This is an important question for someone like me, with a mobile practice.
Let me start by saying that I have never been a ‘car person.’ I don’t notice makes and models when I am out and about, and I most certainly do not follow things like car reviews or new model releases. I consider myself lucky to know that there are cars that run on petrol, diesel, hybrid and EVs. That’s where my car knowledge stops.
My 20-year old Toyota had served me well and I always said that 2022 was when it would be time for a replacement before it started costing me a lot of money. I also had to face it, the advertising on my car was starting to look dated because when we originally designed it, I did not have enough photos that were adequate and so we resorted to purchase a stock photo license for some of the design.
Here is what my tried and true Toyota looked like before I traded it in:
Last year, we filmed a customer story commercial for accounting company Xero and I had in my hands a number of professional-quality photos in addition to the few I had commissioned for my website and brochure several years earlier.
It was time for a refresh!
Things that were important to me in buying a new car and commissioning a new design were:
- an economical vehicle with fuel efficiency and a degree of reliability. These are important for my bottom line and also because people rely on me to get to their homes on time and ready to work. I can’t have a car leaving me at the side of the road.
- in terms of the business, I also think that my customers need to know that I am not wasteful with their money. Dog care is expensive and not subsidised in any way. Pet insurance doesn’t cover everything, even when you can afford a policy. Driving around in an expensive sports car or top-of-the-line SUV sends the wrong message, if you ask me. People work hard for their money and to take care of their dogs, my car had to reflect that.
- retaining Izzy’s photo on the car in some way. Izzy was my canine sidekick in the last 7 years of the business which were our major growth years. I could not have done it without her and needed to honour her time with me
- using photos of real dogs that portrayed the range of services I provide
- retaining the Fear Free logo which I attained in 2018, becoming the first New Zealand-based Fear-Free certified professional working in canine massage and rehabilitation
I searched for another Toyota because they come up tops for reliability (this blog post is not being sponsored by Toyota in any way in case you are thinking that). And when I say ‘new car’ what I really mean is a new car to me – but secondhand in the marketplace. New cars are incredibly expensive and my Dad always said that once you drive a new car off the lot, 50% of its value is already gone.
In the end, I chose a blue Toyota Yaris because it had low mileage (a trade-in, not a Japanese import), a better safety rating, 4.5 star fuel efficiency and the right color to go with my branding.
What do you think?
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand