5 Steps to Take Before Investing in a Pet Franchise
Paul Sandry knew he wanted to open a business in the pet sector, specifically in the dog daycare and boarding business since he was interested in a career that would enable him to establish tight bonds with both dogs and their pet parents alike. He felt that investing in a pet franchise would be the best way to achieve his goal since so many independent businesses fail. He, however, didn’t know which franchise to invest in.
In order to identify the best franchise for him, Sandry analyzed franchises and narrowed down his list to 10 options. He then compared each option within a comprehensive spreadsheet that included factors such as the number of stores open, indoor versus outdoor models, cost, time to build-out, services offered, and profit potential. At this point, he hired a franchise coach who carefully reviewed the list with him and ensured that Sandry was exposed to a variety of other franchise options including several outside the pet sector.
In the end, Sandry and his coach narrowed his options to two, Dogtopia and Camp Bow Wow. Sandry, with his coach’s guidance, looked at both franchise systems in detail. He visited their support offices for a discovery day, spoke to current franchisees, and ensured he understood potential territory options. Sandry presented his findings to his business partners who then built a detailed weighted matrix to independently score each one. Dogtopia ended up as the final choice for Sandry and his partners.
Some of the factors that influenced Sandry and his business partners to select Dogtopia included it looking and feeling like a premium brand. They felt its colorful and cheerful branding would appeal to Millennials and older pet parents alike. During Dogtopia discovery day, Sandry met its executives and was impressed by their extensive franchising experience and their genuine love of dogs. In addition, Sandry knew that by buying a franchise he was buying an established business system. He felt that Dogtopia’s was robust and would provide him with extensive training, which he knew he’d need since he had never worked with dogs professionally before.
Sandry opened his Dogtopia franchise with his partners in December 2017 in Plano, Texas and is delighted to be fulfilling his goal of working with dogs and their adoring human parents. The steps he advises everyone who is considering investing in a pet franchise to take prior to doing so include:
- Read the FDD: Read the FDD from cover-to-cover to understand what the brand is all about, its focus, build-out and running cost estimates, profit potential, your responsibilities to the franchise, and any liabilities such as outstanding or past lawsuits and trademarks.
- Speak With Franchisees: Talk with franchisees in order to hear their firsthand experiences with owning the franchise. Ask about what a typical day is like and did they feel they made a good choice. Try to get a feeling for the experience of the franchise's ownership team and ask if they feel the FDD paints an accurate picture of what to expect. See if they will share information about profit margins.
- Visit a Location: Ask the franchise to arrange for you to visit an existing location and ideally for the ownership team to tour it with you. You’ll learn a lot from touring the location and speaking with its owner or manager. If you can arrange to see more than one location, do so.
- Go to Discovery Day: Meet in person with the leadership team of the franchise to understand their expertise and to get a better feeling of the future direction of the franchise.
- Hire a Franchise Coach: Work with a coach to decide which franchises are best suited to your skills and interests. Be open to reviewing opportunities from sectors you hadn't considered, but are a good match for you.
Americans spend billions of dollars on their furry family members. Now is a wonderful time to capitalize on the growing demand for pet related services. An ideal way to do so is by investing in a pet franchise, which as Sandry experienced, will provide you with a proven business system and the support you need to be successful if you have ensured the franchise model is a good one by doing extensive due diligence.
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