Entrepreneurs Tina Cannon and Christi Scovel have developed a great way to connect pet owners with veterinarians, but they need to get much more involved in social media in order to get people flocking to their website (PetsMD.com), said experts.
Cannon, an accountant by trade, got the idea for their website a couple years ago (see original story here) while witnessing friend Scovel, a veterinarian, answer phone calls around the clock from desperate pet owners trying to book appointments, or just seeking information about their pets’ maladies. Cannon jokingly suggested there should be a website to handle this, freeing up vets like Scovel to enjoy an evening out.
Cannon said 175 million vet appointments are made annually in the U.S. and “they’re all done by the telephone,” she said, adding: “nobody is offering online integrated booking. We’re the first and we’re either crazy or smart.”
Last year they raised $30,000 from friends and family and launched their website, which includes their trademarked Symptom Checker tool (they also built an iPhone app for it) that helps users diagnose what is wrong with their dog or cat, before calling a vet or booking an appointment. PetsMD is free for pet owners, but charges vets an annual listing fee, ranging from $59.95 to $249, much like an apartment rental site would charge a landlord. To date, Cannon said 30,000 vets have listed their clinics or services on the site.
The pet health industry has weathered the recession and Cannon said PetsMD’s revenues have steadily grown by 30 percent month over month. At their current pace Cannon said the company should be profitable a year from now.