We spoke to Shaun Bailey, the father of the family, about his flourishing business and the core set of values that inspire him.
Could you give us a bit of background on your business? How and when did you get into pet shipping?
I was raised in the Ozarks by my parents, J.R. and Glenda Bailey, who instilled in me two major concepts that have stuck throughout the years: Hard work is to be valued, and no gain in this world justifies sacrificing your integrity. As my dad always said in his simple, profound way, “Right’s right, and wrong’s wrong.”
Bailey’s Best Care Pet Transport began as a side hustle for two teachers and two of our children. I had recently hung up my coaching whistle to spend more time with my family. With the extra time, we decided to try a few deliveries together one summer, just enjoying helping pets reach their “forever homes” while seeing the country together. We had no idea how it would “blow up.” By the end of the summer, we had been blessed with fifty deliveries, great reviews, and more business than we could ever service by ourselves. We decided to officially launch our business (I consider earning a salary by delivering to be self-employed, and to make a profit beyond that to be a business).
Since then, we’ve added four full-time drivers and a few part-time drivers to our team. We still oversee all operations personally. Our goal is to be large enough to service all 48 lower-continental states, but small enough to do so with the care and compassion each pet deserves.
You’ve only recently started using CitizenShipper, and your reviews have been excellent right from the start. How much of this do you attribute this to years of prior experience – knowing what to expect from pet owners and animals alike?
I attribute this to a few things. First, our main goal is never to receive good reviews but to do the right thing, treat people with respect, animals with compassion, and to be good stewards of the work God has blessed us with. Secondly, we are and have always been pet owners ourselves, so we know very well the care people expect for their animals. Finally, I am blessed with amazing workers, from my wife, daughter, and son who started it all, to the quality individuals who have since joined our team.
On your profile, you emphasize that you’re a Christian husband and father. This implies a certain set of values that you hold dear – how much does your faith inspire trust in potential customers?
I hope my faith makes me trustworthy more than it inspires trust. That sounds like a minor difference, but what I mean is I shouldn’t be trusted simply because I say I am a believer. Where my faith comes into play is that my relationship with Christ should produce a fruit in my life that tangibly inspires trust.
The key teachings of Jesus in action are to love God and to love people to the point that you place their needs before your own. As a man, this begins with my role as a husband and father, then applies to whomever I come in contact with on a daily basis. This, of course, includes our customers who we hope to serve in what is often an uneasy time for pet owners. We are repeatedly humbled by the stories we are blessed to take a small part in.
Just this last summer we transported a hound puppy to her forever home half a continent away… months later than planned because her owner had been in a coma for weeks due to an auto accident just after purchasing a new puppy. The very next dog had been stolen from its owner, after the two had literally lived on the streets of L.A. for a time together. We’ve delivered pets to help those in mourning, to be kept while their masters were deployed in service to our country and, of course, little puppies gifted to small children. We were even blessed by a family in Connecticut who officially named their Golden puppy Tucker Bailey, after our family name.
That is all a long way of answering a short question, but basically, we just try to be as genuine as possible, put the Lord first, others before ourselves, and success is just a byproduct of those priorities.
You mentioned that this was a family business for you. Both you and your wife drive? Are you guys able to keep up with the demand?
We were originally a family business only. At the heart of what we do, this is still true. Our family name is attached to the business as an added guarantee of quality service and accountability. It is my belief, though, that successful small organizations don’t remain small. We were blessed with so much business that it simply became unrealistic to attempt to serve all of our clients by ourselves, so we eventually arrived at the conclusion that we either should scale back or expand.
Since then, we have added a few quality individuals to our team in order to effectively transport a large number of pets without sacrificing that intimate small group feel that our pets get from being transported in passenger vehicles rather than larger cargo vans, stacked more like freight than the amazing creations they are.
All of our drivers have perfect driving records, experience with animals, and have passed the same background checks that are required of all drivers on CitizenShipper.
So what’s your experience on CitizenShipper been like, overall? Any suggestions for the platform, any changes you’d like to see us introduce?
My experience with CitizenShipper has been a very positive one. Other shipping sites are ridiculously difficult to place bids through.
Some shortcomings would be the inability of the user to sort past deliveries by various categories such as delivered, in progress, cancelled, etc. This should go beyond simply labeling to a more applicable spread sheet feel.
Finally, what does the future hold for Bailey’s Best Care? Any plans to expand your operations, hire additional drivers, etc?
We like to think big and focus small. In other words, we have a big picture in mind that includes recruiting and training a network of quality drivers to fulfill the diverse needs of our customers. At the same time, we want each and every transport to include the one-on-one attention at each stop that every individual animal deserves.
We want every customer to feel as though they are on the transport with their pet. We currently accomplish this through pics and video updates sent by text, but are partnering with a talented software designer who is in the latter stages of creating proprietary software that will allow our customers to see the location of their pet in real time, and to access video updates as they are added.
That should cover it, I think. Thank you so much for talking to us, Shaun, and thanks for being a driver. Our best to you and your family!
Thanks for all you do!