Heading along the highways anywhere from east to west, Celia Campbell is a woman on a mission.
And in looking to bring people together with their pets, no matter how great the distances separating them, she’s one of the unsung heroes who makes Citizenshipper tick.
You might have even passed her as she’s been racking up the miles in her Nissan SUV over the past 15 months or so, but you definitely won’t have known it – and that’s just the way this 26-year-old from Miami, Florida likes it.
Her mission, as it happens, tallies exactly with that of Citizenshipper – to safely and reliably deliver consignments right across the nation. And because that usually means someone’s new pet, or a long-loved four-legged friend who’s headed for a new home, she’s deadly serious about getting every job right.
At the same time, she’s clearly loving the chance to make extra money running an independent business where she can turn what might be some people’s stressful and expensive experience of getting their pets to a new home into something altogether more smooth and hassle-free.
Celia is proud that she is showing how, when it’s done right, working independently can be the route to a fulfilling career – but she also doesn’t pretend that getting herself established and trusted has been easy.
“I spent some time doing driving work through Uber and Lyft, and I was just doing lots of local runs which was keeping me busy – but I wasn’t really making enough money,” she said.
“So I just Googled ‘pet transportation’, and I found out about Citizenshipper.”
After spending a little time getting to grips with how the bidding and booking system works, Celia eventually got contacted by a couple of potential customers in California – and so began her ongoing odyssey which, for someone who had never before worked outside her home state, has been a real eye-opener.
Now, she has visited 48 states in just 16 months – a far cry from those days of shuttling folks around Miami day in, day out.
“I wanted to work full-time for myself, and I was doing jobs on Uber and Lyft while holding down a separate full-time job, and hoping that one day I might be able to make the break – but Citizenshipper has meant I can concentrate on doing driving jobs that are a whole lot more interesting, and lucrative,” said Celia.
At the time of writing, Celia – working under the name of BARKE! Pet Transportation – has delivered more than 350 animals safely to new homes, which has meant she has built valuable contacts with a number of pet breeders.
This, she hopes, is now the basis of what will be a sustainable business. But she’s acutely aware that her success depends totally on the feedback she gets from the people who put their trust in her.
“I’m really lucky to have been given some very kind feedback, which, in this business is my life blood,” she said. “After all, it’s only natural that people might be a little reluctant to put their pet in the hands of someone they’ve never met before, and get them to drive them right across the country.”
But many of Celia’s reviews speak for themselves, with these three comments typical of the feedback potential customers can read for themselves:
- “Celia is amazing, she absolutely provided an incredible service. She took care of my cat and brought him safely to me, even though he’s a bit on the difficult side and not very friendly. She was able to bond with him and get him through the stress of the trip.” (Customer having cats delivered from Houston, TX to San Diego, CA)
- “I was very nervous about shipping our dog just because we had never done this especially across country. Celia was responsive and punctual. She also kept us updated about her trip and how Logan was doing. I was so happy with how easy the whole process was with her.” (Dog delivered from NJ to CA)
- “Celia was/is amazing! She kept me up to date with pictures when driving my 12-year-old bulldog across country. I am a total dog mom and get worried super easily but with Celia I knew my pup was in good hands. Highly recommend her services!” (Dog delivered from NV to FL)
That kind of feedback – and there’s plenty more besides those quoted here – is testimony to the thoroughness with which Celia plans and runs her operation.
But she freely admits that, while she has all the tech you’d expect to back her up, and keeps her clients fully updated while en route, being on the road has shown her that she has a real instinct for the practical sides of traveling long distances.
“It’s uncanny how my brain instinctively knows where I’m going, and importantly, when I or the animals I’m transporting need to take a break or stop off,” she says.
“I am especially sure to be realistic when I’m setting schedules with customers – I have to be, as I’m travelling alone, so I need to have some slack in my timetable, just in case of anything unexpected happening. But I’m thankful that, so far, it’s all worked out pretty well.”
Personal highlights for this previously unseasoned traveller have included getting to see Utah’s Great Salt Lake, as well as the chance to tick major destinations such as Las Vegas and the whole of California off her ‘wanna-do’ list.
“But my delivery always comes first, so I have had to get used to the fact that I might only get to see a tiny part of the place I’m in, and even then, I might be asleep for four to six hours before hitting the road again!”
And over the course of a couple days, Celia doesn’t mind admitting that she builds quite a bond with her four-legged travel companions, to the extent that it can sometimes be a wrench to see them go.
“I’ve found a lot of people are really, really grateful when they’re united with their pet, and the feeling of fulfilment that I get when that happens is just the best, and leaves me keen to get started on my next assignment,” Celia admits.
When we caught up with her, she was in her car and getting ready to head out on another long-distance adventure from Florida to New York, with detours to Massachusetts and near the Canadian border in store, before heading back to NY, for a short trip to Maryland before heading home.
Long-term, she hopes to build on the network of animal breeders who now entrust her with the job of getting their babies to their new homes – but she’s acutely aware that this means she has to prove herself reliable, efficient and above all, consistent.
“This work definitely isn’t for everyone – you need to be highly dedicated to providing the best service at all times, and it’s vital that you’re well organized – but for me, it’s been a good experience, and I’m having a good time, knowing that people really appreciate what I do,” Celia concludes.
- If this has sparked your interest in launching a new career as a driver with Citizenshipper, then sign up today.