Did you know that there are over a quarter of a million people in the UAE who have at least one pet, if not more? Yet, they have been often found struggling to transport their dog or cat when they are in dire need to make an appointment with a veterinarian? Worse, got a big crate that isn’t fitting in your car?
A one-stop solution is in hand, thanks to Chauf-fur Pet Taxi, a 24-hour licenced service for pets across the UAE, which had a soft launch last November and officially launched at Dubai Pet Festival in February at Souk Al Marfa on Deira island.
It’s hard to believe that there was no service for our four-legged babies before until Egyptian brothers Nader Moursi and Wael Hassan, who have been living in Dubai for over two decades and belong to Alexandria in the most populous Arab nation, and Nader’s best friend and compatriot Omar Aboushady came together to fill a critical gap in the market.
The service was launched in February and bookings can be made in advance or instantly and are available 24x7. There are no exclusions as to the type or size of animal they take, and bespoke packages are available for one-way trips or for return and the driver will wait for you.
The concept is along the lines of a ride-hailing mobile application — and the app is likely to be launched by the end of this year — but instead of mints and gum in the middle console of the vehicle, the trio, who has an adorable four-year-old French bulldog Biggie, an American bully Benz and a rescue cat, Frodo, among them, make sure to always have water and treats on hand for their furry passengers.
Chauf-fur has taken the pet market by storm and since its launch, demand has increased exponentially. “We started with a single taxi and the fleet has grown to 15 since then. We have 24 staff members on our rolls, who belong to diverse nationalities and are all professional animal handlers. It’s true that professional animal handlers are few and far between in the UAE, but our hiring norms are stringent,” says Nader, who drives around in the country to get a pulse of his clients — mostly Western expats and Arabs from the wider region.
Data shows that they have done over 10,000 rides since their launch and bookings start from Dh80, which are instantly confirmed and are conveniently made over the phone or via WhatsApp.
“Our trusted, trained pet-loving handlers will take care of all the leg (or paw) work. They guarantee to treat your pet exactly as you would yourself and their aim is to make them enjoy the ride. They spend time introducing your fur-baby to the van and the driver and are happy for anything that makes them feel more comfortable to accompany them. They can drop off and pick up your pets whilst you are at work or home or you can take the ride with them. The rides can be accompanied or unaccompanied, depending on your requirements. We ensure that the animals, which are 99 per cent dogs and cats, are not anxious while they are transported around the city. Besides, the emergence of pet-friendly cafes, parks, hotels and beaches — over 100 at last count — in Dubai helps the city’s image,” says Nader.
“Safety is the main priority for Chauf-fur and they are the first licensed pet taxi in the UAE. Our cars and vans are equipped with a variety of different-sized harnesses, pet seatbelts and crates to make sure your pet is secure for the journey. Our vans are fully sanitised after each ride with hospital grade, pet safe disinfectants and the riders always adhere to strict hygiene guidelines,” he adds.
If you’re wondering what kind of pets they take, there are no exceptions. Whether your dog needs a wash, your bird needs a groom, or your Guinea pig wants to meet his friends. The partners have you covered; anything is ‘paw-sible’. But the best part? There is the option for the owners to travel with their pets as well. You, your family, and your luggage. They will happily take anything that fits with the pet in their van. Whilst the industry has somewhat been unregulated before, the entrance of a safe and properly licenced service is a sign of relief for pet owners. Whether you’re headed to a dog-friendly café, the airport or a friend’s house, you are in safe (and licensed) hands. The option to travel with your pet means you don’t have to find a park at the venue, and you don’t have to drive home. Perfect news as several restaurants become pet-friendly around Dubai.
And their clients are giving rave reviews. “I booked a pick-up and drop-off for my dog and it was my first time to try out their service. Their team was very responsive and accommodated all my concerns. I was very happy and satisfied and will recommend them to friends and family. Thank you for providing a very convenient service,” says Hazel Claravall, who used the service three weeks ago.
Hani Menessi echoes Hazel. “Out of the country with no access to anything and my boy Thor is sick. I couldn’t believe the immediate action and accuracy with top-notch professional behaviour. Thank you so much, the amazing team.”
“My dog and I had an amazing experience, the car was super clean, and the staff was friendly and professional. Booking was quick and easy. I can only recommend them,” says Claudia Pena Milinsky, who availed the service three months ago.
The next phase for the partners is all about accelerating expansion, both in terms of fleet operations as well as demand generation. They are currently seeking their first round of external funding and investments. Wael, one of the co-founders, weighs in.
“Running a startup business has been a truly unique experience in terms of the learning curve. It could be overwhelming sometimes because there is always something new and exciting happening every day. However, all three of us have developed an agile framework where we don’t deal with conflicts but solve puzzles. Makes it more enjoyable,” says Wael.
Omar, the co-founder, agrees with Wael. “Customer centricity has always been our focus — and we take this into consideration with every decision we make. The pet is our customer, which means everything revolves around making sure they are safe and comfortable before, during and after their ride. A cat purring or a dog wagging its tail are two of the many signs we look for that reassure us we’re providing a service that cares, and a service that matters,” he says.
For booking call or WhatsApp +971559927669.
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