Dogged effort

When Mumbai-based Wasiff Khan decided to experiment with a daily tiffin service for dogs, he didn’t expect that the Homecare Dog Food would grow into a Rs 75 lakh packaged meal business.

Wasiff Khan
Wasiff Khan

How did you set up Homecare Dog Food?
After graduation in 2000, I did odd jobs for three years, which was very frustrating. In 2004, I decided to start a catering service, but didn’t have the required capital. That’s when I thought of a tiffin service for dogs.

What groundwork was required?
I conducted a survey among 50 dog-owners at Bandra. I also spoke to veterinarians and studied packaged dog food. Then I prepared various food combinations and tried them on stray dogs for a week. After this, I took samples to the people I had surveyed and fed their dogs. They loved it and I got 30 orders in the very first month.

How much did you invest?
For the survey and trial packs, I dug into my savings of Rs 5,000. Once the orders became regularised, I used the payments to expand the business.

How much do you charge?
I started with Rs 15 per 250 gm packet based on my survey. Now, I have introduced a range priced at Rs 40-140 per meal.

When did you break even?
We’ve had a positive cash flow since the first month, but I had to put back the money into the business. In 2007-8, we registered a turnover of Rs 75 lakh.

How did you expand the business?
In 2005, I bought a bike and displayed the company’s name and number on it, which increased the number of queries. By 2007, I had expanded beyond Bandra to south Mumbai, and in May 2008, I rented a restaurant to prepare dog food. Today, I have over 500 customers, 12 delivery boys and eight helpers.