In the latest episode of HTTV, Michael Gould (founder of pet care franchise Hounds Town USA) and Jackie Bondanza (President of the interactive doggie day care franchise), chat with the owners of the new Bergen County location.
Franchisee owners Steve and Anthony opened the doors to their 8000-square foot facility in Central Bergen County, New Jersey in September of 2018. Here are four lessons they learned about running a successful doggie day care franchise like Hounds Town USA.
Lesson #1 – “Don’t Start with 100 Dogs a Day.”
Franchising with Hounds Town is about steady, organic growth. Bergen County has been up and running for a few months, but the team had to tackle a few hurdles in the early months of a new business. For Anthony, it was all about training. “One of the biggest challenges in the beginning was to make sure we get the proper staff and get them properly trained so we can have a safe environment for the dogs.” Steve offered a piece of helpful advice for potential franchisees too: “Don’t start with 100 dogs a day.” Luckily with the strong training and support network offered through founder Michael Gould, Bergen County successfully conquered those early business challenges.
Lesson #2 – “Breed Discrimination is Ludicrous.”
The franchise is strongly opposed to breed discrimination, and Bergen County owners Steve and Anthony couldn’t agree more. It’s why they work closely with the Bergen County Animal Shelter to help socialize and train hard-to-adopt pups, like pit bull mixes. Steve believes many rescue dogs just need to be socialized and trained to gain the confidence they need to get adopted. “Going to the shelter after living in a house with a loving person can kill that dog,” Steve says. And their charity work is paying off. Several of the pups have now successfully been adopted by loving families.
Lesson #3 – “Regulars Get the Benefits.”
Pups that come regularly to doggie day care reap the most benefits. So the dog who comes once a month and has to re-learn the environment won’t get the same benefit as the dog who comes every week or day. “Just like children go to the playground and interact with other kids, dogs need this,” says Michael. The play-all-day model means dogs gets the physical benefits of exercise plus the psychological benefits of playing in a natural pack environment.
Lesson #4 – “Transparency Builds Trust.”
Steve and Anthony are seeing a great response to the pricing structure at Hounds Town too. Since there are no hidden fees or up-charges at the franchise, it really sets them apart from other pet care businesses in Bergen County and nationwide. Steve believes that “transparency helps their customers feel safe” about leaving pets for overnight boarding and day care. If requested, nervous pup parents receive videos during the day so they can watch their dog playing and having fun. And Bergen County HT also has an active social media presence with loads of fun daily canine content.
For more information on franchise opportunities, visit www.houndstownfranchise.com.