
“Everything we do is a case in Essentials,” MacDonald said. “Every call center interaction, every web form submission, every email or phone call that our back-office people take — everything uses Web-to-Case or Email-to-Case.” MacDonald built custom flows that let his back office team deal with those cases quickly and accurately. As an example, he mentioned the many requests they get for transport across the US-Canada border. In response to the border being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team built a custom flow that responds to these requests with a scripted response before automatically closing the case.
For a valid ride request, the system can automatically calculate pricing based on length of trip and other factors customers enter into a form on the company website. Once the details are in place, another Custom Flow built-in Essentials enables the payment process via Stripe.
Paws en route’s business has two branches. First there’s the customer-facing business (B2C). This is where Paws got its start, and continues to attract business through web and phone channels and, soon, a mobile app. The other branch is the business-to-business (B2B) side of the house. Here, Paws pursues partnerships with affiliate companies, like doggie day cares, veterinarians’ offices, and pet supply stores.
The business has grown during 2020, likely thanks to both to the mobile app driving new business and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “People are self-isolating or don’t want to go out, so business has increased,” MacDonald said. Paws en route have adjusted some of their processes to increase safety, including a contact-free modality that includes bringing pets to owners’ cars.
As a small but growing company, Paws en route continually has an eye on the future. While Essentials got the company started in the Salesforce ecosystem, they’ve since upgraded to Professional Edition. “Technology should not be in the way of business development,” MacDonald said. “I know there’s a lot of work to get done now if we want to stay on the front foot, technology-wise.”